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. 

Friday, April 23, 2021

April 2021 Art Blog

During the week of April 12, 2021 Bacich teachers and community volunteers delivered an arts based unit on skin colors to 44 Marin Country Public Elementary Schools. Inside the inclusive language tote bag: Bacich Elementary School Social Justice Skin Color unit, The Skin You Live In book, by Michael Tyler and beautifully painted bookmarks in skin tones by Bacich students. So much gratitude to all who leaned into this important message of acceptance & self love. Thank you to a fantastic team making this happen.

Donation Package

Bookmarks painted by K-4th grade Bacich Students

This fantastic action step includes a long list of individuals and organizations who donated books, resources, and endless support to bring this unit of acceptance and inclusion to all Marin elementary schools. With gratitude we’d like to recognize; Raquel Rose, Mary Ann Spitzer, Wendy Holmes, Barbara Libby-Steinmann, Thalia Milano, Marty Ross, Anna Rochester, Michael Tyler, Jenny Novack, Jennifer Ball, KSPTA, Community ArtsKitchen and a big thank you to all the Bacich K-4th grade students who painted the beautiful bookmarks. 

KSD students volunteering passing out donation tote bags

Principal Anderson from Lucas Valley Elem Sch accepts Bacich Elem Sch Social Justice unit

Principal Cala from Bel Aire Elem accepts Bacich Elem Sch Social Justice unit

Message from author Michael Tyler:

This is such an incredible and extraordinary expression of community goodwill. I can never thank you enough, but hope one day to try, in person. My gratitude to the entire Bacich fellowship and to Marin County for being so receptive to my book.

There’s an adage with deep roots in African American culture, one that can traces its origins back to the days of bondage, when those who knew how to read, write and count or the way and route to freedom taught those who didn’t: “Each one reach one. Each one teach one.” The application of this instruction goes far beyond this specific cultural counseling. If we all followed this, relative to reaching another human being and sharing the knowledge of the mutual valuation of everyone, along with the bonding power of acceptance, our union would be more perfect. What you and others are doing is a hopeful, inspiring and active demonstration of this adage. My wish is that others will see and do the same. It is all the more fated in the effort that the beauty of colorful art is being employed to focus on and promote the beauty of colorful hues that make up the palette of all people.

1st Grade: Bird Sketching

Students were introduced to David Allen Sibley, American ornithologist. He is the author and illustrator of "The Sibley Guide to Birds" considered by many to be the most comprehensive guide for North American field bird identification. 

During directed sketching lessons students were guided through a series of sketching check-points, to capture the position and gesture of a bird and its distinctive features, such as, beak, legs, tail and wing feathers. Students enjoyed sketching the California Quail and their drawings came out amazing. 

The California quail, also known as the California valley quail, is a small ground-dwelling bird.  These birds have a curving crest or plume, made of six feathers, that droops forward: black in males and brown in females; the flanks are brown with white streaks. Males have a dark brown cap and a black face with a brown back, a grey-blue chest and a light brown belly. Females and immature birds are mainly grey-brown with a light-colored belly. 

California Quail Sketches by 1st grade students from Mrs. Fanning's class

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

March 2021 Art Blog

 March 2021

With great pleasure I welcomed students in-person in the Baich art room for the first time in over a year!  What a difference to be able to have access to supplies and a teaching style not via a screen. Through the end of the school year two grade levels will be rotating through the art room for in-person art instruction in a two week wheel schedule. Distance learning classes will continue to have art instruction via zoom following the same two week schedule. 


Students were introduced to the concept of contrast: to use different elements or opposites to make areas in artwork stand out. The tint white and the shade black are the lightest and darkest shades to create the highest, strongest contrast and a dramatic statement.


Are black and white colors? Many do consider black to be a color, because you combine other pigments to create it on paper, but in a technical sense, black and white are not colors, they’re shades. They augment colors, and yet they do function like colors. They evoke feelings and allow for balanced, and aesthetic pleasing designs.

4th grade

Building on our study of skin colors 4th grade students engaged in the inquiry: “Why do the shape of eyes differ in different races?”

They are not different eye shapes, they are different eyelids. Some Asians as well as others have what is called an epicanthic fold in their upper eyelid and it makes the eye appear to be a different shape.

The epicanthal fold is a skin fold of the upper eyelid covering the inner corner of the eye. It is often seen as a normal finding in very young children and is most pronounced in some people of Asiatic descent. There are also varying degrees of the fold throughout the world's population.

As far as its evolutionary purpose, there are various thoughts on this and has been a topic of discussion since the 19th century.

One hypothesis is that it was a trait that evolved to protect the eye from the blowing sand of the Gobi Desert. Interestingly, the Bushmen of the Kalahari desert also have epicanthal folds. It has also been suggested that the fold itself might provide a level of protection from snow blindness. It can be seen in Siberian peoples and Inuits. There are several other hypotheses but these are the two most widely known.

Japanese Anime is an art genre that focuses on the eyes of characters. The word anime — pronounced "ah-knee-may" — is an abbreviation of the word animation. Anime character’s eyes are over exaggerated and often take up about one third of the characters face to illustrate the actions and emotions of characters. Students were introduced to “manga” creator artist Osamu Tezuka. Practicing the manga cartoon drawing style students sketched their eyes and named  their unique eyelid shapes in creative, descriptive ways. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

January 2021 Distance/Hybrid Learning Art Blog

School wide Bookmark Project

Kindergarten through 4th grade students are continuing with our Social Justice/Arts Integration work with a "Call for Action Bookmark Project".  (SJ elements 5 and 6: Awareness Raising and Social Action)

We pledge to donate a copy of “The Skin you Live In” to all Elementary Schools in Marin County.

Bacich students are designing bookmarks. Students may choose to paint their bookmarks with their skin tones, decorate with patterns and designs inspired by illustrator David Lee Csicsko, or they may draw a cartoon version of their faces with a description of their skin like those written by author Michael Tyler: “I have milky chocolate pudding skin. How about you?” Bookmarks will be tucked into the donated books along with a copy of the “Skin” unit the Bacich Social Justice team has developed. Books will be delivered in “Inclusive Language” totes.

Kindergarten and 4th grade students kicked off our school wide bookmark project. Below please see a selection of fantastic bookmarks designed by student artists.

The Great Kindness Challenge Week: January 25–29, 2021

The GKC, presented by Kids for Peace, is a global, proactive bullying-prevention initiative that educators and students can use to create a culture of kindnessUsing a customizable kindness checklist, every student has an opportunity to practice kindness and make a positive impact.

The theme for this year’s GKC is Kindness Unites. Now, more than ever, our communities need to experience the healing and unifying power of kindness. I encourage you to embrace the GKC as a powerful tool to celebrate diversity and champion our common humanity. It is through the cumulative effects of sometimes small acts of kindness that we can begin to counter bias, bullying, and racism.

We can spread kindness and unite through art, through words and through actions. I put together a slide deck of artistic choices and activities. Students and staff were asked to choose 10 acts of kindness they would like to do and log their acts of kindness on a personal chart and share them on a schoolwide digital pinboard called padlet.

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