Friday, February 27, 2015

West Coast Winter

I was born and raised in Southern California. So, I can't even fathom the conditions many of you are grappling with right now. I scan my blog list and see quite a few Snow Day posts and everything that encompasses. Late night talk show hosts have made a big point of what weather wusses we are out here. And it is very true. We are on "storm watch" for this weekend, bracing for some rain basically. I took a long walk on the beach this morning (We have a 3:2 ratio of teens to adults in our household, so a long cleansing walk is "a good thing" - just saying ) I watched the few surfers (1-3 feet is weak) have the "ultimate morning meeting" as I call it. I wish you all an Amazing spring to make up for the severe winter you've endured. Have a Great Weekend! (I plan to enjoy a big chunk of House of Cards)

So we waited all weekend and not one drop of water fell. Then almost out of the blue on Monday morning this happened ....
Hail in Surf City USA!

Tuesday - back to "normal" 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Kindergarten Koi

Today was the last class with my Wings and Fins group. I was definitely pushing it to have my kinders complete these mixed media koi in an hour and 15 minutes. I tend to use liquid watercolor for backgrounds a great deal (okay, to death), so I wanted to switch it up this time. We used a variety of cool acrylic colors to give a painterly pond background for our fish. The koi were done on black (yet another favorite) with oil and chalk pastel. While my class looked at a variety of koi, I gave them the option to make them realistic or imaginative. Koi were cut and glued to the acrylic painted backgrounds. Up next - Mini Masters (creating art inspired such artists as Cezanne and Matisse).

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Year of the Sheep (or Goat)

Gung Hei Fat Choi!

I didn't plan any projects for Chinese New Year given my class themes at this time. But here are two projects that would work this year. Depending on who you talk to, it could be the year of the sheep  or goat - I guess it's a regional thing. I did these winter sheep a couple years ago. They were created on brown or blue construction paper with chalk pastels and were cut out and glued to a watercolor background. The Chinese Zodiac says that people born in the year of the Sheep or Goat (which I happen to be) "want a bit of peace" and "enjoy carrying on with their life in their own individual way." Bingo!

These colorful Chinese lanterns made last year at this time, were great fun for my students to create and were a basic way of teaching 3 dimension with the use of ellipses. The possibilities are endless! Artwork is done in oil pastel with a watercolor background and printed dots of white acrylic for white lights.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Kindergarten Bird Posters

I've done this tropical bird poster lesson several times (here and here). I think it works well for a wide age range. So my kindergarten group looked at different colorful, exotic birds: toucans, macaws, parrots and quetzals. They could choose a horizontal or vertical format. I showed the group how to break down their birds into simpler shapes to make them easier to draw. To create dynamic compositions, I encouraged them to move their pencil to a different spot on their board for each bird - overlapping (a bit tricky for this age group) and birds running off the page were Great for posters! After they used oil pastels to add color to their line work, they painted their background with liquid watercolor. I love how different they all are! Posters are 18" X 24".

Friday, February 13, 2015

A Bloom of Jellyfish

The technical term for a group of jellyfish is a smack or a bloom. Considering how beautiful and ethereal these kindergarten mixed media works are, I'm going with bloom. I did this lesson a couple years ago here and decided to give it another go. We broke down our jellyfish into 3 parts: the bell or hood which starts out with a simple curved line. We looked at pictures of all different colored creatures and learned these colors hide what the jellyfish has eaten to protect themselves from prey. So the children could use whatever color chalk pastels they wanted. Next came the oral arms which grab the food and feed it to the mouth on the underside of the creature. These often look like ribbons. At this point we switched to oil pastel and drew long skinny tentacles (where the stinging cells exist) in a variety of colors.  My kinders did a great job of carefully painting around their chalk pastel creatures and painting right on top of their oil pastel tentacles. They could instantly see the difference between these two medias. They sprinkled salt on top for a bubbly effect. Once these were dry, glued strands of yarn were added for more tentacles.

1st grade work

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

More Peacocks and Seahorses

Chalk pastel peacocks - 1st graders

As much as I missed your show tunes this class, your focus paid off!
Nice job Jenna!

"Now, you're welcome to add".., "No, I'm done!" :)
Minimal and beautiful Presley.

Ella was wearing most of this lovely shade of chartreuse
all over her sweater and arms. Lucky for me, her mom didn't
 bat an eye and told her she was being a "real artist". And she is!

Addison paid careful attention to our real peacock photo source
and referred to it often.

It is very important to Reese for things to be just so!
She seems to have a 5th grader persona. ;)

 Ella, 1st grade
Watercolor, oil pastel, and collage

 Jenna, 6th grade
Watercolor with salt effect background

Tristyn, 5th grade
Watercolor and acrylic seahorse
Liquid watercolor background with salt and plastic wrap

 Lacie, 5th grade
Marker, watercolor and salt effect background

Reese, 1st grade
Oil pastel, watercolor and collage

Monday, February 9, 2015

Is Monday Over Yet?

I did this Grumpy Cat on Mark Rothko inspired color fields lesson over a year ago. Their pitiful faces have a reverse effect on me - I can't help but smile! Wishing you All a Wonderful Week!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Kindergarten Pastel Peacocks

The theme for this month's class is Wings and Fins (birds and sea creatures.) We broke down the parts of this gorgeous creature in steps. I told my kinders they could create an imaginary peacock using whatever colors they desired or more realistic colors. I love seeing where fearless five year olds go from there. Most of my group were headed to get ice cream at Cold Stone with their Girl Scout troop afterward, so they were Extra Exuberant - as you can see! (Silly Miss Mary asked,"Now are you all Girl Scouts or Brownies?" We're Girl Scouts. We're not Brownies because we don't sell brownies." Lol!)  And despite all my little tips and tricks, most of these cuties were covered in beautiful hues up to their elbows and some great face smudges. It's not art class if you're not getting a little dirty!
Link to the original post of this lesson is here.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Beyond Direct Line Draw Lessons

While the majority of my art lessons tend to be animal subjects using a basis of direct line drawing lessons, I do Love veering into more personal observation and abstract based lessons. Maybe because my personal art is so reality based, I tend to be drawn into the opposite direction. I think abstract lessons level the playing field so to speak, for those children who feel their drawing skills aren't what they'd hope, but have So much to say and a desire to create. 

The above collage student work (observational and abstract - with links to the original post) are some art lessons I've done without the aid of Miss Mary's white board and marker. I will continue to do direct line drawing lessons and make no apologies for it. But I hope to incorporate more observational and student driven thought into my art lessons. (Thank you Phyl! You are such a Great mentor to me.)