Thursday, September 29, 2011


I have moved! And so has my blog!! If you are interested in keeping up with my new teaching adventure you can find me here: South School Art Studio. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fish Exploration Part 1

rubber fish
First grade artists have begun a fish study. They recently went on a fishing trip and we are building off of that excitement! Today, we began drawing fish from observation. In lieu of real fish, we use the rubber fish set that I inherited when I came to PS 58. They are made for printmaking, but I like to utilize them in observational drawing units because of the details they include. We looked at fish created by Bruno Munari and Hokusai.

left: Hokusai print, right: Munari illustration
Students noticed that the Hokusai piece was more likely drawn from observation because the artist included so many details. Our goal was to include as many details as we could. Here are a few small drawings that will kick off our unit:

Check back to see where this will lead!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Kindergarten Ink Paintings

Kindergarten artists have been working on drawing with a brush and ink. We have been practicing including details in our work. In one class, they created drawings of birds inspired by the book Feathers for Lunch. The following week, we looked at rubber fish and drew the details that we noticed. Then, we added chalk pastel. It was a new experience for a lot of students to work with the dusty material and the colors came out beautifully!

Monday, May 2, 2011

After School Food Collages

In my third and fourth grade after school mixed media class, students studied the work of Wayne Thiebaud and created painted paper collages of food. They first created a number of colors and textures with paint and then used these to find the perfect papers to create their appetizing collages. Here are a few examples:

Then George used the extra paper to make a monster:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Newsletter

Happy May! Here is the newsletter for this month:

Studio 220 Newsletter: May 2011

I can hardly believe it is May! I hope everyone had a wonderful April vacation. We have a ton of exciting things going on in the art studio. Here is what each grade is working on:

Kindergarten artists are exploring looking and drawing, or observational drawing. We will explore the work of a number of artists who worked from observation including one of my personal favorites, Beatrix Potter. Students will work from a number of subjects and in many different media. We will explore how we can create texture and shape with drawing.

First grade artists are going to be starting a sculpture unit. We will do a study of fish, exploring artists who were inspired by fish such as Hokusai. Students will create drawings from observation, collages and a plaster wrap sculpture of their own fish. We will be exploring moving from 2D to 3D, how artists use drawings in the sculptural process and how you can create form from paper and cardboard. Check out the Studio 220 Blick Wishlist ( to help us get the rigid wrap for this project.

Second grade artists are working on a painted paper collage project. Inspired by their science and Earth Day studies of birds of prey (How amazing were those birds?!!), second graders will create their own birds of prey from painted paper. We will look at the work of illustrator Kim Scafuro, a Brooklyn artist who creates collages of painted paper. Students will explore the textures and patterns that are common on owls, hawks, eagles and other birds of prey. Next, students will explore creating a variety of values and textures using only black ink on paper. This paper will then be used for the students’ final birds of prey collages.

Fourth graders are studying the work of Wayne Thiebaud. We will explore how and why this artist chose food as one of his primary subjects. Students will rely on their recent study of form to create pastel drawings of food and cakes inspired by Thiebaud’s work. Students will learn about complimentary colors and use them in their final compositions. We will take what we have learned in painting about mixing colors and apply this to dry media.

Fifth graders are working on animal paintings inspired by Australian aboriginal paintings. Students are exploring painting with non-traditional materials and creating patterns using only dots. Students will explore symbolism and how this can be incorporated into their artwork.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Gumplegutch!

April is poetry month! Here is a poem by Shel Silverstein that has inspired a first grade art project:
The Gumplegutch
Go over and play with the Gumplegutch, Tommy,
The Gumplegutch loves to play.
You can bounce on his belly,
And call him Old Nellie,
And fill up his nostrils with clay.
Don't be 'fraid of his fangs,
Or his one yellow eye,
Or the scales on his tail, my dear.
Go over and play with the Gumplegutch, Tommy,
There's nothing at all to fear.
I will wait over here.

First graders searched for descriptive words to give us clues about the Gumplegutch's appearance. Once we had identified the descriptive words, each student imagined what the Gumplegutch looks like. Students each created a collagraph print of their creature.

First, we made a collage of our Gumplegutch using thick paper.

The following week, we used our collage as a printing plate. We inked the plate using a brayer, put a piece of paper on top of the plate and then burnished.

And VOILA! A Gumplegutch print:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Amazing Melanie Hope Greenberg Visits Studio 220

For the past 3 weeks, author/illustrator Melanie Hope Greenberg has been working with us at PS 58. I have worked with Melanie before and it is such a pleasure to have a local illustrator share her knowledge and enthusiasm with our kids. She first shared her process with all second graders in the library. She read her book and everyone got a copy of Mermaids on Parade!

The following two visits were in Studio 220 with Melanie! She worked with all second grade classes. She shared her books and some relief paintings. Students were then inspired to create their own paper pop up relief collages. The students used foam tape in layers to create the relief effect. The students had a blast! Many were inspired by her city theme and the way that she layered buildings. Here are some photos from the residency. I can't wait to work with her again.

Melanie shares A City Is.

Students working.

Students share their work with partners.

Some finished pieces:

Thanks to Melanie and our visiting author program!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Catching Up---again!

Things are so busy around here that this blog has been a bit neglected. I am going to do a one-post update of what all grades have been doing.

Kindergarten- cardboard relief animal sculptures!

First Grade- My block collages inspired by Romare Bearden and visiting artist Mari Takabayashi!

Second grade- Figures in action mosaics and drawings!

Fourth Grade- Imaginary settlement cartography!

Fifth Grade- Op Art!

Now that we are all caught up, I will let you know what we are doing now in the coming days!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fifth Grade Tunnel Books

I wanted to share the work that 5th graders did on their tunnel books. This was completed some time ago, but it is still on display in school.

Fifth grade artists each created their own illustrated character. They considered the character’s personality traits and physical features and how these would be shown. Here, students have created a tunnel book to capture their character in an environment. We studied the work of artist Andrea Deszo and noticed how she uses paper constructions to create a scene with depth. Students carefully considered what would be in their piece’s background, middle ground and foreground. Next, using colored pencil and colored pencil sticks, they created each layer. Finally, the scene was constructed in the box for support.