Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Both these projects were either from or inspired by Art Projects for Kids. The holiday candles was a great 1 day project that I adapted from Kathy and had the children use their choice of or a mix of media: markers, watercolor and oil pastels. This candle piece was done by 3rd grade boy who really enjoyed creating an intricate background. I cheered him on to finish because I thought the end result would be so dynamic. I was right... nice work Nick!

The colorful winter tree was a project I originally adapted last year. It is created by decoupaging squares of colored tissue paper to triangles of board. The background is done with oil pastel and watercolor. The tree trunks can be created using oil pastel or cut textured paper. The final touch is a snowfall of hole-punched dots. My daughter gave this one to her teacher. This is a nice rainy (or snowy) day activity for over the winter break. I love it because the outcomes can be so different.

My best to you all this holiday season!Enjoy your time with family and friends.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Winter Cardinals

Love this chubby guy shivering in the snowy night! Nice job Patrick (6)

Cardinals are a very popular art project this time of year. My students really enjoyed this since snow and Northern Cardinals are about as exotic as palm trees in Minnesota. So while we've had temperatures in the high 70's earlier this week, this project brought a bit of the winter holiday feel to us. Some of the children created a cool daytime sky, while others worked on a black nightime background. Some birds can be seen experiencing a light snowfall while others endure a full snowstorm. (Something tells me this goes against their better nature.) We created the cardinals using thin sharpie and watercolor and gluing the cut birds to their perch.
I loved this project because all ages felt successful as the direct line drawing lesson was so easy to follow.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Palm Frond Masks

About 5 months ago I found a pristine palm frond base while walking my beloved mutts. As any art teacher I am always looking for ideas to use different materials. (Dumpster diving is not out of the question for me.) This looked like a great canvas for a primitive mask. It took me all these months to find enough fallen palm fronds for my 3rd thru 5th graders to create their own. (Only to find out last week that one of my student's parents is a landscaper and could get a boatload :D )

I love primitive art and have a small collection of masks from Africa and Indonesia I shared with the children. We kept our palettes limited and I encouraged repetition of shape. But I didn't over direct this lesson.

More to come...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Van Gogh Meets The Masai

I wish I could take credit for the idea for this project. But that would go to the art teacher at J. B. Watkins Elementary in Midlothian, Virginia. I saw the fantastic pieces on Artsonia one day while I was "wandering" around. I instantly loved their energy, brightness and texture.

To create these inspired pieces in my K-3rd class we first talked about Van Gogh's use of strong textured brushstrokes. I told them I didn't want any pre-mixing and to use brushstrokes to capture the feeling of movement. I also challenged them to create 2 different strokes for the sky and grass. The colorful clothing of the Masai people of Kenya were created using leftover textured paper. The shapes were very simple as we were creating abstract people. Finally they added simple features to capture different movements of their people.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Snow At Last!

I'm taking a quick break from art posts. My daughter will be 9 in 2 short weeks and had yet to experience snow(something she had really wanted to do). Over Thanksgiving break we took a trip to my brother's in Reno, NV. When he said they had gotten snow the weekend before, I was expecting some patches of melted ice. Hooray! A real blanket of snow. (This picture was taken just minutes after our 8 hour car trip as she first experienced snow). She was able to drive a snow mobile, go sleding, and have a snow ball fight. These are things many of you may take for granted in these winter months. But what a treat for this SoCal beach girl! I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving as much as we did!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Koi Fish Scrolls

My Around the World Art Project mini summer campers created Koi fish scrolls based on the traditional Chinese scroll art. Koi and fish in general are considered symbols of good luck in many Asian cultures. In fact, you will often see many coins at the bottom of a Koi fish ponds as the Chinese and Japanese believe that throwing them will bring good luck.
This was such a popular project I decided to give it another go. The above works were created by kindergarten thru 3rd graders. I showed the children a chart of Koi or Carp which are bred for their beautiful markings. They could choose a variety from there or come up with their own. We went thru a simple direct line drawing lesson and then they used watercolor to bring their work to life. Some added lily pads and lotus flowers to their work. They then created a stamp or "chop" out of a piece of styrofoam that they carved with a ball point pen to create their own artist signature. This was then printed onto their artwork using red acrylic. Finally two black cardboard strips were added to the top and bottom to imitate the look of a traditional Asian scroll. I added some black yard to the top so it could be hung at home.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cezanne Meets Matisse Apple Still Life

I love the wallpaper done by a very talented 5 year old.

