Monday, August 20, 2012

Chinese Lion Dancers

I can't take credit for any part of this wonderful Chinese Lion Dance lesson other than the fact that I had the good sense to "borrow" it from smART Class. Thank you Natalie! This was the perfect finale to my Art Across the Globe classes this summer.
After the children watched some wonderful lion dancers in action, they followed Natalie's fantastic draw along lesson. Background fireworks were created with oil pastels and line work traced over with black oil pastel before painting their lions with watercolor.

I had a wonderful time this summer with my 6 art class groups. Thanks to all the children who joined me for some creative time!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Egyptian Tint and Shade Landscapes

It's always interesting to me to learn which projects end up as favorites with my students. Sometimes I just know, other times, I'm surprised. Such was the case with these tint and shade landscapes with Egyptian pyramids - a real crowd pleaser.

After using acrylics to paint our subjects, the children created three different patterns on colored construction paper using Sharpie and oil pastels. We looked at some of the colorful blankets that often adorn camels in the Middle East as inspiration. These were cut up into squares to create a border for their paintings. Work created by 5-10 year olds.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bronwyn Bancroft Inspired Animals

About a year ago I was thumbing through picture books next to the 3 and 4 year olds at my local library. (Yeah, I'm cool like that....and yes, I do read grown-up books with words as well ;)
I came across the lovely "Possom and Wattle" by Bronwyn Bancroft, and I've been a fan ever since. Beyond these colorful, graphic illustrations with roots in Aboriginal dot art, Bancroft creates gorgeously intricate paintings rooted in her Australian Indigenous ancestry. ( She is committed to the protection of these artists' rights as well.)

My students first chose their background colors, and were encouraged to chose 3 or 4 on the same side of the color wheel to create an atmosphere for their animal. We looked and at some of Bancroft's animals for inspiration and the children chose between wombats, dingos, koalas and kangaroos or they could choose their own. They created graphic animals using Sharpie and oil pastels on marbled construction paper. Last, they created painted dot designs on their painted backgrounds using the ends of their paint brushes. Their animals were then cut out and glued to these painted backgrounds. (Works created by 1st thru 5th graders)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Gyotaku Explorations

I have been mildly obsessed with the Japanese art of Gyotaku lately. I have scoured the internet for different interpretations of this elegant art form. Some of my favorites came from this collection of 3rd graders on Artsonia.

I wanted my two groups of K thru 5th graders to try a couple different methods for their Gyotaku. We worked with wet on wet watercolor backgrounds as well as creating prints using ferns, plants and feathers to mimic the look of seaweed. As much as I wanted to use a real fish, I opted for a lovely rubber blue gill. I thought the smell and the "gross out factor" for some, might be an issue that would distract from the overall lesson. (Though I am bound and determined to try this with the real thing eventually.) I allowed each student to make 3 prints with rice paper as well as regular printer paper. These dried quickly enough for the children to use chalk pastel to add color and definition to their fish. Some opted for realistic hues, while others let their imaginations run wild. Some children have more tweaking to do with their pieces on day two. This lesson was all about the exploration of media, but moreover, an introduction to this mid 19th century art form of "fish rubbings" by Japanese fisherman.

Supply List

Rice Paper or Printer Paper (81/2 X 11)
Watercolor Paper (9 X 12)
Watercolor Paints and Large Brushes
Black Ink or Watered Down Craft Acrylic Paint
Brayer or Sponge Brush
Chalk Pastels
Sharpie Marker
Scissors and Glue Sticks
Rubber "Gyotaku" Fish Found at Dick Blick or Amazon

Children take turns making prints of the fish by using a brayer or sponge brush to apply a think layer of ink or watered down craft acrylic. They will lay a piece of rice paper or regular printer paper on top and gently rub to get all the details transferred to the paper. Put these up to dry. For the backgrounds, children can use a wet on wet watercolor technique by painting their piece of watercolor paper with water only and then adding watercolor on top. Colors will "bleed" together. These are put up to dry. Once their Gyotaku fish prints are dry, children can add color by gently using the sides of chalk pastels and blending colors with their pointer fingers. Definition to the fish's eye can be added using Sharpie markers. Fish are then cut out and glued to their dry watercolor backgrounds.