Students at Novato High School and Sinaloa Middle School explored issues of identity and representation through mask making during 10-week residencies with Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman.
We began by painting glue onto a plastic mold taped to a piece of mat board, being careful to work to the edges. Then we chose scraps of tissue paper is colors that spoke to us. Some students chose a single color, while others preferred to use several colors. Every piece of tissue paper we touched, we had to tear.
We pressed the tissue paper onto the masks and added another layer of glue then let them dry. The following week we used metallic Sharpies. For this lesson we referred back to a project we did at the beginning, where we transformed five words about ourselves into different lines. We used those lines as inspiration, repeating them on the masks.
As part of Youth in Arts’ Arts Unite Us program at Lynwood Elementary in Novato, Pre-K to 2nd grade students worked with Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman to practice identifying and building with different shapes.
Cathy explains, “We used circles, squares, and rectangles to make 3-dimensional sculptures. This was a great way to reinforce geometric patterns that they are learning at school.”
Students used regular glue mixed with cornstarch to create an extra-sturdy bond that enabled shapes to “stand up” on the mat board base. Together, Cathy and her students worked through creative solutions to challenges such as balancing forms exactly the way they wanted them to sit.
Taking inspiration from artists such as Louise Nevelson, students finished their projects with monochromatic painting the following week.
“We used white or black paint to finish their sculptures,” Cathy says. “We used our paint brushes carefully to get into all the corners.
“The following week, students made observational drawings. We looked carefully and closely at our shapes to draw what we see instead of what they think is there. After we used thick, water-soluable pencils, we applied a bit of water to make the lines come alive. This was a great way to practice using brushes gently – like a cat’s tail. We finished by writing our names at the bottom.
The lesson continued the next week with students practicing color mixing with tempera paint in red, blue and yellow and creating paintings of their shape sculptures.
Students at Short Elementary School in San Rafael made clay sculptures inspired by the work of artist Monir Farmanfarmaian. Inspired by curriculum provided the Kennedy Center, students looked at patterns in art. Like Farmanfarmaian, they worked with geometric shapes. We continued our discussion of patterns from a previous project and how to make patterns (a shape that repeats itself). Using air dry clay, students added color by coloring the clay with markers. We formed large shapes and pressed them into mat board. Then we made patterns using shiny paper, beads and found objects in the shapes of circles, ovals, triangles, squares and other forms. It was great to watch a short film about Farmanfarmaian and learn about her work! We finished the project with a reflection in which each student presented to the entire class.
As part of Youth in Arts’ Arts Unite Us program, Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman and students at Short Elementary School in San Rafael explored color, cutting, and three-dimensionality by making shape sculptures inspired by glass artist Dale Chihuly. We began by cutting a single piece of paper into three pieces, and then used oil pastels to add pattern to our cut pieces. We followed the oil pastels with watercolors, practicing and learning about the wax resist method by painting over the pastel to add more color. Once everything was dry, we completed the sculpture by cutting notches in our newly-designed paper pieces so everything fit together in a three-dimensional form. Together, we found that balancing our sculptures against gravity was the most challenging part, and it was a fun way to learn how to do it. The lesson built on previous lessons exploring pattern and shape, and continued to help develop and practice fine motor skills.
Thank you to the Kennedy Center, Marin Community Foundation, and Marin County Office of Education for making this program possible.
Students began thinking about Super Heroes several weeks ago working with Ms. Bowman. They talked about what makes a super hero, what is a problem in our community that a super hero could help solve, and what would that look like? They made beautiful pop up images of their heroes.
Now we are getting ready to create 3D sculptures of our super heroes! We need to know a little more about the human body, and how to show bodies in motion or performing their power. What does running look like? Swimming? Flying? Each student had a turn at showing their super hero pose, while the rest of the class artists practiced using their entire arm to draw FAST (30 seconds per pose).
Next we created a wire “skeleton” or armature. We practiced winding wire, then wrapping our armatures in foil. Students ended the day by drawing their works-in-progress in their art journals. Next week will be Papier Mache!
