Saturday, October 24, 2009

Playing with COMPOSITION

First graders are learning about composition. We learned that composition means the placement or arrangement of things in a piece of art. I set up 6 composition stations and students spent the class creating a variety of compositions with different materials. We didn't save any compositions so here are the images of our work!

Some artists began to COLLABORATE:

And some compositions came off the table:

Next, we will create compositions for collograph printing.

Project Round-Up: Fifth Grade Mints

Fifth grade artists have been working on getting to know their subject. We have been practicing observational drawing and practicing to see our subject. We have then taken the same subjects and created paintings. For this project, our subject was a little mint.

Students first created three pencil drawings:
Blind Contour- looking only at the mint, not at the paper

Opposite Hand- using their non-dominant hand to draw
Contour- a line drawing with some shading

Once we had gotten to know our subject, we began to create a painting. We started by thinking about how we wanted our composition to look. We explored the work of Wayne Thiebaud and noticed how he creates simple compositions for his still life paintings. We used a neutral brown to create an underpainting. With the underpainting, we focused on value and composition. Next, we added acrylic paint. We used the three primary colors to create all of the shades that we worked over our underpainting. Some artists stuck with the realistic style and others began to add more colors and imaginitive touches. Here are some photos of each step:

Project Round-Up: Second Grade Moving Animals

Second graders recently completed a painting unit. We looked at the work of Keith Haring and noticed how he made his figures appear to be moving. We observed that he did this by the position of their bodies and by adding movement lines. One student noticed that these lines showed "the sound of the air moving." We then created our own piece of work showing an animal moving. We began by creating an outline. Next, we use the three primary colors and three neutrals to add color to our paintings. We mixed the acrylic paint on our paper using large and small brushes, depending on if we were painting a large area or small details. The work came out amazing! We are going to exhibit it in the main lobby during the month of November. Here are some sneak peaks:

Project Round-Up: Third Grade Ugly Dolls

There is an ugly doll craze in third grade! We decided to use it to learn about symmetry and asymmetry.

Third graders created paper "ugly creatures" whose bodies and features were symmetrical or asymmetrical. They learned how to create a symmetrical shape by folding a piece of paper before cutting and that this created an instant line of symmetry to work from.

Once their collaged creatures were finished, they created the place where their creature lives. We had a lot of fun making these and the results are very funny. Check them out on display in the third grade hallway.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Couldn't Resist

Being home sick today, I had some time to look at things on the internet. This has little to do with what is happening in our studio right now, but I can't resist posting it here so I don't lose it. Isn't it great inspiration for a dream room? Start drawing yours!

photo via
Bird and Banner Blog via NYTimes

What a Success

Congrats to all 4th graders on their super successful art show. We had a ton of visitors and everyone was buzzing about it.
Check out the story about our show on Pardon Me For Asking a local blog! This blog post was also picked up by the NYTimes and listed in their Blogtalk section. Thanks Katia.
Congratulations artists and thanks to everyone who helped out!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

This Weekend!!

This Saturday and Sunday:
Come support our fourth grade artists!

Friday, October 16, 2009

4Fives Garden Post!!

Good morning!

Here is an update on the 4Fives Garden!

Right now our garden is looking good.

A few weeks ago we planted cuttings of basil and mint and violets.  We are waiting for them to grow roots so that we can put them in the soil in the garden.

garden 1

garden 2

garden 3

garden 4

garden 5

garden 6

We also went on a relly cool trip last week to the Glass Garden in Manhattan.  The Glass Garden is a greenhouse and it is neat.  Ms. Kimball used to work there, and we were really lucky that she likes us enough to take us there. They have lots of plants there, but they also have animals too.  We saw a turtle, fish, birds, and a parrot.   The parrot talked! And when we sang “Happy Birthday” he danced.  It was really cool.  4Fivers (LOL!  They are 4Fivers!) and Superforesters Jackson and Jackie kept clapping and singing to the birds and they hung upside down and danced like crazy.

deven ray glass garden

flip glass garden

glass garden

glass garden 2

glass garden bunny


But we didn’t just do that at the greenhouse.  We also planted our own Chinese plants.  The lady gave us a plant that had roots, and then we put it in soil (not dirt).  We watered it and then labeled it so that we could take it back to school.  Then Bee put all of our plants on the bottom layer of the garden lab.  At first I thought this was a bad idea, but she told me that these plants need low-light, which I think means that they don’t need a lot of sunlight to live.  SO I guess that it wasn’t a bad idea.

The really good thing about our garden is that at the end of the school year, when our plants are all grown up, we can take them home, and well have our own garden. We can take care of it and we can all be happy.

Stay tuned for more cool information about our classroom garden!




Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fun Field Trip

What some of you might not know about me is that before I was an art teacher, I was a horticultural therapist! I worked at NYU Medical Center. Here, in their amazing greenhouse, I would work with patients in the hospital on gardening projects to help them get better. Even though I have a different (and amazing) job now, I still love gardening.

Yesterday, the 4Fives and I took a trip to the Glass Garden where I used to work. We had an awesome time! PS 58/4Fives friend, mentor, and all around amazing person Jackson came with us. Here is a link to his blog post about the trip. Thanks SFJ! The 4Five students' post will come soon.

Enjoy the long weekend!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Some First Grade Collage Experiments

First Graders had worked with line in the first few weeks of school.  We made monoprints using different kinds of line.  After we finished our monoprints, we began to explore shape.  We looked at how different shapes can be used to "build" images.  We looked at the work of Charley Harper.  In his work, he used many simple shapes to build animals.  Here is an example of his work. How many shapes do you see in this tiger? Do you see circles? Triangles Rectangles? What else?

Next, we cut shapes out ouf our monoprints and began using them to make animals.  We discovered that you can build anything out of sha
pes.  We also talked about detail and used other paper to add detail to our work.  Here are some finished pieces. Enjoy!

All of our work will soon be on display in the first grade hallway on the second floor.

October Artist of the Month!

Denyse Schmidt!
October's Artist of the Month is Denyse Schmidt.  Denyse is a quilter who works in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  She is one of my favorite artists and here is why: she takes a historic craft and turns it into something modern.  Denyse offers workshops for people who quilt and I went to one.  We learned about Denyse's "Improvisational Quilting" method.  We had to pull scraps of fabric from a bag and use them no matter what we got.  It was very different from a lot of the quilting I had done because you didn't plan what you were doing first.  I had never thought about quilting in that way before.   

Denyse also designs fabrics.  Check out her website for more information about her work.

I notice that Denyse really thinks about her compositions.  It reminds me of when we do collage in class. What do you think?

This quilt was inspired by these dresses.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

October Newsletter

Here is a brief newsletter for October. We are still working on a lot of what we started in September.

Studio 220 Newsletter: October 2009

We are off to a great start this year. Here is a glimpse of what we are doing in October:

First Grade Printmaking: This month, first graders will be working on collograph printing. We will be exploring this form of printmaking and all of the new tools and procedures that go with it.

Second Grade: Second graders are continuing with a painting exploration inspired by the work of Wassily Kandinsky. As there is currently an exhibition of his work at the Guggenheim Museum, we will be focusing on how music and emotion are a part of his painting process. PS 58 parent and visiting artist Brogan Ganley will be working with us as well. This unit will wrap up with a visit to the Guggenheim exhibition.

Third Grade: Third grade artists will be exploring the work of Elizabeth Murray. We will discover how her paintings take on sculptural forms and create our own mixed media collages and paintings.

Fourth Grade: Fourth grade artists continue to work on their collaborations for the Gowanus Canal Exhibition. The show will go up on October 17th. After this, we will reflect on the exhibition process and begin a painting unit.

Fifth Grade: Fifth graders continue to work on drawing and painting from observation. We are learning about value and creating an underpainting. We are also doing many different exercises that help us to see our subject.

Artist of the Month: The Artist of the Month for October is Denyse Schmidt. She is a contemporary quilt maker who works in an exciting “improvisational” way.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Family Programs at MOMA

Here is a listing of family programs for October at MoMA: 

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Gowanus Canal Project!!

The Gowanus Canal project is in full swing! Here is a sneak peak at our collaboration.
If you want to see more of this awesome project, make sure to come to our gallery show:
AGAST presents PS 58 Kids: Our Hopes and Dreams About the Gowanus Canal
Saturday October 17, 2009 to Sunday October 18, 2009   1pm to 6 pm
Opening Reception Saturday from 5pm to 7pm
If you are a fourth grade parent and are interested in providing some sort of baked good, juice, paper products or your time, please email me at

We are working so hard and cannot wait to show you our work!

Getting to Know Our SUBJECT

Fifth Graders are working on drawing and painting from observation. We have been working on drawing what we see and getting to know our subject. Our first subject is a mint. We began by drawing the mint without looking at our paper. We could only look at the mint. The drawings were really interesting and we decided that it made us think less about how our work looked and more about making it. Next, we tried drawing with our opposite hand. After that, we looked at Wayne Thiebaud's lollipop drawing and talked about value and tone. We made a pencil sketch shading to show value.
The next class, we created underpaintings. We learned that an underpainting is like a sketch that goes underneath the painting. We used a neutral color and water and focused on painting the different values that we saw. Next week, we will make paintings over these. Check back for more.