Saturday, August 24, 2013

Summer Remix

In case your were out in the sunshine, enjoying your summer with family and friends (and I hope you were!) here are some highlights from my summer art classes....

On a personal note, my son, Brandon graduated high school, my niece, Shaeye (who lives with us) is set to start her senior year in high school, and my daughter, Savannah was promoted from 5th grade and is ready to start middle school. Lots of milestones happening. It definitely feels strange to be "done" with elementary school! Time marches on...

Wishing you all a wonderful start to the new school year!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mega Butterflies

For my last project of the summer, my "Creatures" groups created these over-sized butterflies in chalk pastel (with black oil pastel outlines). These were done on 18" X 24" black construction paper. Yup - really big! So in order for the kids to use the entire space, I told them to imagine these as monster butterflies. This was a good attention grabber and they all did a great job of filling the page. Back in art school, I had an illustration teacher who used to say, "When in doubt, blow it up and crop it." It is the easiest way to create an interesting composition when you feel stuck. And of course I had to throw in some comparisons to Georgia O'Keefe's flowers to which I was pleased to see many children nod their heads in agreement or understanding. The tables were filled with piles of chalk dust and of course the children's hands (and some faces) were stained and smudged as well. What a great note to end on ....I always tell the kids, it's not art class if you're not getting a little dirty. :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Breaching Orcas

Last week was "Shark Week" on on the Discovery Channel. I actually entertained the idea of piggybacking on the theme and doing a shark project. A clearer mind prevailed and I came to my senses! We live at the beach and my students spend so much of their time in the ocean, that might not be the wisest choice for my "Creatures, Great and Small" classes. It's bad enough that our beach has been nicknamed, "Stingray Bay" due to the large number of them. Swimmers are even encouraged to do the "stingray shuffle", a shuffling of the feet to scare away these creatures.

So Orcas won out.(not exactly common in these parts) This was a fun straightforward project for my 2 groups of children, ages 5-10. Following a direct line drawing lesson, Orcas were painted with acrylic and then cut out. The backgrounds were created with dry brushed acrylic oceans and wet on wet watercolor skies. The children were encouraged to create their own unique sky (sunset, sunrise, nighttime, ect.) to set the mood of their mixed media pieces.And last, a splattering of watered down white acrylic to create the splash of our breaching orcas.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

E. A. Seguy

 Sonja, 8

Sadie, 7

Jenna, 10

 Cora, 5 (Entering Kindergarten in September - Gorgeous!)

 Tristyn, 8

 Lacie, 8

 Butch, 6

When I told the two groups of students in my "Creatures, Great and Small" classes that we'd be drawing flies for our first project, the collective sigh of disappointment was audible. ;) "Trust me, you can make these beautiful." They definitely proved me right! This project was inspired by the beautifully rendered insects and gorgeous patterns of French turn of the century artist, Eugene Alain Seguy. I am a Huge admirer of his art. So I thought it would be interesting to combine both of these elements into one piece.

We started by drawing a horse fly (disgusting I know, but it made for a bold drawing). The children shaded their drawings with charcoal. As one of my blogger friends put it, "charcoal achieves nothing else." I copied these in my printer twice to give us three cut flies for our pieces.The backgrounds were created with liquid watercolors, followed by styrofoam carved stamps using acrylics and finished with oil pastel details. I told the children to pretend that they were wallpaper or fabric designers.The last step was to arrange the flies in a eye pleasing pattern. I love the contrast of the charcoal bugs against the brightly colored backgrounds. Well done kids!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Zen Again

I revisited a personal favorite this summer with these mixed media pieces inspired by the book, Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth. The original posts for this lesson can be found here and here. It is of course a great mixed media piece all on its' own (chalk pastel sky, painted moon and branches, printed blossoms, and drawn panda). But I absolutely adore the book it's inspired by. Stillwater, the giant panda teaches his new neighbors wonderful life lessons through stories that have roots in Zen Buddhist literature. My favorite deals with carrying around anger and baggage long after a grievance has occurred. Sounds pretty heavy for a children's book, but this book works on many levels.