The Westridge Lower School visual art program is rooted in the study of important artists across different mediums. The fourth grade studies the work and process of David Hockney before undertaking their own place and memory based paintings. Fifth grade students draw tools after looking at the work of Jim Dine. The list goes on: Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Georgia O’Keefe, Vincent van Gogh, Wayne Thiebaud, Niki de St. Phalle, Frank Gehry, Faith Ringgold and many, many more!
“I want my students to be familiar with many artists, past and present, how they worked, and what they were thinking at the time,” says Lower School Art Teacher Valerie Trimarchi. “Learning about context and new approaches helps with understanding of trends, movements, and styles. Some projects are inspired by the work of artists as a way to explore that particular style. Other projects are for the purpose of developing technical skill or building creative and design confidence, personal expression, and working with real materials with their hands.”
This week, the 6th grade class is working in clay, inspired by the abstract figural sculptures of Henry Moore. Moore’s abstracted human form project comes after a quarter of drawing from observation, and the goal is to stretch the bounds of reality and move into a simplified form. It is also within the skill level of 6th graders who are just beginning to work on form with clay. The project allows for creative exploration, inventing shapes that are interesting to look at, and are related to a form they are familiar with.
The students’ project started in their sketch books, moving from more realistic images to abstract designs, which were then translated into clay. Pictured here is the work of Clementine L. (the final piece will be glazed and fired).
“There are many Moore sculptures at our local Norton Simon Museum so they are easy to visit!,” noted Trimarchi.