Art to See This Summer

Happy Last Day of the 2016-2017 School Year!

Abstraction by Jemma

I always remind the children that if you go on a trip, make sure you check out any art museums where you go. Also, bring a sketchbook and camera. Whether you are visiting Paris, France or a local park, there are inspiring visuals everywhere.

Here are some wonderful exhibits to see right here in the Bay Area this summer:

SFMOMA, San Francisco

Edvard Munch – June 24 – October 9


DeYoung, San Francisco

Stuart Davis – April 1 – August 6


Legion of Honor, San Francisco

Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade – June 24 – September 24


Asian Art Museum, San Francisco

Flower Power – June 23 – October 1


Oakland Museum, Oakland

Roy De Forest – April 29 – August 20

Dorothea Lang – May 13 – August 13


Other museums:

MOAD, San Francisco

BAMPFA, Berkeley

Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford

San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose

Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento

Biographical Puppets by the Sun Room

Sacajawea by Maggie M.
Hellen Keller by Brody
Coretta Scott King by Maggie O.

The Sun Room has been studying biographies of famous people. I helped out with the puppet part of the project. The children came to art class with books about their chosen person. I gave each of them a pre-made (plain) canvas puppet. On the first day they painted the front and back of their person’s clothes with acrylic.

On another day, they traced templates for hands and the face on felt that was similar to their their subject’s skin color. The felt was cut out. The children were instructed on how to use hot glue and they attached the felt and other objects. It took at least one more class to finish. Yarn hair was attached and the pupped were made to hold something that had meaning to them. Other materials used were buttons, pipe cleaners, feathers, beads, cardboard, paper, and popsicle sticks. It was fun to watch everyone working. The class was very focused and attached to their work.

Albert Einstein by Leo Y.
Neil Armstrong by Ishaan
John Brown by Jaro


Figurative Independent Study by 7th Grade

Figurative Independent Study by Lauren
Figurative Independent Study by Zoe
Figurative Independent Study by Nikolai
Figurative Independent Study by JP

The human face and figure can be among the most challenging things to render. For the past few months the 7th grade has been practicing! First, the students were guided in drawing a generic face with proportion. This was followed up with a one day self-portrait done in pencil. We moved on to the figure and the students were guided in drawing a person with proportion. In another class, figures were drawn in various active positions using basic shapes.

Finally, they were asked to create an artwork of their choice using the human face or figure with proportion. How this was interpreted was up to them. I asked the class to look to other artists or styles they like, consider self-portraits or portraits of people they know, apply the project to issues they are passionate about, or just focus on materials and go from there. Students used paper maché, acrylic paint on canvas board, tempera paint on paper, watercolor, pencil, marker, collage, and glitter. Here are some of the finished pieces. They are varied, expressive and thought provoking.

Figurative Independent Study by Griffin
Figurative Independent Study by Sasha H.
Figurative Independent Study by Liam
Figurative Independent Study by Clint
Figurative Independent Study by Hana


Daily Monster by the Eastenders and Skylights

Daily Monster by Jason
Daily Monster by Cecile
Daily Monster by Francis

For this project I introduced the students to Stefan G Bucher’s “Daily Monster” website. Bucher is a British artist and designer. He splatters a little ink on a sheet of paper, blows it across the page with an condensed air canister, and makes the ink design into a monster by drawing with markers. He has created hundreds of monsters! I highly recommend checking out his website. Bucher has hundreds of videos of the monsters being drawn, images, his monster book, an app, and even a class in monster making!

For this project, we watched a few short videos of monsters being created and the “First Hundred Monsters” video. The children dropped a little ink or liquid watercolor onto their paper. They used a straw to blow the ink. When dry, they turned their paper different directions and made their ink design into a monster. We talked about using different thicknesses of markers to vary the line and add details. Students also added details with colored pencils, rubber stamps, and stencils.  This project forced us to use the right side of our brains and think creatively!

