Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Week 7-8: Thoughts on our Mural Program

Our mural - almost finished!

As you can tell we've been working on our mural. In the classroom we have been learning about grid, scale and proportion, painting techniques and basic color theory. All these lessons are essential building blocks for creating a mural.

Here are some quotes from students:

" What I most want people to remember about the mural is that I'm proud of my art and hard work" - Gabriela

"The thing I like most about this program is tat my classmates and I are able to do this mural by ourselves. I want people to remember it was done by middle school students." - Myranda

"In this program we painted, drew, learned how to draw faces, hands, flowers and create value. We also learned about colors like primary and secondary color. What I like most about this program is learning how to paint and draw."

"I joined the mural program because it's fun, cool and we make drawings and paintings and we are doing something other people can see. I think the mural is important because it's represents something good about our school." - Ana Lizeth

"I think it's important to have murals because it helps people build relationships. I can share what I've learned with others and it will help me in expressing my feelings with paintings because pictures speak louder than words." - Jorge

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Weeks 5-6: Painting with the Wakefield Muralists

Work on our mural is rolling along. The design has been transferred to the wall, adjustments and changes have been made to the drawaing part of the process. Next we painted the lines of everything in the mural before stating to add colors to each value shape. (Value shapes are areas of solid color with the lightness or darkness adjusted to describe your subject. So we know value means gradations of light and dark, value shapes are shapes of light and dark colors.)

Since we have so many people painting we pre-mixed the colors and created a color chart that could be used in assigning colors. We also mixed up some new colors on the spot.

Once the value shapes have been painted in we go back and work on adjusting colors, descriptive surface textures, directional lighting and values.

It takes allot of team work to get to every part of the mural.

Back in the classroom we worked on expressive painting and getting used to working with acrylics. A huge part of this is learning to control the paint, staying clean and learning about the differences between painting and drawing. Acrylics are very different from watercolors and require more hands on time. Everyone really took to the open painting, with several students filing their portfolios with colorful expressions.

"What I like most in the program is that we are all working as a group."
- Jorge T.

Students color in their value shapes.

This is what our mural looked like at the end of week 6.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Transfer of Our Design

Here is a pictorial essay of the progress on our mural.

Next, measure a grid ...

...and then we transfer our design to the wall.

It takes concentration to get all the details.

Meanwhile we are also learning about value, and getting used to working with acrylic paint.

Here is part of the wall with the design, next we paint!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

SPARC returns from El Salvador

Well the times, they are changing. Twenty years ago artists worldwide lifted their paintbrushes in protest of human rights abuses in El Salvador. Artists Against US Intervention in Central America (1984) produced exhibitions, posters and events. Author, PAD/D founder and critic Lucy Lippard was a co-founder of this activism based arts group.

The late 70’s and early 80’s were exciting days for the arts and social change movement, there was a buzz of activity as a new generation of community arts activists came on the scene. The election of Reagan in 1980 marked a sudden change for artists. The elimination of CETA resulted in thousands of arts organizations disappearing. The clowns, murals, celebrations and theater arts that had animated the rural and urban communities of our childhood suddenly disappeared. At the same time US policy in Central America shifted to become much more militaristic, with US military advisers being sent to places like El Salvador.

Now, 26 years later President of El Salvador is asking for forgiveness for complicity in the killing of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero. Mural artist and teacher Judy Baca recently returned from El Salvador after completing a series of murals at the invitation of the US Embassy and the mayor of San Salvador, the tiny nation's capital city. The murals are part of a tourism initiative, but also represent a distinct change in the use of the arts as a tool of US foreign policy.

It's an exciting change, and the murals created are absolutely beautiful, well worth a visit to beautiful El Salvador.