Sunday, May 29, 2016

Stars and Stripes 2016

Whether it is Memorial Day, Veteran's Day or the 4th of July, it is fun to  celebrate the red, white and blue. This is a quick project requiring pastels, paper, paint and a few pieces of cardboard.

Artists use one triangle and chalk to create a five-pointed star. This is good for talk about, not only how you go about positioning the triangle five times to create the star, but also for the starting point of the chalk marks (on the triangle, brushing out) and conversation about the direction you "swipe" the chalk (from the triangle straight out as you work your way around the point of the triangle). It is a good idea to practice this on newspaper first! If you think the triangle method is too hard for you group, this can be done with a full star pattern instead.

After making the initial chalk mark, students swipe the mark again with their finger, smearing the chalk outward, so the star looks like it is shining.
Once the stars are done (I like the kids to make various sizes using small and large triangles), it is time for some stripes.

These were done by dipping the edge of a piece of cardboard (we use scraps of illustration board) in tempera (acrylic works, too) and "printing the stripes". I emphasize, "straight down, straight up" to avoid sideways smears!!


 You can decide whether to have your kids stick with vertical/horizontal stripes like the one above, or let them print however they like, as in the example below.

The motivation for all of this was our local National Veteran's Cemetery (seen across the street from the Federal Building), which is adorned right now with thousands of American flags at the gravesites and along the inner roads. I love driving by this time of year. Hope you all have a meaningful holiday as summer nears!




Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Fraction Art

3rd Graders have been exploring fractions, so I thought, "Why not throw in a little watercolor to cement the concept of fractions equivalent to one whole?"
To make the process a bit game-like and give the kids a written model to follow, we started by drawing two cards, one for the numerator and the other for the denominator. This would become "their" fraction.

Using grid paper and colored pencils, students used 2 complementary colored pencils to color squares to represent each part of their fraction. I had a color wheel available to teach the concept of opposite colors on the wheel. This lesson was done in small groups so I was able to spend a lot of time using the mathematical vocabulary AND having students use that same vocabulary as they explained to me and each other what they were doing.
When the squares of their "whole" were colored, they cut it out and glued it onto a background. We used 6" X 6" illustration board, but any sturdy paper suitable for watercolor would do.
 
Next came the watercolor. Students painted shapes that emanated out from their colored pencil areas. This was a good time to talk about brush control and how to lay the brush flat and pull to get straight lines.
 

 
 The last step was to write an equation to match their artwork!!


 This was a two day project for most kids, as we let the paint dry before doing the writing, although some groups did it all in one day.




Friday, April 15, 2016

New Spring Blossom Collages

Using the blossoming trees around our school as inspiration (see here), students can bring our hallways alive with Spring!!

They start on Day #1 painting tints,  using acrylic paint -- white and the color of their choice. We also had some colored tissue paper that kids could paint with white to create tints. The advantage of using acrylic is that students can experiment with keeping the paint thick (like Van Gogh).
 


The next step is to cut and glue branches and blossoms, overlapping the blossoms for depth.

 After the blossoms are glued, students can add darker areas with crayon or oil pastels representing the depth of the centers of flowers.
I am thinking these would be spectacular displayed all together on a hallway bulletin board!!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Happy Spring (flowers)!

Spring is such a cheery season for students to try to recreate. We have so many early blossoms in our little beach town that inspiration is around every corner!!


And then there was last week when we had gusty winds whipping the palm trees into a frenzy!!






Think I will need to work on a lesson to exemplify the wind, but for those looking for quick (or semi-quick) spring flower lessons, I do have these former flower lessons here,  here , here , here and here!! 
The flowers below take a bit longer, but the lesson can be found here



Hope you all are enjoying your Spring Break!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Art in Our School

I can't believe it has been so long since my last post, but I had a good reason. I now have a brand new hip, have recuperated nicely, and am ready to start back with students this week!!! Anyway, I do have a few things to share. First, a little bit about the last project 3rd graders worked on . . .

Around 80 years ago, when our school was built, a frieze depicting Theodore Roosevelt's life was installed outside the door of the main office. That area is now located inside the office, the result of remodeling. We believe the frieze was carved by sculptor, Robert Merrell Gage, who was responsible for quite a few local public works of art, as well as a few national treasures, as well. From 1928 to 1958 when he retired, Gage was the Chairman of  USC's Fine Arts Department.


Third graders explored the frieze, discussing all the details that they found. 


 They helped each other and used crayon to trace over the indentations of the carving, making replicas of some of the items. 


 Then, using centimeter rulers they measured parts of their own drawings and then other parts of the frieze.



I love when students can become actively involved with their surroundings both as artists and researchers. In this case, our research generated a LOT of mathematical comparisons!!



I am thrilled that our students have the opportunity to study and appreciate authentic art in their school environment. We have quite a few murals on campus as well as this frieze, so I am planning to have students explore these, too. More later on this . . .

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Winter Reflection Collage

Every now and then I resurrect a reflection lesson (see here) with a different theme. Last year it was with pumpkins in a puddle (here) for fall, this year it is with snowmen in the forest with the addition of collaged ice skaters on the pond.

We start by folding the paper in half (lengthwise) and use landscape setting. I use regular copy paper from the printer rather than heavier drawing paper. Kids draw their forest scene with snowmen using Crayola Watercolor markers (they seem to work the best for me). You can find some great Google images of forests, mountains, etc. to show your class for reference. Caution students to draw their trees and snowmen sitting right on the fold line. This is REALLY important!!



Then spray or brush water on the white part of the paper and carefully fold it up onto the colored part. Press lightly and unfold to see the reflection on the pond.



You could stop right there and call it a day. Because these are on copier paper, they dry REALLY quickly.

Or, if you have the time, have student draw and color ice skaters that they can cut out and glue onto the ice. We used drawing paper (90# I think) for this step. (We do quick gesture sketches on scratch paper to get the positions to show movement.) This is a good opportunity to mention creating the illusion of depth  with overlapping and size of objects!



In the example below, the student took time to go back after the paper was dry and before gluing the skaters to add extra touches of color to the forest using oil pastels.
She also spattered white paint for that snowy touch.


This is a pretty quick, fun project for that wintery feeling!!

P.S. - Blogger's new feature of allowing you drag and drop pictures right onto your post is VERY cool. Thank you Blogger!!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

An Artful Thanksgiving

From Farmers' Market . . .

These photos are from a stop at Casa de Fruta in Hollister, California.



. . .  to Thanksgiving table . . .

These are painted pumpkins on my holiday table . . .

. . . to the Art Room . . .

. . . and these, of course, are from the Art Room.


Hope everyone enjoys a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with good food, friends and/or family, and a creative spirit!!