Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Printed Landscapes with Watercolor

Many of you art teachers are probably familiar with this lesson from Dynamic Art Projects for Children. It is based on Klee's drawing, "Hilly Country of Porquerolles." The children used scrap pieces of poster board and black acrylic to create a hilly landscape. We talked about the Grand Canyon, Palm Springs and other destinations for inspiration. Once dry, they used watercolor and various techniques such as, wet on wet, salting, glazing and sponging to add life to their work. I like how the printing technique and use of watercolor removes all pre-conceived ideas or plans for the art work. It's a wonderful lesson in exploration and embracing "happy accidents."

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Seeing Chihuly at Disney

Jumpin Jellyfish ride at Disney's California Adventure

Chihuly's Work

It's not just me right? You see it too? :)

I hope you're all enjoying your Memorial Day weekend!

We're hanging in our home turf now, but Thursday and Friday we finally cashed in my husband's prize for winning Employee of the Year......2-Day passes to Disneyland and Disney's California Adventures for the whole family. As a native Southern Californian, Disneyland has been a part of my upbringing. I remember the paper ticket booklets, making popular the "E-ticket" term. I have had the opportunity to visit Disney a number of times throughout my 44 years. My husband worked in a Anaheim Hotel just as stone's throw from Disney and would recount all the excited families ready for a day of magic. And even though we live about 15 miles away, on summer nights and weekends I know it's 9:35 pm when I hear the boom from the fireworks show.

So off we went in different directions, the teens hit the "Mountains" as in Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain Railroad. And my husband and I took our 10 year old to Fantasyland for some tamer fun more up her alley. (How can a child who made it through the entire movie of The Hunger Games be so terrified in the Alice in Wonderland and Snow White rides? :) ) Anyway, despite the crowds and long lines, I am grateful to have had the opportunity for some more memories at Disney.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Wrap Around Snakes

If you're not a fan of step-by-step art lessons, quick look away...avert your eyes! ha :) I have just 4-5 weeks with each of my after school art classes. In that time I try to do a variety of projects: basic art elements, artist or art movement based, technique, ect.. Like many of you I have noticed the kids are a little antsy at this point in the school year. I thought this project would be a fun, attention grabber for my K-4th group. And of course, they would be exploring media, line and shadow in the process.

They followed a step by step drawing lesson(courtesy of "Draw Really Cool Stuff" - judging by the current price, it must be out of print) to create their wrap around snakes. From there they created snake patterns and a tropical habitat for their boa inspired creatures. They could choose watercolors and/or oil pastels to add color. Last, I demonstrated how to trace their lines with charcoal and smudge them to add shadow to their snake and tree to create depth.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Clay Birds on Driftwood II

Finished Birds

Scanning the beach for driftwood

Aha! Jackpot!

Air dry clay birds ready for paint

Children got to choose their own perfect perch

Katie, 2nd grade added a few eggs for her mama bird

I did this project last spring inspired by some gorgeous clay birds on wood I saw at New City Arts. I was excited to try it again with a new group of K-4th graders. After their clay birds were dry, the children painted them with acrylics using real bird photos as their inspiration. They chose the perfect driftwood perch from my collected pieces. I added a coat of Mod Podge and glue gunned their bird to the wood. Only drawback, Air Dry clay is a bit fragile and I've had to mend a few broken wings. I'm finding my trusty glue gun doesn't adhere well with this material. Any suggestions on a good glue for clay repairs?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Have a "Zen" Mother's Day!

Original Zen Shorts post can be found here.

Wishing you all a blessed day with those you love!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Nature Contour Drawings with Bleeding Tissue

Wow Jenna! Beautiful lines and lovely colors!

Brendon, 2nd Grade
Gorgeous observations Brendon!

Katie, 2nd Grade

Calvin, 1st Grade

Amanda, 2nd Grade

Scott, 1st Grade

Abby, Kindergarten

Sonja, 2nd Grade

This project was inspired by some beautiful still life drawings with bleeding tissue effect at A.C. New Middle School. My latest group of students created these pieces by closely observing plants and leaves I had scattered about the tables. I talked about the difference between a stylized drawing and a contour drawing. If you could magically attach a pencil to your eye so that it would draw only what it saw, this would essentially be a contour drawing. Today we were drawing only what we saw, not what we imagined. Some children chose to begin with pencil and others jumped right into Sharpie and ball point pen. To create interesting compositions I encouraged them to fill the page, turning it upside down, repeating shapes and going off the page with some of their subjects. When their drawings were complete, they chose their color schemes of tissue paper. I demonstrated how to wet their watercolor paper and place ripped tissue (Spectra brand) paper on top, painting a layer of water to flatten the tissue down. Once it was dry, the tissue was peeled away and a beautiful dye effect was left behind. The children really enjoyed this process. Beautiful work kids!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Rothko Color Field Inspirations

A BIG thanks to Katie at Experiments in Art Education for her idea of using chalk pastels on construction paper to create emotion driven Rothko Color Field pieces. With just 30 minutes to go in our last class(K-3rd), it seemed like the perfect art lesson following so many animal themed projects. After looking at some of the artist's works, we talked about different emotions, brainstorming on the whiteboard: calm, happy, angry, excited, sad, ect..( my personal favorite, "out of control".)

Their assignment was to choose an emotion and then a long sheet of colored construction paper(Katie used only black which may have created a bit more depth and mystery) for the base of this mood. From there, they created "fields" of color to convey their emotion. I encouraged them to have one color "bleed" into the next by blending in circular motions. When they were all done, I held up each piece and the children guessed which emotion the artist was trying to convey. But I told them there were no right and wrong interpretations. An artist and a viewer could have two completely different interpretations of the same work of art. This was a fun project for my group. And when I told them Rothko's "White Center ( Yellow, Pink and Lavendar on Rose") sold for $72.8 million, they were even more enthralled by the project. : D