Monday, October 20, 2008

Abstract designs

Moved more formally into abstract design this week. I had the younger students work to create pieces that expressed certain feelings, the ‘catch’ being that they couldn’t use ‘real’ pictures but rather only shapes and colors. Gradually, they start to take in the idea that color can express certain feelings and emotions. Next week we’ll move onto making a bigger/more formal piece, then they’ll be doing Picasso portraits before starting their Day of the Dead pieces that they always seem to love…

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Journaling is a big part of all of our classes. We give each student a spiral notebook that they will work out all year long (or, until they fill it up!) and they get 10 - 15 minutes at the beginning of each class to work in their books. We encourage them to write, draw, design a city, write a poem, song or movie, draw about their days, etc. The point is to foster creativity and to give them some down time to do whatever they'd like to, something they don't get a whole lot of. For older students in particular, this becomes a valuable outlet, and a place to generate ideas for later projects. For the most part though, all students, regardless of age, love this time - and the younger ones especially like to share what they did after they journal, something else we incorporate into just about every class. There is something very tangible about them having a book all to themselves, it becomes this precious object to them, and the stuff they create inside of it is pretty amazing!

Andrew and his work!

Keidas and his work!

Manny at work

Student work

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Painting with tissue paper

Students this week did another project I picked up from my class, using tissue paper to create a design. The results were a little mixed, I need to use better tissue paper and glue, but they really liked the concept, so we’ll come back to it. I used it as my entry into teaching them about color and abstract design, which fit nicely with the larger/broader lesson plans.

Also working on their vocabulary, this year is a little bit slower going on that front, for whatever reason – I think in part because I have a lot of my teams only once a week, as opposed to twice like I normally did. It’s getting there…

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Wax reliefs

Had the students do a project this week that I did in a ‘Do It Yourself Graphic Design’ class I’m currently taking at Art Center at Night. We did wax etchings, a fairly simple project to do (albeit, the use of chalk means it’s a little messy) and is a great way to teach about reflection and positive/negative space. By laying down a layer of chalk, then wax, and by drawing through a piece of paper over their base, the students are able to create duplicate images that look pretty cool. The oldest students really took to it, creating really cool pieces that incorporated ideas of duality, things that come in pairs, etc.

Conceptually, we are focused right now on skills that they’ll combine into some larger pieces, and we’ll be moving more into the cultural/community component of our work in the weeks to come.

The older group is interesting – kids come and go. We did some cool writing activities this week, I had them make up a story or art piece inspired by flowers from Eucalyptus trees by my gym that I picked up from the ground, something they seemed to enjoy. I work to find the right balance between giving them some structure and letting them do their own thing, seems to be developing nicely.