Tuesday, December 12, 2017

December Famous Artist of the Month: M. C. Escher

I am excited for my students to be learning about M. C. Escher this month. He was an artist with a vivid imagination and amazing technical precision. It is interesting that he failed math in the school, as his artwork, especially his tessellations, are very mathematical in nature.

This text below M. C. Escher's photograph on the bulletin board reads:

M.C. Escher
Born: June 17, 1898
Died: March 27, 1972
Nationality: Netherlands
Art style: Tessellations; Op Art; Surreallism

Maurits Cornelis Escher was the youngest of 5 boys. He was raised by his father and his step mother. M.C. Escher’s father was a civil engineer, and engineering influenced his art.

M.C. Escher was a sickly child, and was drawn to music and creative endeavors. He was not good at math, and technically never graduated from high school, since he could not pass the final math exams.

After high school, M.C. Escher studied at the School for Architecture and Decorative Arts in Haarlem, Netherlands. He became interested in graphic design and woodblock printmaking.

Despite failing math in school, M.C. Escher’s art is characterized by mathematical precision, especially in his tessellations (designs where shapes interlock like puzzle pieces).

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

November 2017 Art Awards


1st Grade:

2nd Grade:

3rd Grade:

4th Grade:

5th Grade:

6th Grade:

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Meet Woody!

I purchased this wooden art mannequin at IKEA last week, and he was a welcome addition to my classroom! So far, I have not used him in any formal lessons (I would need a few clones of him for the whole classroom!), but I have offered him as a free draw option for early finishers. I told students that when artists want to draw a person doing a specific pose, for example, running, dancing, kicking a ball, or throwing something, they can pose the mannequin, and draw the figure. Then, the artist needs to use their imagination to add details like a face and clothes. So far, he has been popular! He is in a different position every time I see him. I asked some friends for name ideas, and someone suggested "Woody".

Meet Woody the Art Mannequin!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November Famous Artist of the Month: Pieter Bruegel the Elder

I am excited to feature Pieter Bruegel the Elder on my bulletin for this month!

The text on the bulletin board reads:

Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Born: 1525
Died: September 9, 1569
Nationality: Netherlands
Art style: Landscapes and Genre Painting

Pieter Bruegel the Elder lived so long ago that little is known about his family life. We do not even know what his birthday was.

Bruegel’s name was originally spelled “Brueghel”, but he dropped the ‘h’ in 1559, and started signing his art with a different spelling of his name.

Pieter Bruegel’s two sons, Pieter Brueghel the Younger, and Jan Brueghel the Elder, were also artists. He died when they were small children, so their grandma trained them.

Pieter Bruegel also had a daughter, but nothing is known about her.

Pieter Bruegel is known for landscapes and peasant scenes, which are called genre paintings. Genre paintings show normal people doing normal things.

Friday, October 20, 2017

October 2017 Art Awards

The artworks that were selected to be on display for this month are shown below. So many beautiful things are happening in art class this time of year, that it's getting hard to pick!


1st Grade:

2nd Grade:

3rd Grade:

4th Grade:

5th Grade:

6th Grade:

October Famous Artist of the Month: Norman Rockwell

This month, I am featuring a much loved artist, Norman Rockwell! The students have been intrigued to learn about his career as a magazine illustrator. Even though most magazines today feature photography, not paintings, magazine design (with a graphic arts degree) is still a popular career!

Whenever art class ends a few minutes early, being able to discuss the art on my bulletin board has been a great way to use time effectively. I've also been able to knock off many state standards about looking at and understanding art with this bulletin board!

The text on my bulletin board reads as follows:

Norman Rockwell
Born: February 3, 1894
Died: November 8, 1978
Nationality: U.S.A.
Art style: Illustrations of American Culture

Norman Rockwell was born in New York City. At age 14, he transferred from high school to Chase Art School. He later attended the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League.

After completing his education, Rockwell got a job illustrating for Boys’ Life magazine, a publication of the Boy Scouts of America. For $50 a month, he had to design a cover illustration, and a set of story illustrations.

Rockwell later gained fame illustrating the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. His illustrations were whimsical interpretations of American life.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

5th Grade Henri Rousseau Inspired Art

My 5th grade students recently learned about French artist Henri Rousseau, who never left France his whole life. Despite never seeing the jungle in real life, he created many convincing portrayals of the jungle! Rousseau is considered a self-taught artist.

The students learned 5 ways that Henri Rousseau got his ideas for his jungle art:
1) Illustrations in children's story books
2) Seeing jungle plants at the botanical gardens in Paris
3) Seeing tableau of taxidermy animals from the jungle
4) Hearing stories and vivid descriptions of the jungle from the men who had been on the French expedition to Mexico (Rousseau met these men while serving in the army for 4 years after high school)
5) His vivid imagination

I then asked the students what resources they had to see jungle ideas, despite not having been there either. They quickly realized that they could use their school iPads to see all sorts of jungle scenes! I encouraged them to use mostly their imagination for their artwork, and only use the iPad as a resource when trying to figure out what color a leopard's eyes are, or what shape a parrot's beak is, for example.

Here are some finished pieces by 5th grade students:

Friday, October 6, 2017

5th Grade Lighthouse Paintings

For about 5 years, I have been doing a lighthouse lesson with my 4th grade students. I decided to move this lesson to my 5th grade curriculum, so I skipped lighthouses with 4th grade last year, and did them this year with 5th grade. We had some great results!

I began the lesson with a discussion on landscapes and seascapes by Winslow Homer. Then, the students learned that they would make a picture that was part seascape, and part landscape. I asked if they could think of a beautiful building that is always found at the edge of the land, near the water. Then, I had many small photographs for them to look at for ideas while drawing their light house.

For the sky, the students had many choices, but the most popular choice was to use watercolor pencils to make a sunset. They were also able to use watercolor paints, or crayons or colored pencils.

Monday, October 2, 2017

September Famous Artist of the Month: Claude Monet

Claude Monet was featured on my bulletin board last month! I just took him down today. All of the photos were from a calendar; I need to find more old art calendars!

The text under the photo reads:

Claude Monet
Born: November 14, 1849
Died: December 5, 1926
Nationality: France
Art style: Impressionism

Claude Monet enjoyed drawing even as a child. He first made money by drawing caricatures (cartoon-style pictures of people).

Claude Monet was 11 when he enrolled in an art school. His mother was happy that he wanted to be an artist, but his father was sad, because he wanted Claude to take over the family grocery store.

Claude Monet was one of the first artists to paint from life outside. He would take his paints with him to parks, gardens, and ponds. He would paint what he saw in front of him.

Claude Monet’s style of art is called Impressionism because he would paint a quick impression of a moment in time. He painted quickly before the scene in front of him changed.