Tuesday, December 13, 2022

 December 2022 Art Blog


The Skin You Live In: Self Portrait 

How Many Colors Are There in the Human Rainbow?

Visual arts are a wonderful, organic way to engage our students in conversation about skin colors, self love, respect for others, race and diversity. Students engaged in a self-study about their skin color and the skin of their peers, family and community. The culminating end product was a self portrait featuring student’s personal skin colors. 


The book "The Skin You Live In" written by Michael Tyler, illustrated by David Lee Csicsko was a great introduction for students to share observations about their skin. After the read- aloud, students painted with watercolors creating color recipe charts to mix their own skin tones and used creative words to name and describe their skin colors. Students painted one entire page with their skin tone and wrote their creative names of their skin color on the page.


Students continued the study of their skin by contemplating the question: “How many colors are there in the human rainbow?”  By artist  Angélica Dass’ count, at least 4,000. Since 2012, the Brazilian artist has been photographing people of every color and matching each subject’s skin tone to hues from the Pantone printing color chart to codify a unique chromatic inventory.

Dass’s project, titled “Humanæ,” has traveled the world and is featured in National Geographic. The project focuses on the idea of race as a social construct, rather than a biological one. 


Inspired by Dass’ work students drew and layered their self portraits on top of their skin color paper. Students studied basic facial proportions and facial features leaving room for personal expression and details. Students used art media of their choice such as watercolor, marker, color pencil and crayons to paint hair, eye and lip colors and wrote their creative names for their skin colors onto their self portraits.

1st grade

What Do You Love About Yourself? I Love My….inspired by Andrea Pippins

This study is a wonderful progression of the previous skin color unit. It focuses on social justice curriculum elements ‘Self Love and Knowledge’ and “Respect for Others.”

Students were introduced to Andrea Pippins, an illustrator and author who has a passion for creating images that reflect what she would like to see in art, media, and design. Her work has been featured in Essence Magazine, The New York Times, and The Oprah Magazine.

Students read Pippins’ book 'Who Will You Be' and talked about identity and goals in terms of positive characteristics.  For further inspiration students watch Pippins’ video about her coloring book “I Love My Hair” and brainstormed attributes they love about themselves. As a class,  we studied Pippin's work closely and identified that her style includes a limited palette of 3-4 bright bold colors, and the repetition of blocky geometric shapes such as zigzags, triangles, lightning bolts and lines.  

Students drew and painted expressive self-portraits in watercolors and added the words "I love My..." to their portraits. 

2nd grade

Family Portrait inspired by Todd Parr 

Students were introduced to the local author and illustrator Todd Parr. He is the author and illustrator of more than 60 books for children, including the New York Times bestselling The I Love You Book, The Earth Book, and The Thankful Book. He has inspired, empowered, and entertained millions of children around the world with his bold images, unique sense of humor, and inclusive storytelling.

Students read The Family Book and shared their connections with the stories. Some families look alike, some families like to eat different things, some families like to hug each other, some families have two moms or two dads, some families are noisy, some are quiet. 

Students drew their family members in a simple cartoon style like Todd Parr. Students added clues and selected colors to personalize each of their family members. 

3rd grade 

Say Something Poster: The World Needs Your Voice!


Student voice is at the forefront of this unit of study, tying into social justice curriculum elements 'Social Movement, Social Change’ and ‘Awareness Raising '. Students designed posters using their art and words to express their feelings about a cause that is important to them. 


Our voices have power! It is important to teach students that they can use their voice to speak up about issues that are important to them.

Students dove into this artistic journey by reading the story “Say Something!” written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. During class discussions we reflect on the following questions before beginning our design work:

  1. What would you like to see change in the world?

  2. How can your voice change the world?

  3. Why is it important to use your voice?

  4. How can we inspire others with our voice?

  5. How can you use your voice to create a more just community?

For visual inspiration,  students viewed a variety of  posters created for Amplifier, a non-profit design lab that features art to amplify the most important movements of our time. Furthermore, students discussed the artwork “Growing Acceptance” illustrated by their very own art teacher Ms. Libby. 

