Saturday, July 31, 2010

Proud Painted Peacocks

I grew up just a couple miles from the Los Angeles Arboretum (located in Arcadia). It was home to a number of peacocks and peahen imported from India by a wealthy investor, Lucky Baldwin back in the 1880's. It was not uncommon for them to stray once in a while and end up in the backyards of friends. Looking back now, I have a much greater appreciation for being able to enjoy these gorgeous birds up close, roaming freely. A number of their offspring still remain and my daughter can now enjoy them as well.
To create our peacocks my K-2nd graders first painted their board with a mix of tropical blue and green. After our base had dried, the children followed a simple direct line drawing of a close-up bird: bowling pin shape body with a skinny oval behind it. The feathers were painted in layers: yellow, orange, green and "peacock" blue. The feathers were connected to the body using oil pastels. Finally, beaks, eyes and head feathers were added using a combination of paint and oil pastel. This project was a favorite amongst my Animal Art Mini Campers.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Blue Dog and the Legend of the Loup Garou

(The following "Blue Dogs" were done by my Animal Art Class Children - ages 5-8)

My 5th -7th graders took a look at the work of Cajun artist George Rodgrique and his many versions of "Blue Dog", modeled after his beloved deceased dog, Tiffany and based on the French myth of the Loup Garou. The Loup Garou is a human who can change into a wolf at his or her own will (a werewolf). Legend has it that anyone who sheds the blood of the Loup Garou will turn it back into human form and likewise become a wolf themselves for 101 days.

Given their age and the popularity of the Twilight series (with it's human/wolf parallels) , I thought this would be a fun opening project for our summer course. Rodrique continues to paint his Blue Dog and in many different colors. So I encouraged them to choose their own color (after a direct line drawing lesson) and add their own spin. I haven't had this "older" age group in a while and I'm finding it almost odd not having to chant, "1, 2, 3, eyes on me." and other attention getters I sometimes use for my little ones. :) It is a wonderfully humorous, diverse group and I'm looking forward to all of their artwork to come.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Savannah in Monet's Garden

(A Variety of Monet Gardens by Children's Book Art Class)

My Children's Book Art Camp will be taking a look at Linnea in Monet's Garden by Christina Bjork and Lena Anderson. It's a wonderful book that combines illustrations with Monet's actual paintings. It follows the little girl, Linnea as she learns about the life of Monet as she visits his pink house in Giverny and stands on the Japanese bridge in Giverny that he painted so many times. To create our Impressionist pieces, we will be adding layers of paint and experimenting with a variety of brush strokes. The children will first create a watercolor wash of the water and sky. I always encourage them to use a couple colors to add dimension rather than just a solid blue sky for example. While the paint is still wet we will as our colors for the lily pads and water reflections as well as all the lush folliage in the backgroud. They will double and triple load their brushes in blues, greens and yellow to mimic the Impressionistic effect. The bridges are cut from large pieces of construction paper (glue together 3 curved shapes and 4 small rectangles) and can be painted over lightly as well to help them blend into the painting. I will take a picture of each child waving (great idea Savannah) and cut them out. They are slipped behind their bridge and glued to the piece.

Voila, each child can be a part of their own Impressionist landscape.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Toothpaste and Lotion Batik a la Phyl

Before rinsing phase

A BIG thanks to Phyl over at There's A Dragon in My Art Room for this fantastic project. (Be sure to check out the wonderful work her students made as well as some photos of the process.) When she posted this project a while back, well, let's just say, she had me at "toothpaste". It's half science project, half art lesson. I taped a piece of muslin to a square of cardboard. The children lightly mapped out their design. I gave them free reign, they could do an abstract design or something representational. A mixture of equal parts toothpaste and aloe vera lotion (both readily available at the dollar store) is applied in an empty glue bottle, tracing over the pencil lines. Everywhere this mixture is applied will remain white in the end. This needs to dry completely before the painting step. The following week I offered a variety of watered down acrylic colors. (Phyl used non-washable tempera paints with very vivid results). Once the paint has dried simply rinse the fabric in the sink, clearing away all toothpaste/lotion mixture. After haniging to dry and a quick run of the iron, I mounted their work on black poster board. They each signed under their batiks with a gold metallic marker. Most of the students in this class were kindergarteners. I think each of them did a fabulous job and they all loved the process. This will definitley be a project that I return to again and again. These would also be great turned into pillows for holiday gift project.