Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Moonlit Pumpkins

Each Fall I like to have 3rd graders make tints and shades. The sky and spheres (or cylinders) seem to be a good starting point. Last year it was trees in a moonlit sky and spheres ( here and here). This year I am combining the two and we are drawing moonlit pumpkin patches using oil pastels and baby oil.
We'll start by observing photos of moonlit landscapes and Georgia O'Keeffe's suns on the Smartboard. Then, after a review discussion of tints and shades, students will make concentric circles with oil pastels, starting with white and then progressively darker tints of blue, blending into black. They'll use oil pastels, also in a circular motion, and top with baby oil on a swab to further blend the pastels. These kids had experience last year using baby oil to make still life scenes so I am hoping they remember the technique.  I have found, surprisingly, that maintaining this circular motion is often difficult for younger students to remember, so I always demonstrate in an exaggerated manner!!
Next comes a ground cover with darks and lights.
I am asking students to make pumpkins in different sizes so that they can overlap and use size to create the illusion of depth. They'll have real pumpkins and this photo to use as models as they work.

I demonstrate starting their pumpkin with a center oval and then adding curves to left and right until the pumpkin is the size they want. We draw with pencil and outline with these great new black crayons.
I actually just draw something like this on the black paper kids will be using and demonstrate coloring in with highlights at the same time. Patty over at Deep Space Sparkle posted a cool pumpkin lesson with kindergartens using a similar idea for drawing their pumpkins (HERE).
Kids use white and yellow to make the lighter tints where the "moonlight" is hitting their pumpkins. They can go over the black lines again at the end if necessary.
I love the painterly quality that the blending gives to each pumpkin!
We only have 45 minutes of work time to create these landscapes, so I am not sure how many pumpkins the kids will be able to make -- we'll see tomorrow!! I'll post results soon!

I first saw a project like this on Donna Goldstein's Artsonia site in 2009. See here. Her 4th graders worked with paint and oil pastels to create their pumpkin patches. I love a lot of the work her students did and the site is worth checking out if you have never been there!!

16 comments:

  1. A lovely pumpkin project - I'll be interested to see the kid's results! :)

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  2. I LOVE how this looks! I'm currently doing a pumpkin pastel drawing with my 1st graders...pictures to come on my blog hopefully by the end of the week! I've never seen the baby oil technique with oil pastels until I met Pinterest, but I have yet to try it! I just love how the colors brighten and blend together!

    www.artroom104.blogspot.com

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  3. Nice- but 45 minutes des seem like a tight squeeze! One thought - can the kids alter some choices?- for example: a violet sky instead of blue? Ground cover in brown? Or olive? Or mustard? Or burgundy? I love to take liberties so that every one is unique!

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    1. One class only had 35 minutes due to school announcements on the PA and their late arrival. We were all pretty amazed that they finished!! Bless their little hearts, they remembered how to use this media from last year!! Some classes had extra time and even worked through recess, so they had over an hour -- much more relaxedI

      like the idea of using other colors, too. Maybe next year I'll have enough money to order the large size boxes of oil pastels with more colors:)) Actually, my choice of having kids use blue and orange was to reinforce the concept of complementary colors to create greater "pop". I used black cardstock for the background and found that only the lighter colors of oil pastels showed up on it. Some kids experimented with the grass colors. In the end I kind of liked the subtle tones kids made.

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  4. Great project in tints and shades.
    Lovely results. I love the colors.

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  5. Beautiful! I *love* how you're incorporating value into the sky *and* the pumpkins. Last year I did a sunset and palm tree painting with 4th grade (the sky faded from a center yellow circle, to yellow orange, orange, red orange, and red) and this year I am doing value pumpkins with them. But, this incorporates both ideas! I can't wait to see student results. Hope they look as nice as yours :).

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  6. These are lovely! I've not yet tried blending oil pastels using the baby oil. Does it take a long time to dry? Is it tacky when dried? I guess I should just give it a try!

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    1. I LOVE this medium!! It really doesn't take that long to dry. I was hanging work done in the morning that very afternoon. One thing, I put VERY little baby oil in a portion cup and caution the kids to use it sparingly (no puddles on the paper, please!!). But, even the work that was a bit saturated dried pretty quickly. It has this really neat, waxy look and feel to it when dry. My kids who had first experimented with the technique last year with fruit still life pieces definitely remembered what to do and had no trouble at all, even the class that only had 35 minutes to do the whole thing!!!

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  7. You are my hero!
    What size is the finished artwork?
    Linda W.

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    1. We did these on black cardstock -- I think it is 8 1/2" by 11". Then I stapled them on 9" X 12" construction paper (yellow, green and tan)

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  8. I am impressed with the results using baby oil. It's not something I've heard of but it makes sense. What are staonal crayons made of? We don't get them here. Wax or oil pastel perhaps. I am very keen to try out this technique, thanks Christie.

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    1. Staonal is a product made by Crayola. I'm not sure, but I think they are made of wax. They aren't soft like oil pastels, but very sturdy and dense. They feel like thick black crayons but with better coverage. I haven't used them yet for crayon resist, but I am guessing they would be terrific!! The only negative would be that when the points get worn down on these thick sticks, they are quite blunt and fine detailing would be difficult.

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  9. did the kids do the pumpkins on separate paper and then cut and paste them on the background? The images included make it seem like they are separate

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  10. Yes, the pumpkins were done on separate pieces of black construction paper. Kids cut them out and arranged them on their background overlapping the 2 larger ones and placing the smallest pumpkin near the horizon line.

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  11. Could you demonstrate drawing a pumpkin using a center oval and adding curves? I'm having a hard time getting my students to round the lines of their pumpkins. Excellent blog, your site has taught me so much.

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    1. I added a drawing to this post showing what I meant by starting with an oval, etc. Hope it helps!!

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