Students gained an understanding of how our words can turn into positive action! To help emphasize this topic we read the story “Change Sings” written by Amanda Gorman and illustrated by Loren Long. In addition students researched young activists who have used their voice to speak up for what they believe in and whose actions have created a positive change in the world.

Students recorded important facts about Haring in their sketchbooks and viewed samples of his work. Focusing on Haring's iconic imagery, students analyzed a few samples of his works and used "his clues" (color, symbols, and motion marks) to identify and guess Haring's message to the viewer.

Students sketched ideas to express a positive message or thought in a Keith Haring style. Students finalized their positive message posters carefully selected bright colors to support their message. 

May you guess the message/idea/story that the students are communicating?Students embraced this design challenge with heartfelt engagement mapping out powerful compositions to make their voices for their cause visible. Students decided on design elements, color pallet, art media and technique to best support their artwork. The project illustrates how important it is to engage in critical conversations with students. This includes conversations about identity, power, privilege, and the ways that injustice affects our lives and our society. 

This project is an example of how educators may lead students through these conversations so that they can begin to think about how their words and actions can create change. A helpful tool to guide conversation is the “Let’s Talk” guide created by Teaching Tolerance. 

Our voices, art, and actions can change the world!  


4th grade 

Positive Message Poster inspired by Keith Haring 

To promote love and kindness in the world, 4th grade students designed and painted impressive, bright colored, posters inspired by the artist Keith Haring.

Students were introduced to the works of Pop artist Keith Haring. Haring (1958-1990) was famous in the 1980s for his often large scale art, which was a mixture of graffiti and pop art. He used bright colors and simplistic, cartoon like images, expressing his social, emotional, and political views. 

Students recorded important facts about Haring in their art journals and viewed samples of his work. Focusing on Haring's iconic imagery students analyzed a few samples of his works and used "his clues" (color, symbols, and motion marks) to identify, and guess Haring's message to the viewer. 

Students sketched ideas to express a positive message or thought to promote love, kindness, acceptance, peace, equality etc. in a Keith Haring style. Students presented their ideas in small groups and gave each other feedback. Students used pop art techniques such as simple figures, motion lines, and bright colors to express their ideas and to communicate their views. Can you guess the students' message/idea/story they are communicating? 

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

September/October 2022 Art Blog

Community Building

We have been working on establishing art room guidelines and building an inclusive community culture. We start every class with a greeting routine and a choral speaking and signing of our art classroom affirmation. Students love learning and practicing American Sign Language to support our greeting and affirmation. 

Bacich artists, TK through 4th grade, worked on a collaborative concentric circle art piece that was inspired by International Dot Day and the concentric circle painting by Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky. Panels of these collaborative works are on display in the Bacich art room and the front office. 


It is a Bacich art room tradition that in the beginning of a new school year students start out their visual arts journey by grounding themselves with a sketchbook activity. Throughout the school year, students will have the opportunity to use their sketchbook in a combination of sketching, note taking and personal journal writing. Students reflect upon and evaluate their own learning. This allows students to place reading and writing in a context that is functional and personally relevant. 

One of the key values of the Bacich art program is that we are all practicing artists. Besides being a means of practicing and recording, the sketchbook is a safe place for students to express their thoughts and ideas in writing and drawing that is not corrected by the teacher, providing freedom for individual expression.

Sketchbook Covers


We celebrated International Dot Day, which was inspired by the book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. Students connected with the story of making their mark and decorated their sketchbooks with many different dot combinations. 

1st-2nd Grade

The Bacich Bear mascot inspired the 1st and 2nd grade students' sketchbook covers. In a guided drawing lesson, students learned to recognize and categorize lines, shapes and space while drawing their individualized cartoon-style art bear. 

