Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Orcas of Alaska

My groups first created their Alaskan snow-capped mountains using oil pastels, blending with baby oil and cotton swabs. As an added bonus, the room smelled great when we were done! Skies and seas were painted with watercolors and tempera. After these were dry, they added a splattering of white paint for their breaching whales. Orcas were drawn on a separate paper and then glued to their backgrounds. You can find another orca project here.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Toucans of the Rainforest

 Beautiful details and composition Lauren! (6)

(Artwork by K-6th graders)

My Animals Around the World groups headed to the Amazon Rainforest to create some colorful toucans using acrylic paint on roofing felt. Yes, another project using my new favorite canvas - and I'm not done yet! I gave the kids pieces of sidewalk chalk to draw their birds and flora. They were given oil pastels and acrylics to fill in their designs. Most chose to paint, except for a few details. They had the option of painting their backgrounds or leaving them black. I love the diversity in these! Next stop - Orcas in Alaska.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

African Elephants with Watercolor Landscapes

Gorgeous Talia! 

If these look familiar, my blog header has an artwork from the same lesson I did a couple years ago. This was the second project from Day 1 of my Animals Around the World class. I gave the kids a variety of liquid watercolors to create a wet on wet sunrise or sunset landscape background. It's always fun to see how each child goes about this, some very methodical and others with reckless abandon. We put these up to dry and started on our elephant profiles. These were done on brown grocery bag paper. No longer free in these parts, but well worth the 10 cents. A couple months of shopping at Trader Joe's and voila! I like the texture of the paper to mimic the worn look of elephant skin. Children followed a direct line drawing lesson which was basic enough for even my youngest to follow. They were encouraged to add lots of wrinkles. A light coat of gray pastel was added and some charcoal shadows. Some kids chose to add black acrylic silhouettes to their background before profiles were cut out and glued. Off to different continents to create new creatures next week!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Mixed Media Pandas

My Animals Around the World groups (K-5th) kicked off their first day of class creating mixed media pandas from China. Pandas were created using permanent marker and charcoal and backgrounds with oil pastel bamboo with liquid watercolor. By the time we were done hands (and some faces) were nicely smudged. Next up ....Elephants of Africa.

 My experiment

 1st grade - love the expression

 2nd grade

Kinder - never turn your back on a 5 year old with a palette full of watercolors 
Lol! Love this fauve piece!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Watercolor Tigers

I had my last class of the school year this week. I still can't believe how fast that went! My k-4th graders created their bold tigers with permanent marker and their choice of watercolor. This was perfect for a one class project. In a couple weeks I'll start my summer art class series. The themes this year are: Animals Around the World, Unique Materials Art Fun, and Draw, Paint, Print, Collage. I'll be posting student work throughout the next few months. I'm hoping we can squeeze in a quick getaway to San Diego, Las Vegas, or at least a little staycation.

Wishing you all a Wonderful Summer!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Zen Pandas

Beautiful Kate! (2nd grade)

 Love your elegant twisted branches Emerson! (kinder)

I've done this lesson based on the Beautiful book Zen Shorts by John J. Muth a number of times. This book is a Treasure! It works well for a wide age range (K thru 4th grade) and the kids always seem to enjoy creating their collage pieces. My group started by creating a chalk pastel sky background. They painted a moon and then branches using watered down acrylic. While their backgrounds dried, they created their panda based on the book's main character, Stillwater. (He teaches his three neighbor children some wonderful life lessons through stories that have roots in Zen Buddhist literature.) Last, my class created their cherry blossoms using the ends of pencils dipped in red and white. Cut pandas were then glued to their backgrounds.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Cuddly Koalas

 1st grade

 4th grade


 2nd grade

 2nd grade

 1st grade

2nd grade



I decided to stay on the continent of Australia with this mixed media Koala lesson. My daughter and I have been watching a wonderful series on Netflix called Dance Academy, filmed all round beautiful Sydney. This coupled with commercials for the "Koalafornia" exhibit at the San Diego Zoo clearly played a part in my choosing an Australian themed lesson. 

My K through 4th grade group created their koala portraits using chalk pastels and charcoal, smudging with their pointer fingers to blend. Since Eucalyptus trees are home, shelter and food for these cute marsupials, the children created branches and leaves with oil pastel and last a watercolor background. Koalas were cut out and glued to their colorful habitats.

my experiment