Exciting news!! I have signed a contract to teach art (K - 8) and be the Creative Arts Coordinator at a small, international/IB school in a suburb of Shanghai. I am very excited about this position and look forward to learning as much about Shanghai and the surrounding area as I possibly can! Perhaps I can even take some conversational Chinese lessons during my two year contract.
I have been to China a few times, and loved being in Beijing! But I know very little about Shanghai. The internet has told me this much, so far: As of 2014, there are 24 million people living in the futuristic city of Shanghai, and there's a river that runs right through downtown with the other side of the city being flanked by the East China Sea. It takes close to 15 hours to fly there from the US, and it's about 2 hours Northeast of Hong Kong via plane. Bullet trains are available all over the city and travel as fast as 190 miles per hour. Mission Impossible 3 was filmed in Shanghai and just outside of the city in a town called Xitang. Exciting!!!
This is our last Brookwood Art post of the school year! Can you believe it? I feel like this school year has flown by! I worked so incredibly hard and half of the year was done while in a PhD program--goodness! Below I will briefly list off what all of the fabulous students at Brookwood have completed in our last days together. I will miss these kiddos likes crazy!!
Just before Spring Break was the perfect time to do Surprise Art Eggs with my littlest customers. We started out with a plastic egg. Then the students created miniature art pieces to go inside the eggs, along with some glitter and trinkets. Finally the students wrapped their eggs in 3 different colors of tissue paper and a ribbon before giving their egg to a friend or family member for Easter. It was great fun!
Unfortunately I missed 2 or 3 weeks of art classes with my Junior Kindergarten students because of their swimming lessons at the YMCA. But when they came back, I was ready to try something new with them. So we played with bubbles and made prints out of them! I learned how to do this from Ms. Emily at You're Maker. Making bubble paper is so much fun! I can't wait to do it next year! You guys should totally make some bubble prints at home during the summertime! Watch the fun video below to find out how . . .
After our bubble prints, we had to get some things done for the art show for next year. That's right, along with all of the other things that happened in the Art Studio this year, I also had to make sure each grade had already completed their artwork for next year's art show at the Thomasville Center for the Arts. Ms. Harrer themed the show, "Bay Area Artists". So my JK students made signage. There are no pics of the signage, because it's gigantic. But you'll be able to see it next year at the art show. One of the signs says, "Bay Area Artists" and the other sign says, "Let Them Eat Cake!" They look awesome!!
Popsicles and pizza! For our last day of art, we painted these amazing watercolors of popsicles. I used to have "Popsicle Thursdays" when I was teaching in Qatar. (Thursdays were their Fridays because Fridays are holy days in the Middle East. And Sundays are Mondays!) Each Thursday we would do some kind of artwork based on popsicles or popsicle-esque type treats. It was great fun, so I was glad to host it again, even if only for a day.
We drew our popsicles with guidance from Mr. Rob at Art for Kids Hub. After watercoloring them, we danced to our favorite Koo Koo Kanga Roo song. If only you could hear how loudly they sing this song while dancing around my room, it's so cute and hilarious! "Cheeeeeeeesssseeeee onnnnnn mmmyyyy ffffiiiiinnnnnggggeeeerrrrrsssssss!" So funny!!!!
My Kindergarten students researched Richard Diebenkorn's work for next year's art show. This project took them a while. We interspersed this work with projects for their Celebration of Japan day and Free Make--the kindergarteners love a good Free Make day!
Each class looked at a variety of paintings by Mr. Diebenkorn before choosing one to focus on. It was fun to share slides with them! Their first comments were based around color and what something was, but the more we looked at the work, the more they could visualize what Diebenkorn was thinking about and how he abstracted things. It was fascinating to watch their learning come to life!
To create work in the essence of Diebenkorn, the students used a variety of (kid-friendly) materials. They first drew out their lines and shapes with black crayon. Then they sort of loosely filled in their shapes with oil pastels in the colors of their choosing. And finally, they washed over all of the shapes with watercolors and temperas with additional colors. Don't they look fabulous? I would never have thought to incorporate Diebenkorn into my Kindergarten class, but next year's theme really challenged me. And I'm so glad it did!!!
For the Kindergartener's Celebration of Japan day, we made giant koi fish. They were huge! I couldn't even take a picture of the whole thing. They worked in teams of 8 to color and decorate their fish in a variety of colors. We watched a video about Koi fish and looked at lots and lots of pictures of them. I love making big fish!!
For First Grade's art show project, we veered off the theme path just slightly. Loosely inspired by Thiebaud's cake paintings, we traveled to the East Coast and Florida where we learned about Miami artist, Romero Britto (who's actually from Brazil). The colors in his work really excite the students. And because his work is now on t-shirts and shoes and shower curtains, they can identify it easily. I even received a bracelet as an end-of-the-year gift from two of my students with a Romero Britto heart on it! So awesome!
For this project, the students worked on their background first: drawing it out with Sharpie and filling it in with oil pastels. They made sure to vary the colors and create patterns that related to Britto's work. Then, they watercolored cupcake designs that they drew out with Sharpie. We glued the cupcakes to cardboard so that they floated off the page a bit. Each piece of artwork is perfectly square. So I'm sure they will hang beautifully!
To let the students explore fun materials for a bit, I had the students create giant bugs after Spring Break. We drew them out with black crayons, and then they filled them in with chalk pastels. They had so much fun working with chalk pastels!
Chalk pastels make me crazy because they get everywhere, but the students had a blast!
Even when you tell them, just use your pointer finger to blend areas . . . Somehow their whole hands are involved!! But they were so beautiful!
