Monthly Archives: May 2008

Practice Looking

sculptures finished
Our student show will hold it’s reception Thursday the 29th of May from 5 PM to 8 PM at the Dana Branch Library at 3680 Atlantic Ave. Long Beach and Penny Voelker (the other half of “we” at EA) has written a statement for the show on behalf of Elementary Art expressing our thoughts on our work this past year in Room 9.

“The pieces in this exhibit are a sampling of the many art projects we have done in Room 9 this year. Our intention has been to try out many different media and topics so that we can better relate to art that we see every day or in special exhibits. We can understand art better if we have tried out a process for ourselves already, like landscape painting or stenciled art. We can understand some of the decisions the artist made to express his piece. Having painted, we also have some feeling for the use of color, and we are more sensitive to how artists use color to make us aware of feelings. We used this experience on our field trip to the Long Beach Art Museum at the portrait exhibit. The process of art appreciation goes on all the time in our lives. We have started to understand some of the questions to ask ourselves.

Practice looking is a good title but we also got practice with lots of other things: practice playing creatively with our materials, practice doing something without worrying about a letter grade, practice seeing possibilities and trying out new things, practice concentrating and giving time to something, practice making things come out right and overcoming problems for ourselves, practice getting things done. Art is not always comfortable or easy, but meeting a challenge is fun.

Making art is also a chance for introspection, even at age 10. We have to confront our selves every time we make art. Questions pop up like this: Why am I bad at this? Will people like this or think I am really stupid? What will happen if this turns out really badly? Why should I do this project anyway, it doesn’t mean anything. Okay, here is what we hope everyone has realized by now. Part one of art is the artist making something that perfectly realizes his intentions, having fun but in a serious way, enjoying the process. Part two of art is someone looking at a piece of art. No one knows what he will
make of it, it’s up to him. So, art is for having fun, for making or seeing things that look good to you. It’s not about you personally. It’s about the artwork.”

We hope you’ll come and enjoy the show! It runs May 29th thru June 5th.

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possibly the last post….


This is possibly the last post before the year ends as we are busy finishing up the sculptures and getting ready for our exhibit at the local Dana Branch Library. Life dictates that we (who are “we”?) prepare for upcoming proms, concerts, banquets, and graduation in preparation for summer travel and the beginning of college in the fall- all in between working, managing a household, and just life in general.
We will take more photos, and even some audio, to put up here as time allows before the end of summer. Just can’t make promises right now about exactly when that will happen.
So just know that there are 30 incoming 5th graders that have had a year of art in room 9 who are pretty happy about what they learned and what they created this year. We release them to their summer frivolities, travel, and whatever comes next for them with new ideas on how to spend some of their time this summer. Perhaps they might make a little art.

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elementary art test

Imagine! Someone ending up on this blog as a result of a google search of the above! For some reason, according to my blog stats and google search referrals, everyday there is at least one view of this blog by someone looking to test elementary age students in art. If you have read much of this blog at all you’ll understand why I think this is so hilarious!

Now they’ll end up on this post and wonder why. Maybe they’ll read a few posts and leave a comment.
Maybe they don’t teach in California public schools.

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class is dark today

We got notice at the last minute that the kids are on a field trip today, so no art. Penny and I did get together over some delicious pho at Pho America and made some notes and lists about the set up of the upcoming art show. On to next week….

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a little more progress…

got through a few more sculptures today- 13 to be exact. next week we’ll finish them off and get them painted black so the kids can apply the metallic patinas. this week i let some of the kids mix their own plaster which they enjoyed. they were trying to understand the difference between “drying” and “setting up” and why the plaster heats up as it hardens ……

When mixed with water, calcium sulphate hemihydrate, CaSO4·21H2O, also known as Plaster of Paris, undergoes an exothermic hydration reaction :

CaSO4·21H2O + 23H2O → CaSO4·2H2O

So basically, the hydration process throws off energy in the form of heat.

I have spent many years mixing plaster in my mold shop when running my porcelain studio and it was fun to see the kids enjoy it so much- just look at the smile-
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here they are getting ready to mix the next batch

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a rinsing bucket so none of the plaster goes down the drain and clogs it up….ask me how i know.

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sprinkle the plaster evenly over the surface of the water until little islands appear on top breaking the surface of the water.
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they would have enjoyed just mixing plaster and nothing more!

overheard while working:

“i’ve never gotten dirty before!” (yikes!)

“oooh, i like the way it feels on my hands!”

“art is hard to talk about”

i swear, i’m gonna bring in a recorder soon and post some audio of what these kids say during art. it’s very revealing sometimes!

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second week sculpture progress….

no time to go into much detail so the photos will have to do most of the talking. feel free to ask questions though-

Out in the garden area (it was 95 degrees out on Monday) we found a little shade and the kids came out and applied paper towel strips dunked in plaster to their armatures. I grabbed the camera near the end to get a few photos. It was messy fun and the kids had a great time with the plaster. Some didn’t like getting their hands dirty but most overcame it quickly.

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we got through 10 of the 30 kids in an hour and a half- 2 more classes and we’ll have all of them done with this part.

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todays work-
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Meanwhile, in the classroom the rest of the class was working on handbills for our upcoming show-
They incised foam and printed their images to some preprinted flyers.

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