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

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Eyes Have it, Definitely

Photos by SG, middle school student

I noticed him out of the corner of my eye… A student moving about the busy art studio, camera in hand, seemingly taking close-ups of random objects…the clay shelf edge, the pencil cup, the paper rack…I warned once not to take pictures too close, they would blur…better to stand back and use the zoom for better focus. I didn’t give the student’s activity much more thought. Later that day, I down loaded the photos into a file for this artist to access next time. Then I saw for the first time what he was doing. He had a set of eyes, which traveled all around the room, appearing in weird places. The last shot was a slef portrait, a “reveal” if you will, of the artist hold the eyes, one in each hand, and looking straight into the camera lens (for this shot, he borrowed my tripod).
A traveling pink scarf was next, as an admirer appropriated the idea. Next, a bottle cap snake popped up in a series of photos…the imitators were clever too, and all attributed the start of this new genre (?) to their clever classmate, who by then, was on to something different.


Colossal Red Dragon
By A.B. (Middle school)

“I based this dragon off a dragon that appears in a video that my friend knew about. It was constructed out of mainly cardboard, some ‘ArtStraws,’ a bit of paper, tape and paint. I’m a real fan of dragons, so it’s just instinctive to make one – I can’t say why.”

Is it a Cheetah?

One of my favorite essays about giftedness and gifted education is the classic Is it a Cheetah, by Stephanie Tolan (see link above). She compares gifted children to cheetahs, using a poignant metaphor. RMS students recently adopted the cheetah as their school mascot, and have explored this metaphor through their art, in a Wednesday Workshop format (see next post for further description of WW’s). During a two hour studio session, students employed the cheetah as their subject, while creating paintings, collages, clay sculpture, stencils, drawings and ceramic tiles. The conversation was engaging, and the results a welcome addition to our hall art display; Are you a cheetah?

Mosaic Workshop

Do you see the Big Blue Elephant?
Self Portrait in ceramic and glass tile.
At RMS, we have a new innovation called "Wednesday Workshop". This is an extended block of time, each week, in which learners can focus on a topic, dwell on an idea, try something new and work in smaller groups. This two hour space is set aside to facilitate greater depth and complexity of learning. A half hour reflection time follows, to allow learners the opportunity to assess thier experience. In the art studio, we try to focus on topics and ideas that would be difficult to do given the regular contrints of 50 minute classes. With fewer students, and more time, the learning can be fuller and richer. These mosaics were created during a recent Wednesday workshop by 9-11 year old students. They were later grouted during their regular class period, which allowed the learning to spill over into the experience of the regular classroom.

Developing Skill - Starcraft

Step One: Learning about structure, and means of attachment... A 5 year old's early attempt at crafting a sculptural form from found objects.

Step Two: Know your subject
This Intricate design demonstrates a sophisticated knowledge of the subject, and attention to "surface."

Step Three: Innovation
This modern looking starship is sleek, strong and exhibits innovative design and decoration.

Step Four: An Artful Finish
No longer satisfied with the overt appearance of cardboard tubes and tape, this (middle school) artist attended to every detail, to produce an elegant final product.

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