Sketchbooks and stuff

In Middle School art, everyone keeps a sketchbook.  We use them practically everyday.  In them, we do daily warm ups, sketches (pointing out the obvious, here), and what I like to call mini labs. 

This is how we set up our sketchbooks.  I require everyone to do 5 "Sketchbook Ideas" from the chart I provide.  It is a HUGE plus, if someone uses that sketchbook beyond what I require.  I love it and it makes me smile beyond belief.
 Below are some examples of what some have drawn in their sketchbook

Below are examples of our first mini lab - illustrating the elements and principles of art.




Kandinsky Color Scheme Compositions

The artist Kandinsky was born in Moscow, Russia in 1886.  This date is surprising to most 7th graders since so many associate his non-objective style of painting to be modern looking.  Also surprising, he studied law and economics.  It wasn't until the age of 30 that he began to paint.  He dedicated much of his time painting artworks that drew parallels between visual art and music.
One of Kandinsky's paintings
Kandinsky himself - 7th graders were surprised to find that this suit and tie wearing man was the painter of such abstract art
7th graders really took time to make these paintings a success.  Not only did we discuss the great artist Kandinsky but we also explored color, balance and ultimately how to arrange the elements of art to create an interesting composition.  Since music was a focus for Kandinsky we figured out how to show rhythm and movement in designing these beautiful kaleidoscope-like paintings as well.  


Getting ready for the new quarter

.... and we're off.  A new quarter is underway.  As I was prepping my room for new beginnings, I decided to take these snapshots.

Turn head sideways (technically difficulties).
 Flagging my pencils with duct tape.

Is your head still sideways?  good, now tilt head to the other side.
Pencils are ready for the borrowing.  Sign out sheet is ready for the writing.

Resume normal head position
Bins labeled with table colors and lights to observe cast shadows

Essential questions posted by grade level.


Georgia O’Keeffe was a ground breaking artist in the early – mid 1900’s.

She is best known for her up-close paintings of flowers.  … So close, sometimes, that her subjects tended to look abstract and beautiful in form, value and color.

This idea of beauty carried over into anything she made including her paintings of bones.  Bones are not generally thought to be beautiful but O’Keeffe was able to share her perspective with anyone that would take notice to her art work. 
In this project, we observed bones and used a viewfinder to select an interesting composition.  We also did a lot of experimenting with value.  While we warmed up using graphite to create different values, we journeyed to using charcoal (a material that O’Keeffe used in her early art works).  The journey included the discovery of patience + practice = results.  What started as a simple moving line on paper transformed into a 3-dimensional form.  Color was later added in the negative space to add contrast and give the illusion of space. 

 Take a look at all that we did.

 I think 6th graders did fabulous, but it wasn't until I read their artist statements that I discovered what was going on inside those deeply focused heads.  ... and it helps to know that they enjoyed the challenge too.