Middle School Artists Learn Modes of Expression

Middle School Visual Arts Teacher Jayme Zimmer’s 5th grade art class was brimming with excitement about the start of Middle School art, which kicked off with art supply packs containing all of the needed supplies for their first drawing unit of the school year.

Zimmer said, “The students learned about the artistic ‘modes of expression’—realistic, expressive (or expressionistic, as I like to call it), and abstract. This lesson helps students categorize the artwork they see—whether it is their own masterpiece or someone else’s—into the various modes. Understanding the modes also allows them to make conscious choices as they create their own visual expressions.”

During the drawing unit, the 5th graders spent most of their time in the “realistic” mode, practicing how to break down an image into simple shapes and using the relationships and proportions of the simple shapes to build the drawing with a three-layered approach. Layer one includes simple shapes, layer two includes detailed contours, and layer three is the surface detail.