Three grades, Three lessons

As often happens, many grades have completed their most recent lessons at the same time, so there is a lot to look at on the blog today.

6th graders spent some time looking at the legendary beasts of Chinese mythology: dragons. These dragons are long and thin like snakes and contain the essences of many animals in one. They are wise and maybe cruel and have the power to grant wishes. Chinese dragons represent water in its many forms and students had to think about what their dragon might bring to their lives once complete.


Seventh graders are mid-way through an animal drawing unit that began with graphite studies and then moved onto copper tooling.  This traditional art form involves pressing into soft metal to create relief sculpture. This is often seen on church doors across Europe and the US. Ink could be added to create an antique effect.  Students will finish the unit by drawing their animals with charcoal. Stay tuned.


And finally 8th graders put in a lot of time and careful work (both cutting their stencils and printing) to create silkscreen self-portraits in the style of POP artist Andy Warhol.  They used 2 colors to create these precise, high contrast images.



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Color Color Color to welcome real spring!

After a long and dreary “spring” 7th and 5th grade students at FMS have helped usher in the bright weather with some gorgeous work inspired by European artists.

Fifth graders looked at the abstract work of Vassily Kandinsky as the practiced their new watercolor techniques. They had to use organic and geometric shapes and then play with color and line in their art.


Meanwhile, 7th grade students examined the distorted and warped portraits of Amedeo Modigliani. The Italian painter was famous for stretching his figures and giving them empty eyes to create a mask-like effect.


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Food & Drink

Seventh grade students have completed an observation drawing project using Pointillism. This style was pioneered by the Impressionists and exemplified by the incredibly precise (and obsessive) work of Georges Seurat.

Students started with a light pencil drawing based on an image of food. They then looked at the different colors in the image and began stippling (dotting) over the pencil. They looked for shadows and highlights and really worked hard to achieve a #D effect with the build up of multicolored dots.


Meanwhile, 8th graders were finishing up an creative teapot lesson. All the pieces needed to hold water and pour (to some degree), and all pieces had to have a spout, handle, and lid. Beyond that, students were limited only by their imagination. This group includes a sumo wrestler, bowl of cereal, and a tiny cat.


Come join us at the table with these deliciously artistic treats.


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Lots of New Work before April Break

With only a few days left until April vacation, several classes are wrapping up projects in the art studio.   5th grade has completed a multi-stage unit on landscapes including a pastel drawing showing the “illusion of depth” on a flat service as well as a three dimensional ceramic sculpture capturing a piece of our world in miniature.

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6th graders put aside their fear of a self-portrait by embracing the abstract style of Cubism with a Picasso-inspired self-portrait. These works included a 3D element with the cut and stacked pieces of cardboard, as well as a 2D element with the color and pattern painting on the individual parts. Can you recognize these students?


7th grade explored the complex and detailed design motifs of the people of Polynesia and the Maori (Native people of New Zealand). They carved and then glazed their personal designs onto clay faces, simulating the facial tattoos of these Pacific tribal cultures.



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Classic lessons

For the first lesson of the new term both 6th graders and 8th graders took on the classic “still life drawing”.  6th graders created small still life set-ups at each table with only a few objects to contend with, while 8th graders built large set-ups in the center of the room.  They shifted tables and really made the art room like a studio. Drawings needed to include multiple drawing techniques like stippling, hatching and smudging in order to achieve a range of values. Students worked hard to make their drawings 3D and get objects the correct size, shape, and placement.  Looking at the two grade levels below, notice how drawing skills improve with 2 years of practice.



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Ain’t No Bugs on Me

As spring approaches, so come with it BUGS. And 5th graders spent some good time observing the details of many creepy crawlies.  They started with colored pencil drawings and then moved onto collage – which then became the plates for printmaking.

Click here for the side-by-side artworks. 


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Animal in Art

8th graders finished off the last term with a dive into art history. They explored many books full of famous artwork in the classroom. Once they had chosen a favorite they had to incorporate an animal into the piece or make an image of an animal in the style of their chosen artist. Beyond choosing their artist and animal, students also had to decide what the best material was to recreate their artist’s particular style.


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Double the prints, double the color!

Both 8th and 6th grades recently completed printmaking units. While techniques were identical, materials and subjects differed greatly . 8th graders looked at the POPart style of Andy Warhol to inspire their own photos turned linoleum block prints.  Color became an important factor as the 4 part images were pulled together.


Meanwhile, 6th graders used rubber instead of linoleum and their focus was the magic of nature displayed in the radial symmetry of a 6 pointed snowflake.  Each student created many prints and while the best was carefully trimmed and mounted, all other prints were used in a group artwork “snowstorm” in the FMS hallways.


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We’re back! Welcome 2018

After a short winter break the students are back at it and with the hub-bub of the holidays passed I can now catch up on the blog. Here are two projects that were finished just at the end of 2017 and will be on display in the FMS hallways.

6th graders completed a classic still life drawing lesson in which they set up their own objects, observed and drew them as carefully and realistically as possible using many different drawing techniques and values.


Meanwhile, in our ever expanding quest to learn about arts from around the world, seventh graders looked at the intricate body art and facial tattooing of the Maori people. (New Zealand’s native population).  Students first studied Maori and Polynesian motifs and patterns, then pressed clay into a face mold. When the clay was leather hard” they carefully carved their tattoo designs into one side of the face. After the clay was fired students mirrored the design with black glaze on the other side.  Students had to consider not only the specific patterns, but also the cultural and personal meaning behind their designs.



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Fifth graders have finished a painting based on the colorful abstract work of Russian-American artist Wassily Kandinsky.  After an initial drawing using geometric and abstract shapes as well as lines students went in with watercolor paint. They needed to use at least 5 of the 9 painting techniques we studied and be as careful as possible with their brushes. While very little of art is truly “color within the lines”, this is one example where neatness counts. The results are beautiful blasts of color as we head into the darkest weeks of the year. Enjoy.


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