On Display May 2023: Art by Livingston’s Middle Schools

This May, the Livingston Public Library’s display case features a variety of bright and colorful artworks by Livingston school district’s middle school students under the guidance of their art teachers. Mount Pleasant Middle School: Expressions in Color: Sixth grade students learned about the vibrant, abstract and emotional work of Sandra Silbersweig. Silbersweig is an abstract Canadian artist who is known for her use of bright colors and bold patterns. She has synesthesia, a condition where senses in the brain are crossed. This means that Silbersweig experiences color through sound as well; specific colors are linked to specific musical notes. Through the use of various lines, shapes and watercolor techniques, students created unique expressions based on an emotion of their choice. They then emphasized areas of their work using bold patterns and weighted lines. Figures in Motion: Sixth grade students studied proportion through the creation of gesture drawings (quick drawings that are meant to capture movement in the body). Then, students created wire sculptures to represent figures in action. They focused on the elements of line, color and space when designing their unique sculptures, and looked to wire sculptor, Alexander Calder, for inspiration. Neurographic Paintings: Sixth grade students  drew expressive lines while considering a challenge or stressor in their lives. Students then transformed their “challenge” lines into works of art, while considering composition, balance, and color theory (Transformation Stage). This type of meditative art form may be used to help transform stressful thoughts into something positive and beautiful, over which the artists have control. Heritage Middle School: Scratch Art Animals: Seventh grade students looked at etchings by master artist Albrecht Durer and were impressed by the realism and details of his artwork. Inspired by Durer, their assignment was to research an animal with fur, feathers, or scales and to draw the animal’s contour on Scratch Art Board (ink coated clay board).  Then they used a sharp pointed drawing tool to scratch off the surface of the black ink exposing white lines to create the illusion of fur, feather or scales; much like the realistic etchings of Albrecht Durer. Free-Form Expressive Sculptures: Seventh grade students used wood, wire, nylon and acrylic paint to create a painted sculpture mimicking master artist Pablo Picasso’s portraits with displaced features from his Cubist period. Each student molded the wire for his/her sculpture and did a detailed drawing before painting the sculpture in the chosen design.  Watercolor Plants in the Color Spectrum: Eighth grade students created observational drawings of a variety of plants, focusing on capturing the contour and outlines of their chosen plant. After selecting a group of colors next to one another on the color spectrum, students used blending techniques to paint their plants with watercolor paints. An opaque black ink background was added to create stark contrast and make the colors pop.  Oil Pastel Close-Up Animal Eyes: Eighth grade students took a look at a style of photography called “macro-photography” as well as artists, such as Georgia O’Keeffe, who zoom in closely on the subject of the artwork. Students then created drawings of animal eyes, zooming in closely to focus on the shapes, line, and textures. After sketching an outline of the eye, students added color by utilizing different oil pastel techniques to smoothly blend colors, illustrate textures, and create the effect of three dimensionality.  These arresting creations can be enjoyed during Library hours till the end of May. —Archana Chiplunkar, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian