Thursday, April 28, 2016

Fish Collages

 Mira - 3rd grade


 Thalia - 3rd grade


 Kiran - 1st grade

This session my classes have an emphasis on collage. I love how artist, Mary Fedden described collage as putting together cut elements like a "jigsaw puzzle." To create these layered artworks, we began by creating a unique underwater background with Gelli printing. My students had the option of using some clipped weeds to mimic the look of kelp or seaweed. They created another Gelli printed paper in their choice of colors to create more collaged sea plants. For our fish, I was inspired by my daughter's pet beta fish, Sushi. I thought the beta's lacy fins and beautiful colors would be striking in their collage work. I led a basic line drawing lesson and encouraged the kids to make there fish big. I did a quick photo copy of their fish so they had 2 or 3 to use in their compositions. They used chalk pastels to add color to each of their fish. Finishing touches were added with permanent marker, pastel pencils and white gelly roll pens. I had the children play around with different compositions before gluing their cut elements to their background board. I love the uniqueness that collage art provides.


my experiment

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Sandra Silberzweig Inspired Portraits

Grayden - 2nd

Summer - 3rd

Maddie - 3rd

Thalia - 2nd

Skyler - 2nd

(This 1st grade artist may want to add some more details - but I'm Loving it at this stage)


I have done portraits inspired by Toronto artist, Sandra Silberzweig ("Synesthesia Goddess") several times with my classes. And each time I do, I'm so delighted by the results. The artist explained to me that children relate to her art and it doesn't intimidate them. I recently saw some marvelous artwork inspired by her colorful and primitive portraits over here at Small Hands Big Art. It made me excited to do another lesson with my Mini Modern Artists.

We created our art on roofing felt. This allowed my artists to work big (15"X20"). After creating the basic head shape and features with chalk, my students could use chalk pastels or acrylics to add color. Everyone was in a painting mood. To add pattern and repetition to their portraits, I encouraged them to use pencil erasers, pen caps, or even fingertips to make prints. I was so excited to see everyone go in their own direction with their portraits. They have a wonderful primitive quality. (Artwork by 1st-3rd graders)

A Big Thank you to Sandra Silberzweig for continuing to inspire me and my students with your colorful and dynamic art!

*Update - The artist was kind enough to send me the following response:
Thank you so much for sharing my art with your young ones, I really am shocked and amazed by their ability to see ‘the beyond’ in the images and work so intuitively.
I believe the appeal is basic, something instinctual and familiar, it speaks to all ages, the faces draw you in and hold your attention, even young for children.  These works are fabulous and the students really drew what they felt.

Deb - my first ever adult student

Friday, March 25, 2016

Geninne Inspired Mail Art Collages














My groups of Mini Modern Artists looked at the collage art of Geninne Zlatkis. Many of her pieces combine old postcards with detailed bird illustrations. My students composed their collages with faux vintage postcards and ephemera and bird and botanical watercolor illustrations. They gave their watercolor paper a wash with coffee to give an antique look. This project was a fun departure for me and my students. I like the touch of whimsy in these.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Harp Seal Pups



 Lauren, 2nd


 Charlotte, 1st


 Scott, 5th

Raya, kinder


 Summer, 3rd


Mia, 2nd



my experiment

It doesn't get much cuter than arctic or harp seal pups - they're like wobbling powder puffs with over-sized Anime eyes.

I rest my case

Interestingly, these seal pups only keep their white coats for about 14 days while nursing on their mothers high-fat milk. They triple their weight at this time and then start to molt, leaving a silvery-gray fur with black spots.

Arctic seal pups have been on my "Future Projects" board for quite some time. It seemed like the perfect final project for my Mixed Media Collage groups. 

My kinder through 5th graders created the seal first on large blue sheets of construction paper. I had them begin by tracing paint palettes for their head shapes. Using white chalk pastel, Sharpie and charcoal, they added shading, details and shadows.  An icy ground was created using white, and a little blue and lavender acrylic paint that they applied using a dry brush method. Wintry skies were done on black paper using chalk pastels. They had the option of creating northern lights or an icy sky backdrop. Seals were cut out and layers then glued together. Nice job kids! 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Lighthouse Collages

Ella, 2nd

Charlize, 2nd

Summer, 3rd

Fiona, 2nd

Skyler, 2nd

Mia, 2nd

Charlotte, 1st

Gwendolyn, 1st

Lauren, 2nd

Scott, 5th

Beautiful Raya - age 5

My Mixed Media Collage students created these lighthouse pieces using a variety of wet and dry media. Collage projects are a favorite of mine as I teach to a wide age range (K-5th) and this seems to help everyone break up a project into components and piece it together, helping everyone to feel successful. Skies were done in watercolor, and oceans in acrylic. They created a ripped, jagged cliff from grocery store bags and added pastel and charcoal for texture. Lighthouses were created following a loose direct line drawing lesson. They added charcoal shadows to their lighthouses on the opposite side of their moon to add more drama to their nighttime pieces.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Surreal Hot Air Balloon Collages II





Fiona, your stormy sky is spectacular!











I don't get the chance to travel much. But that doesn't mean I don't love seeing, hearing and reading about exotic locales. Anthony Bourdaine, The Travel Channel, The Amazing Race, and travel memoir books - you might say I'm an official arm chair traveler. So I thought it would be fun to create some surreal hot air balloon collages with my classes this month, allowing each child to choose their own locale. My original post can be found here. I found some great landscape and global landmark calendars from the .99 Cent Store. So the first step was letting each child choose their destination from my collected calendar pages (these were cut out). From there, they created wet on wet watercolor sky backdrops using their choice of colors. On white construction paper, we created one large hot air balloon following a basic step by step lesson. These could be customized and designed using markers or oil pastels. Smaller balloons were created using painted paper and scrapbook paper to give the collage pieces a sense of depth and perspective. This was a fun project for my kindergarten through 5th grade groups.
This lesson was inspired by and dedicated to my dear friend Gretchen, who traveled the world and lived life to the fullest!