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

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Engage and Persist

Middle School students at RMS keep artist’s journals containing the following list:
Artistic Behavior (or: What Do Artists Do?)
Compiled by RMS Middle School Students, November, 2007
· Exhibit original and creative thinking
· Explore a variety of media and techniques
· Behave like an artist within a community of artists
(respect needs of others, ideas of others and art of others)
· Reflect on your work and the work of others
· Respectful use of materials and tools
· Engage and persist
(be in PURSUIT of idea, technique, expression, excellence)
· Convey idea, feeling or personal meaning
· Take creative/artists risks

This is list was inspired by Lois Hetland and Ellen Winner’s work in the book Studio Thinking http://www.amazon.com/Studio-Thinking-Benefits-Visual-Education/dp/0807748188

Engage and Persist
The cardboard and found object figure pictures here was started by 12 year old “N” on the second day of art this fall. “N” brought in a color printout of a character in a video game (I believe) and began construction. He has worked on it once a week, during his regular art class, and frequently in five and ten minute increments, stolen from the time between dismissal and whenever his ride arrives to take him home.
Every detail is attended to. Materials are tried, replaced and re-purposed. Paint colors are mixed to exacting standards. Although his class had a deadline to submit a finished piece two weeks ago, “N” ‘s figure was not quite ready. He told me he would rather take an incomplete than display his figure as “a work-in-progress.” Now that it is finished, “N” told me that he is planning to present it to a relative as a gift. Should we add “generosity” to the list of artistic behaviors?

Cardboard and found-object figure with reference/inspiration

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A New Printmaker Finds Her Wings

After a whole-group “5-minute demo” on how to make a multi-color reduction print, this 7 ½ year old artist crafted a 3-color image titled: Beauty Parrot. This was her second attempt. The first day, using the same plate, her inking was unsatisfactory (to her). She returned for the next class and was able to produce this crisp image during one class period. During the following class, she worked with this process one more time, creating a holiday image, which currently has two colors. I suspect she will return to this print next time, and add at least one more color.

The Motions of the Horse

“C” is almost 8 years old and LOVES horses. She often draws about them in art, and recently hosted her class on a field trip to the barn where she boards her own horse. “C” knows all about horse care, tack and the various breeds. She also knows quite a lot, it appears, about the way a horse moves. The next time her class comes for art, I think I will see what she thinks of the iconic painting by Marcel Duchamp, shown here.
Marcel Duchamp.
Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912).
Oil on canvas. 57 7/8" x 35 1/8".
Philadelphia Museum of Art.



wet clay - dry clay - fired clay

Students are mining clay in our own backyard, and delivering it daily to the art room. After collecting about 30 lbs of the stuff (which we think is mostly bentonite,) I have called for a moratorium (no more playground clay until we use what we have!) We have done a test firing and were surprised when the yellow-brown “mud” turned as orange as our commercial terra cotta clay, and that it can be fired at the same temperature (without melting). Our playground clay is stickier and has both organic material and pebbles in it. We have glazed some pieces in clear glaze to observe the result. We have discovered that bentonite comes from volcanic ash, which is why the clay is so fine and sticky. I have learned from my own pottery teacher that if we fire the clay to an even higher temperature, it may “glaze itself.”
In the art studio, science and art often come together. A wise 7 year old RMS student once told me; “we are doing experiments like scientists, but we are being creative like artists.” Authentic integration of this kind is one of our specialties in the art studio.

First pieces to be fired!

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