Works on this page were made by my 9th grade students at Greenwich Academy between 2017 and 2018. *
*Student names are omitted from this page for privacy reasons
Recycled Object Mandalas- Mandalas are ritual symbols of the universe or cosmos that are found in Hinduism and Buddhism. Traditionally, mandalas incorporate symmetry, vibrant colors, and rhythm and repetition to represent harmony in the universe. For this project, my students made mandalas using the mediums and methods that visiting artist Faustin Adeniran uses in his work. Gathering their own recycled materials, such as soda cans, bottle caps, and cereal boxes, students cut and arranged these materials into intricate patterns on circular foam core.
Still Life on Toned Paper- For this project, students learned traditional still life drawing techniques on toned paper. Students studied the work of artists, such as Albrecht Dürer, who used cross-hatching and other shading techniques to create the illusion of three-dimensionality. Students also learned about measurement techniques and how to determine the size and scale of objects based on their relationships to one another.
Rubber Stamp Drawings- After viewing the works of the Old Masters, students each selected an image that they wished to recreate using only rubber stamps and ink for the shading. Students first drew their images lightly with graphite. They then selected a rubber stamp and began stamping out the darkest areas, moving gradually toward the lighter ones. This project helped students gain a better sense of light and shadow and how to convey these things with a different, unfamiliar medium.
Subtractive Charcoal Portraits- For this project, I first photographed my students in high-contrast lighting, with one side of their faces in bright light and the other in dark shadow. Students created a toned base on their paper rubbing it with the flat side of the charcoal. They then erased out the areas where light was hitting their faces. For the final step, they refined their drawings with charcoal pencil. This subtractive drawing technique increased their understanding of light and shadow.
Gridded Acrylic Portraits- Emulating the gridding technique used by Chuck Close, students printed images of their faces and then drew grids on top of them. They were careful to scale up proportionally when they recreated their grids on the (much larger) black art boards. Using the grid as guide to determine where to place their facial features, students lightly sketched their faces onto the art boards with white pencil. Finally, they added acrylic paint to the individual squares. This project taught students about gridding methods, proportion, and complementary colors.
Mohamed Hafez Home Project- Inspired by Syrian artist Mohamed Hafez’s “Homeland (In)Security” series, I asked my students to create miniature house sculptures out of cardboard boxes, incorporating images or objects that represent home to them. “What are some items you would want to take with you if you were forced to leave your home?” I asked them. Students in my class tackled this project in myriad ways; some tiled the roofs of their houses with polaroid photographs of different personal items, while others brought in physical objects that could be seen through the windows of their homes. Once the houses were completed, I arranged them into a small village in the center of the room and students drew them in chalk pastel. In the final stage of this project, students wrote about why they had made certain artistic decisions in the making and drawing of their houses and what these choices represented.
Chiaroscuro Sculpture Drawings- After studying chiaroscuro, students selected images of sculptures with high-contrast lighting. They created the base for their drawings by using watercolor, ink, and salt, to give their drawings a stone-like texture. They then used charcoal pencil and white pencil to depict their sculptures. This project taught students how to contemporize traditional artistic methods and practices.