French Coopération

So the word for collaboration and cooperation are the same in French and English! How wonderful because it was a collaberation in cooperation with my French teaching colleugue that happened this week. I finally got to put my big special project for the year, my painting and poster cart, out on a test drive!

First, let me introduce the new PAINTING and POSTER CART!

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I am trying something new this year. Just imagine, another teacher assigns a poster project to their class, and suddenly all of their students are in need of art materials. In the past I would be bombarded with random requests for materials I don’t even keep. and as a result, a sheet of $4 bristol paper would be swiped as poster board! (ahhh!) But now I’ve created a cart especially for children who would like to make posters. Any kind of posters. Spanish posters, go team posters. It can also be used as a general use traveling paint cart.

The new painting and poster cart will be open to students anytime. I will also have tagboard AKA “poster board” available for students to use for class projects for $1 per sheet. I have also offered to wheel it down to my colleagues classrooms if they would like to borrow it for a class. I’m super excited about this. These are cheap, rough and ready art supplies that are not part of our precious classroom stash. And all washable! My hope is that I will have fewer damaged brushes, and wasted or misused $4 sheets of bristol. I can’t/don’t want to close the classroom to clubs and students who’d like to work on other class projects that involve art, BUT we lost a lot of brushes and very expensive sheets of paper to enthusiastic poster makers, who maybe weren’t familiar with the art room, last year. So fingers crossed this is a success!

And so I got my first request for the cart almost immediately after I announced it to my colleagues at the beginning of the school year. The first teachers to borrow it were actually our freshman physics teachers, but both them and I forgot to take photos so oh well. But soon after the French seminar class wanted finish up a unit on Impressionism and paint in class. The French teacher wanted each student to just do a quick one class project (our classes are 80 min) where they created quick paintings illustrating their understanding of impressionism and demonstrating the key characteristics of it’s style. I could not attend the class since it overlapped with one of mine, so I can’t speak to the instruction too much, but they turned out great! What sweet paintings, and a wonderful use of this new painting and poster cart.

I hope it gets much more use this year!

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Painting With Light

This year I altered my single object still life project by adding more unstructured painting at the beginning of the unit. Students were given more time to experiment with creating value and just enjoy the medium. What I have learned in my 6 years at Stone Ridge is that most of my students won’t get very much time or any time at all to paint outside of this unit. (except in French class! Where more cross-curricular work is happening!) Some of them did not even have art in their middle schools previous to Stone Ridge. If they went to Stone Ridge they have a wonderful experience with paint, but either way I just want them to experience the joy of painting before I enforce an attempt at painting from life, which can feel very intimidating. I think a lot of the intimidation comes from my students admiration of representational art and misconception that their abilities to create representational art directly reflect their artistic abilities. I want them to see value in the process, or at least experience joy in the process, and take some pressure off the final product being realistic. This is also reenforced in my rubric where there are grading categories for different steps in the process.

So this year we started by painting gradients, and spent time using pallet knives to just mix colors and experiment with the color mixing process. Just like last year, I held a competition to mix the grayest gray and they did a phenomenal job. I love the low stakes of this competition and also that it has the opportunity to highlight the talents of a student that might not have confidence in their representational art but has wonderful eye for color.

In the pictures below you can see that this year’s paintings have a slightly more relaxed style from previous years and I think the best color comprehension I’ve seen from my classes to date! You can also see one of our pre-assignment assignments where my students painted solid objects cast in raking light.

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