Saturday, August 27, 2016

Oil Pastel Dots for Dot Day - Art Audition #2

With September just around the corner, it's time to start thinking about International Dot Day to celebrate Peter Reynold's book, The Dot. Each year I get engrossed in thinking about all the wonderful possibilities of tying art lessons to this fabulous little gem of a book, and this year is no exception. You can see previous years' lessons here, and here.

The first idea I am auditioning for this year is this simple (and quick) lesson that will introduce oil pastels and pinch-tearing all at the same time.

The supplies are simple: 9 X 12 construction paper pre-cut into fourths, some oil pastels, and a piece of background paper on which to glue the shapes. Pentel is one of my preferred brands because the pastels are soft and easy for students to use with good results.

The first step is to "pinch tear some dots". I would have kids practice this first using scratch paper. You can see a lesson on this by clicking here.


Once students have a few "dots" torn they start coloring areas using either warm or cool colors, using a color wheel as a guide to their thinking and planning.  I like to have them overlap areas of color just a little to see how the colors interact and what new colors appear. Using white to tint some of their colors makes for some nice experimenting, too. You could have students use any color system, not just warm and cool.

I had intended to use just black construction paper, but decided I liked the variety of using lighter colors of paper, too. I also thought about and tested using baby oil and swabs to blend the pastels slightly, but found that that didn't really add value (except, perhaps the lovely clean aroma of the baby oil in a classroom!) to this project. That is one of the advantages of auditioning a lesson first, before using it in the classroom!

The final step is to glue the dots on a background paper (either plain or painted if I want to get a little messier), overlapping edges just slightly.

I am actually thinking about doing this as a collaborative project that will cover a HUGE area, with hundreds of dots!!!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Art Audition - Footprints in the Sand (or Tea Bag Art)

I think one of the most fun parts of teaching anything (but art in particular) is trying out new ideas with students and seeing the results. For me, these don't have to be original ideas (but it's fun when they are) just new to me or the first time I have tried them with kids. And I ALWAYS want to "audition" them first at home before introducing them to the classroom. It seems that this is the time of year (2 weeks before school starts) when a lot of these ideas start percolating. I thought it would be fun this year to share with you some of these "art auditions!"

Here we go with the first one:
Footprints in the Sand or Tea Bag Art!!

Last January, following joint replacement surgery, I was told to walk EVERY day, and I have been pretty consistent in following through. While walking in my local park, on the sand and gravel pathway, I noticed the variety of footprints imprinted in the path and thought, "Wouldn't kids have fun with this!"

Step one is to create the sand. Great use for all those used teabags after making ice tea!! Coffee would work, too. Pressing lightly on the bag creates a light beige, leaving the bag a few seconds before lifting up results in a darker tone. Good time to talk about value.

Overlapping the tea bag prints is pretty important for an over all sandy look.

I didn't even wait for the background to dry before printing the soles of a few shoes. In the classroom, kids can trade shoes to make a variety of sole designs. I used pastels that I dragged across the sole and then just printed it on the damp background. If you want to get a little messier you could try this with paint!! I didn't think I wanted to try cleaning paint out of all the grooves, though. **Have plenty of water and paper towels for kids to clean their shoes after printing.

For younger students I would probably stop after they had covered their "sand" with footprints. Older kids could use black Sharpies to outline the patterns on the shoes, as in the example below.
In my last post I had this photo of a local mural where a boy is looking towards the beach through his binoculars. 

I think I would probably have kids discuss this mural, which is on a wall that is walking distance from school, as well as Dr. Seuss', Oh the Places You'll Go! , as a part of this lesson.

Sounds like fun, huh??!!
Hope you are all having fun thinking about getting back into the swing of things!!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Wall Art 4

As we enter August and teachers around here realize that they have 3 weeks before getting back to their classrooms, I share this magnificent ode to summer on the wall of a building on Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica.
This not so little fella is gazing to the west where 6 blocks away is Palisades Park, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean. He looks like he is ready to make the hike and walk down the steps to the beach and splash into the waves for one last hurrah !!!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Wall Art - Part 3

I have been contemplating the message on this mural for over 10 years. Before art started popping up on walls everywhere, this thoughtful painting appeared overlooking Wilshire Blvd. in West Los Angeles. I still notice it every time I pass by, although the signs around it are crowding in these days!! It often gets me thinking about the difference between reading a book and "reading" a piece of art. What a great conversation to have in the art room!!

It is hard to see the painted scaffolding that the little painter in the lower right is standing on as he paints by the word, "sentence."

You can see him better from this angle.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Wall Art Part 2

In my wanderings out and about I have come across these two murals celebrating Charlie Chaplin. The first is in a courtyard at the Cypress Inn in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California . It overlooks diners having afternoon tea in the patio restaurant.

The second is on the main road through Venice, CA.

I have been thinking it might be fun to discuss these two paintings with students, comparing the similarities and differences. Then I would give a photo of a well known man/woman to the kids and have them create a portrait within a setting of their choice. Afterwards we could have another discussion examining the similarities and differences of their paintings. FUN, HUH??

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Wall Art

I have been noticing lately that artists are hitting the walls around where I live. It is fun to see such creativity. I have been doing a lot more walking now that school is out and thought that in the next few weeks I'd share some of the murals I have stumbled upon.

This first is on the wall of a restaurant I was at with my mom recently. It is called Spitfire and is located in their parking lot. It is a cool, casual place with a lot of old airplane memorabilia inside. Fitting, since it is located by our local small airport.
 These next few are on walls of the fabric store where I shop. At first there were just a few near the back door:
 This next one always startles me!!

 Then others started appearing around the other walls of the building. So fun!!
 I will share some more later. Hope everyone is having a happy summer!

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!