Saturday, June 26, 2010

Tree Of Life

The above piece was created by a very talented 9 year old. It looks a lot like an Aboriginal dot painting to me. All your patience payed off Alison - Beautiful!

I have done a few art projects based on Austrian artist, Gustav Klimt's Tree of Life painted in 1909. There is something so wonderfully decadent and luxurious about his gold leaf tree full of spirals and swirls decorated with jewel-like forms. I adapted this whimsical version from one I found on Artsonia. The first layer involves a gold tempera sky with a green and brown ground. Next a black tree trunk is painted going off the top and bottom of the page. Next the children will paint his trademark swirl and spiral branches extending from the trunk in different directions. I will encourage them to use different sized brushes to create thin and thicker branches. While this is drying we will create simple bird shapes on a separate piece of paper or card stock. Their pencil drawings will be gone over in permanent marker and then filled with color using markers or paint. After the tree and ground have dried we will add our jewel shapes with a variety of colors of tempera paint using a small brush. Dots can be added with a q-tip to the branches as well as the shapes. After this paint has dried some of these shapes can be outlined using a black permanent marker. The birds are then cut out and glued to some of the tree branches.
More Klimt inspired trees on the way!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Rhinos Who Surf

These just make me smile :)

This student just turned 5. Great job Delaney!

Sonja (6) insisted on using a small brush, despite my tired rule of thumb, "big space, big brush, little space, little brush." Well, all that white showing adds a lot of dimension to her piece. Sometimes, you just need to get out of their way and let them do their thing. :)

A couple of my summer art classes are doing a piece based on the book, Rhinos Who Surf by Julie Mammano.My mom (and always big supporter) gave me the book specifically with an art project in mind. Mammano's illustrations are wonderfully graphic and whimsical. My class this week is off to a great start with their pieces. After following a direct line drawing and going over their work in permanent marker, they designed their own, one of a kind swim trunks and surf boards using markers. They painted their rhinos with gray tempera (gray oil pastel would be another option). Next week they will go back over their lines with permanent marker and add waves with watercolor. I look forward to posting them soon!

(Mammano has 3 other books in her series: Rhinos Who Skateboard, Rhinos Who Play Soccer and Rhinos Who Play Baseball. These would definitely be kid favorites!)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

"Only One You" Salt Dough Fish

A wonderful family friend and fantastic elementary school teacher gave me the book, "Only One You" by Linda Kranz some time ago. She thought it might inspire an art lesson. I finally got my act together and am using it in some of my summer art classes.

The book follows Mama and Papa fish as they share their wisdom with their son Adri as he goes out into the world. Here a few of my favorite lessons:

"Blend in when you need to. Stand out when you have the chance."

"Find your own way. You don't have to follow the crowd."

"Know when to speak; know when to listen."

Kranz uses painted "rockfish" to illustrate her messages. For my inspired lesson we will create salt dough fish. Using my easy recipe of 4 cups flour/1 cup salt/ and 1-2 cups water we will kneed a soft dough (This recipe created 4-5 fish). The dough is simply mixed by hand and a fist size piece is shaped into a pointed oval fish shape. Next a v-like shape is created and added for a tail fin. Kranz's distinctive human-like lips are created with a small piece of dough. The fish will bake for about 3 hours at 300 degrees. When cool paint with bright acrylic colors and graphic shapes, such as stripes, zig zags and polka dots. I brushed a layer of Mod Podge when these were dry to add a nice shine and protective coat.

A big thanks to you MaryAnn aka "Mrs. Mac"! It is such a great book with many wonderful messages to pass onto children! :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Multi-Media Dragonflies

A big thanks to Art Lessons for inspiring this project. I find that some subjects are winners for all skill levels because they are easily recognizable no matter what the proportions (giraffes, peacocks, butterflies.. and now dragonflies come to mind.) As an added bonus, all my classes, boy/girl, k-3rd were excited about the subject matter. They were amazed to hear that while humans have one set of eye lenses, dragonflies have 30,000! After a simple direct line drawing lesson for the dragonfly, I asked the children to draw a large circle around their bug. I then asked them, no, begged them to resist the urge to draw "puny" little petals. "Let's draw "mega" or "giant" petals that go off the page. This is a hard concept for some younger children to grasp. After the line drawing was traced with permanent marker, they could choose oil pastel, marker or a combination of both to color their dragonfly and parts of the flower. Finally, they added watercolor to their background &/or petals.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Lady Liberty with Fireworks

In honor of our recent Memorial Day and the upcoming 4th of July, I wanted to do a patriotic themed art project. I saw some great drawings of the Staue of Liberty on Artsonia and decided to do my version. I wanted to start with that wonderful green patina that her copper skin has from years of natural weathering. A combination of white, green and a touch of black gave me the results I was looking for on our pieces of bristol board. While this is not at all a hard direct line drawing to teach, the size of the head is important for the outcome. I offered a u shaped template to my K thru 3rd graders for this reason. From there it's just a step by step of simple line shapes that the children did with pencil. As you can see the results were very different from child to child. (This is a real priority for me when choosing an art lesson.) Lines were then gone over in black crayon or permanent marker. To show more of her weathering and 3 dimension, some children highlighted some lines with white oil pastel and smears of charcoal pencil.
Now onto the background. The fireworks were done on black construction paper with oil pastel. They created these with curved line shapes coming from the same center point. Every child seemed to enjoy finding their own personal style to create this colorful explosions. For a last touch, They flicked watered down white tempera paint using a tooth brush. (These pieces were beautiful enough on their own.) Finally Lady Liberty was cut out and glued to the dried background paper.

These 2 pieces were created by Kindergarten boys.