The High School Student Council approached the Visual Arts Department with a request to create a piece of art to brighten up the school. Ms. Sentgeorge’s two High School Painting classes answered the challenge, collaborating to create a huge painting with only weeks to go until the end of this single semester course. Although the painting was completed towards the end of semester one, it was only recently installed in the RT lobby by the stairs.
The first step in the process was choosing a theme. They wanted a theme based on the home country and several topics were considered. Although topics like Fujii-san were briefly considered, it was decided that with two classes working on one painting, a good approach to involve everyone would be to do a painting that involved multiples of the same object. The topic was narrowed down to a choice between fish kites and peace cranes. The classes finally decided on peace cranes both due to the positive message they portray and the fact that they are not as seasonal as fish kites.
The process the students employed in creating this painting began with each student folding an origami crane. Some of the students were old hands at folding origami cranes and some were novices. We discovered that some students learned best from a classmate, some from diagrams on a website and some from Youtube demonstrations that could be halted, allowing time to follow each step. Next, the students used lighting to create shadows and photographed their folded paper cranes. These photos became their references.
Starting with guided practice in their sketchbooks, students learned to blend acrylic paints using interesting brush strokes. They used their practice pieces and created individual mixed media artworks. Students learned about depth clues and how the brain judges distance based on a combination of five different depth clues. They then used this knowledge and based their color choices on how far from the audience their particular crane would be seen.
Since each student painted their own individual crane, the classes collaborated using a limited palette to give the overall artwork a sense of unity. They also worked collaboratively on the background of the scroll, attempting to give the painting the feeling a traditional Japanese scroll, including the stamping of a pattern onto the “fabric” border, while at the same time giving it a contemporary feeling with bright colors and a modern layout. (Rebecca Sentgeorge, High School Art Teacher)
Congratulations to the following artists on a job well done:
Alexandra Hernandez, Nicole Ras, Thomas Rochman, Risa Endo, Gwen Grespan, Lina Petrovic, Emma May, Kana Oyama, Francesca Raub and Senichi Shibayama (Grade 12)
Mika Dwyer, Anna Lewis-Workman, Lisa Aoki, Lucy Chi and Milla Shin (Grade 11)
Manon Hale , Lisa Watanuki, Margaret Freeman, Kazuto Kim and Andy Takagi (Grade 10)
Shunsuke Akagi, Ryuta Ghosh, Elizabeth Hill, Sara Hoskins, Emma Wingfield-Hayes, Hikaru Hayashi, Greta Morgenstern, Ria Paradkar and Katherine Plotz (Grade 9)
Special thanks goes to David Neale (Digital Film/Teach Theater Design Teacher), Shunichi Kudo (Maintenance) and Kenji Yoshino (Maintenance) for their great job with the installation.