Grade 5 presents transformed landscapes

In the Kirin Building (2nd floor) there is a display of the 5th graders creations from their second art unit:  an original landscape drawing, in pencil, combining the observational drawing of an existing landscape (from a photograph) and their own imaginative/fantasy/invented scene. The overarching central idea for this unit was “Changes in the world affect how artists create art.”

Image licensed under a CC Attr-NonComm-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License by Aaron Reed

Image licensed under a CC Attr-NonComm-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License by Aaron Reed

Focused on the key concept of ‘change’, the students first focused on a change in the world in the 19th century: the scientific and technology revolution which was the invention of the camera and how that affected the artists (the Impressionists) of the time and thereafter. One line of inquiry was “How discoveries have impacted society and the arts”; students had various opinions as to how photography might have affected artists both positively and negatively. Students also used this discussion of Impressionism as a jumping off point to learning to sketch a landscape and to experiment with colors, coloring mixing (painting), and related terminology.

Image licensed under a CC Attr-NonComm-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License by Aaron Reed

Image licensed under a CC Attr-NonComm-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License by Aaron Reed

Next, following the line of inquiry “The transformation of ideas into art, factors involved”, students used an actual landscape (a found photographic image found via the internet, i.e. new technology) to help create a drawn reproduction (pencil, eraser, paper, i.e. old/traditional technology) of the scene. Then, with the concept of ‘change’ in mind — and having seen some imaginative landscapes by working artists — students mined their own imaginations and interests to transform the existing, actual landscape into something fantastical, changing areas of the image to incorporate their imaginative visions.


The annual Yamate Art Exhibition has begun!

The exhibition runs from Saturday February 14 to Monday February 23 at Bluff No. 115-3, The British House — link here — across the street from Y.I.S. (横浜市中区山手町115-3) from 9:30-17:00 daily, 9:30-12:00 on Feb 23.

This art show is part of the Yokohama Yamate Art Festival and includes the artwork of students from several schools in the Yamate area, each exhibited at a different residence on The Bluff.

There are 114 elementary school artists in this year’s show, so do come visit the Y.I.S. student gallery and see the energy, efforts, and two- & three-dimensional creativity of our Kindergarten through Grade 5 students!


Grade 5 instructions for new project (Unit 2)

Hello Grade 5 students!

We discussed some of the changes that occurred in science & technology around the time of the Impressionists, specifically the advent of photography.

You had some interesting opinions about how the camera might have affected the artists of that time. Suffice to say there was a big CHANGE in the art world as the 19th century became the 20th century.

old camera

Today in art class you will begin creating your own landscape picture, one which will also focus on the concept of CHANGE. You will need to use your powers of observation!

Please follow these instructions for Part One of the project — read & observe the images you see here:

If you have finished drawing your landscape, check with Mr. Reed for the next step and instructions (your imagination will now come into play).

Have fun!

Young Artists Group ESA propose a new mural for Y.I.S.

After finishing their first mural (check it out here), the ten young artists who participate in the Young Artists Group ESA began preparing for their next visual adventure, another effort to increase the on-campus art here at YIS.  The chosen space is the wall at the bottom of the outdoor stairway leading from the ES level up to the main building and library.

It should be noted that there has been an existing mural on the wall which was made some years back by YIS students (a number of whom are still here at school!). The existing artwork had some simple colors — early green and brown with a light blue sky above — painted on the concrete wall, as well as many colorful ceramic sculptures adhered to the wall to evoke a landscape.

The young artists decided to incorporate these clay sculptures into their new landscape idea, and so the ceramic pieces have been left intact. But what was needed was to start fresh with a so-called clean slate (or at least, a white concrete wall). And so part of our Session 3 ESA time was spend painting the wall with a permanent white paint, being careful not to cover the existing sculptures. The other part of our ESA time together was spent addressing the big challenge before us: What new image will we paint on the wall?

Realizing that the wall is part of our entire school and is for the enjoyment of the entire school community (students, teachers, parents, staff, and our visitors) the young artists had many discussions about what would be appropriate to represent. We focused the mural as a landscape with Japan as a theme, including incorporating a traditional Japanese pattern, and then — after much brainstorming and back and forth — finally voted for the five most important ideas to represent in the mural: Mt. Fuji, sakura, shinkansen, ocean waves, and cats & kittens.

The artists split themselves into two groups, and each produced a proposed illustration of what the mural might look like. Each group then created their own presentation, rehearsed it, and filmed it. The presentations and illustrations have been submitted to our director, Mr. MacDonald, along with all the principals and head administrators, and we are now awaiting their feedback.

You will have to wait until next year to see the outcome and watch the mural develop. In the meantime, above are some pictures of the young artists at work along with each group’s proposed illustration and their video presentations (see above).

Down in the park: Kindergarten artists

The lovely spring weather saw the kindergarten artists take a walk with sketchbooks in hand to the park across the street from the school to explore the plants, flowers, trees, walkways, fellow nature-lovers and artists, and to see what sorts of things we might like to draw from observation. Students chose from pencils, ink pens, and colored pencils to sketch their chosen scene.

The park art-adventure is part of our shared unit focused on the idea that people use a variety of languages to communicate their ideas and feelings. Even when drawing from observation (and not imagination), the young artists are able to express themselves by virtue of the subjects they choose to draw and in the way they do so. The children have spent much time this year learning to combine different formal elements — line, shape, color, texture — in order to create specific effects.

Look below to see what happened at the park:

Watch artist David Hockney paint a landscape ‘en plein air’

How do artists paint landscapes?  There are various approaches to creating a picture of the outdoors.  ‘En plein air’ is a French expression which means “in the open air”, and is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors.  In the following video, we see British artist David Hockney painting a landscape in the Yorkshire Woods of England, observing the sky, earth, trees, and foliage around him and then translating his observations onto a canvas by making marks and lines with his brushes loaded with paint.

The Impressionist painters — over a century ago — also painted landscapes, and many of them were committed to doing so ‘en plein air’.  The 5th grade art students have been getting to know the Impressionist painters and some of the events of their time period — as they prepare to create their own versions of Impressionist art.  Though we won’t be painting en plein air, each 5th grader will base his/her picture on a chosen painting by an Impressionist artist and then will transform it into a more personal artwork by the addition of a uniquely individual element/image.

*5th graders: notice how Mr. Hockney establishes the horizon as the first step to creating his landscape!