A place to see what is happening in Fine Arts at Rocky Mountain School for the Gifted and Creative

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Art Rule #1: Rules are meant to be broken...

While my back was turned, these two co-conspirators were busy disregarding the classroom "size limits" to construct buildings, towers and courtyards inspired by the Harry Potter series. "Don't worry" one student said, "I have a big house". The two have been collaborating for several class periods on this endeavor.

A sturdy "box in a box" construction method has been devised by a nine year old student to support this room and staircase.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Plastic bottle caps come in many colors and make good animal legs when stacked together.

From trash to treasure and beyond

Parents who save and deliver interesting found objects to the art room may wonder how these objects are incorporated into student art. It is with surprise and delight that I watch students explore, assemble and transform the array of found objects at their disposal. I communicate to them that the art room is their art studio. I try to instill in them that supplies and art materials of all kinds are there to use to make art, not to horde or collect. They are free to make use of any and all supplies in the art room, as long as they are thoughtful about their choices, and not wasteful. Some students are attracted to certain objects, and look for ways to use these items in their work. Some have a specific need for a specific size or shape or color or material, and search out an object that will suit.
Recently, a student began to make animals out of small boxes (square tissue boxes are her preference). She discovered that she could stack plastic bottle caps and container tops together to make legs and feet. The sorting bins in the collage area contained caps and tops sorted by color, and she found that she could match these “legs” to the body of her animal (see picture). Her idea caught on, and from her kitty box, sprang another student’s “Pig-clops” (a one eyed piggy bank). He used cardboard tubes as legs, and painted them to match. A dog has since been added to the group.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Raise the Bar

RMS Middle School participated in the second annual Art of Giving "Vision of Giving" art contest, interpreting the theme: "What is your Vision of Giving for Boulder County? Our students should be congratulated for their hard work and thoughful entries. This piece was designed by a team of two students, and recieved an Honorable Mention out of a very large and competitive field of entries.

Friday, December 10, 2004

We did it!! This is a photograph of the image we saw inside the dark appliance box we used as a camera obscura. It is taken without a tripod, so is a bit blurrier than it actually appeared, but look how clear everything is! The middle school students engaged in this project got several good sketches using these optical projections.

Our patient model is holding a wicker basket of shiney grapes and colored feathers. We dicovered early on that red shows up best in the projected image inside the box.

We finally got a nice day to try the Camera Obscura outside. The strong Colorado sun made all the difference in the world.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Since I introduced quill and ink several weeks ago, the student on the left has been at the drawing center each week. He started by writing letters, then moved on to maps. These were the last drawings he did (castles at top left) before moving to a new center.

After spending weeks at the drawing center with quill and ink, this student found the contsruction center was better suited to his latest ideas. He told me that this is a clock tower from Harry Potter. the pendulum swings via a brass paper fastener.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The Art of Conversation

A student(age 6 ) approached me in art today clutching wires and an old electrical plug. He explained: “We are talking about science, and being scientific, but we are being creative, like artists.”
Later, in our evaluation/assessment gathering, he explained to the class: “We are making a scientific, electrical thing that is very complicated and even I can’t understand it, but my friends can” (age 8 and 9 respectfully).
As students gathered at the door to line up, the process continued. Now they had added another 8 year old to the group:
"We can generate more ideas if you two talk about it in your class, and we two talk about it in our class”
"We need a back-up generator!”

(Maybe you had to be there…)

Monday, December 06, 2004

Here two middle school students pose for students who are inside primitive box cameras. Our Camera Obscura experiment is fascinating! We are varying the apertures(hole in the box), and testing lens and mirrors. Controlling the light is important, as is focal length. We have produced large, detailed but out of focus images, upside down and backward. We have also achieved a very sharp, in-focus projected image (upside down), but are frustrated that it is too tiny to draw from. Students believe that if we take the cameras outside, the strong sunlight will improve our results.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Marker drawing by an 8 year old boy.

X-Bird by same 8 year old boy

Art is Derivative

I have been watching a student who spends most of his art time in the drawing center. He has been making complex, web-like geometric designs. Some times he uses a template or a ruler, sometimes he draws free hand. He uses color in interesting and thoughtful combinations.
The other day I added some resources to the Drawing Center and placed a Smithsonian Magazine there. It contained an article about Audubon and I left it open to a page featuring a drawing of a hawk.
That day, my student created a particularly nice geometric drawing, which I admired. It took most of the class period to complete, but before class was over, he had produced a second drawing, still featuring his now characteristic geometric webs, but now contained within the body of a bird. The bird was sitting on a branch, minding it’s own business, as birds do, seemingly unaware of his unusual plumage.
It was exciting to observe this student taking his ideas in a new direction. He assimilated a visual reference while staying true to his own personal style and current interest. In making his second drawing, this student derived information from outside sources as well as from what he had created previously. I displayed his work in a power point slide show along with various other paintings and drawings from his classmates. By the end of the next studio session, I was handed three geometric line drawings done in marker, by students who rarely visit the drawing center. All of these drawings were clearly derivative, but unique and interesting on many levels.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Starship in progess, by 10 and 11 year old boys

Creative Process

Two students in Mr. Bee’s class have been collaborating on a project to build a model aircraft. They wanted to make this craft in 3-D, but decided to start with a diagram detailing the scale and shape of various main pieces. This took most of one class period. Next, they arrived in class ready to cut pieces from foam-core board and mat board, and started to assemble the ship. This took a second art period. On the third day, the students arrived with a small-scale Lego model they had created outside of class, which showed in greater detail what their ship would look like. They could now work from this model, 3-D to 3-D. Now and then they would come to me with carefully measured pieces to be cut on the paper cutter (this was my suggestion, after watching them struggle to cut the board with scissors).
These students arrive for class with purpose and enthusiasm. They have been thinking about their project outside of class, and have prepared materials to bring in to work with. They are working as a team, solving problems together, making choices and dividing the work. They set up their own workspace, work at their own pace and put things away when they’re done.
*(The photo I am posting is the project still in process. I will post again when it is complete.)

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