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Archive for the ‘Arts Education’ Category

gotham news 1957

Gotham News, 1955 by Willem de Kooning ( 69 x 79” Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo)

We looked at images of paintings by Helen Frankenthaler, Jackson Pollock, and Willem de Kooning, including pictures of the paintings in galleries, and Helen Frankenthaler and Jackson Pollock working in their studios, to show the very large scale of pictures in this school. I also told them where some of these pictures are, and had a snapshot of one (Small’s Paradise, by Helen Frankenthaler) I took in Washington D. C. in March.

I told them how Abstract Expressionism was painting that was not of something, but was the thing, in the words of Jackson Pollock. And how painting is a language, in which you can express things you can’t put into words.

The paintings they liked were both by de Kooning: Excavation and Gotham News, which is the one we talked about. The kids each noted something about the picture, and brought out the bright colors, and how it references people, dogs, layers, cities, noise, excitement, Batman, buildings and other structures, without being pictures of those things.

It could be too that they were drawn to this picture because it holds up better on the rather dim interactive white board projectors the school has. You don’t get the benefit of the brilliant colors of Helen Frankenthaler’s work. We held up the laptop so they could get an idea of the brilliance of the actual paintings.

Inspired by the picture, they made paintings in the manner of Abstract Expressionism. I think some of them felt like they were being naughty, by using a finger or their hands, in making layer on layer, in using gobs of paint, and even in scraping back to get to layers below. But they were not naughty, they were all fully involved in the paint and what it was doing. This was the most energetic and focused group I’ve had, as far as everyone diving in.

We asked them to mix at least 3 colors, and this time not to make a picture of a thing but to paint with colors and shapes and lines, and to try different brush sizes.

We even had time to clean up and to spend a few minutes looking at our work.

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matisse4

A Still Life by Henri Matisse

The very beautiful still-life paintings by Ms. Love’s Fifth Grade class in 2015. I’ve been meaning to put these up for a while. The students first learned about color mixing. They did these paintings in one session, painting from still lifes set up with colored cloths and fruit. They are done with tempera paint on canvas board (just because the teacher had some she wanted to get used!).img_2132smallimg_2133smallimg_2134smallimg_2135smallimg_2136smallimg_2137smallimg_2138smallimg_2139smallimg_2140smallimg_2141smallimg_2142smallimg_2143smallimg_2144smallimg_2145smallimg_2146smallimg_2147smallimg_2148smallimg_2149smallimg_2150smallimg_2151smallimg_2152small

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So yeah I paint and jigsaw sets – and the occasional piece of giant cutlery

Young Performers Theater Wizard of Oz. Photo by Christine Davenport http://www.xtinepix.com/keyword/sitka%20fine%20arts%20camp/

Young Performers Theater Wizard of Oz. Photo by Christine Davenport http://www.xtinepix.com/keyword/sitka%20fine%20arts%20camp/

Young Performers Theater Wizard of Oz. Photo by Christine Davenport http://www.xtinepix.com

Young Performers Theater Wizard of Oz. Photo by Christine Davenport http://www.xtinepix.com

Young Performers Theater Wizard of Oz. Photo by Christine Davenport http://www.xtinepix.com

Young Performers Theater Wizard of Oz. Photo by Christine Davenport http://www.xtinepix.com

Young Performers Theater Peter Pan. Photo by Christine Davenport http://www.xtinepix.com

Young Performers Theater Peter Pan. Nice “log,” eh?  Photo by Christine Davenport http://www.xtinepix.com

The Emerald City - 16 feet wide, Pete Weiland engineered sets with 8-foot-wide "pages" that turn.

The Emerald City – 16 feet wide, Pete Weiland engineered sets with 8-foot-wide “pages” that turn.

A "table" and a "barrel" for Young Performers Theater production of Peter Pan

A “table” and a “barrel” for Young Performers Theater production of Peter Pan

The house the Lost Boys built for Wendy

The house the Lost Boys built for Wendy

The Emerald City in the background, this one the foreground and the Emerald City is by Jennifer Carter

The Emerald City in the background, this one the foreground and the Emerald City is by Jennifer Carter

The Wicked Witch of the West home, also 16 feet across

The Wicked Witch of the West home, also 16 feet across

The gate for Oz, for Young Performers Theater

The gate for Oz, for Young Performers Theater

The Yellow Brick Road!