3rd-4th Grade 

The art of upcycling is to reuse (discarded objects or materials) in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original. 3rd and 4th grade students upcycled brown paper bags to make their sketchbooks. Students were introduced to the basics of bookbinding, the process of physically assembling a book from an ordered stack of recycled paper sheets folded together into sections. 4th grade students learned how to sew their journals with a saddle stitch book binding method. Students then designed their sketchbook covers with colorful concentric circle designs. 

Hispanic Heritage Month 

Amate Bark Painting

TK through 4th grade artists have been engrossed in the Amate Bark painting tradition which originates from San Pablito, a small mountain village in Mexico 🇲🇽 where this beautiful craft is still taught today. Students sketched Mexican and Mayan inspired designs, birds, floral motifs and village scenes. To simulate the process of this beautiful hand made amate paper, and to create a bark-like texture, students crumpled their upcycled brown paper bags and burnished the paper with flat, smooth rocks. Thank you KSPTA for funding the amazing paint pens to achieve the gorgeous vibrant, saturated colors on our bark paintings. The finished art pieces are stunning! 



Thursday, May 27, 2021

May 2021 Art Blog


Kindergarten: The Tree of Life inspired by Gustav Klimt

Kindergarten students were introduced to the Austrian “Art Nouveau” painter Gustav Klimt (born in 1862). Klimt had created many world famous paintings such as “The Kiss” and the painting the Kindergarten students were introduced to “The Tree of Life”. Gustav Klimt painted the Tree of Life, during his Golden Era as seen by the extensive use of the golden color on this piece. 

Gustav Klimt’s decorative art nouveau style, with his use of colors and abstract shapes, is full of symbolism and can be interpreted in so many ways. Students used gold tempera paint to paint their own tree of life, painting graceful spirals at the end of each branch. While painting students dedicated each spiral to someone they love. 

2nd GRADE: Warm/Cool Color Sun/Moon Study

Students were introduced to the color scheme warm and cool. With colors an artist can set a mood, attract attention, or make a statement. Color can be used to energize, or to calm down. By selecting the right color scheme, artists can create an ambiance of elegance, warmth or tranquility, or convey an image of playful youthfulness. Color can be an artist's most powerful design element if learned to use effectively. 

Colors affect us in numerous ways, both mentally and physically. A strong red color has been shown to raise blood pressure, while a blue color has a calming effect.

Students learned to use colors consciously and harmoniously to create spectacular results.

Students sketched imaginary, circular sun/moon compositions and used a color marker/water wash technique to carefully color in the sun/moon compositions with warm/cool color combinations. 

3rd GRADE: Constellation Illustrations

The constellation of the Little Bear also known by its Latin name Ursa Minor contains an easily recognizable group of seven stars in the USA called the Little Dipper. 

Students were introduced to the basic artistic background of how astronomers  and artists have illustrated constellations in the past and in the present and how artists from different countries and cultures have associated the grouping of stars with a variety of images and creatures. 

Using white sketch pencils students carefully mapped out the stars of the Ursa Minor constellation and sketched the mythological figure and/or creature around them. To color students practice the cross-hatching technique with colored pencils For finishing touches students placed gold star stickers in place of the constellation. 

4th GRADE: Realistic Soap Bubbles

This introduction to realistic rendering in colored pencil absorbed 4th grade students in wonder and excitement.There are a few techniques that are key to creating realistic work in colored pencil. The first is layering by lightly applying multiple layers known as cross-hatching. With this technique artists can achieve soft transitions in value, color and light. Colored pencils are solid-not liquid-so it doesn't blend like paint. Creating smooth transitions requires constant layering with light pressure. 

Drawing bubbles on black paper is really interesting because of the way a color pencil will pop against the black paper. The white highlights and reflections on bubbles are particularly satisfying to apply creating the visual effect of a sphere. There is no right or wrong way to draw these bubbles. With some practice and patience everybody can learn how to draw bubbles like this. Each and every bubble came out differently which makes this project such a stunning visual. 

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