Ms. Dani d’Epagnier is our very creative and talented Art teacher at St. Louis School, teaching Art to all students from Pre-K to 8th grade. Ms. d’Epagnier has been teaching at SLS since 2011. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Art Education at Mount St. Mary’s University and recently completed a Master’s program in Art Education at Towson University.
Art is an important part of the curriculum at St. Louis, and provides us with a creative way to incorporate critical thinking skills and an appreciation for hard work and originality. When learning about colors, or Vincent Van Gogh, or the art of South America, our students are expected to embrace their creativity and do their best!
On this blog, Ms. d’Epagnier will showcase the “creative chaos” that is occurring in the Art Room on any given day. Check back often to see what we are learning and creating!
*** The Art Room Blog has moved to a new platform- Instagram! Because the students do not bring home most of their artwork until June, we are using a private Instagram account to share photos of the students’ progress throughout the year.
Follow us at @artatsls to stay connected with what your children are accomplishing in the art room!
A popular 8th grade art class tradition is the Plaster Mask Project, in which the students get to cover each other’s faces in plaster gauze to create masks. The 8th graders must demonstrate a great deal of teamwork and trust in order to make this happen in a short class period. Check back later to see what they have created with these masks!
After learning about the dessert-inspired artwork of American artist Wayne Thiebaud, the 3rd utilized ceramics techniques to create these delicious-looking cupcakes. They created pinch pots to form the cupcake, and rolled coils to sculpt the icing. They also learned how to score and slip pieces of clay so that they would stick together without breaking. Great job 3rd grade!
The 2nd graders used the colorful work of contemporary Australian artist Anna Blatman as inspiration for these abstract garden paintings. Anna Blatman is known for a unique style that simplifies complex shapes and emphasizes bright colors. The 2nd graders discussed simplifying flower shapes into circles and using a variety of colors to create texture.
To conclude their unit of Op Art, the 5th graders created these “squiggles” with colored pencils. They used curved lines and shading techniques to make their flat drawings look 3-dimensional. The 5th graders were also challenged to use analogous colors, or colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, to create a sense of unity in their artworks.
The 7th graders were challenged to create a radial design inspired by the traditional art forms of one of the major world religions. Inspiration could be drawn from the Christian rose windows that decorate many European cathedrals, the girih tiles found in a majority of Islamic architecture, or the Hindu mandalas created as a form of meditation. The students carved out ¼ of their designs onto linoleum blocks and then printed the design in a rotation to create a full square. Their designs demonstrate radial symmetry, or a type of balance that begins from a center pint and remains identical in all directions. This type of printmaking is called reduction printing because whenever a color change is needed, more of the linoleum must be carved away (or reduced) so that only the raised portions of the block can collect the ink.
A parabola is a math concept that served as the inspiration for 6th grade’s most recent unit, String Art. A parabolic curve is created by placing a series of straight lines at certain angles. Using this idea, the 6th graders chose various patterns to recreate using a needle and thread. These intricate designs turned out great!
The 3rd graders recently completed a portrait unit using Ancient Egyptian art as inspiration. The students learned that Ancient Egyptian artists depicted human forms in a profile view, or from the side. After referring to paintings found on the walls of tombs and temples, the 3rd graders included details like false beards and elaborate headdresses. They painted these brightly colored portraits with watercolors.
For this unit, the 4th graders drew inspiration from South American textile designs. Molas are brightly colored pieces of clothing worn by the Kuna women of Panama. They consist of layers of colored fabric sewn together in designs that feature animals and geometric patterns. The 4th graders used layers of colored paper to create their own paper molas.
The 6th graders have spent several weeks working on a printmaking project inspired by ancient Greek vases. After discussing the characteristics often found on vases and other pottery in ancient Greece, such as images of cultural heroes, sporting events, and everyday life, the 6th graders were challenged to design their own vases featuring modern imagery. These Modern Greek Vases were created with a simple printmaking process called relief printing. The students traced their designs into a piece of styrofoam to create an indented image, and then used ink to create a print.
'Tis the season! The 2nd graders are working on a mixed-media artwork inspired by the style of Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night. Using van Gogh's unique choices of colors and lines, the 2nd graders used oil pastels to create a "Starry Night" over Bethlehem. They used construction paper to create a collaged stable and manger to hold the baby Jesus.
November is Native American Heritage Month. The 3rd graders learned about the legend of the Thunderbird, a mythological creature popular in many American Indian tribes. According to legend, thunder occurs when this enormous creature flaps its wings, and it can shoot lightning out of its eyes. The 3rd graders also demonstrated symmetry, or a design that is identical on both sides, when they created their collaged thunderbirds.
The 5th graders learned about the Op Art movement, an art style characterized by optical illusions. In particular, they looked at the work of Victor Vasarely, a 20th century artist considered to be the leader of the Op Art movement. Vasarely often used colors and lines in such a way that his paintings of spheres and cubes appeared three-dimensional. The 5th graders used this inspiration to create these Op Art spheres.
Alma Woodsey Thomas was a 20th century African-American painter known for her expressive and colorful paintings inspired by nature. Her work is similar in appearance to mosaics, as she created large artworks made of small blocks of color. The 2nd graders created their own landscapes in this style, inspired by the various colors of fall.
The 8th graders began the school year with the Wire Figure Project, a long-awaited tradition that incorporates the art principles of movement and proportion with 3-D art. Students were encouraged to use personal interests as inspiration for their sculptures. In addition to the wire used to create the figure, students were able to use a variety of other media including wood, tissue paper, popsicle sticks, and yarn.
The 2nd graders are working on a project inspired by the art of Dia de los Muertos, the Mexican Day of the Dead, which is typically celebrated around the same time as Halloween. The Day of the Dead celebrates the memories of our loved ones who have passed away, and is considered a joyful holiday. Symbols of the celebration include colorful skeletons and marigolds.
For this printmaking project, the 7th graders were instructed to create a radial design inspired by a traditional art form of one of 3 major world religions. Inspiration could be drawn from the Christian rose windows that decorate many European cathedrals, the girih tiles found in a majority of Islamic architecture, and the Hindu mandalas created as a form of mediation. The students carved out ¼ of their designs onto linoleum blocks and then printed the design in a rotation to create a full square that demonstrated radial symmetry, or a type of balance that begins from a center point and remains identical in all directions. This type of printmaking is called reduction printing because whenever a color change is needed, more of the linoleum must be carved away so that only the raised portions of the block can collect the ink.
The 8th graders practiced using chalk pastels to create various types of texture. They chose an animal with fur, feathers, or scales and cropped the image to focus on the animal's eye. After drawing the basic outline with pencil, they applied their knowledge of pastel techniques to create these realistic drawings.
The 5th grade has been learning about the Op Art movement, characterized by lines and shapes drawn to act like optical illusions. For their "squiggles," students used shadows and highlights to make their drawings look 3-dimensional. The 5th graders were also challenged to use analogous colors, or colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, in each column to create a sense of unity.
The 4th Graders learned about the Austrian architect Freidensreich Hundertwasser, who is known for using bright colors and whimsical designs on his buildings. The 4th graders incorporated some of the characteristics of Hundertwasser's style, such as domed roofs, wavy lines, and whimsical shapes, to design these colorful towns.
The 2nd graders learned about the traditional Ukrainian art form of Pysanky, or intricately decorated Easter eggs. They used oil pastels to imitate the way wax is used by Ukrainian artists to create designs before the eggs are dipped in colorful dyes. The 2nd graders finished their eggs with colorful watercolors.
The 1st graders learned about the French artist Henri Matisse, known for "drawing with scissors" to create brightly colored cut-paper collages. The 1st graders also learned the difference between geometric shapes, like squares and rectangles, and organic shapes, which don't have names. They used only scissors and glue to put together these colorful collages.
The preschoolers recently spent several weeks learning about color theory. They looked at the artwork of Piet Mondrian to learn about primary colors, and used construction paper squares and rectangles to make collages. They also learned how to mix the primary colors to create the secondary colors. Finally, they helped ring in St. Patrick's Day by mixing the colors of the Irish flag.
The 6th grade recently drew on some math concepts to create these string art masterpieces based on parabolic curves. They used colored pencils and rulers to practice creating these curves, which consist entirely of straight lines angled to make an arc. Once they were comfortable with the drawing portion, they moved on to needles and thread. Great job 6th grade!
Besides being a lesson in the art of weaving, this project was a lesson in the art of perseverence. Weaving is technically a simple process of moving fibers over and under other fibers. However, our 5th graders learned that it is also time-consuming and requires a great deal of concentration. The final product is worth it in the end!
The 4th graders recently completed a unit on the traditional art of the native people of Australia, the Aborigines. They studied uniquely abstract dot paintings that date back thousands of years, and then practiced the dot technique in their own abstract designs. They also researched native Australian animals and drew them in the X-ray style typical of Aboriginal art, before coloring them with oil pastels.
The 6th graders recently completed a unit in which they took famous examples from art history and created parodies of them so that they would fit in the modern world. This unit forced the 6th graders to think creatively as well as demonstrate technical painting skills. Great job 6th grade!
Using their plaster masks from a previous project, the 8th graders immersed themselves in a little art history to create these relief sculptures decorated in the style of famous artists. Students were encouraged to use similar painting techniques to best emulate their chosen artist's style. Can you identify the artists?
The 1st graders had a "Ketchup" Day while they waited for a few of their classmates to catch up on a fall leaf project. They had several centers to choose from, including free draw, How-to-Draw books, reading picture books, Legos, and Tan-Grams. All of these centers allowed for some very creative free time as the 1st graders used their imaginations to appreciate different forms of art.
The 4th grade has been learning about the traditional Indian folk art of rangoli, in which brightly colored designs are created using dyed sand, rice or flower petals. These decorations are often displayed in the doorways and courtyards of Indian homes during the Hindu festival of Diwali, typically celebrated sometime between mid-October and mid-November. The 4th graders were inspired by the use of colors and radial balance to create their own unique designs, and used oil pastel and black paint to add texture and contrast.
The 2nd grade has just begun a unit on Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday that honors the lives of those who have passed away. Dia de los Muertos is actually a two-day festival that is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd. Rather than being a sad holiday, the Day of the Dead is often filled with music, dancing, and parties as a celebration of life rather than mourning. The 2nd graders' skeletons reflect this sense of celebration and play.
The 6th graders began the school year with a unit on perspective. They have learned how to draw objects so that they appear to be extending into the distance, giving the illusion of depth in a flat drawing. To culminate this unit, the 6th graders have drawn Legos using perspective techniques and are practicing their shading skills to add value to the blocks.
For their Art to Remember project, the 5th graders have been working on artworks based on their initials. Using Zentangles, or designs composed of a variety of different patterns, as a model, they decorated the inside of their initial letter using Sharpies. Throughout this project they have demonstrated strong fine motor skills as well as imagination as they complete their designs.
For their Art to Remember project, the 4th graders are demonstrating their understanding of the difference between warm and cool colors as well as practicing their skills in using a ruler to create a grid. These colorful masterpieces would look great printed on any of the Art to Remember products!
The 2nd graders have been learning a technique called watercolor resist as they work on their Art to Remember projects. When watercolors are painted over a crayon drawing, the paint will stick only on the blank parts of the paper. The 2nd graders also practiced blending their crayon colors together to add more texture to their artworks.
To celebrate their first day of art class EVER, the preschoolers decorated their art portfolios. These folders will hold the artwork they create this year as they learn how to cut, glue, draw, and paint! The preschoolers also began working on their project for Art to Remember, our art program fundraiser. Look for the Art to Remember order forms coming home soon!
The 1st Annual SLS Art Showcase was a great success! Art Club sponsored several interactive activities like a photobooth, a splatter paint mural, and face painting. Every student in every grade had an artwork on display, turning the cafeteria into a colorful gallery. We look forward to a repeat performance next year!
Inspired by reality TV shows like Chopped and Face Off, in which contestants must race against the clock to complete a challenge, the 8th graders recently participated in the Great Sidewalk Chalk Challenge. This contest has become a tradition at the end of the 8th grade year, as students must work together to recreate a famous masterpiece using only sidewalk chalk. The results were impressive and everyone seemed to have fun!
The 5th grade recently practiced various watercolor techniques while illustrating their choice of either a plant cell or animal cell. In addition to including the appropriate parts of each type of cell, the 5th graders had to demonstrate the design principles of unity and contrast through the arrangement of color in their paintings.
The 4th graders have started a unit learning about radial symmetry, a type of balance that revolves around a central point. To demonstrate their understanding of radial symmetry, the 4th graders were challenged to work in groups to design patterns using Tangrams. The results were both intricate and creative, and demonstrated great problem-solving skills as well.
The 2nd grade recently completed these landscape paintings as they learned how to create the illusion of space on a 2-dimensional surface. Artists use techniques such as making objects smaller and less detailed to indicate how far away they are in a scene. The 2nd graders worked on these paintings of poppy fields to demonstrate their knowledge.
The 7th grade is in the middle of a clay unit in which they are creating Pop Art sculptures in the style of American artist Claes Oldenburg. Oldenburg is known for his larger-than-life sculptures of everyday objects, such as ice cream cones and clothespins. The 7th graders were instructed to choose a food to recreate using ceramics handbuilding techniques. Check back soon to see their finished artworks!
When half the class is finished with a project but the rest need more time, we have a "Ketchup" Day. While some of the first graders finished up their stained glass cross paintings, the rest of them had the opportunity to choose their art activity for the day. It's always amazing to see what children will come up with when they are given the freedom to use their innate creativity.
The 2nd grade learned about the unique appearance of Russian architecture. They were especially inspired by the bright colors, patterns, and onion domes found on Russian buildings such as St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow. These watercolor paintings reflect those characteristics of Russian architecture.
The 3rd graders have been studying the unique style of Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. Picasso is considered one of the founders of the Cubism movement, in which objects were depicted as broken into small shapes rather than the whole. The 3rd graders' guitars reflect both the Cubist style and Picasso's Rose and Blue Periods, which were phases in which the artist painted mainly in red and blue tones. To create their color schemes, the 3rd graders practiced making tints and shades of colors by adding white and black.
In between several snow days, the 5th graders have been hard at work learning several origami folds. Origami literally means "folded paper" in Japanese. Once they mastered several types of folds, the 5th graders began assembling the multicolored papers into a radial design, or a design that is balanced on all sides like a circle. Check back soon for photos of their finished artworks!
The 4th grade has begun learning about the unique style Australian Aboriginal art. This artistic style is characterized by bright colors, simple shapes and lines, and most importantly, lots and lots of dots. The 4th graders dot paintings are inspired by both traditional and contemporary Aboriginal artists who use wooden dowels to create their abstract artworks.
The 6th graders recently completed a paper-mache sculpture project inspired by Ancient Greek vases. In ancient Greece, vases were traditionally decorated with images of everyday life, athletic events, historical pictures, and cultural heroes such as Hercules and Theseus. The 6th graders were challenged to use these same themes but to apply them to modern popular culture.
The 7th Grade spent several weeks learning how to do a type of printmaking called reduction printing. The printing process involves carving away parts of a linoleum block after printing with each color, in order to create a design with distinct layers. The students' designs had to incorporate characteristics found in one of 3 cultural and religious art forms: Christian rose windows, Islamic ceramic tiles, and Hindu mandalas. All of these art forms demonstrate radial balance, in which the design radiates out from a central point and is symmetrical on all sides.
The Challenge: To use photo-manipulation software to create a pixelated image of a TV or movie character, and then recreate that image using a non-traditional medium. The 8th graders have been hard at work for several weeks as they sort buttons, pushpins, cotton balls, and an assortment of other materials that they are using to create pixelated portraits. The creativity and ingenuity displayed as the 8th graders collaborate and problem-solve their way to a finished product is amazing to watch. Check back soon for more pictures!
The 7th grade has spent several weeks learning about how artists create interesting compositions through cropping, object placement, and color choices. As their subjects, the students chose a favorite candy and used iPads to find reference images. These delicious-looking paintings are the result.
In honor of Native American Month, the 3rd graders are kicking off November with a artwork celebrating the American Indian legend of the Thunderbird. According to folklore, thunderbirds cause thunder when they flap their giant wings and they can shoot lightning out of their eyes. The 3rd graders also learned about symmetry, or equal balance on both sides of an artwork. They created these collaged thunderbirds that demonstrate perfect symmetry using simple patterns.
The kindergartners recently listened to the story Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty. In this story, Iggy loves to build creative architectural designs. We learned that an architect is someone who designs buildings and structures. The kindergartners worked in groups to use Legos to build different architectural designs, such as towers and arches.
The first graders have begun studying the artwork of Paul Cézanne, a French painter known for his unique style and focus on landscapes and still lifes. The first graders learned that a still life is an artwork depicting a group of objects, such as fruit. Cézanne created 270 paintings of apples. Using watercolors and oil pastels, the students created their own apple still lifes. They also learned about Mont Ste. Victoire, a mountain in France that Cézanne painted over 60 times. The 1st graders were inspired by Cézanne's abstracted painting style using blocks of color.
The 4th graders recently learned about the Austrian architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser, an eccentric artist known for designing buildings with curved lines and bright colors. He believed that buildings should be works of art in themselves. The 4th grade designed cityscapes inspired by Hundertwasser's unique style and painted them with watercolors.
The 8th graders have been hard at work for several weeks to create these wire sculptures. Their only requirement was to depict a figure in motion, with an emphasis on human proportion and gesture. The students have been very creative in adding accessories to reflect the nature of their figure's pose. Check back soon to see more!
