Saturday, March 30, 2013

Contour Lines Collage

People frequently ask, "Where do you come up with ideas for art projects for kids?" There isn't really one answer. Like many of us, I will see a blog or Pinterest post that appeals to me, or more often, triggers a thought for a "spin-off lesson." More and more, I find inspiration as I am driving and just looking around. Now that I am walking more for exercise, I find my thinking veering towards art ideas then, too. Even yesterday as my dentist was drilling for a filling and I wasn't enjoying it, my thoughts were re-directed towards the next art project as a means of escape!!

At any rate, Spring Break always seems to find me in the mood to experiment with some of these ideas that have been "percolating" for a while.

I found this idea on Pinterest. The original post doesn't seem to be available, but here is the link to the pin I saw (here). I liked the abstract shapes in this original post a LOT, but wanted to try the idea using a real object instead of the organic shapes.

First, I tore a piece of copier paper and glued half of it onto a black board (you could use regular black construction paper or cardstock instead.) Then I cut out a stem and leaves to collage onto the background. I used an old catalogue for my collage pieces, but again, construction paper would work fine.

The next step was to cut and glue the petals and center of a flower. I think I will encourage the kids to use one piece of white in the black area (as I did for the center of the flower) to help balance the white side of their background.
The final step is to draw the black lines contouring the colored shapes that are on the white part of the background. I used a black Sharpie for this.
My next teacher step will be to think of some other representative objects that would be good for this project. I think the objects should be interesting shapes (not too thick or clunky) with parts that would extend into the white area. Things like scissors, kitchen gadgets, maybe a sports car, etc. For younger kids something like the flower or even balloons might be better to keep the cutting manageable. Hmmmm. More to think about before I actually teach this:))

Monday, March 25, 2013

Art Room Tools

We are on vacation now and I am contemplating what to order for next year. First, of course, I'll need at least a gallon of Elmer's Glue-All -- the BEST glue for what we do. I hang art in an outside hallway that is exposed to damp air here near the beach. This stuff REALLY holds.

Then, I need a few more bottles of Crayola glue, because I LOVE these bottles. I have one set that I bet I have had for 10 or more years and it is time for some fresh replacements!!!

I just use my handy wrench that a parent gave me as a gift years ago. It was in a little red tool kit along with some other classroom necessities -- what a terrific teacher gift that was!!! I unscrew the tops, fill these bottles with my Glue-All and we are ready to go.
As I have mentioned before, the kids don't actually use these glue bottles. I squirt about a tablespoon in a small plastic portion cup and students scoop their glue from these with a wooden sandwich pick. I get those 2 items at our local Smart & Final. I just let the glue dry in the cup and add more glue the next time we need it. At the end of the year I pop out the dried glue and have a fresh cup ready to go for the next year!
Well, that's enough thinking about school for right now. I'm back to the book I've been reading!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lines Like LeWitt's (sort of!!)

Two years ago, inspired by another blogger, I had Kindergarteners explore the "Bold Lines" of artist, Sol LeWitt (here). Last May I was reminded of LeWitt's work by Rachel over at Color, Collage and Much More (here). Our former kindergarteners are now 2nd graders, so I decided to re-visit LeWitt with a variation of Rachel's more complicated version of assembling and then extending their line. As they worked, I heard a lot of kids saying, "This is REALLY fun!!"
Our first step was to make 2 or 3 small (4 1/2 inch square) line drawings using complementary colors and crayon. I asked students to vary the direction of the line and to start and end at an edge, like these:

These boys started combining their lines right away!!

Today we glued the squares on a larger board (8" X 10"), knowing that we would be extending the line with paint.

Children had a lot of choices to make: where to glue their squares to direct their lines where they wanted them; colors to use to expand the line's width; whether to continue with stripes or have a solid background. This was a great opportunity to focus on laying the brush flat to make a smooth, controlled line.

Sorry for the blurriness of my photo, but you can see how this art lends itself to some dramatic presentation options. One little boy stopped on his way up the hallway as I was putting this up (turning each piece this way and that, trying to decide how to match up the lines) and said, "You know the best thing about art?"
  "What is that?" I replied.
   "There is no way to do it wrong. It is always right!!" he said, smiling.
                             THAT IS WHY I LOVE TEACHING ART!!!!!!!!!