Pumpkins

Pumpkins

22 June 2018

The year is up, and my walls are empty again. My last post this year is dedicated to my Grade 12 leavers, who had just enough time this spring to begin and finish painting transcriptions of Yayoi Kusama’s numerous pumpkin paintings.

Abstract Expressionism

Abstract Expressionism

25 May 2018

Grade 6 and 7 students stepped outside of the box and into the paint palette feetfirst. They looked at how the abstract expressionists took creative risks in order to express their emotions and inner impulses through colour fields and brush strokes, leading to a post-war international art movement that transcended European modernism and crowned New York the new center of the art world.

Plastic Planet

Plastic Planet

18 April 2018

In a one-off activity day in celebration of Earth Day, we learned more about the consequences of having so much plastic available everywhere, from straws and cutlery to bottles and shopping bags. We then spent a few hours creating some visual poetry in the hopes of inspiring a change in our attitude and behavior about plastics.

Post-Impressionist Landscapes

Post-Impressionist Landscapes

2 April 2018

We explored the design principle of rhythm through the work of Van Gogh, whose dedication to articulating the inner spirituality of nature resulted in a dramatic fusion of rhythm, colour and imagination. We practiced the impulsive, gestural application of paint before moving on to transcriptions and finally creating Van Gogh-esque images of Vietnamese landscapes.

Mixed Media Collages

Mixed Media Collages

16 March 2018

I wanted my kids to cleanse their palette and experience the meditative joy of working with materials like felt and wool, and sequins, buttons, and beads. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I revisited an old project that turned out to be a surprise success with my Year 2s in a previous school. As I expected, the kids spun gold from thread in sugary sweet images of sliced fruits and vegetables.

Dong Ho Paintings

Dong Ho Paintings

9 February 2018

The Tet season is a good time to learn about folk paintings that have for over nine centuries decorated the homes of Vietnamese families celebrating the arrival of spring. Before pulling out the brushes and paint palettes, we looked into the graphic charm of these images, with their simple edges, often humorous and brightly coloured to reflect an optimism for the Lunar New Year.

Floral Patterns

Floral Patterns

12 January 2018

I had my high schoolers sit a “test” to transcribe a William Morris design in pencil. I asked that they work with accuracy and precision to communicate the lines, shapes, values, and patterns in their reference material. I was so impressed with their work that I had the students who hadn’t finished in the allotted time complete their drawings upon returning from the break.

Plasticine Pictures

Plasticine Pictures

8 January 2018

In exploring a different approach to drawing, I wanted my kids to know about Jim Lambie’s Zobop and anything and everything by Yayoi Kusama. Whilst we didn’t have enough tape for Zobop or the patience to create an infinity net, we cut, rolled, laid, squished, and twisted plasticine to create 2-dimensional images bursting with dots, lines, colour, and pattern.

Where Souls Soar

Where Souls Soar

15 December 2017

I commissioned my students to work on a collaborative painting that would help to transform our rather empty-walled canteen into a budding art gallery. We looked into contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama’s work as we worked together to construct a rich tapestry of marks, circles, lines, and patterns.

Monoprints

Monoprints

1 December 2017

For my Year 6s and 7s –and some of my Year 10s as well– monoprinting offered a new way of working that combines drawing and printmaking. We got oil-based ink everywhere, but the results were worth the extra time cleaning up. Once dry, the kids added a pop of colour with oil pastel.

Gemstones

Gemstones

20 November 2017

I wanted my kids to work with a few of the art elements, and I figured faceted gems would make for a sparkly introduction to value, shape, and colour, and provide an opportunity to practice colour mixing and flat colour painting.

William Morris Designs

William Morris Designs

3 November 2017

Naturally I interpreted the topic of balance through an interior design lens, with wallpapers and pattern repeats being the first images to come to mind. I have not taught my students if they finish the year without learning about William Morris!

In the Classroom

In the Classroom

14 October 2017

Half-term is here, and the time feels right to document the ongoing evolution of my workspace. With a few projects in – and up, student work is finally taking over the powder blue walls. I started with a very empty room, but slowly I’ve been filling my temple to creativity.

Rising Dragon

Rising Dragon

1 October 2017

The surfaces in the studio have been christened with acrylic. Dried paint is everywhere! In another big push for a piece for auction, my kids pulled off a large-scale collaborative painting that shows off our pride of place.

Nourishing Fare

Nourishing Fare

27 September 2017

Jumped right into the thick of it this school year with the kids producing work for auction to raise funds for charity. With little time to create artworks to the theme of nutrition, we made quirky collage transcriptions of still life paintings.