The Yellow Brick Road! Yellow bricks by Jennifer Carter

Wizard of Oz  Photo by Christine Davenport http://www.xtinepix.com/keyword/sitka%20fine%20arts%20camp/

Wizard of Oz

Broadway, these signs are lit from behind, thanks to the tech crew at the Sitka Performing Arts Center

Broadway, these signs are lit from behind, thanks to the tech crew at the Sitka Performing Arts Center

Nice silverware

Nice silverware

Beauty and the Beast: I only painted according to models the pillars and trees (trees on one side, columns on the other!)

Beauty and the Beast: I only painted according to models the pillars and trees (trees on one side, columns on the other!)

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At the 2015 Elementary-age Sitka Fine Arts Camp, I got to work with the 3rd through 5th graders. The first day we made abstract paintings, after looking at slides of paintings by Wasilly Kandinsky. Then we drew for two days, and the next, we painted their counselor modeling, or, if they wished, a figure, or anything they wanted.

Each group of 15 kids rotated through four classes:  music, theater, dance and visual art through the mornings during one week.

The only thing I asked on this one was that they mix three new colors for their picture.

Their work:

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The Sitka Fine Arts Camp has an elementary age session, one week of morning classes. Groups of 15 kids rotate through four classes of just under an hour. This year I got to do art with 3rd through 5th graders. One day we drew a chair – and on another, their counselor modeling!

Here is their work:

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This morning had the chance to work with kindergarten kids in Mrs. Matiatos’s classroom at Baranof Elementary School, in Sitka Alaska. This is an amazing group of kids. Last week for first lesson we looked at slides of Willem deKooning’s and Jackson Pollock’s art, and talked about this picture:

Excavation by Willem de Kooning, 1950, 81 x 100 1/4 inches, Art Institute of Chicago

Excavation by Willem de Kooning, 1950, 81 x 100 1/4 inches, Art Institute of Chicago

then did abstract paintings using a limited palette:

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Today we looked at some paintings by Helen Frankenthaler,

Mountains and Sea, 1952, 85 1/2 inches by 117 1/4 inches, National Gallery of Art

Mountains and Sea, 1952, 85 1/2 inches by 117 1/4 inches, National Gallery of Art

and saw some pictures of her, working.

I also showed them how enormous these pictures are, and tell them where they are, so they can know they can go visit them.

It’s funny how different groups respond to pictures differently. For these kids it was all about COLOR. I was blown away by their work:

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This is going back to Fine Arts Camp, the Elementary Camp in 2012. The first day is under Color inspired by Kandinsky for 3rd through 6th graders.

We had 60 children, coming in for about an hour in a group of 15 at a time.

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This day, we drew – using good old exercises that might be familiar to you if you took a drawing class in college. I brought in a chair from home, and had the kids do various exercises, like rapid timed drawings – a minute, 30 seconds, 10 seconds. You use newsprint and vine charcoal.
Another great exercise is called blind contour: first you hold your pencil or charcoal out, and trace the contour of the thing you are drawing, in the air. You visualize your pencil as a tiny bug, crawling along the contour of the object. Then you draw, not looking at the paper, just looking at what you are drawing, going slowly, and not picking up your charcoal.The results are a big squiggle, but with remarkable truth in the lines.It helps to tell the kids that this is a college exercise. It is hard, or challenging as we say. You have to be sensitive to when the kids are done – depending on the group of kids some went further, some did less, you play it by ear – but that’s any art class. It’s like – there’s nothing like it. But such a great feeling to be guiding a group of people, feeding off their energy and ideas, to direct them to something greater than they thought they could do.

Then do some quick drawings, and then further develop them. Amazing pictures.

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Chair FACIMG_3723  FACIMG_3690  FACIMG_3676 FACIMG_3675 FACIMG_3674

chair drawn by an elementary school child

chair drawn by an elementary school child

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