917 "C" Street
San Rafael, California 94901
Through the Walker Rezaian Creative HeARTS Fund, Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal has been teaching friendship through visual art with all the kindergarteners at Loma Verde Elementary School.
We had so much fun with sculpting Model Magic, we decided to revisit the medium. This week, we looked at amazing photographs of flowers and plants, along with the beautiful glass sculptures of Dale Chihuly. We talked about how things grow in nature, and how artists reinterpret what we SEE, into what we IMAGINE!
fern with spores
Glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly
Children were given small bases of mat board and chenille stems. We reviewed the techniques we learned a week earlier to build unique and magical plants.
Kindergarteners at Loma Verde took their line research to the third dimension as they used new folding skills to design their own personal playgrounds.
Local architect Janine Lovejoy Wilford joined us in the classrooms. Janine specializes in designing learning spaces for children: both classrooms and playgrounds. Janine introduced them to the ideas of collaboration and design.
Children practiced, folding, tearing, rolling, and gluing strips of paper to build their slides, steps, tunnels and swings to design their magical play spaces.
Where do we want to PLAY?
What would our FRIENDS like to do?
Kindergarten Art Intro: Self –Portraits
We are so excited to begin the wonderful Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Project at Loma Verde Elementary School. Our first lesson involved creating the covers of our Art Journals. Using oil pastels and the cool colors of tempera cakes, we created rich and silly pictures of ourselves.
Our first Journal question: What is a friend? We drew pictures.
By Mentor Artist Sheila Berotti
It was with a bit of surprise recently that I realized that 7th graders might have an issue with the custom of removing one’s shoes.
When I teach workshops in Noh and Kyogen theatre with Theatre of Yugen, we ask students to remove their shoes as a matter of course. We work in tabi, which are a special kind of footwear that is a bit more than a sock, but much less than a shoe. In some recent workshops, the students were instructed to take their shoes off and many were willing, but many were plainly defiant and some flatly refused. The point was not over-labored, but it brought me to make a brief explanation of foreign customs and the graciousness of honoring them. I pointed out that there is a practical reason as well: the space, whether it is someone’s home or the sacred arena of the Noh stage, keeps cleaner.
We went on to have great class, wrapping students in beautiful silk kimono and exploring the classic 15th century beauty of the Noh ko-omote mask. We tried on the postures of a few of the Kyogen stock characters – master, servant, priest, woman – and discussed their status in Japanese feudal society. We explored the extreme and fairly silly vocal stylization of the riddle dance, “Usagi,” and asked the students if they had ever experienced a kind of beauty they might call Yugen.
Yu: deep, quiet, otherworldly
Gen: subtle, profound, dark
(This was all part of the lesson plan. I did not expect to include a lesson on observing manners and having respect for other cultures, but when it just came up, it presented the ideal opportunity to make the point.)
Mentor Artist Gabrielle Gamboa provided this update on our art and science integration program at Mary Silveira school. Artwork from this program was featured in December-January at YIA Gallery as part of our “Imaginary Voyages” exhibit.
After creative warm-up exercises, such as “Connect-The-Dot Creatures” and “Mandala Making”, Mary Silveira 5th graders have been adding to their “Imaginary Island” exploration journals. We learned some techniques for drawing and shading in one-point and two-point linear perspective to illustrate island locations, as part of a continuing adventure story that each student is creating.
And since one session happened to take place on Valentines Day, we took a break to make mixed-media greeting cards and gifts!
Third graders completed their Fabric Batiks, which will illustrate the fables they wrote featuring an animal of their choice.
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.
Painting with soft pastels on black paper makes a beautiful image. It also comes with its share of challenges, which Third Graders at Willow Creek Academy discussed with Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal as they prepared to add color to their poetry illustrations. Students contemplated words like self-control and restraint before they began to draw. They talked about using multiple colors to create richer images, and reflected on their knowledge of color mixing (soft pastels really are like paint, and it is just as easy to blend yellow and blue to make green). We again brainstormed on our design choices:
“What color is featured in my poem?”
“How will I show that?”
“What colors will add contrast to make my featured color POP?”
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.”