Thursday, December 31, 2015

Wolves of Winter






Putting it together:

 Birch trees made with card board pieces scraped with black acrylic

 ballpoint pen, chalk pastel and charcoal

Over Winter Break, I offer a couple of one day, two hour classes. This past Tuesday we had our Wild Animals class. I have never done a wolf project before and thought it would be the perfect animal for the winter season. Though Gray wolves once disappeared from the lower 48, they have returned to the Great Lakes, Northern Rockies, and Southwestern US. They play a key role in keeping ecosystems healthy. My group of 2nd-6th graders enjoyed creating their mixed media pieces.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

May Your Days Be Merry and Bright!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Feeling Frida

Mia, 2nd

Ella, 2nd

Reese, 2nd

Presley, 2nd

Fiona, 2nd

Kate, kindergarten

Grace, 2nd

Kate, 2nd

Sydney, 3rd

Since my 3 Draw, Paint, Clay classes this month just happened to be all girls, I thought it would be a great time to introduce my K-3rd graders to the art of Frida Kahlo. Just a few days after I set this plan in motion, my 20 year old son was badly injured with multiple broken bones and went through weeks of pain and several operations, leaving him housebound. And while these weren't Frida-like injuries, the irony was not lost on me. 

Now on to happy things. I first purchased this wonderful, age appropriate biography (used on Amazon - my favorite go-to site) by Margaret Firth with illustrations by Tomie dePaola. This gave a nice background of the artist's life story to the girls, as well as including some of her self-portraits. I informed my groups that they would be creating their own Frida Kahlo inspired portrait. Patty over at Deep Space Sparkle has a great lesson plan for Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. I purchased the lesson plan that has a wonderful portrait tutorial that helps students with facial proportions through a folded paper technique. I soon discovered that Kathy at Art Projects for Kids has a nice step-by-step Frida portrait guide as well. Thanks to you both.

Students created their portraits on large pieces of construction paper. They were encouraged to create Frida's trademark bird wing eye brows, adorn their hair with flowers and add beautiful jewelry - all favorite elements of the artist's self portraits. Colorful backgrounds incorporated leaves and or flowers in a variety of media. Beautiful artwork girls! I hope you enjoyed our time exploring the life and art of Frida Kahlo as much as I did. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Birds on Snowmen

 3rd grade

 3rd grade

 2nd grade


This was a fun little one day project for the holiday season. I had the kids create their backgrounds first with watercolors on 11x15 paper. These were put up to dry and we created our birds and cropped snowmen faces on blue construction paper, cut to the same size as their backgrounds. I offered colored pencils, chalk and charcoal to add color and shading. These were cut out and glued to their dry watercolor skies. A final snowfall was created using the backs of their paint brushes or splattering with white tempera. I think these winter projects are especially fun for my groups since our climate is so mild.

my experiment

Friday, December 4, 2015

Air Dry Clay Creations

 Turkeys and peacocks

 Mexican Alebrijes using foam sticks

Air drying roses

This session I am doing several Draw, Paint, Clay classes with an emphasis on clay. It's a departure from my usual 2D lessons, but the kids are so enthused to be working this medium. For our first project we created these turkey and peacock tealight holders thanks to the wonderful post by Anne at Use Your Coloured Pencils here. Her students' peacocks are stunning. I like that it incorporates pinch pot, slab and modeling techniques. These were painted with watercolors and I offered sequins for added bling. They were give a final coat of Mod Podge, in lieu of ceramic glazing and I gave them flameless tealights. These will make nice holiday gifts.

Some of my kids created Mexican Alebrijes inspired by these pieces I spotted on Pinterest. Alebrijes are brightly colored Oaxacan-Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical creatures. I found some foam sticks at Michael's that I thought would work well for the feathers. The kids decorated them with acrylics, cut them and slid them into pockets in the clay created with the end of bent paper clips. 

Up next, our roses inspired by Natalie's wonderful post and tutorial at smART Class here. This was a crowd pleaser with my all girl classes. I'm looking forward to seeing these come to life with paint and sparkly Mod Podge!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Cityscapes with Fireworks Collages

Over the summer, I did a mixed media cityscape with fireworks project with my Unique Materials Art Fun classes. I was very excited to be asked by Arts and Activities Magazine to submit the lesson for possible future publication. I was so pleased to hear the article will be in the December issue. What an honor and privilege to be included in the nation's leading art education magazine!

Here is my original post and a variation on the lesson using recycled materials.

 Jackson Pollock fireworks show (by Calvin)

This fun and "everything but the kitchen sink" lesson is a take on this mixed media cityscape project I did a few months ago. "Miss Mary, the 4th of July is over." I told my classes, "There is a fireworks show at Disneyland every night at 9:35. You can even hear it from where we live!" (about 15 miles away) Each child created a cityscape outline using cardboard pieces and black acrylic, using the edges to make prints. After these were dry, they painted them with watercolors. Windows were created with circle or square prints in bright colored acrylics. They glued company names from magazines to personalize their cities. Fireworks were done on a separate piece of construction paper with small brushes and acrylics, with a final flicking of paint. And last, we located out cities on water and created reflections using oil pastels with a watercolor wash. There is a lot going on with these, clearly evident on our tables (and even floors) at the end of this project. But what Fun!

Mixed Media Cityscape Collages

 Reese, 1st grade

 Mia, 1st grade

 Ella, 1st grade

Presley, 1st grade

Lauren, 1st grade

Rylee, 5 

Parker, 5

 My new Draw, Paint, Collage classes are working on some very large mixed media cityscape pieces inspired by the art of Ezra Jack Keats (a real favorite of mine), Romare Bearden and even a little Basquiat. You'd never know it by the amount of animal based projects I do, but I Love cityscape art. The more expressive, the better. So I experimented with a variety of media and techniques and came up with this project. The kids started out choosing a well worn placemat full of paint and even doodles.

They choose a few analogous colors and white to sponge paint lightly over their poster board, leaving paint and doodles showing through. The next layer was a black city silhouette started with Sharpie and then painted in with acrylic. Once dry, ends of pencil erasers were used to make colorful prints for city lights. Next, I had the children use sponge brushes to paint over a sheet of newspaper, encouraging them to leave some words and pictures showing through. Pieces of cardboard were then used to print out building shapes and sponges were used to print colorful lit or dark windows. Once dry, they glued down some logos cut from magazines. And as if this wasn't enough (a less is more art lesson, this is not), I had them create reflected city lights using oil pastels, which they painted over with blue watercolor to create a waterfront city. Collage pieces were cut out and glued in layers with some help from Miss Mary. They are wild and expressive - just my thing!

My experiment for the lesson