First of the new School Year

The 8th graders have just completed the first lesson of the 2016-17 school year at FMS, a classic project for artists: The still-life drawing.  Students chose and set up the objects to draw and then had to build their drawing with basic shapes.  They looked at value and shading as well as texture and used multiple drawing techniques like hatching, cross-hatching and stipling, to shade and add three-dimensionality to their work.


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Welcome back!

Another new year. One full of potential and excitement for all the amazing art FMS students will create. Will an election year effect the emotional quality of the work?  Will middle schoolers use their art as a platform for change?  We shall see.  In the meantime, while the first batch of art is in progress, enjoy learning about our first Artist of the Month: Vassily Kandinsky.

This piece, Eurographics in Blue, is a great example of Kandinsky’s vibrant, abstract style.


Learn more about this influential artist here.

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Final Post of the Year 2016

So another year of fantastic art making has come to an end. We made many mugs and teapots, paintings and pointilist drawings. Self portraits and animal studies. With a little luck and a lot of effort, students have finished the year stronger in art than they began and will head into the summer looking at the world in a slightly different way.

To take us out, please enjoy a final project from 6th, 7th, and 8th grades.

Grade 6: Greek mugs– students were inspired my mythical beasts just in time for the Greek studies unit in Social Studies. The mugs were decorated in the classic “black on red” style of ancient Greece.


Grade 7: Pointillism– Students used food as their subject and then careful drew using only the stippling method to fill the page with tiny dots. They worked hard to use many colors to create a “visual blend”.  I think Georges Seurat would be impressed with the results.


Grade 8: 3D Fine Art– For the final art project of their middle school career, 8th graders found work in art history that called to them.  They examined the piece for how it used SPACE and then (in an incredibly short time period, I might add) actually made each layer and built the 2D image as a 3 dimensional relief sculpture!  Beautiful!


Until next year, GO ART!

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Lots of new work!

So it has been a busy spring so far and students at FMS are still working hard on one last project (in each grade) before the school year finishes up. I have finally caught up on photographing and posting all the latest work since Motley was taking most of my attention up to now.  So here is a project from each grade level to enjoy as summer fast approaches.

Grade 5: Ceramic coil pottery. This ancient method has been used by people around the globe to create beautiful pottery.


Grade 6: Book illustrations. Students used a range of values and multiple drawing techniques to illustrate scenes from books they have read.


Grade 7. Adaptive creatures. Students had to consider all the environmental factors that lead evolution down its weird and winding path as they created their own unique animals.


Grade 8.  We’re all mad here! Enjoy these funky teapots created by 8th graders.


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The 2016 issue of Motley Magazine (FMS’s Art & Literature Online publication) is available to view (and download) today.  It is full of beautiful writing and stunning examples of student artwork.  Our staff worked hard all year to collect submissions and promote the ‘zine and the results are fabulous.

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 8.07.48 AM

If you want to get a printed hardcopy follow this link and click the circle

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 8.10.05 AM to find the print option.

Enjoy and share.


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New Month: New Artist

So it has been a bit since a post has gone up here. Busy days at the middle school and rest assured that tons of work has been being made and will soon be up here for viewing. In the mean time, learn a bit about this month’s featured artist, Edouard Vuillard.


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The students in Mr. Adams’ 8th grade art class started with PhotoBooth to create a high contrast image of themselves. They printed three copies and made three stencils, reducing their images to just white, gray and black.  After carefully cutting out each stencil, students used the silkscreen printing process to force colored ink through the screens with a squeegee, onto paper.

This work was inspired by the Pop Art of Andy Warhol and was a challenging and, at times, frustrating project for the students. But with meticulous work and patience the final results speak for themselves.


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My Big City

The second semester of 5th graders have finished a long term painting project:Monochromatic cityscapes.  Students used geometric shapes to design the architecture of their cities, focusing on pattern and overlapping as well as clean, careful drawing with rulers.  They then chose a single color and used as many tints and shades as they could create to paint their piece. From grayscale post-apocalypse to sunsets in space, come visit these fifth grade metropolises.


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The masks we wear

We are always telling students to stretch themselves and work harder, achieve more. Well in this recent 7th grade lesson, students literally stretched themselves in distorted portraits in the style of Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani.  

We looked at Modigliani’s unique style in which he stretched the faces and necks of his subjects, gave them small mouths and empty eyes inspired by African and South East Asian masks and kept crisp outlines to delineate areas of the face and head. Within those shapes Modigliani would work hard to create blends of color to show value and often used the same technique to make his simple backgrounds more interesting.

For this portrait realism was less important than method and technique.


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Wisdom and Darkness

Two grades have just finished up projects in the past week.

6th graders completed ceramic sculptures of Chinese Dragons. These dragons have a more serpentine style than western dragons and fly by magic rather than wings. Students had to create free-standing, self-supporting pieces and use several textures. They finished them with acrylic paint in layers to create unique color schemes.


Like centuries (perhaps millennia considering the material) of artists before them, 7th graders are using charcoal to make their marks.  Using photographs of animals for their subjects (it is difficult to get animals to sit still long enough for portraiture) the students began with pencil studies and once they had a good sense of their animal moved onto charcoal. The started by toning the paper to fine a middle value, then added basic shapes. From there students used the erasers to pull the lightest areas forward and charcoal for the deepest shadows. Blending ensued. More final detail was added with charcoal and “white charcoal” pencils.  The classroom (and many hands and faces) were a mess but the results are stunning.


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