Thursday, September 26, 2013

African Elephants with Watercolor Sunsets

This "happy accident" created a wonderfully mysterious 'puff of smoke' in the distance.

My Experiment

I apologize for my long pause between blog posts. I've learned over the years that most parents aren't ready to commit to art classes until they have settled into their back-to-school schedules a bit. This is a busy sports time for many families (many of you can I'm sure appreciate this) with practice days for soccer, football, lacrosse. ect..I live across the street from a baseball field, and in the last few hours, I have seen all 3 sports come for practice.

These elephants were inspired by this piece I found via Pinterest. I had my students create the background first using wet-on-wet technique with liquid watercolors. I love watching children have fun with this and am totally game for them to experiment even if it means green in the sky. But of course we discuss what colors will create others. I gave them the option of continuing with watercolor to create their earth or switching to black acrylic to create a silhouette.

Next we got to work on our elephant profiles. These were created on brown grocery bags. I love using these for projects because their recycled quality make them a great base for certain animal skins. The children followed a direct line drawing lesson and traced their pencil work with Sharpie. I gave them brown and gray pastels for the elephant skin since African elephants give themselves dust baths to protect their skin from the sun. I encouraged them to use charcoal to add shadow in some of the major folds and wrinkles, as well as add definition. (We looked at real elephants so the kids could see just how wonderfully wrinkled these animals are.) They had the option of adding silhouettes of African umbrella trees or other animals or to keep the background as is. This is just a sampling from my K-4th grade groups.

 Age 5 - Beautiful!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Colorful Snakes and Koi Fish

I revisited a couple favorite lessons over the summer. The original post for these wrap around snakes can be found here. The children could choose from oil pastels, chalk pastels, acrylics and watercolors to add color to their compositions. Most opted for liquid watercolors. They do pack a colorful punch. The finishing touch of charcoal shadows really provides a 3D look to their twisted snakes. Artwork by K-4th graders.

This lesson was inspired by a great koi fish tutorial over at smART class. I tried it in the spring and decided to give it another go with a summer class. This is a favorite of the children as they feel so advanced after they've completed their drawings. Once again, liquid watercolors give their paintings their vibrant colors. Artwork by K-3rd graders.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Remembering 9/11

Remembering and honoring all those who lost their lives as well as the heroism that we witnessed that day and the days that followed

This piece was done several years ago by a student for an Eric Carle style cityscape
I immediately thought of the Twin Towers and it left a lump in my throat