Saturday, January 29, 2011

Rhinos Who Play Soccer and Baseball

Rhinos in progress

Last summer several of my classes did pieces based on Julie Mammano's children's book, "Rhino's Who Surf." It was such a hit with the kids, (and I recently received a wonderful compliment from the author and illustrator herself) I decided to do a project based on 2 of her other books, "Rhinos Who Play Soccer" and "Rhinos Who Play Baseball." I did provide a head template for those who needed it to make sure we didn't end up with any "pinheads." From there they followed a loose line drawing lesson. These were fun for them to create since the shapes were big and bold. They could design their own soccer or baseball uniform any way they wanted, coloring in with oil pastels. They then created the backgrounds using watercolors. These fun and lively rhinos mirror the personalities of the artists (5-8 yr olds) who created them.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jim Dine Valentines

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

my experiment above
In honor of the approaching Valentines Day I thought I'd have the children create a Jim Dine inspired heart print. This session has been all about finger painting. So that is how we created our base. There were no rules here. I just reminded them to watch out for what colors might create a muddy look: all the complimentary pairs, red and green, yellow and purple, and orange and blue. This was a great little color theory lesson. After our base had dried we cut out styrofoam hearts that we carved designs into with pencils. We printed these hearts with black acrylic. After these were dry some children used oil pastel to finish their pieces. I loved the looseness of this project. It was a nice departure from all the direct line drawing lessons we've been doing.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Matisse Mishap

Love your bold shapes and patterns Daniella(8)!
Violet's work in progress

*No fish were harmed in the making of these paintings." (but it was awfully close)

I had to post my memorable art class experience today. Half of my class is away at Outdoor Science Camp for the week. So I just had a small group of 5 girls. Several of the girls are still working on their Matisse inspired goldfish still lifes. Last week I had this still life set up for them to create their pieces. Today I decided to put my niece's goldfish bowl in the center of our art table. Midway through the class the legs on one side of the 6 foot table collapsed sending the fish bowl rolling off the table and sending paint and water cups along with it. Imagine five girls screaming, one very wet 3rd grader and 2 goldfish (not the beta shown above) flopping on the ground. Fortunately this girl was a trooper with a wonderful sense of humor (thank you Violet), I scooped the goldfish back in the bowl as fast as I could and they survived and her artwork was salvaged. Note to self: always double check table legs are fully snapped. ;D

More paintings to come..

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Georgia On My Mind

I've been seeing a lot of wonderful O'Keefe inspired flowers around the blogs lately. I've done them in the past with oil pastels. This time I wanted to try out simple line drawings with watercolor and glue on black paper finished with with chalk pastels. My students used photos of flowers and zoomed in with view finders. I had them try both techniques using the same composition. Some used the colors of the photo for inspiration and others chose to create fantasy flowers. Nice work girls! (Kindergarten - 4th)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Matisse Goldfish Still Lifes

When I was in art school, a professor went around the room asking each of us what artists inspired us. He winced and grimaced at some of the answers he got, Nagel comes to mind (yes, this was the 80's!) One person offered Picasso. He answered something to the effect of, "of course, that goes without saying, Picasso has something for everyone." I think the same of Matisse. His body of work is so broad and vast, there is surely something for everyone's taste. I think he is a wonderful artist for children to be inspired by because of his fearless use of colors and patterns. This week my classes looked at Matisse's Goldfish painting. We also looked at some of his other paintings that showed his bold use of patterns and color. We followed a direct line drawing lesson to create our fish bowls. From there the children (Kindergarten - 3rd) used oil pastels, watercolor and acrylic to create their pieces. I think they are lively, bright and bold - very Matisse. (For the record, my answer was,"El Greco, Paul Gauguin and Georgia O'Keefe", but of course I adore Matisse)
My older children did the same lesson but used Phyl's method (from There's a Dragon in My Art Room) of setting up a real still life for them to use for inspiration. I will post those soon. Thank you Phyl!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pete the Cat

My Kindergarten and 1st graders had some fun with the very cute book, Pete the Cat, I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin, art by James Dean. The story follows Pete as he steps into a variety of situations but just keeps on going. They created their inspired pieces using tempera, watercolor and markers. Mr. Dean's (who left his job as an electrical engineer to become a full-time artist) playful, sketchy style was fun for them to mimic. And of course animals are always a favorite subject.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

More Finger Painted Fauvist Landscapes

I was curious to see how my finger painted Fauvist landscape experiment would play out with my 3rd thru 5th graders. I have found that as much as I may encourage, cajole, and stress that they should feel free to use a variety of colors in each space of an Impressionist landscape, when a brush is involved it's easy to over-paint, creating flat spaces of color. Let's try the cool approach of edgy Jesse Reno. ( I showed them a video of his process a week prior.) This is clearly the baby step version to his full hand Expressionist painting style. Our inspiration piece was by a contemporary Fauve/Impressionist, Konnie Kim. They really enjoyed the process of "finger painting." There is a wonderful sense of immediacy about this technique. They used brushes to complete the detail work of the trees, but otherwise it's all pointer finger power.

My try at the experiment

My experiment

I was so inspired by a post by Pamela Holderman where her class created these fabulous expressive pieces painting with their hands. This in turn led me to artist Jesse Reno that she referenced. So I have been working on a few ideas based on "finger painting."
My kindergarten and 1st graders created a Fauvist landscape today largely using only their index finger. It was based on a Fauvist piece of Cypress trees with a very straightforward composition.
It required only 2 diagnal pencil lines to map out the perspective of the landscape.( I of course explained to them that Fauve was French for "wild beast" and these artists were given that name for their bold use of unrealistic color). From there they used only one finger to "swoosh and swirl" colors, double and triple dipping to create their background. Each time they changed a color section, they simply wiped their finger with their cloth rag. (I'm working my way up with baby steps to full hand painting with my older kids.)
They were given a brush to create their trees and were encouraged to use expressive brushstrokes and several colors. They LOVED creating these pieces. One boy said it felt like a "finger massage." And it prevented solid patches of color that we were trying to avoid with this particular project. Nice work you wild beasts!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fernand Leger Minimal Portraits

So lovely and pensive. Have Mom frame this one Matt!
This artist got so upset about her face half way through. But just look how GORGEOUS it is Cate! She lost her front tooth just a minute later by the way! :D
This artist (kindergarten) always makes beautiful and independent choices. Wonderful work Alexa!

To kick off the new year, I wanted to introduce my students to a few artists they may have not heard of before. Leger was a French painter born in 1881 who created sleek futuristic work despite the fact that he came from peasant farming stock. Some consider him to be the original father of Pop Art. I showed the children how he used spaces of color over which he painted a minimal use of line in many of his pieces. As a graphic design major, this was instantly familiar. Many logos contain these same elements.

My younger elementary (K-3) students created these portraits by painting shapes in only 3 colors. I didn't want them to even think about how the portrait would play out on top. I thought it would be more fun to create these spontaneously. After the paint dried they created a Leger-like work using charcoal bold lines. (I plan to do some complex Leger inspired cities with my older children.)