Saturday, April 27, 2013

Organic Shapes for First Graders

Using the art of Reggie Laurent as their springboard, 1st graders finished these cool mixed media collages this week. I loved this project on so many levels and will definitely do it again!! Here is some of the completed artwork:
There was a LOT of art vocabulary (organic shapes, primary/secondary colors, curved lines, borders, line patterns, etc), not to mention the actual production skills of cutting, paintbrush control and gluing. We use Elmer's Glue All, so students only needed 5 small dots of glue on each shape (applied with a sandwich stick).
This girl was "painting" a practice line with water before she actually applied the white paint.
For their border pattern I had asked the kids to use either black or the complementary color of the "inside" color. Most students remembered to do that and I noticed a lot of heads turning to consult the Color Wheel!!

The steps to the original lesson are here. I found that the only step some students needed help with was the cutting. The gluing and painting was a "snap"!!
Happy Week-end to all:))

Sunday, April 21, 2013

From Sketchbook to Classroom

For the last couple of years, as I have mentioned before,  I have participated in the Sketchbook Challenge. ( See my sidebar for the link) I like the informal structure and I like having one topic for a whole month. It gives me time to think about the concept as I'm moving through daily life and then draw when it is convenient.

Someone recently asked me how I use my sketchbook. Well, sometimes it stays out and I grab it while I'm watching TV. Sometimes, it is sitting there and because it is a watercolor sketchbook, I'll get out the paints and work for half an hour to an hour just for fun. When I don't have it sitting where I can see it, I tend not to do as much drawing (lesson learned!!).

This month the topic was "Spirals". I did a quick sketch early in the month called, Wandering Spiral.

Then, I got to thinking about that, and how I might use it in the classroom. Instead of using colored pencils (as in the sketchbook spiral), I decided to have the kids use red, yellow and blue tempera and thumbprints to make the spiral.

To form the initial spiral I coiled a length of yarn leaving plenty of space between the arcs to fit thumbprints.

Using the primary colors for some of the prints and combining the colors to make secondary colored thumbprints, students will consider balance as they complete their spiral, leaving the yarn until they have finished making their prints.

When the prints are dry, we'll outline them with a Sharpie.

All done -- sketchbook to classroom!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Art of Reggie Laurent

Reggie Laurent's art is a great way to talk about line, color and unity with elementary school students. The site "Art is Fun" has photos, links and a wonderful interview with the artist. (click here) First graders will be focusing on the part of the interview where Laurent describes how he makes his art.

Instead of acrylics, students will create their art with collage, markers, white paint and white chalk. Step one will be cutting a few organic shapes out of white drawing paper.

Next, they will color the inside of the shape, using primary colors first, and leaving a white border.

That border will be used to draw patterns with crayons or markers. I kind of like the idea of using complementary colors or black, but that might be a bit much for first graders given our time constrictions.

When gluing the shapes on our black illustration board, we'll think about placement of colors.

The final step will be to make our white line to thread between and around the shapes, tying everything together.
In this sample the color inside the shapes was cake tempera with crayon borders. The white line was painted white tempera with white chalk drawn over it.
I first heard about Reggie Laurent from Joanna at We Heart Art. See her kids' version of his work here.
I love the contrast created in this art!! I'll post kids' results when they are finished.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wildflowers Drying in the Breeze

Here are a few of the results from this week's wildflower lesson. I haven't gotten them up on a bulletin board yet, but that will come ...

The lesson for these is here.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Our Newest Wildflowers

     The hills of Southern California are blooming with all kinds of wildflowers right now, so 1st graders are painting their own this week. I'm starting with a short lesson on Impressionism through the book, Ish, by Peter Reynolds and a peek at artist, Yvonne Coomber's beautiful wildflowers (see HERE). Then it is on to a wet-on-wet watercolor wash followed by Q-tip and fingerprint flowers.
      This first step is blue liquid watercolor with a circle blotted out white with paper towel (for the sun, later). If kids want clouds, they will have to leave portions of their paper white.
      Next, comes more wash, with pan watercolors in yellows, reds and a mixture to make green near the bottom. After finishing the wash, students go back and lay in yellow in that empty white circle for the sun. It's fun to watch the colors run!!
      Part of this lesson is to have smaller dots for flowers near the horizon line, the ones that are far away, and larger dots near the bottom. We are using tempera (red, yellow and blue) for the flowers, applied with Q-tips. The larger flowers in the foreground can be made with fingerprints.
     Final steps are to add smaller dabs of color to the centers of the larger flowers (using a mixture of regular and florescent tempera. The photo below shows how kids use a watercolor brush dipped in color and struck against a small toothpick to spatter on small dots and give the piece a more spontaneous look. I find this method a bit less messy than to just let them fling away with the brush!!

     It seems that we always end up with some version of wildflowers in the Spring. Past years we have done these ( click here and here).

     I am anxious to see these latest wildflowers all displayed and will be sure to share when we are finished:))

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Experimenting with Lines and Buttons

Last week I mentioned the question of where art ideas come from, but I forgot one really important place for me. Often ideas grow from what materials I have on hand. You have probably all seen the Op Art Lesson on Mr. E's blog (here). I have tried it a couple of times and love the results, but I was looking for a way to shorten the project.

I also was given 2 large boxes of buttons some time ago to use in the classroom. So, starting with Mr. E's idea, instead of making a line with many dots, I just glued 3 buttons down for my dots. (One could, of course, do this with plain dots.) I used 6" X 6" illustration board (also donated!!).
Then,  I made the arced lines with a Sharpie marker until they bumped into each other.

Next, I applied 3 neighboring colors (on the color wheel) of watercolor to each space. I did try to intensify the colors where the pen lines met, but that was harder to do than I thought it would be, as I wasn't using watercolor paper and the board just sopped up the paint very quickly!!
 The top picture above shows what it looked like when I painted the entire background with black. I actually like the white background better, I think. I was originally thinking of doing this with first graders, but now, after auditioning it, I think it would be better for 3rd or 4th grade. This another one of those projects that I can imagine displaying altogether with the sides of each artwork next to the sides of others' works. Will be fun to try!!! But, this is testament to the importance of always trying out projects before asking kids to do them!!