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.