art is all around us. here i will share my personal experiences and passion for all things art! thanks for stopping by, feel free to share a post and check in again! xo

Thursday, November 17, 2011

portraits in pale gray

My 8th grade students just completed value study portraits. We looked at the work of Chuck Close and learned about the grid he uses to make successful portraits.
My students were really impressed and in awe of Close's work. They kept asking me, "Are these photographs or paintings?" I reassured them these were paintings done by a very skilled photorealist painter.I loved seeing their interested and awe struck faces when showing Close's work and the up close details of how detailed they really are.
One of my student's parents recently shared with me a great interview with Chuck Close on NPR and so I listened to it and it was rather interesting. I loved hearing about the evolution of his work. The most recent work is less detailed and more abstract. He said he is focusing on shapes rather than specific details and he said that was good as the subjects age, the portraits get less details. It was great! You can listen to this interview by clicking here.
I digress, but my students really enjoyed hearing about Chuck Close's struggle with his health and continuing to work while he is in a wheelchair. I love his story because it is one of courage and strength and really isn't that the story of "the artist?" "The artist" is a strong and courage being to put one's expressions out for all to see.
My partner at the Middle School, Rick Weber, also did this portrait project with his students and they enjoyed it as well. We just started an online gallery that we hope to soon be linked to our district webpage. For now, here is the link, http://wvmsartgallery.weebly.com/. Please check it out and let us know what you think!
In addition, you can find more photos of my student's portraits as always on my personal teacher webpage by clicking here.
As we head into the last few days before Thanksgiving I have to say that I have a lot to be thankful for and one thing at the top of my list is working in a job I love! I feel so fortunate every day that I get to share what I love with young people/artists.
Be Well and Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

barns in fall beauty

My 8th grade artists created barn pen and ink drawings using one point perspective. I am not a personal huge fan of technical drawing. As an artist, I never liked using a ruler, however, as a teacher, I know how important perspective is to learn as a tool to draw correctly and so here are the results of what my students created.
After we finished these drawings, the interesting fact was that quite a few students came to me interested in learning more about perspective so I have been teaching a small group on my lunch how to draw using 3 point and 2 point perspective. I really enjoyed seeing their enthusiasm.
I taught my students how to draw using one point whole class and demonstrated it on the board with a barn. Then the students created their own on their papers. I walked around and helped individual students to create differing elements in their barns.
Once the barns were complete we looked a series of landscape images. We created landscapes around our barns using a background, middleground and foreground. I asked the students to think about textures, time of day, season, etc. when creating their landscapes.
I am very pleased with the results. We certainly got a wide variety of barn designs and details.
It is always interesting to me to see how one assignment can produce such differing results among my students. That is one of the things that I love most about art and I am not sure what other outlet allows for such expression and diversity without the outcome being "incorrect."
After spending yesterday at a superintendent's conference and learning about the Core Curriculum for ELA that we are being asked to incorporate into our Art curriculum I am thinking about "project based" work that is "detail oriented" and in-depth... this transition with be a smooth one for us as this describes us as artists! I am fortunate.
When I first introduced this project to my students I introduced them to Eric Sloane who is a great barn artist so if you are interested in doing an assignment similar to this one I would recommend you checking him out.
To see more of the barn drawings please click here.

Be Well and Enjoy!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

coils in clay

My 6th grade artists have just completed their coil making adventure. I explained that when I was in college we had a coil building contest on one of the very first days of my Ceramics class and we had to work in teams to see who could make the longest coil all the way across our clay studio in SUNY New Paltz. It was a busy and fun day! My students have been busy making coils of their very own and putting those to good use.


We built pinch pots first and made coil feet to hold up the pinch pots. It gives it a little height and more elegance and presence.
Then my students got to work making many coils. They used a variety of coil styles including but not limited to arch, circle (all shapes in fact), vertical, horizontal, swirl and they even made up coils I have not seen used before!

Coil and pinch methods are two of the most basic and principal forms of hand building and many artists for years have used them so practice makes perfect! Like I said, as an art major in college, I was still making coils and pinch pots from day 1!
Here is a small sampling of the really great works that my students created. There were so many images it was hard to select which images to feature here on the blog so to see the entire collection please visit my website at nheller.weebly.com and click on the student art gallery or click here to see all of the colorful coils in their glazed glory.

Be Well and Enjoy!