Thank you for your continued support: Laurel Dell PTA teachers, parents and students and the California Arts Council
The 27th annual RISING STARS show opened with a lively Awards Reception for participating artists at the Youth in Arts Gallery in downtown San Rafael on February 4th. 330 students, parents, and teachers visited the gallery throughout the afternoon. Executive Director, Miko Lee and Student Board Member, Rose Myers presented forty prizes to students from 17 of Marin County’s public, private, and alternative high schools full list of winners here. The show was blindly adjudicated by our panel of professional artists: painter, Kay Carlson; ceramicist, Melissa Woodbury; and photographer, Joy Phoenix. Additional awards were granted to students selected by Perry’s Art Supplies & Framing, RileyStreet Art Supply, Alejandra Tamayo, and Youth in Arts.
The exhibition, which runs through March 28th, highlights paintings, drawings, photography, ceramics, sculptures, digital and mixed media work from up to 12 teacher-nominated students from each school. Over 130 students submitted 2D and 3D artwork for this years RISING STARS, and the varied works have come together in a beautiful presentation that draws well-deserved attention to the talented visual arts students throughout Marin County. Though our staff and judges are always thoroughly impressed by level of student ability, the quality of artwork in this year’s show is particularly astounding. We were also moved by the eloquence and thoughtfulness of the artist statements produced by this years participants. Thank you student artists!
RISING STARS will be on view at YIA Gallery, 917 C Street in San Rafael, through March 28th, 2018; 11am–4pm. We are also open for the 2nd Fridays Art Walk Downtown: Friday, February 9, 5-8 p.m; Friday, March 9, 5-8 p.m.
and Allan Daly for photography
Teens, please join us for a visual arts workshop, How to Pursue Art as a Passion & Profession, on February 20th.
In the Youth in Arts visual arts model program at Laurel Dell, third graders devoted an entire month to studying the human form. We have created our own Super Heroes sculptures. We brainstormed together and individually: What is a problem you see in the world? How could you solve it with a super power? What would you like to have as a super power? This connects directly with one of the key third grade life science standards: how the environment, traits, and behavior impact plants and animals and an understanding of the human form.
We started with Blind Contour Drawing. Keen observation helps to build a strong scientific and artistic eye. We are teaching our hand to do what our Eye tells us, instead of what we remember or think. We thought about how we would show our super power with our bodies as we posed for each other for Observational Gesture drawing. Not only did the model use their entire body to show a pose, but the artists used their entire arms to draw on very large pieces of paper. Students were asked to show the Gesture of the model and fill the page with only 30 seconds to draw! We were sprawled across the floor for this warm-up.
Our next job was to build hero sculptures out of wire, foil, tape, rice paper, and medium. Students persevered in this 3-week undertaking!
As a next step classroom teachers could build upon English Language standards by writing descriptive stories about their Super Hero.
On Friday night, teaching artists gathered together at Youth in Arts and created recycled insects. Visual Arts Director Suzanne Joyal and Executive Director Miko Lee led a hands on experience in utilizing recycled materials to teach about insects and create original works of arts.
Lesson plans were provided for teachers to replicate at their school sites. Ten different schools were represented at this evening of creation and learning.
A table of recycled materials including corks, wire, plastic bottles, candy wrappers, buttons, straws and records were arrayed for the teaching artists to sort through. Through laughter and even bug songs, each teacher made a creature to bring back as a sample to their classroom.
Teaching artists were encouraged to link science curriculum with recycled materials to create art pieces with students to enter into Spring’s PaperSeed Recycled Art Competition. YIA Teaching Artist Nao Kobayashi created an amazing lifecycle on an album with a puppet caterpillar. Check out the video here.
An Insect World PDF/Powerpoint and Insect Adapation lesson plan was provided for the teachers to share in their classrooms. Thank you to PaperSeed Foundation and California Arts Council for making this evening possible.
We decided that the TK and kindergarteners at Laurel Dell would make better playground designers if they knew who their clients were. So, they made clay people to play on their future playgrounds. This gave students a more concrete way to envision their playgrounds. Who would their little friends play with? How would they play? Students changed their perspective as they made up stories about their new little friends.
We used Sculpy Souffle because of its soft, malleable feel, and its strength after it is baked. Students were able to spend lots of time exploring the material. Looking, squishing, rolling, pinching, cutting, and more. We then talked about bodies: what do we have two of? (eyes, legs, arms, etc.) What can we add for details? (fingers, toes, clothing, hair).
We finished this exercise with Observational Drawing in our sketchbooks. Students looked closely as they carefully drew their own creations. They then imagined a new world, as they added playgrounds, friends, and nature to their drawings.
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