Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Power of Positive Words

 This art lesson was presented by Mrs. Ellis, who is working on her art certification.  We looked at examples of beautiful, commissioned street art and compared and contrasted that with examples of vandalism including graffiti and "tagging".  There are some amazing fonts that have been developed, but Mrs. Ellis stressed the importance of having permission to make public art.  We brainstormed different positive words and everyone chose one and wrote it with a graffiti font on canvas paper.

 The next step was to outline it with Sharpie marker.

 Next, we covered our letters with masking tape and cut away the tape outside of each letter with an X-acto knife.

 The next part is really neat.  We taped together several crayons. The assignment was to choose several colors that were analogous, or next to one another on the color wheel.  Then we used a hair drier to melt the wax out of the crayons.
 The wax flows out of the crayon wraper and and mixes together in very interesting ways.

 When the wax dries, you remove the masking tape. Then the inside of the letters was decorated with acrylic paint.  Mrs. Ellis suggested using a complementary color, but if you had a really good reason, she let you use a different one.  The example above is her finished project.

I would say this lesson was a hit.  I think everyone was very pleased with their finished projects.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Miss Whiting recently taught a lesson about combines. Combines are an art form that combines paintings with real objects to make a form of art that is both 2D and 3D. This art form was invented by modern artist Robert Rauschenberg, so we started the lesson by looking at one of his works of art. (See below).

Canyon (1959) by Robert Rauschenberg

Canyon is based on a Greek myth is which Zeus transforms himself into an eagle and carries a young boy up to heaven. The artist affixed a stuffed eagle to the surface of the painting and attached a sack to represent the boy. There is a photo of his own young son in the photo. This young boy stayed with his mother when the parents divorced. Maybe the swooping eagle represents the artist's desire to be reunited with his son. Next to the child, is a picture of the Statue of Liberty. The child's lifting arm and the statue are a mirror image of the same pose. The eagle and the statue represent America, so there are many different ways to interpret this combine. (see Scholastic Art, 2009).

(Update: Check out the wonderful comment left by Christopher Rauschenberg, the son of the artist in the comments section!)

Everyone in ninth grade art made a combine. First they stretched a canvas. Next, the assignment was to use three analogous colors (next to each other on the color wheel). They used these colors to cover the canvas with impasto (thick, textured) brushwork. Next they added other colors by scumbling the paint.

Next, they experimented by adding objects. The assignment was to make a combine that represented a group identity. It could be a positive group they were proud to be part of, or a negative group they wanted to avoid.

"Identity" is one of the enduring ideas or important recurring themes in art.

Lyle created a combine about "haters" or bullies. Lyle told us that he used chess pieces to represent bullies banding together and leaving someone out. The flames represent hate. The G.I. Joe boot with an action figure represents our troops who are protecting us from bullies (terrorists).

Haters Gonna Hate
by Lyle Burgess

Noah's Ark
by Ashley Allington

Ashley Allington made a painting about the recent flood we had in Athens. The scenes from the flood show everyone's lives turned upside down. Surround by safety pins, and lots of handprints to show how the community banded together.

Heaven and Hell
by Byron King

"My painting is about heaven and hell or good and bad. The white wing-like things represent good or Heaven. The black wings represent bad or Hell. The ropes are like the stairway to heaven. The butterfly is like the boundary between life or death. The flames are like the gateway to hell. We all make choices to be part of good or evil groups."

Friends by Chloe Farrell

"My combine represents friends. I put the puzzle pieces on to show that my friends and I fit together like puzzle pieces. I put the heart on there because I love my friends, and I put the sparkles on there to make the heart stand out. I put the quote on there just to say something about friendship and I added the beads to make the whole combine to stand out and to help the quote stand out."

by James Coyle

by Jay Dibble

"My painting is about sports and how it is all about team and family. They are just one big family, if you think about it, because they all protect the same two people, the quarterback and whoever has the ball. Sports are also about gaining muscle and its also about scoring and mainly about the fans. As long as you keep them happy they will keep you going and get you pumped up for the game. Then you’ll be ready for anything."

MX Racers
by Jeffrey Blanton

The Big Question
by Elena Georgetson

"There comes a time in everyone’s life when they must make some very important decisions. My painting is about one such choice -- love. When the time comes, every person must make some very important decisions, 'Am I really ready for a relationship' or 'Do I really want this?' being only a few. There are many questions you must ask yourself. As you get older, it’s time to start asking yourself the big questions. Who are you, and what do you want? But don’t get too lost in your thoughts. Life moves fast; if you blink, you’ll miss it."

Greenpeace by Justine Case

"The idea of saving whales means a lot to people, especially a group of people, Greenpeace. So, in my painting, I used impasto to emphasize oceans that the whales live in. The trash symbolizes harm that garbage can do to the ocean environment. The wire around it symbolizes a way to keep trash out of the oceans and save the whales."

Friendship by Megan Platt

"My poster is about my two best friends and who they are and what they like and what they don’t like. It also describes them and what they like and are good at."

The Clique by Paisha Glisson

"My painting symbolizes the group you don’t want to be a part of. The ring of pins represents the group and the puzzle piece is the person or thing in that group. The puzzle pieces surrounding the group represent the people who aren’t in the group. The group my painting symbolizes could be bullying or the group of people who are in the “bad” clique."

Family by Jensen Dunkling

"My combine represents family. The blue heart shows that families are loving and they care for one another. Also, the puzzle pieces illustrate that members of families fit together like no other. I used sparkles around the word “family” to draw attention to the main theme of my art work."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Grid Portraits

For this project, we took a photograph of each student. We turned off the lights and used the window as a single light source to get strong contrasts. They then made a one inch grid on the photograph, and a two inch grid on larger paper. The goal is to draw what you see in each square -- not what you think a face looks like.

Wheel Fun

Our new art room has a room just for working with clay on the wheels. The kiln is there two. This student volunteered to put the new wheel together for us.
Fortunately for us, Miss Rachel Whiting is the student teacher and throwing on the wheel is one of her specialties. The students have been enjoying being able to sign up for time on the wheel.

We call the new wheel "Boss" and the other wheel "Old Timer".

Getting centered is the toughest part.

Learning the Process of Making Comics

Art classes have been learning about making comics. I'm still scanning them, but I'll post some of their work, soon!

Here I am demonstrating the inking process.
Here I appear to be making some point forcefully.

"And these are what you call 'thumbnails'."