October 10, 2014: Art

We start the year with a short collaborative art unit. This year the 2nd-5th graders created a Color Wheel Collage that we will use as a teaching tool. It will be hanging in the art room for years to come and is a great representation of the many tints, shades and tones found within a single color. Each student had the chance to make a monochromatic (one color) drawing of an object of their choosing to attach to our color wheel. They focused on drawing lightly with pencil, layering colored pencils to create a saturated color and used markers to create emphasis and contrast in their drawing. They also practiced their best cutting skills so they would only include their drawing and not the white space around it (not always an easy task). The Color Wheel Collage will be displayed on the bulletin board outside the art room for all to admire until it takes its permanent place hanging in the classroom. 2nd-5th graders also created two Run for the Arts Banners. These banners will be used during RFA for years to come.

The 2nd graders are in the middle of a Unit of Inquiry called Art and Observation focusing on the the central idea that Artists observe the world around them to become inspired. They first practiced upside-down and "blind" drawings (which was very entertaining) and then move on to draw birds realistically as did John James Audubon. He was an artist who devoted much of his life to identifying and painting the birds of North America. The artwork he created was made famous by the book, The Birds of America. They are the largest collection of detailed bird wildlife paintings ever created. While traveling, he discovered 25 unknown species of birds. The students are learning about his life through an story called, The Boy Who Drew Birds. As a group, we also discussed that artists in our local community become inspired by the event, Swift Watch where of thousands of Vaux Swifts prepare to roost for the night in the Chapman School chimney in Southwest Portland. We discuss various ways that artists interpret the same event and use their observations to create unique works of art. http://audubonportland.org/local-birding/swiftwatch

We will continue our Art and Observation Unit by exploring many watercolor techniques for the background of the bird paintings. We will have stylistic inspiration from "Old Black Fly" and "Twigboy" illustrated by Stephen Gammel. The students may remember singing this story with Kami last year. They will learn and perform the story, Old Black Fly as a connection to our art curriculum. The bird theme will continue in third grade when the students begin playing their soprano recorder through improvising bird calls in a rainforest Dawn Chorus.

Lastly, Run For the Arts 2014 was a success! Many, many thanks to all of our volunteers, and parents who who helped out in any way. The event is over but the most important part still needs to happen. RFA pledges are due to your teacher or any receptionist by Friday, October 24. Thanks so much for helping your kids collect the money they earned!

Thanks for reading about what we've been doing in the art room so far this year. If you have anything you want me to know, please feel free to contact me via email and introduce yourself if you see me around campus. Stay tuned to for the next 2nd grade Art update in four weeks.

Sarah Harpole
Art Specialist

The making of our Color wheel Collage

Blind Contour Drawing

Upside-down Contour Drawing

Observational Bird Drawings

Observational Bird Drawings with Photos and Story of John James Audubon