Friday, 6 June 2014

Music, Drums & More

You can learn so much if you're willing to listen... with your ears, your mind and your heart.

Today was a very special day for #NipRockArt students, because Shy-Anne Hovorka came to speak about her experience as a musician.  Savage is one of the songs featured in her latest album:

Our class learned about a wide variety of musicians throughout Shy-Anne's talk today, and we were so excited to learn that she will be performing with the iconic Buffy Sainte-Marie in the near future!  Ms. Sainte-Marie's music was new to a number of students today (although their teacher remembers watching her on Sesame Street...), but most of us had no idea that she had to overcome many challenges because of the issues she has shared through her music.  What a fascinating artist to learn about.

A Tribe Called Red was another group that captured the attention of many young students.  Shy-Anne shared a video from this year's Juno's performance:

Their use of traditional & contemporary music (and imagery) is captivating.  You won't be able to listen without wanting to dance...

Some musicians who were new to us...

Joey Stylez, Keith Secola & Shawn Bernard have collaborated together, and they are also successful solo artists.  Derek Miller's music has an edgy-blues feel to it -- no wonder Shy-Anne wanted us to check it out!  

You know what's cool?  Being able to tweet about your guest speaker while she's presenting.  Know what's even cooler?  Having one of the musicians who your guest speaker is talking about... SEE THE TWEET & FAVOURITE IT!

#NipRockArt students thought it was nice of Tanya Tagaq to notice us!

Tanya Tagaq is an Inuk throat singer from Nunavut.  Her style developed throughout her youth (she is self-taught), and began to attract the attention of world-renowned musicians such as Bjork and the Kronos Quartet.

Take a moment to listen to her interview with Jian Ghomeshi...

Thank you so much for speaking with us today, Shy-Anne.  You taught us so much, and we learned to appreciate music on an entirely new level.  

Some future #NipRockArt musicians...


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Time... for some fantastic art

Yesterday, the grade 9 class discussed change, and how we can view the concept from a variety of perspectives.  Ideas like seasons, moods, opposites, night/day, clothing, music and imagery were offered as possible ways to define the concept.  

Change and time have a mysterious connection...

How can we use the concept of TIME in our art?  How do we show the passage of time?  Can we capture time?  Is there beauty in the progression of time, or can it be seen as a force of change with unyielding power?

Grade 9 students are gearing up for a momentous FINAL TASK that will challenge their use of the Creative Process over the next month.  They will be investigating the concept of time, and will explore several artists who use related ideas & themes in their work.  They will document their ideas, experiments and questions using their digital portfolios, and we will present the finished artworks on this blog.

*A special thank you to Apex HS for inspiring this project.   

Would you like to offer suggestions of ideas & artists to the grade 9 class?  Feel free to comment on this blog post, or tweet to #NipRockArt.  We'd love to hear your thoughts!

Some very helpful resources:


Thursday, 20 March 2014


Apparently I have some clay geniuses in my classes!  The past few days have been amazing in the #NipRockArt room.  Take a look at some of the amazing work.

The students and I created the Twitter hashtag #TeachTheTeacher after a few giggles around the wheel.  I will be the first to admit that I am horrible at forming any sort of vessel on the wheel, but some of my students are absolute naturals.  I have no problem at all if they can show me a thing or two.  

*All of the photos above are documentation of "first attempts".  Can you believe it?*


Friday, 14 March 2014

Marvellous Modern Art

When we return from March break, grade 12 #NipRockArt students will be exploring Modern Art. Some questions that will help us begin to understand the art of this time period:

  • What is Modern Art?
  • Were there changes in history or style to help develop Modern Art?
  • What types of artists were a part of Modern Art?

Anyone who studies history will start to understand that there were several art periods that were a part of Modern Art.  Can you do a bit of research to see how many Modern art periods you can find?  

Here are a few sites to help you out:

After we start to understand what Modern Art is, we'll be exploring the art periods in more depth.  

If you enjoy art history, and know of a resource that will help our class, please leave a comment with a link!

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Does Popular Art = Good Art?

Today, Alix Spiegel posted an article on the National Public Radio site, "Good Art is Popular Because It's Good.  Right?".  What a great question!  Have you ever wondered why some artworks get more attention than others?

Barnett Newman's "Voice of Fire" got a lot of attention when it was purchased by Canada's National Gallery in 1990 for $1.8 million.  You can imagine the comments: "$1.8 million!  For three stripes?!" How does this compare to the popularity of the Mona Lisa?

Listen to a short radio clip that questions successful art:

Grade 12 #NipRockArt students, what do you think?  Do you think that popular art is good art?  What about art in galleries: is it chosen because it's good?  Who decides what is 'good art'?  Is there a way to find out?

*When you respond to these questions, don't forget to check the criteria for writing a good blog post.


Saturday, 22 February 2014

Exploring Aboriginal Storytelling in Art Class

Grade 10 #NipRockArt students have been learning about some wonderful artists in class, especially those who use art to tell stories with cultural significance.  We were inspired by Aboriginal Arts & Stories, who have created a competition that encourages youth to share their stories in art and writing.

Recently, we looked at the art of Jane Ash Poitras and Carl Beam.

Artists' experiences, history, insights and interpretations can all influence their work.  It's important to consider the stories behind each creation, especially if it helps us appreciate the art on a deeper level.  

This Tuesday night, CBC will host a discussion on Aboriginal storytelling, featuring authors Waubgeshig Rice, Joseph Boyden, and Wab Kinew.  For students and families who are interested, it may be interesting to tune in Tuesday night to learn from these talented individuals.

Photo courtesy of CBC News

More information about Tuesday night's broadcast:


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Lines, Music & More in Grade 9 Art

Are lines simple?  ...or can they be something more?  Can lines represent something, and then become art? What if we controlled lines, and they told a story, or something more?

Where do we see lines?  Are they only found on paper, or can they be found in other places?  Look around you right now.  What types of lines do you see?  Are they straight or curved?  Are they horizontal, vertical, or diagonal?  Are they broken?

The video above shows the notes that are being played on sheet music through an arrangement.  What lines do you see?  Can you imagine connecting the dots from the music notes?  What would that look like? Would those lines represent the song, or would you use different types of lines?  

Does the beat or tempo make a difference in a song?  Can lines represent the beat?  How?

You will be using LINE to create an artwork inspired by music.  You can choose your favourite song, or a medley of songs that are connected somehow.  We will be experimenting with ways to use line in class:  drawing, painting, sculpting...  

**Bring your favourite music to class, and let's see what we can create together! where's the DJ?  :)


Does Kandinsky's work remind you of music?