November 13, 2018

Spreading Gratitude, with a Fifth Grade Hand

When the Advancement Office set out to create this year’s Thanksgiving card, we looked to Oakwood Elementary students for inspiration. Thanks to art teacher Christy Shelton and the fifth grade class, we are able to share an adorable, vibrant greeting with the Oakwood community.

Thank you so much to Christy for sharing her students’ work and to our students for sharing their art with our community: Sam, Sawyer, Jasper, Kai, Joe, Levi, Jorge, Clio, Jenna, Callie, Orion, and Ella.

Below is Christy’s description of the project that yielded these impressive artworks.

This Hand Study project began with students making blind contour drawings (an exercise in which one only looks at the thing one is drawing, not the drawing itself) of their hands with thin markers (so no erasing). The outcome of this practice is to switch from left to right brain, and ultimately to draw what one sees (in this case a hand) not the idea of what one thinks it looks like. Once loosened up, they had the option to draw their non-dominant hand, front or back, by looking closely at it, paying special attention to the creases, wrinkles, digits, fingernails and/or folds. Copies of these pencil drawings were made and later used to create their printing plates.

After making this realistic hand drawing, they had the option of using imagined or realistic colors to render it in watercolor pencils.

Next they were asked to add a pattern in the background—stripes, polka dots, plaid, checkers, abstract or imagined designs—which was then rendered in watercolor. The same or a similar pattern was added to the background of their printing plate, after their initial hand drawing copy was transferred onto the foam plate.

First the 5th graders pulled a proof print of the hands to see if all the lines transferred (the lines need to be drawn deep enough into the plate in order to create grooves they reveal the desired shapes clearly). They experimented with various inks (warm/cool contrasts, black and white, ombré) and printing on different types of paper (yellow pages, maps, construction paper). All and all, a good time was had—and much experiential learning happened.

The Oakwood School Thanksgiving Card, 2018