Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Few Completed 8th Grade Favelas.....sneak peak...

I can not wait until all of the 8th graders are complete so we can being the installation process to create one huge Brazilian favela.  The details and creativity the students are putting into their artworks exceed all of my expectations!!!!!  Students are taking materials, as Mr. Cremers suggested, and transforming them.  They are paying attention to such intricate details that can only be appreciated by seeing them in person.  It should take us a few more weeks to completed these. 

Story Quilts

6th graders were introduced to the use of quilt making to tell stories.  We looked at the artworks (and a video clip) of Faith Ringold, an artist who uses the art of quilt-making to tell stories about her childhood.  Most people recognize the work of Faith Ringold from her book Tar Beach, which was based on one of her story quilts.

We also looked at the use of quilts in American history.  How quilts were used not only to tell stories but also their historical importance and use on the underground railroad.  We looked at how symbols were used within a quilt to give "clues" or "ques" while hanging on a fence or a laundry line to those on the underground railroad of where to travel next or where the next safe house was located.  

For our project, students were asked to think of a moment in their life that was significant to them.  A memory that they would hold on to for the majority of their life.  They were instructed to take this moment and represent it in an image.  Using water-soluble pastels, students drew this on their fabric and use water and paintbrushes to create a watercolor effect on their cloth.  These were then mounted onto a blue felt background and fabric swatches as well as swatches that that they created were added along the border much like the work of Faith Ringold.  Here are some of projects being created:  

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Illustrator, Beth Krommes, Responds to the 6th Grade Art Projects!

In the previous post, you will see some of the pictures of the 6th Grade scratch art projects that we titled "House in the Night."

Students looked at the artwork of illustrator, Beth Krommes, and took note of her style, use of contrasts, and accent colors, as well as texture within her works of art.  Using this as inspiration, students used scratch boards to create their own "house in the night."  The only requirements was that they had to have a man-made structure of some kind and use an accent color(s) for emphasis and concentrate on exaggerating the contrasts and the use of texture.

Pictures of the students artworks, along with questions from the students were emailed to the illustrator, Beth Krommes and she sent back a reply that was received today.  Here is her note to the students:

Hi Mary,
What fun to look at these pictures! I like how your students thought about composition and positive and negative shape! I also like the use of texture within the shading in the pictures. I will keep these photos on file. What a fun project. I don't know if you are working on scratch paper. I find that hard to work with, did your students think so, too? I like to use scratchbord by ampersand, but that is probably too expensive for your budget. Here are some answers to your questions.

-How do you get inspiration for your artworks? First, the publishing company accepts the manuscript by the author. Then the editor chooses the illustrator. The illustrator gets the type written manuscript and takes it from there. It is up to the illustrator to decide how long the book will be, what words will be on what pages, and what the pictures will be about. I brainstorm the meaning of the words in the text to help myself come up with an idea of how to tell a story with the pictures--sometimes an additional story to the one the author is telling. For me the inspiration starts with the author's words.

-What process do you use for your illustrations?  (Print-making?  Scratch art?) It takes me about half a year to design a book in pencil, through many stages (including several book dummies), and to get approval from the editor about the direction the book is taking. The final art on scratchboard can take another six to nine months. The painting comes at the very end after all the work is finishing in the black and white scratchboard. I usually work on a book for a year and a half to two years. This interview gives a little look into the process 

-How much time does it take to create one page of a book's illustration? I never work on one page at a time. I'll work on little bits of several pictures each day. That keeps it fresh for me. Also, I think if I did page one completely, page two completely, etc., by the time I got to page 40, my technique would have gotten so much better by the end that I could see that in the pictures. Does that make sense? If I did work on one double-page spread picture from a book, start to finish, it would take me about a week to finish one scratchboard picture. Did your students think that scratchboard took a long time to do?

-Do you ever ask your friends/family for drawing inspiration/ideas/what should I draw next? I have so many ideas of my own that I don't need to ask anyone else what to do. I think the more you draw, the more ideas you have of other things you want to draw. I do ask my family whether or not they like particular manuscripts that are offered me before I decide to take them on.

-What was the first artwork you got paid for in your professional career? When I was in sixth grade, I sold an oil painting of a barn shed for $25 to a friend of my art teacher. 
Mary, let me know if you have any other questions. I could write a book in answer to these questions! Tell your students to "keep their artist eyes on", to notice the beauty in everyday life. That's where inspiration begins.

Best wishes,


The students in both 6th grade and in 8th grade (with their favela project and interaction with artist Eric Cremers) have really been responding with such enthusiasm in making these connections/dialogue with living, breathing artists.  I hope to find more opportunities to interact with artists in the future!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Projects across the grade levels...

6th Graders have finished their scratch art projects based on the illustrations of artist Beth Krommes who did the artwork for the books "The House in the Night." 

We have contacted Beth Krommes and pictures of our artworks have been sent to her along with a list of questions that the students had for her.  We are anxiously waiting for her response!! 

Here are some of the students final projects: 

5th Graders have completed their cross-curricular project (Language Arts and Art).  Students created fall poems with Mrs. Behrens and we used the poems that they created to make beautiful leaf books in art class.  Here is a sample of some of their work:

4th Graders have just completed their multi-media Valentine's Day Project.  They are so happy and bright.  I can't wait to see these all hanging up in the hallways.

7th grade ceramic and glass angels are out of the kiln!  Students made a ceramic angel and then filled the body of the angel with frit which when fired turned to glass.  Here are some samples of them: