I Say Yayoi, You Say Kusama! (And Other Projects in 2nd & 3rd Grade)

by | Nov 18, 2021

So much has been going on in the art room! There is a lot to catch up on and unfortunately, few pictures to show BUT I am so happy to share what these students have been doing over the past month and then some…

The artist study continued for both grades with a look at the still-living artist, Yayoi Kusama at the end of October. This Japanese artist’s love of polka dots and pumpkins lends itself perfectly for the fall season. Both grades completed a project inspired by her work. Second grade followed a guided drawing of a pumpkin that they turned into a styrofoam tray print with varied results from this printmaking experience. Third grade painted and assembled a paper 3D pumpkin. They learned about installation art and made a matching space for the paper sculpture in the style of Yayoi Kusama. These were on display for parent-teacher conferences.

The grades diverged from there: Second-grade students learned about another artist – Wayne Thiebaud, and 3rd grade took on an acorn and oak leaf printmaking project.

After looking at the work of Wayne Thiebaud, the students chose a pie or cake slice to construct from cardboard pieces. The following week involved paper mâché and the next, paint! I really tried to emphasize texture in this project – both physical and implied. The results are fantastic and are currently displayed on the secondary side of the building where I overheard a few upperclassmen comment on how they thought the slices were real!  Also, this is the second time I’ve done this project and blue remains a favorite student color choice on cake. (??) Second grade will get a much-deserved break from artist studies as we finish out the first semester.

The third-grade students followed a guided drawing of both an acorn and an oak leaf and transferred them to polystyrene trays. This took three weeks to complete since we followed a reduction printmaking process. There are three printed layers and students went back into their trays each time to add more details and reduce the surface area in order to have overlapping colors seen in their final projects. I enjoyed seeing their surprise and joy at the results at each step, but that’s not to ignore the fact that there were frustrations and disappointments – printmaking can challenge expectations. Overall, I think most students were pleased with their finished work, and I am excited to have these up in the hallway in time for their Thanksgiving parties!