Daily Monster by Milo
Daily Monster by Siena
Daily Monster by Julian

Paul Klee Inspired Paintings by 6th Grade

Paul Klee (Emotion and Color Painting) by Sam
Paul Klee (Emotion and Color Painting) by Mase
Paul Klee (Emotion and Color Painting) by Olivia

This lesson was an exploration in color and feeling. After looking at paintings by Paul Klee and a short discussion about color evoking emotions, the students were guided in making a list. They listed three emotions, next to each emotion they wrote the name of a color and type of line that reflects that emotion. For example, happy = yellow = wavy line. The children chose one of their emotions and drew lines that went with it.

For the painting portion of the project, the students painted the shapes formed by their lines. The rule was, every color they painted needed to have their chosen color mixed into it. So, like in the example given above, they would need to mix yellow with everything before painting. The result is a fantastic exploration of color filled with surprises and new learning.

We looked at some of Paul Klee’s drawings. His delicate, bold, and always expressive and playful lines offer inspiration. The students turned their painting different directions to see what it reminded them of. Once they had an idea, they painted their design/picture/shapes on top using black line.

The result is a collection of unique, colorful, expressive works of art.

Paul Klee (Emotion and Color Painting) by Taé Aurie
Paul Klee (Emotion and Color Painting) by Diego
Paul Klee (Emotion and Color Painting) by Nithan


Zentangles by 8th Grade

Zentangle by Anaya
Zentangle by Annabel

This was a drawing project focusing on pattern and design. I showed the students images of various Zentangles and gave them a practice packet. They experimented with patterns based on the Elements of Art and Principles of Design. In a Zentangle, the artist draws an outline shape, then fills the shape with “strings” (lines that divide the shape into parts), then fills each section with a “tangle” or pattern. Patterns may include, line, shape, color, value, or more. The “Zen” in Zentangle comes from quiet meditative experience of drawing repetitive patterns. The work on this post is in various stages of being finished and includes different interpretations of the assignment. Most students worked with pencil, colored pencil, Sharpie, or a combination of all three.

Zentangle by Benito
Zentangle by Sam
Zentangle by Anaya

Collagraphs by the Rainbow Room

Yarn Print by Zev
Yarn Print by India (includes a print reworked with marker)

I love collagraph prints. Collagraphs are made by gluing objects to a board (such as cardboard). In this project, the students worked with yarn. It was cut and glued to a sheet of cardboard. Some created recognizable scenes, others worked non-representationally. When dry, the children chose an ink color. I demonstrated how to ink a plexiglass plate using a brayer, and apply the ink to the printing plate. Every student made four prints. We discussed how some prints will come out better than others, a natural part of the printing process. When the prints were dry, some students reworked them with markers and colored pencils.

Yarn Print by Pia
Yarn Print by Ivo (includes a print reworked with marker)

Synergeyes Art Show 2017

Front Hall with 6th grade Chia Pets
Downstairs Hall with Rainbow, Sun, and Star Room Art
Upstairs Hall with 6th, 7th and 8th Grade Art
Work by the Eastenders and Skylights at the Top of the Back Stairs
Shoe Drawings by the Eastenders and Skylights

Friday, April 28th was the 5th Annual Synergeyes Art Show! Here are a few pictures I took right before the show opened and as the event was happening. The school was packed with art! We had a great turnout. Folks snacked in the big room, took a tour of the “galleries”, made collages in the art room, and listened to a special performance of “Soul Rat” our middle school neo soul band. It was a fun and special night for everyone. Thank you so much for attending, and a huge thank you to the Art Committee for their hard work.

Collage Making in the Art Room
Collage Making in the Art Room
Collage Making in the Art Room
Collage Making in the Art Room
The Tour Begins
Griffin Explains the Butterfly Making Process
Docent Tour
“Soul Rat” Getting Ready to Perform in the Big Room
Enjoying the Sounds of “Soul Rat”

Chia Pets by the 6th Grade

Chia Pets by Argus and Barasa
Chia Pets by Gemma and Nithan

This year’s clay project was making chia pets! The students looked at many examples of chia pets, from the traditional to child made. They started by making a pinch pot with clay and closing the top lip enough to allow for a small opening. Parts were added and attached using a scoring technique. Finally, ridges were drawn in the areas where the seeds would go. After firing, the “pet” was glazed everywhere expect the bottom and where the seeds would sprout. After the glaze fire, soaked chia seeds were applied to the ridges. The chia pets were filled with water, spritzed, and placed in a tray of shallow water so the clay would soak up the moisture. I am thrilled they are sprouting! They are only about a week old in these pictures and will hopefully continue to sprout and look like bushy chia pets.

