Picture Perfect

This year we focused on composition in our photography unit. In class students learned the basic concepts of aperture and shutter speed. Students were each given a chance to try out our school DSLRs during class. However, the majority of photos they took outside of the classroom were with either their own personal digital cameras or their cell phones. From a whopping 100-200 images they were asked to narrow down their favorites to 20 photos that exemplified the different types of composition in photography we had covered. Finally they narrowed their selection down to five for an all class presentation and critique. You can see below some samples of their excellent work. Our photo teacher will have a lot of talented students coming her way next year.

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Lost in Time

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Interior Design

The past two years I have introduced my students to the real world application of art through the field of interior design. I want students to see a potential art driven career path, but I also want to make sure that the very technical one point perspective drawing skill is not dry, and disengaging. This unit also gives us a chance to re-visit color theory. IMG_1062IMG_1065IMG_106720171215_09300020171215_09295220171215_09300720171215_09312520171215_09315020171215_093200.jpg20171130_143019

Foley Artists

This year while my students were learning about sound waves in their physics classroom we created short videos, and became foley artists, creating interesting sound effects for our videos. The students, as usual, blew me away with their creativity! We used a combination of Garage Band and iMovie which are programs that come standard with the Macbooks our students have. (Stone Ridge has a one-to-one laptop program.) It was also a nice way to preemptively introduce composition for our photography project ate in the year.

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A New (School) Year

This year is off to an amazing start. We began our new and improved color theory unit this week and it has gone even better than I expected.

We started as we always do, by making color theory posters that explain some element of the color wheel or color terms. Below you can see a group that focused on tint, and another that contrasted achromatic, with high chroma color. This part of the unit includes a lot of vocabulary so I do include a short vocab quiz. This helps motivate students to learn the difference between tint, tone, and shade as well as color groups and schemes. 20170922_12231120170922_122258_001

After the color wheel, and this is new this year, we apply our new knowledge with paint mixing. I started this year with a competition to see who could mix the grayest gray.

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They all end up looking a little purple, green or blue, but it’s a wonderful practicle application of the color wheel. I’ll tell them to “cancel out” an excess of one color by using its primary. As you can see I do not allow the use of black during this competition, and I also exclude black from the palette for the rest of the unit.

After this gray mixing competition we move on to value. As you might imagine this is very difficult without black, but it does force students to experiment with color mixing maybe more than they previously would have. It also corrects the impulse to add white to everything. (I’m not sure where that impulse comes from. Maybe because pastels are pretty, who knows!?) We also take out first stab at observational drawing for the year.

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After this project we dove into our Single Object Still Life Paintings. Except this year, unlike previous years, we started with a gray background. (made without black of course) In years past I have let student choose their background color based on the colors in their object as well as preference. However, this year, I thought we might try something different and I think the end results were far more sophisticated, and thoughtful paintings. They also really reinforced what we had be learning about color theory.

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Overall the project was a success. I will have to see how it plays out the rest of the year. Will my students actually apply what they have learned about color theory?

 

Maternity Leave

I know I have been MIA for a while, but last year (November 2016) I gave birth to an amazing baby girl! I am now back at work and ready to resume my blogging and teaching and arting, OH MY!

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Art Show is Still Up!

Dear Friends,

Sorry for the late notice, but my paintings are on show until October 2nd in the Park View Gallery at Glen Echo Park, Maryland. I would love for any, and all of you to come see my work before it comes down. The Gallery is open Tuesday-Sunday from 9am-6pm. Thanks!

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Finally Finals

We wrapped up this amazing school year with another round of independent art projects. Each student filled out a contract that outlined their plan of action, their research goals, and their three most important overall goals for the project. It was their three overall goals that I used as a measure for how I would grade them. This was, after all, their final exam.

Check them out:

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A small street in Puerto Rico.

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The four seasons.

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Lily Pulitzer inspired.

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A Maggie O’Neal reproduction done by another Maggie.

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Hamilton anyone?

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Endangered animals, made with real life cut-outs, and some photoshop skills.

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Love.

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Everyones faces.

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My students did an amazing job embracing their own strengths and interests in these finals. They were aware of their limitations an abilities and strived to create works of art they could be proud of. As a result I am very proud of all of them. Obviously I could not picture all of them here, so you can imagine there are some really impressive works you are missing out on.

Facing Faces

This March we spent the entire month exploring the art of a self portrait and the value technique called grisaille. The Oxford Dictionary defines as, “Grisaille (/ɡrˈz/ or /ɡrˈzl/; French: gris [ɡʁizaj] ‘grey’) is a term for a painting executed entirely in shades of grey or of another neutral greyish colour.” I think we all know what a self portrait is. 

Anyways my idea was that in order to teach about painting with more emphasis on value and less on color matching we would begin with a grisaille painting and finish it in color.

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I also took photographs of each girl in a pose she was comfortable with, with raking light moving across her face. This gave them more depth in the values they were working with. You can see them holding the photos as they work for reference. Unfortunately there is a lot of natural light in my room. Unfortunately? Well anyways it is near impossible to recreate lighting arrangements because the skylights fill the room with light i a myriad number of ways on any given day, and due to the nature of our rotating block schedule we meet at a different time each day of the week. So I made the executive decision that instead of working from mirrors (like we had with our sketches and drawings in previous lessons) we would work from photographs.

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Only once they had finished their gray could they move on to color. This was an prodigious success, because it prevented them from flattening their faces and making them one solid shade of beige or brown, like I had seen in previous models of this lesson. I would highly recommend this technique for teaching value to an advanced high school art class.

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Finished Recycled Projects

We finally finished our wonderful recycled art projects. This is my second year teaching this unit and it was so wonderful to see what a variety of results we got just this year alone.

To learn more about this project you can take a look back at what some of my artists did last year here: https://emmateachesart.com/2015/03/21/planet-saved/

Enjoy!

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