The sweet art of shading

Landon's sixth grade students are learning how to turn shapes and shadows into colorful artwork in their most recent project featuring something sweet.

"We wanted to the boys to work with a still life so they could practice shading and build up a foundational skill set for future art projects," said Middle School Art Teacher Brad Rose. All sixth graders have spent about three months on the project, first using pencils to shade out the shapes of different kinds of candy then creating oil pastels to bring them to life in color. The sixth graders, Rose said, were excited to work with the sweet treats even if they could not eat the objects of their art.

Rose also explained that he and Middle School art teacher Dori Boyce see this project as a vehicle to improve the boys' critical thinking and independence by learning the value of slowing down and observing closely the source material. "Our goal is for the boys to look at their work and know what they need to do to make it better," he said. "We want them to go from asking us 'What do I have to do?' to asking themselves, 'How can I improve this?'"

For the first time, all Middle School boys switched art teachers midway through the year. Rose and Boyce, who discussed and got approval for the plan over the summer, say this approach allows both teachers to work with the entire student body during the course of their time in Landon's Middle School.