Wednesday, December 18, 2013

When Will Winter Arrive??

These trees in Southern California are totally confused. Usually by this time of the year they have lost all their Fall foliage and are bare. But here we are in the middle of December and it is 70° outside!!

So, I am pretending it is cold and Christmas-like. Made some paper mache antlers for my newspaper pooch. . . .
and followed this recipe:
to make batches and batches of these holiday cookies -- YUM!!

Hope everybody has a wonderful Winter Holiday. See you in the new year:)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Save Those Holiday Catalogs!!

Is your stack of holiday catalogs growing by the day as your favorite stores compete for your patronage?? I just hate to throw these glossy gems away because you never know when inspiration will strike and you absolutely MUST have a picture for your wonderful idea! That is how this began.
There I was watching TV the other night with this pile of catalogs right next to me. There were photos of lots of baubles that I would never buy, but I might just put them to good use.
So, I cut out some jewels and got to work.  I followed the idea you have probably all seen bouncing around the WEB these last few years (like here and here). I glued my photo in the center of my paper. Before drawing my contour lines around the outside, I put dots at critical points where the lines would "bump into each other."
 Then came the lines:
 Next I picked pairs of colored pencils for each section. I tried to pick colors I could find in the actual photo.
Pressing hard where the lines joined and hardly at all at the mid-point creates a 3-D illusion. Pressing hard and light to create VALUE is a skill that most kids have to actually be taught and this is a good way to practice.
Here is one more using different colors:
This would be a good winter vacation activity for when kids say, "What can I do now?"

Sunday, December 1, 2013

From Monet to "Menchies" with Oil Pastels

What do Monet's Haystacks and Menchies frozen yogurt have in common? That is the question 3rd graders  discussed first, before starting this project. 

We talked about how artists often just walk out their front door and spend time looking (and painting) what is around them. I shared how Monet had painted his haystacks in various seasons and times of the day and how the shadows changed. We also noticed how he shaded these cylinder shapes. Monet found these fields in his little town of Giverny, France. And that brings us to the frozen yogurt store directly across the street from our school. If we walk out our front entrance, this is what we see:
And if we walk inside, we see these cups:
Well, OK, you would see real yogurt -- I used a piece of paper towel for my classroom yogurt model. I also projected a Google image of a real Menchies yogurt with all its toppings, spoon, etc.

We reviewed "light source" and how to use tints and shades to create a 3-D look. For the first part of the drawing I modeled how to do this and add shadows to the yogurt as the kids followed along. 
 We started by  lightly sketching the cylinder shape. I had them erase the back part of the top oval (where the yogurt will go). Then we filled in the front of the cylinder with the "main color". I actually mentioned how Fauvists used wild colors for their art instead of realistic color. I did this partly because I didn't want 150 magenta yogurt cups that looked exactly alike and partly because there weren't many purple or magenta oil pastels in my collection and I didn't want kids unhappy that "they didn't get a purple" pastel!! After coloring the main color (not too thick!), we used white pastel on the left, where the light was hitting and black on the right (the shadow). 
 The last step is to go over the whole thing again, with the main color, trying to blend the layers. If the kids wanted the highlight side to look even lighter, they went back and added a little more white to the left side.

When it came to decorating the yogurt everybody was on their own.
 A final step was to add a line to delineate a table top and color a tablecloth and perhaps a background if they liked.
This is one of those pieces of art that I am going to be sad to give back to the kids -- I just LOVE having them in the classroom and displayed in the hallways. They have such a happy look!!