Mentor Artist Kdub Williams transformed the Art Class at Willow Creek Academy into an eighth grade portrait studio. Students learned about the artistry of Chuck Close, mural creation, grid and transfer and painting techniques before they sized up their self portrait photographs into larger then life images on sheets of plywood. Meanwhile, outside the classroom, students worked to paint the skatedecks which will be the featured items at the upcoming Willow Creek fundraising auction.
Third graders at Willow Creek Academy have been working with Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal to utilize visual arts to make their creative writing richer. We have been learning to look: how can you find every detail, and draw what your eye SEES, not what your mind REMEMBERS. Today we worked on observational drawing, both Gesture and Contour. The drawings of animals made from 3D sculptures were inspiring.
Students have been working hard on their COLOR poems in Language Arts Class. They used what they learned in our Exploring an Orange lesson to add more descriptive words to their poems. This week in art class, students chose the strongest line from their poem as the subject for their illustration on black paper.
We compared the word “composition”: how do we compose WORDS to make a strong poem? How do we compose a PICTURE to make a strong image? What is most important about our picture? Where should it be placed? How big will it be?
We sketched first, then we drew with glue.
After, students were asked to REFLECT: “What did you NOTICE about drawing with glue?”
“When you paint with glue, be careful: you can smudge.”
“I noticed that painting with glue is not easy at all, and painting with glue is fun and sticky!”
“Painting with glue is art. Glue is hard to control.”
“I notice it is harder than using paint. Also, you can get more texture using glue.”
Practicing Blind Contour Drawing with Fall Leaves: We again brainstormed descriptive words using SIGHT, SMELL, SOUND, and TOUCH ( we didn’t TASTE the leaves!)
Willow Creek’s 3rd graders are exploring ways to use all of their senses to tell a more complete story (in their descriptive non-fiction, myths, and poetry). Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal has been working closely with third grade teachers Anne Siskin and Maya Creedman to create an in-depth project combining fine art techniques with writing lessons to enhance stories. In class, students have been writing in-depth poems about a color. In our first art meeting, we began by writing 3 things we know about an orange, and then drawing one from memory.
“An orange is orange.”
“An orange is round.”
“It is fat.”
Then each child was given an orange, and together we brainstormed words describing what we could see, smell, feel, hear, and taste of our orange. Students then practiced blind contour drawing (learning to tell our hand to draw what our eye actually sees, not what we remember). And finally, children drew their oranges again, and wrote three more sentences about them. The results were amazing:
“Oranges are sweet, sour, and juicy.”
“If you split an orange in half, it looks like it has guts inside.”
“I felt delighted when I tasted the orange.”
On Sat. May 25th, the Marin City Recreation Department & The Hood Games present another day of skateboarding, youth performances, music, art-making & community love. The 12 noon – 4 p.m. event is all about keeping our youth safe, active & creative. Local co-sponsors include: Youth In Arts, Prooflab Skateshop, Triumph Skateshop, Marin City Health & Wellness Center, Marin City Health & Human Services, CA4Health, Venture Trucks & Big Thanks to S-One Skate Helmets! – Let’s Roll!!!
Youth In Arts art instructor K-Dub & his middle school Willow Creek Academy in Sausalito students mix & create fun cultural masks. After researching traditional masks from around the world, students were instructed to create masks that includes their own “Flava”.
Willow Creek students “Go Wild” with a fun project designed by Mentor art Teacher Mr. K-Dub. Students were given the task to design their name in “thingys” as their letters. They were instructed to carry a theme throughout their artwork foreground & background. Objects & thingys used were tools,fruit,sports equipment,trees, art supplies and Mr. K-Dub’s favorite selection Bacon! The final watercolor & color pencil works created were very fun and flavorful like this inspired Dr.Suess themed Lorax by a 5th grade student.
Mentor Artist K-Dub Williams has designed a year-long project with the teachers of Willow Creek Academy which will culminate in PSA’s by “Elder Avatars” (unique masks created by each teacher). The first Professional Development Workshop explored answering the question “How can we use what we create to inspire Youth and Community?”
We began with theater exercises designed to engage the whole body in the creative process. Teachers were asked to think of a word that represented the superpower their own personal superhero might possess: Listening, Strength, Caring, Inspiration.
When people were warmed up, we moved on to visual arts and began to brainstorm on our “Elder Avatar”. How do we design our masks to visually represent the characteristics of our personal character? First, we worked in paper. We practiced patterns, symmetry, cutting, and attaching pieces securely.
Next time, we move into cardboard and plaster.
For the Willow Creek Voices pilot program, we worked with select 5th and 6th graders in the realm of digital photography. After getting our feet wet learning how to use the camera and hands-on practice with the visual elements that go into composing your photo, we were ready to dive in the class project…visual adaptations from student generated poetry!
In the Adobe Youth Voices Curriculum, we found two great poems to model from… George Ella Lyon’s “I am From” poem and Lisa Storm Frank’s “I Am” poem. What’s so great about these poems (which youth all over the nation have made iterations of), is that structure of the poem asks the writer to dig into sensory-based experiences and unique sweet spots to express who they are. Students plunged right in, and some even took creative liberalities with the poem structure, to include how they see the world, from their perspective.
In both the 5th and 6th grade classes, students were shown both poems and asked to select the template that spoke to them and write their own “I Am” and “I Am From” poem. After writing the poem, students selected one line from the poem and were tasked with taking a photo that would visually describe their poetic line. Students were reminded to think not only of content, but also how framing, angle, composition and color would enhance their meanings. After students took the photos, we set back to the computer lab to learn the basics of Adobe Photoshop Elements and use tools and techniques that would stylistically clean up and enhance their message.
Many students took advantage of the ability to crop and re-frame the image once in the photoshop editor….some used the clone stamp to get rid of unwanted elements in their frame (the backpack that was distracting, the bright color on the student shirt that distracted attention from the focal point, the bright spot in the frame that needed to be dulled down). The magic wand was a tool used often, to add subtle color and levels enhancements to specific parts of the image.
Overall, students explored the process of artistic creation – from creative writing to surfacing content to capturing an image via a camera to bringing it all together in the photoshop platform. There were some students who decided upon viewing the image they took, the line from the poem needed to be revised, to match what the photo was saying…so they rewrote their poems. In this way, active listening, to the artistic process and to the relationship between content, form and meaning was encouraged in the workshop.
When adding the text to the photo, students chose between adding the text outside of the photo or in the frame and then made decisions on how to present the text, so it fit with the image.
Although we were all doing the same basic assignment, each student took a different path and approach. After this process students reported that they now take in color in different ways, saw in terms of framing, and were in awe of all the exciting tools photoshop offered to digitally design their image. Throughout, our intent was to use the tools in the digital design world to navigate our way in the terrain of visual language and artistic expression, and from there to share our creations with the world.
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