Chia Pets by Aidan and Avery
Chia Pets by Julius and Emiliano
Chia Pets by Sam, Olivia, and Ryden

Synergeyes Art Show 2017

Hey Everyone!

It’s that time again! The Synergy Art Show is this Friday, April 28th from 6-8pm at Synergy School! This is the 5th Anniversary of Synergeyes!!! We have an awesome line-up.

*2-4 works of art on display per student

*Docent tours by Pam at 6:30 and 7:30

*Collage making in the art room

*Snacks/refreshments in the Big Room

*Lastly, the art show is the debut of “Hey Dan” our awesome middle school neo soul band. They are going to perform several songs for you in the Big Room at 7pm.

I’m really looking forward to celebrating Synergy’s creativity with you!

“Hey Dan” performing at 7pm

Pinch Pot Monsters by the Eastenders and Skylights

Pinch Pot Monsters by Oliver, Ruby, and Vivien
Pinch Pot Monsters by Marcus, Zoe and Solomon

For this year’s big ceramic project, the Eastenders and Skylights made pinch pot monsters! I reviewed how to make a pinch pot and how to score clay to attach pieces. We brainstormed all the things a monster might have and how to add texture to their piece. They could make any kind of monster they wanted so there is a great variety of creatures. After firing the monsters were coated them with 2-3 layers of glaze and fired again. They are on display in the display case next to the art room.

Pinch Pot Monsters by Naomi, Marina, and Noa
Pinch Pot Monsters by Owen, Sophia L, and Simone

Color Mixing Challenge by 1st and 2nd Grade

Rising Fire Color by Lila
Swamp Water Color by Mikel
The Spy Color by Zoe

This project was started on a studio day. I demonstrated how one might make their own tempera paint color swatch, similar to the ones picked up at the hardware store when buying house paint. The challenge was to create at least 100 colors. I demonstrated how to put colors on a palette and mix. The new color was painted on a card. I then slowly added white in increments and painted the color getting lighter. When I finished I named my color. Many students were drawn to this center and they created a total of 56 colors over two class periods. I love the colors, but I think I love the names even more. Very poetic and mysterious!

Bone Dry Water Color by Jasper
Work Color by Kayla

Pinch Pot Animals by the Rainbow Room

Pinch Pot Cow by Ollie
Pinch Pot Owl by Rei

For this project the students were given the task of combining an animal with a pinch pot in clay. I started by showing them lots of examples of student and professional made ceramic pinch pot animals. They sketched their ideas on a sheet of scrap paper. I demonstrated how to make a pinch pot and how to add pieces using scoring so they don’t fall off. As the children worked, some chose to use reference tools to see what their animal looked like, while others worked from memory. After drying for a couple weeks and firing in the kiln, the students applied 3 layers of glaze and the work was fired a final time.

Pinch Pot Pig by Kayla
Pinch Pot Sea Turtle by Zalli

Shoe Portraits by the Eastenders and Skylights

Shoe Portrait by Addy
Shoe Portrait by Nate

This is one of my favorite drawing projects because it is so successful. I talked to the children about how our shoes say something about who we are. Our shoes reflect our style, how we walk, what we like to do, and where we have been. The students start by tracing their shoe on it’s side. The key to getting this right is to keep the pencil in a straight position. They draw the sole and larger shapes working their way to the smallest details. Pencil is used to shade in the darker areas. The focus is on observation, only drawing what one sees, not what they think should be there. It usually takes two class periods to complete.