The 3rd graders have been studying the art of Ancient Egypt, starting with self-portraits in the traditional profile style. The students practiced standing like the Egyptian portraits and then began designing their own self-portraits in the style of the Pharaohs, complete with elaborate headdresses. Check back soon to see our finished work!
The 7th grade is working on a drawing unit in which they must use create a contour line drawing of a musical instrument, and then design a background pattern that reflects the tone and rhythm of that instrument. The result has been some very creative and striking artwork. Check back soon to see their finished work!
The first graders are starting off Fall with these oil pastel pumpkins, which they crumpled up and then painted with black tempera paint in order to create a batik effect. Batik is a traditional Indonesian technique for decorating textiles. With their batik pumpkins, the 1st graders learned about creating texture.
The 8th grade has been using technology to create art! Stop-motion animation is a popular technique seen in films such as Wallace and Gromit, Coraline, and Fantastic Mr. Fox. It involves moving an object in small increments and taking individual still photographs. This creates the illusion of movement when the series of frames is played as a continuous sequence. For this project, the 8th graders must create a 30-second animation of a pipe-cleaner figure, which will take approximately 150 photographs. Check back soon to see their films!
The Pop Art movement began in the late 1950's as a challenge to traditional ideas about fine art. Pop artists were inspired by popular culture of the time, and commercial products like Campbell's soup cans and comic books. The 7th graders looked at the work of American artist Claes Oldenburg, whose giant sculptures of ordinary objects are found all over the world. The 7th graders will be using paper mache to make their larger-than-life sculptures of everyday objects from popular culture.
The 2nd graders were inspired by the landscape paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe, an American artist who is most famous for her large paintings of flowers but who also created dozens of landscapes depicting the American Southwest. Most of her landscapes depict places in New Mexico, where she lived for the last 40 years of her life. Our inspiration for our artworks came from O'Keeffe's numerous paintings of Pedernal, a flat-topped mountain overlooking her home in New Mexico.
In 8th Grade, the students are given the opportunity to create a choice-driven artwork expressing their individual identities. After using a grid to draw and shade their self-portraits with pencil, the 8th graders will use other media to refer to personal interests or values and their unique cultural heritages. Check back soon to see what they have decided to do!
In honor of Valentine's Day, the 2nd graders have been working on these oil pastel hearts inspired by the artwork of contemporary American artist, Jim Dine. The 2nd graders also learned about the difference between cool and warm colors. The students were also introduced to a traditional technique called batik that is often used in textile design. For our project, the 2nd graders crumpled up their heart drawings, painted over the oil pastel with black ink, and then washed the ink off to reveal a wonderful batik design.
The art of printmaking takes many forms, including the popular tradition of paper marbling. The 4th graders recently began learning about Ebru (AY-BROO), an ancient Turkish art form that involves dropping paint onto water and then capturing that painted image on paper. The 4th graders know that oil and water don't mix, and that oil-based paints will float on top of the water. Check back soon to see our progress!
The 5th graders have been working very hard to demonstrate their understanding of the art element of value. Value refers to the lightness or darkness of a color. Tints are created when white is added to a pure color, and shades are created when black is added. The 5th grade used a grid system to enlarge these pictures of the Statue of Liberty and then painted them using 3 values. Check back soon to see our finished artwork!
The 3rd graders have been working away on these cakes inspired by the artwork of contemporary American artist, Wayne Thiebaud, who is well known for his painting series of desserts of all kinds. We learned how to create tints and shades using oil pastels in order to make our drawings look 3-dimensional. These cakes look good enough to eat!
Pre-K looked at the artwork of Dutch painter Piet Mondrian as inspiration for their Primary Colors Collages. Mondrian is most known for a series of abstract paintings that focus on simple lines, shapes, and colors. For this lesson, we talked about the 3 primary colors and the difference between squares and rectangles. The Pre-K students used construction paper to make a collage of shapes and then used cardboard to print black lines on top of their collages.
The kindergartners learned that art does not always have to look realistic in order to be considered "good." They began an abstract art project inspired by the work of artist Piet Mondrian. Using basic shapes and lines and their choice of colors, the kindergartners are creating oil pastel drawings of abstract trees.
The first graders have started a painting project inspired by the book Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner. We discussed how the illustrator of the book used shading to make the snowmen look more realistic. The first graders' paintings are already looking like real snowmen. Check back soon to see their progress!