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Pinch pots, penguins, pumpkins & more

Student show displays work in many mediums

Comstock Park — Stoney Creek Elementary second-grader Melvina Sheriff enjoys her weekly 30-minute art class, especially painting with watercolors. 

“I love art,” Melvina said. 

She and other students at the K-2 school got to select their favorite artwork to display for their classmates and their families at a show in the school’s gym-turned-gallery on March 2.

Her chosen painting of trees featured tempera paint for the bark, warm watercolors for the background, and recycled cardboard to show texture. 

Melvina and others also displayed handmade clay pinch pots.  

“I really like making something with clay, because it’s fun and I love painting clay,” Melvina said.

Second-grader Hudson Vanderhoff chose his pumpkin drawing to display. For that project, art teacher Macy Austin taught them about space and shape while students drew the pumpkins, making them large to fill their canvases. Pumpkins were outlined with glue to give them a bumpy texture. Oil pastels were used to add color and blended to make light and dark areas. 

Although most of the students’ pumpkins appeared to sit on a green surface, Hudson chose brown.

“I wanted mine to be a little bit different, so I made it on wood,” he said. 

He added that they have an art project every week, and learned about horizons and landscapes in class in early March. Hudson said he is good at coloring, and especially likes to color drawings made by his older sisters. 

Many first-graders selected a penguin project to display. Austin said those were created during a printmaking unit, where each student used half a potato dipped in paint to print penguin bodies, which were detailed using tempera. Watercolors were used for backgrounds, and oil pastels were painted over watercolors to make snowflakes.

A crowd of elementary students and families gather for the art show on March 2

Exposure to Mediums

For young elementary students it’s about exposure to all types of art, said Austin, who also teaches at Pine Island Elementary. She introduces students to mediums such as painting with watercolor and tempera, drawing with pastels, and paper mache. This spring, students will be exposed to famous artists and art history.

She said it’s fun to see students who aren’t interested in one type of art find they excel at another, such as fiber. 

“By the time they get to middle school they know what they’re interested in and can narrow their focus in art,” Austin said. “We do a little bit of everything.”

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Karen Gentry
Karen Gentry
Karen Gentry covers Comstock Park. She moved to the Grand Rapids area in the mid-1980s and has been a resident of Comstock Park since 2002. She understands the complexity, rewards and challenges of the teaching profession as she has five years of experience as a high school teacher at River Valley High School in Three Oaks, Mich. and St. Stephen High School in Saginaw. As a reporter for the Advance Newspapers and Mlive she covered Sparta, Kent City and Northview schools. She is happy to be a part of the great team of journalists at School News Network and writing about Comstock Park Public Schools. She is a graduate of Lake Michigan Catholic High School in St Joseph, Michigan and Central Michigan University. Read Karen's full bio


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