For Second Grade's art show project, we looked at the work of Joan Brown. She is a wonderful painter who uses lots and lots of bright colors! We specifically studied the piece below. Each student drew a self-portrait on a solid color field. The self-portraits they drew featured them holding a pet or their favorite animal. The Joan Brown Estate even liked the students' work when I posted it on Instagram!
The Third Graders have been very busy . . . Have you seen the work in the windows down at The Bookshelf???!!! It's incredible!! They worked so hard--there were presentations and planning and building and installations! Here are a few pics from the lesson, but you can see the full write-up about this project (and the parade) here.
For their art show project, I re-visited the underwater swimming pool self-portrait lesson. We looked at lots and lots of slides of paintings done by British-born/California-made painter, David Hockney. I did this same lesson with the Grade 4 students for the county fair way back in October. I'm so excited for you to see these in August! It will be the perfect project to ring in the school year! You can read more about the lesson in full here.
The Fourth Graders looked at work by Wayne Thiebaud before launching into their art show painting projects. You will notice that the older the students get, the less pictures I have . . . They are shy, and also take a lot longer to complete things compared to the younger ones. The Grade 4 students worked on these cake paintings for at least 3 weeks. Then we worked on some one-off collage projects.
My final class day with the Fourth Graders was spent drawing AT-AT's and dancing to Seagulls (Stop it Now). I use the term dancing, loosely. It was hilarious!! Fourth Grade was the first class to end art classes before our last day of school. Their last class day was last week! 😭
Fifth Grade has been working on their art show projects for close to two months. They researched costuming worn by kings and queens all over the world. Then, they had to imagine themselves in a royal costume of their choosing and create a self-portrait in the traditional style. Each student completed a painting that is 18 inches x 24 inches. And while this strays from our theme just a bit. These paintings can re-enter the theme by referencing Marie Antoinette (even though some of the paintings might refer to a different time period), and proudly exclaiming: Let them eat cake!
Aren't they gorgeous? I just love them. The students worked really hard on these pieces!
#mylovelysixthgraders accomplished so much in our last few months together!
Because they loved clay so much, I let them do personal projects in clay. They looked at other artists for inspiration, but for the most part had free range to do whatever they wanted. They made all sorts of items and took everything home almost immediately once things came out of the kiln!
Our next piece was based on a project I had seen in another school. We took black and white photos that they hand-tinted with colored pencils and placed them into a heavily patterned background. While I think they managed the photos and printing alright, something got lost in the composition. Maybe we needed more repetition, like with the photograph or something. I don't know. Perhaps more practice with this project will prove it to be successful in the future! But the process was thoroughly enjoyable, which was awesome!
We ended the year with my most favorite project of all time . . . Suits of armor! I didn't get to do this with my middle cohort of the Grade 6 students that I taught (they were too busy with holiday projects), but the first group got to do it and now this last group! And I think they did an awesome job!
After looking at slides of armor from past civilizations and cultures, the students had to create their own armor that represented their time period and lives. Then, we put them into a digital background of their own choosing as the final documentation.
Working in groups, the students had to come up with a cohesive theme. Then, using cardboard, create their armor and costuming. This usually takes several weeks, even though I see them everyday.
We spent a couple of days in front of the green screen, taking pictures of the students in their finished work. And then, their final task is to find a high quality background image to go with their green screen picture. Once they do that, they send it off to our wonderful tech teacher and she puts their picture into their digital background.
They love this project!!!! But I have to remember next year to make sure that none of them paint anything green. Pistol's finished piece looks fabulous (he's with the AT-AT, above), but he's missing his lightsaber. He painted it green and, because of the green screen, it plum disappeared! 😱
I will miss all of my Grade 6 students. They were so much fun to hang out with this year!
Both parades went off without a hitch! It was so much fun to take part in these two giant happenings! I wrote all about the experience here. Have a look-see!!
I also had the pleasure of visiting the Jack Hadley Black History Museum last month with my friend, Dixie Lee Hedrington-Miller. I met Dixie back in January when I drove out to the school she opened, and where she teaches young people, Friends & Stars. She does amazing work! I invited Dixie to facilitate a mosaic project with my Middle School Art Club. They LOVED it! I will be writing about that project very soon!
We went to the Black History Museum to see if there was a way for my students to collaborate with the museum. Not only did we get a personal tour, but I got to meet their new Education Manager. I hope that whoever is the next Lower School Art Teacher at Brookwood follows through with this opportunity!
They have such an amazing collection of items! I can't wait to go back and walk through the museum again. I was not able to read everything in one visit. And we stayed well over an hour past their closing time!
There's a small art gallery inside the Black History Museum and a few paintings by Eluster Richardson were featured. They were so beautiful! Quilts and quilt makers and young people. I encourage you to visit his website: here. The paintings above and below are from his Soul of a Quilt series.
My summer will be filled with river rafting, hiking, teaching, and exploring! I am so excited to be the summer Teaching Artist-in-Residence at The Bascom in Highlands, North Carolina! If you will be in this area over the summer, please reach out to me! I already have one Brookwood teacher visiting, several friends from downtown Thomasville visiting, and I'm meeting an old high school friend in Asheville! It's gonna be an awesome summer, folks!
Below are the links to all of the past blogposts I wrote about the art making we did in Brookwood's Lower School Art Studio! Thank you for all of the memories from the 2017 - 2018 teaching year! Enjoy!!
And you are currently reading Quarter 4.
See ya, Brookwood! 💚 Love you, Thomasville!