Wednesday, 22 October 2014


Grade 11 #NipRockArt students are beginning to dive into the beautiful depths of Renaissance art history.  We'll examine some of the main concepts (such as references to Classical art, Humanism, and guilds), and explore major advances, artists and artworks.

Who were the major players in the Renaissance?  How did the Renaissance happen after a so-called drought in visual expression throughout the Middle Ages? (don't get me wrong, we still appreciate the texts & architecture of Romanesque & Gothic times...)  How did commerce and economics affect the production of art?  ...who controlled the money at that time?  What was life like for the average person?  How did people recover after the Plague?  What is a merchant family, and why is this important?  Who were the Medicis?  Did artists get along and learn from each other, or was there any competition?  How did developments in science and society affect the success of the Renaissance?

...the list of questions could go on and on...

Grade 11 students:  to help us build our knowledge, we will begin to construct graphic displays to share our understanding.  Mind-maps, online whiteboards, diagrams, whatever method you are comfortable with.  Show us the answers to some of the above questions to help others learn about the time period.  You can add to your display over the next 2 weeks, but preliminary designs will be assessed on Monday. :)  You will be giving feedback to your classmates between Monday and Tuesday, and then develop your diagrams in more detail.

*Please use your time wisely, since we will also be starting your next artwork at this time, and you will need to be very focused right up to November 7th (the due date for your diagrams as well as your artwork, which will be introduced and discussed in class).  

Note:  If you are an art teacher or historian and would like to help my students with their research, please leave a comment below, along with contact information (i.e. Twitter ID)  Thanks!

Note to students:  This is a great time to research museums that could help you with your knowledge.  Let's try to contact them & use the hashtag #AskACurator !



Monday, 20 October 2014

Show & Tell

There has been so much activity in the #NipRockArt room lately, I had to share some stellar work!

On October 6, Liz Sandals, the Minister of Education, visited our school.  Here are some pictures:

Brett presented Minister Sandals with his art, created in the Woodland style.

Abbi hand-painted a card just for the Minister's visit! 

#NipRockArt students love working with clay & making pottery.  
Here is a picture from our latest firing:

With most tasks, students are allowed to use the material/technique of their choice that helps them interpret a theme or demonstrate their understanding of a concept. 

Beautiful.  Thank you, Alexa.

Keep up the excellent work, everyone.  You are developing into wonderful artists!



Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Artists Observe...

What does it mean when we say that an artist observes?  What comes to mind?  What do you see when you take the time to observe, and what would you be observing?  Something tangible? Something no one else can see?

Is this artist observing?  Why or why not?  Let's look at another...

Is this artist observing?  Is it more or less successful because the image you see is realistic?

When you observe, you are absorbing the world around you.  When you create art, you are translating those observations for yourself and for others.  

Your drawings, paintings, sculptures, prints and conceptual pieces are manifestations of your interaction with others and your environment.  Grade 11 students, we will be taking a look at your art and the art of your classmates.  Think about what you are seeing.  What is the artist observing, and how is it presented for others?  How is the experience different for the artist than the audience?  Is this relevant?

Take a picture of your art and discuss your findings on a blog post.  Then, with the permission of your classmate, take a picture of their work and discuss it as well.  


~ thank you to Katherine Douglas for her insight & suggestions of resources ~


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

It's "Ask A Curator Day"!

#NipRockArt students, do you know what a curator is?  Get ready to find out.  Wednesday, September 17th is "Ask a Curator Day", and we'll be learning all about their roles & responsibilities by following the conversation on Twitter.

Grade 9 & 10, this is a great opportunity to become more familiar with people whose careers are focused on collecting and presenting art.  Grade 11, are there any questions you may have that relate to your Traditional vs. Contemporary Art assignment?

Take a look at the list of museums and galleries that are participating in the day's events:  "#AskACurator: Who to Ask".  Do you think that certain galleries may be able to answer your questions?

~ Don't forget to include #NipRockArt in your tweets! ~

A special thanks to Stacey Wallwin, who shared the information!

Friday, 12 September 2014

The Art Assignment

Whoa!  Grade 11 #NipRockArt students, you have to check this out:

Did you hear what they said about contemporary art?  ...and about traditional art?  Does it remind you of our Traditional vs. Contemporary Art assignment?  (I hope so)

I know I'll be exploring some of the great work that The Art Assignment has shared:  on Tumblr, (also: responses on Tumblr), on Twitter, on Instagram, and on Facebook.  You should, too!

Next week, we'll discuss how this relates to our latest project, and how it may influence your research as well as your art.  



Sunday, 7 September 2014

Traditional vs. Contemporary Art

Ai Wei Whoops
Want to smash a few vases?  Head over to Ai Wei Whoops, and watch the amount of damage tally up at the top of your screen as you drop, drop, drop to your heart's content.  It's a little unsettling to think of what would happen if you really did smash a vase & cause so much destruction, but do you know that someone did?  I won't spoil too much of the surprise, so you'll have to check out the story from the site.

Ai Weiwei is a contemporary artist, meaning that he works in the present time.  We are fortunate, because he uses the internet & social media to connect with his audience.  This allows us to appreciate his work on an entirely new level; one that doesn't require us to visit a museum or gallery. Not that we wouldn't want to go to a gallery, but for many people (like those of us who live on the Northern shore of Lake Superior), it isn't always easy to stroll down to our favourite cultural centre.

Do you think we value traditional art more or less than contemporary art?  Which type of art makes more sense to you?  Do you think traditional art is more valuable because it has been here longer and is more established?  What about the artists who produce art and share it via social media, extending a virtual invitation and redefining art appreciation for the world's population?  

Grade 11 #NipRockArt students, I'm asking for your opinion.  Start looking for art.  Explore and discover contemporary and traditional artists.  Develop an opinion.  Talk about it.  Ask questions.
Find out where & how to ask questions.  Let's figure it out together.

So, where do we find art?  It can be a little overwhelming to think of the millions of artworks 'out there'.  You can begin by looking at some fantastic resources:

Here is one explanation of contemporary art:

Use your blog to share your thoughts.  This week, we will review a few of these points together. We'll also chat about our learning goal and success criteria, which connects to the Ontario curriculum:

  • students will "demonstrate an understanding of the critical analysis process by examining, interpreting, evaluating, and reflecting on various art works"
  • students will "demonstrate an understanding of how art works reflect the society in which they were created, and how they can affect both social and personal values"