Gorgeous work of a kindergartener!

All of my kindergarten thru 5th graders are working on a multi-media piece inspired by the still life work of Matisse and Cezanne. I love this lesson as it incorporates so many different skills and influences. First we looked at the wonderful, vibrant patterns and textures of Matisse to create our background. I told the children it was their opportunity to create their own signature wallpaper &/or tablecloth. They could choose between a verticle or horizantal format. We used acrylics (and oil pastel if they wanted) for this step. They were then put up to dry.

The apples, inspired by the rich, painterly work of Cezanne, were created using a foundation of yellow, green and red construction paper. (I did allow those who wanted, to create their apples on white using all chalk pastel). I discussed the difference between a stylized drawing and a contour drawing. We had plenty of apples around to use as reference. I wanted them to try to create beautiful lines following the contour of their apples (rather than just a perfect circle with a stem). After the pencil drawing, they would look closely at all the colors in their apple and add them with chalk pastel sparingly and smudging with a finger. The outline of their apple was gone over in charcoal and smeared to mimic Cezanne's work, as well as add dimension. They are then cut out and either displayed in a basket or layed out on their table. The last step is to add the cast shadows. Beautiful work kids!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Goodnight Geckos

Yes, I often go into my children's bookshelf and pull out a book to create my latest art lesson. Well, "The Goodnight Gecko" was a souvenir from a vacation to Hawaii back in 1999, when my son was 4 years old. I have collected children's books since, well, I was a child. On any given trip to our local book store, my husband knows 9 times out of 10, to find me in the children's section. (And yes, I do read grown up novels :D)
I decided to adapt an art lesson for this book creating a 3D gecko over a nightime Hawaiian background. First the children looked at different varieties of geckos. I like to do my homework and give them some interesting facts. There are over 900 varieties of geckos from 3/4 of an inch to 14 inches in length. The have tiny velcro like bristles on their feet that allow them to walk on walls, glass and even ceilings. They have invisible eyelids that they clean with their tongues. Geckos are nocturnal and hunt for food at night.

After showing them several types of geckos, the children used Sharpie and watercolor to create their own. They then painted Hawaiian flora with acrylic on black board. I encouraged them to double and triple dip their brush in analagous acrylic colors to create more 3 dimensional landscapes. The geckos were cut out (admittedly a bit tricky) and glued to small strips of foam core and then glued over their nightime landscape.
The geckos shown were done by ages 5 thru 10.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Salt Dough Experiments

In the week I have in between art class sessions, I am busy "test driving" art projects. I'm all over the map: Jim Dine, David Hockney, Impressionist fall landscapes and these salt dough inspirations. I was experimenting with texture and watercolor with the flower and shell. I used an actual shell to make a fossil-like creation while the flower was hand formed. The snake and sea turtle were inspired by the gorgeous work of Australian artist, Bronwyn Bancroft. (But I did see some similar creations in clay from Apples Love Oranges that really caught my eye.) I just picked up Bancroft's children's book at the library, "Possom and Wattle, My Big Book of Australian Words." Her work is so wonderfully bright and graphic.

You may be seeing some more similar creations from my classes soon.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Technicolor Dinosaurs

During the summer, my Children's Book Art campers did a project based on the book,"How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?" by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. They turned out so well, I thought I'd try it again with some of my students. I adapted a direct line drawing lesson from the cover T-Rex, complete with blankie. After going over their giant pencil dinosaurs in permanent marker, they used watercolor to give it some personality. Some children used colored Sharpies for smaller details. While still wet, they sprinkled salt on their work which gave the dinosaur skin a bumpy reptile effect. (You know they loved this part!)
Once dry, the dinos were cut out and glued to black posterboard. The final step was to add some stars and a moon.
This was a favorite project for many of my students(Kindergarten thru 5th).