Shoe Portrait by Victor
Shoe Portrait by Cecile

Symmetry Butterflies by the Star Room

Symmetry Butterfly by Maya
Symmetry Butterfly by Enoch

This was a fun lesson in symmetry for kindergarten. We started by talking about symmetry is. The students learned that if the picture or object is the same on both sides (like a face or animal) it is symmetrical. They folded a large paper in half drew a big letter “B” on the folded edge. The fold was then reversed so the “B” was on the inside of the fold. Using pastel colors plus black, the children painted part of their butterfly one side of the paper, folded it in half and rubbed, then opened to see the paint printed on the opposite wing. This process continued until the butterfly was complete. When dry, the wings were folded in half and cut out. A face and designs were drawn on a black piece of contraction paper for a body and glued to the center.  A pipe cleaner was folded and curled to make antenna that were taped on the back.

Symmetry Butterfly by Marcell
Symmetry Butterfly by Isabella

Clay Animals by the Sun Room

Clay Animal by Malea
Clay Animal by Arman

This was a very open ended project. The only requirement was to create an animal (real, extinct, imagined). I demonstrated how to divide the clay into sections, how to create texture, and how to join pieces using scoring. Nobody was short on ideas! The children rolled, pinched, squished and formed their clay into their animal. After drying and being fired, the students glazed their animal with three layers of glaze. The variety of critters is exciting and some of the snakes are so real, they freak me out a little.

Clay Animal by Erna
Clay Animal by Cecil

Claus Oldenberg Inspired Ceramic Food by 7th Grade

Ceramic Food by Amalia
Ceramic Food by Aiden

For this project, the children looked at the pop art sculptures of food by Claus Oldenberg. He creates larger than life-size apples, sandwiches, and other objects out of vinyl, canvas, and various materials. SFMOMA has a large apple core, I believe it is on the 6th floor. Over a two week period the students worked to sculpt their clay to look like a food of their choice. After firing the pieces were glazed, then fired again. The resulting work is very playful! Are you getting hungry?

Ceramic Food by Nayeli
Ceramic Food by Leda
Ceramic Food by Shirley
Ceramic Food by Gabriello

Pinch Pots by the Star Room

Pinch Pot by Isaac
Pinch Pot by Eva
The Star Room is great at making pinch pots! Each student was given a piece of clay that they rolled into a ball. It was hard at first because the clay is cold. As they worked, the clay got softer and easier to work with. The kindergarteners pushed their thumbs into the clay, then pinched the sides to form a bowl. Time was taken to smooth edges and cracks then they were left to dry for several weeks. After firing the students had a choice of seven glaze colors. They painted on three layers, letting their glaze dry in between. The pinch pots were then fired a second time. They came out fantastic!
Pinch Pot by Griffin
Pinch Pot by Isabella

International Dolls by the Sun Room

Doll by Lila
Doll by Leo D.

The Sun Room has been working to create global villages and monuments. I was happy to help facilitate the creation of the inhabitants! Jesse baked the dough cookies and brought them up to the art room. The first day, children painted them with tempera. Some used the colors from the bottles, others mixed their own. They were careful to make sure the color on the face matched the hands. On another day the faces were drawn with colored pencil and hair was was created with yarn. The dolls were taken downstairs right away and added to their dwellings. I love how cute they are!

Doll by Patrycja
Doll by Zaiden

Two-Point Perspective by 6th Grade

Two-Point Perspective by Ezra
Two-Point Perspective by Jared

We started out this project with sketching. In their sketchbooks the students practiced drawing two vanishing points and a horizon line. They drew a few cubes and rectangular prisms at, above, or below the horizon. Some of the students also practiced on two point perspective worksheets. On another day I introduced the name project. All the students stared out similarly then adjusted the lesson to their own taste and name. Some chose to draw their initials, others their full first name and/or nickname. The highest point in the name might be in the middle, or off to the left or right. Letters were drawn as blocks and angles were drawn with straight edges. Everything was outlined in permanent marker and colored with colored pencils.

Two-Point Perspective by Alex
Two-Point Perspective by Xiara