Laurel Dell Elementary School is the 2015-2016 recipient of the Walker Rezaian Creative Hearts Fund grant. This is providing the youngest members of the Laurel Dell Community with visual arts instruction for most of the school year.
With observational drawing we learn to look closely and notice details. When we observe our own creations or things we love, we see more, and look even more closely. Laurel Dell’s youngest students often practice Observational Drawing: either their own artwork, or toy animals and dinosaurs that inspire more stories and more engaging play. Students also practice making many different kinds of lines, and adding lots of details.
Drawing our PLAYGROUNDS:
And then we PAINTED our drawings:
After playgrounds, we practiced observational drawing (and painting) with ANIMALS and DINOSAURS:
Young artists at Laurel Dell School began their line research today. We began by using our eyes, arms, imaginations, and even our whole body to SHOW the lines we could see or imagine.We painted more lines using tempera cakes and thick and thin brushes.
Next we used our black china markers to draw the different lines we could see or imagine.
Students have been working with Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal, learning to use drawing pencils, black china markers, colored pencils, and even Sharpies. They have been working on showing and telling more about themselves through their pictures, and on customizing their Beautiful New Art Journals. Thank you RileyStreet yet again for your help in getting the best supplies to our kids.
By Mentor Artist Gabrielle Gamboa
As part of the Travel the World program, I conducted a fun and challenging Renaissance Drawing workshop for the 7th Grade History students of Davidson Middle School in San Rafael. This two day workshop was a hands-on lesson in Renaissance artists and their unique innovations. After a discussion of the apprenticeship system of the era, students chose a Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci master drawing to copy on tinted charcoal paper. I talked about how copying a master drawing was an important exercise in an apprentice’s studio education!
Each master drawing came with a transparent grid that we then copied on the charcoal paper. Next, we discussed the types of drawing tools used during the Renaissance era, and students practiced using vine and compressed charcoal, and sanguine and umber Conte crayons (soft, earth toned colored pencils.)
I then demonstrated the technique of making a more accurate copy by drawing only one small grid square at a time, copying the contours of shapes and lines, and then adding shading. I demonstrated how turning an image upside-down can sometimes make it easier to copy clearly. Some students chose to start in pencil and then switch to charcoal or conte, others chose to draw entirely in charcoal and/or conte.
This lesson directly connected to their history studies, and the students were impressed at how well the old grid drawing technique worked to make more accurate drawings!
Mentor Artist Angela Baker worked with Fourth Graders incorporating VAPA standards about proportion and additive and subtractive sculptural techniques to translate 2-dimensional drawings into 3-dimensional forms.
Students invented animals. First drawing them with colored pencil.
Then learning various clay techniques to create sculptures. For the culminating project students created an accordion book about their invented animals.
Students began by doing Gesture Drawing & then translated their Drawings into Wire Action Figures.
In addition to learning about line, form and color, classes explored themes such as community and being yourself to coincide with themes from of the play Lydia and the Other World, that the students wrote with Mentor Artist Thomas Arndt.
Many thanks to the Thomas J. Long Foundation for their support of “Arts Unite Us” at Harding Elementary.
The 5th Graders at Mary Silveira have spent the past few weeks continuing to work on their exploration journals.They continued creative writing inspired by their observation and perspective drawings, and made revised drawings of their island maps. We practiced color pencil blending techniques, and discussed how artists can make more lively drawings by blending analogous colors instead of using just one. For a warm-up exercise we made mandalas, instinctual circular drawings. These mandalas proved to be very popular!
We also created new island inhabitants by drawing hybrid creatures. To do this, each student drew two different animal models from observation. Then they cut and recombined these animals into a new creature, pasting it into their sketchbook. Cutting up and reassembling their drawings was difficult for some of these artists, and very freeing for others. But the unexpected results were a joyful surprise. After naming this new creature, they then added it into their stories.
For a culminating project, students will be exhibiting their maps and journals at the school art show. It has been great to see how enthusiastic these young artists have been about sharing their creations every step of the way.
“What is a path?”
“A mark you make that other people can follow.” –Kindergartener, Ms. Kraft’s classroom.
Children continue to explore the idea of friendship as they design their imaginary playgrounds. We looked at the artwork of Indigenous Australian artists, and discussed the idea of paths. If we walked through a puddle of paint, and then played, what kinds of marks would we leave on the ground? What kinds of marks would our friends make?
Our line challenge involved a careful observation of the classroom, and also reflection. What kinds of lines do we see? What kinds of lines do we remember? We used our arms to practice the lines in the air before we began drawing. We practiced vocabulary too: Zig Zag, Squiggly, Swirl, Horizontal, Vertical, Diagonal, Dotted, Long, Short.
Students were asked to draw at least three different types of lines on their foam boards (donated by a very generous local framer!), and then we added color with liquid watercolors in Bingo Bottles.
Journal Question: Where do we PLAY?
Next time, we build UP as we work with strips of paper to build models of our ideal playgrounds.
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.
I am working with the 5th Graders of Mary Silveira in San Rafael for an 18-week visual arts project in which our young student artists are creating scientific exploration journals and maps of imaginary islands. Along the way, we will develop our observational drawing skills, learn new drawing and watercolor painting techniques, map making, book binding, and other arts skills. Through this project, we are using visual art to apply the skills and knowledge we learn through the study of science and social studies.
The first three weeks were devoted to warm-up drawing exercises, team planning and sketching ideas, and creating the cover of our explorer sketchbooks with fancy decorating endpapers. Students are working in pairs and trios to develop their island environments. We also completed our first observational drawing, an enlargement of a button, using circular shading.
–Gabrielle Gamboa, Mentor Artist
Gabrielle Gamboa’s work with Mary Silveira students will be on exhibit this winter in our YIA Gallery exhibit “Imaginary Voyages” opening December 13 in downtown San Rafael and running through the end of January. For more information on how to book a free gallery visit and art activity for your class or youth group, click here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gabrielle Gamboa finished out a summer of wonderful art-making at Marinwood Camp with four new activities. If you’d like to bring Gabrielle to your classroom this year to teach these and other visual arts activities, contact Suzanne, Director of Artists in Schools!