Thursday, April 10, 2014

Geninne Inspired Collages

My experiment

Geninne Zlatkis is a wonderful contemporary artist best known for her elegant bird artwork. My current class used her "Friends" piece as our inspiration. In lieu of a vintage map, we used old dictionary pages for our base. The divided page was then washed with watercolor. I gave the children warm and cool color acrylics to create textured paper that they later used to create their birds and fish. Oil pastels were used to add more color if they wished, as well as to add their lotus flowers. Birds and fish were cut out and glued to their compositions. Lastly, some scattered stars were created using the ends of their brushes. Artwork by kinders thru 4th.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Georgia O'Keefe Style Flowers

This artist was not happy with her close-up rose. I'm still scratching my head:
it is the epitome of  Georgia O'Keefe's style. Gorgeous!





You know it's spring when you start to see the O'Keefe style flower projects around the blogs. She is a favorite artist of mine and ironically, I almost went to the University of New Mexico before I decided to head south. I have done my fair share of O'Keefe flower projects: tissue paper and acrylic, watercolor, black glue line, and oil pastel and watercolor resist. But I think these straightforward chalk pastel on black pieces are my favorite to date. My students used view finders to crop photos of flowers I had collected from books and calendars. This is always a bit confusing and disconcerting at first, especially when asking the children to blow up a 6" photo to 12" X 18". But with a little guidance, they got it!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Hundertwasser Fantasy Landscapes

Beautifully intricate work by a kindergarten artist!

 Franziska, 3rd

 Alexandra, 5th

 Pia, 4th

 Jenna, 5th

Scott, 3rd

My Mini Modern Artists looked at the work of Friedensreich Hundertwasser. I have 2 students who speak fluent German and were hysterical at my pronunciation of this Austrian artist's name. "Ms. Mary, you just said Dog Water!!" Once we all recovered from laughter we focused on certain elements of his art: repetition, concentric circles, and bold colors. I talked about him being an environmentalist before that was even a popular term. Originally I had planned on creating environmental posters using slogans from ones he created in the 80's and 90's. (My favorite is "You Are A Guest of Nature Behave.")

But once they had completed their art, we all agreed they were beautiful on their own. These were created with glue line and chalk pastel on black paper. It is certainly nothing new, but I think it worked well with Hundertwasser's style. The children had the option of being a part of their fantasy landscape and placed a cut photo where they wished (an idea I have seen on several blogs with Hundertwasser inspired art). This was a great project for a wide age range.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Picasso Inspired Portraits

Cubist Portraits with Watercolor

Contour Line Portraits with "Bleeding" Tissue

When I was a student at SCAD, my favorite professor went around the room asking us each to name 3 of our favorite artists. One student said Picasso. Mr. Morris threw his hands in the air, saying, "Of course, Picasso has something for everyone!" My Mini Modern Artist class looked at the cubist portraits of Picasso as well as his minimal line portraits. The cubist portrait lesson is an old favorite seen in my blog header. The line drawing was inspired by this piece from Picasso. After their drawings were completed with permanent marker, the children laid down strips of bleeding tissue paper applied with water. I love the magical effect left behind, and each so unique.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Mixed Bag

Here is a bit of what's been going on with my "MaryMakers" lately.

1.) "Olaf" (from the movie "Frozen" ) and Birch Tree Collages
I'm so glad I convinced my middle school daughter that she was not too old to check out this gem of a Disney animated movie. How beautiful! And a wonderful soundtrack headed up by the wickedly talented Adele Dazim. (Sorry, I couldn't resist)  : D         (hint for those of you lost...this years' Oscar blunder)

2.) Keith Haring Characters with Zentangle Designs
Up until now, I scratched my head at the Zentangle craze. What's up with the crazy doodling? But I saw quite a few tutorials on Pinterest and thought it would be a fun juxtaposition against Keith Haring's graphic figures. I gave the kids free reign in terms of how simple or complicated they wanted to take their designs as well as the media that they would like to use. Fun tween project!

3.) Kindergarten Watercolor Tigers
Big, bold, fun and ever-popular with my young students

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Chinese Lanterns

In honor of Chinese New Year last month, I thought this lesson from Art Stars would make a great project for my K-5th graders. As Amy describes in her post, the children started their lanterns by drawing "squashed circles". I encouraged them to overlap some lanterns and have some go off the page to create an interesting composition. They used oil pastels to add color and patterns and then painted the background with watercolor. Once dry, they used the backs of their painted brushes dipped in white acrylic to create strands of white lights. I told them to imagine their backyards decorated for a party with colorful lanterns and strands of draping lights.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Other than a lesson based on the book, "How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?", I have steered clear of realistic dinosaur art lessons.(They are a bit challenging) One of my students had been requesting dinosaurs for several weeks. Since my classes are private, I think of my kids almost as "clients"; their enjoyment is definitely a priority. So this one was for Jenna. :)

My kindergarten through 3rd graders created their Triceratops with watercolor and salt to mimic a textured skin. My 3rd through 5th grade group made their dinosaurs using chalk pastels. Both groups were encouraged to use charcoal to add shadow and definition. Dinosaurs were cut out and glued on top of simple chalk pastel landscapes.