Monday, December 22, 2014

A Santa Monica Winter

Well, it's official (according to our local weathermen/women) -- a week of 70+ degrees until Thursday, when we dip into the 60s. So, the only way we can come close to a dream of "White Christmas" is with photo editing! Wishing everyone a festive holiday!!:))
See you in the new year!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

'Tis the Week Before Christmas

As our Winter Holiday approaches, 3rd graders finish up these Tumbling People:

Here is how we started -- contemplating playing cards strewn about:
 Students used one card and drew their composition with pencil. Then they outlined the rectangles with black crayon to keep the watercolor from "traveling" between them. ( I demonstrated how to do this -- overlapping, not crossing over previous pencil lines, starting from the bottom and moving towards the top, etc.)
 Next came the watercolor: plain water first, then drop in two or 3 colors and watch the color run and mix together -- just like magic!!
 While the paint dried, students made gesture drawings the same size as their cards using white crayon.

Then it was time to place their figures and glue them on using dots of white glue.

This took one class period -- 50 minutes. Some kids had time to make a figure for each of their rectangles, others had one or two, but all the compositions were delightful!!

We ran out of time but in a second period we could have cut out the tumbling people and mounted them on a variety of different backgrounds. Here is what that might have looked like:

I think it is interesting to see how the same figures take on different moods with the varying backgrounds. This would provide a good opportunity to discuss positive and negative space. It's fun to experiment!!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

3rd Grade Robins in the Forest

Last summer this robin . . .
was busy feeding its babies in this nest . . .
in the Bitterroot Forest of Montana.
And thus, our 3rd grade forest project was born.

Day #1:  Students started by viewing photos of the area and discussing what they noticed (light hits the trees on one side, putting shadows on the other side; the base of the trees in the foreground are nearer the bottom of the picture; needles in the lodge pole pines are pretty high up -- not near the ground; there are a lot of branches sticking out from the trunks, the robin has a red chest area and a blackish head, etc.) This was a good opportunity to share some Science info, too!!

First, using sidewalk chalk, students lightly colored the sky and ground area, smearing the chalk with their fingers. Then, using oil pastels, we placed the trees, making some appear farther back in their landscape by making them thinner and starting them nearer to the horizon line.
 Lodge pole pines can be 100' tall, so to make their trees appear tall, students extended all their trunks off the top of the board.
 Some artists were diligent in trying to duplicate the texture of the bark.

 The final step on that first day was to print pine needles using small pieces of cut illustration board and green tempera.

Day #2
On the second day, using crayons, students built up the surface of the forest floor and background of blurry trees by "flicking their wrists" to make the short, needle like overlapping lines.

I did a short demonstration on drawing a robin and then, using a thin black marker (no pencils!!!) kids drew their robin(s), colored it with crayon, cut it out and decided where to place it on their forest-scape.
Most students are getting really proficient at blending their oil pastels to get gradual color change!! Yay!!

I envision displaying these side by side over a large bulletin board to give the feel of the dense forest. When a board becomes available at school I'll do that and share the image with you all. These make me feel like I am back in Montana!!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Great Book for the Art Room

Time for some animal fun!
Reindeer with Jingle Bell
I think it is impossible for me to walk through a Book Fair without buying something and our school's recent sale was no exception! I often think, "so many books to read and so little time." One of my "finds" for the art cart was Creature Features by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. They take a close up look at 25 animals and comment about why they have certain unusual features.

I noticed that the illustrator made a point of having white highlights in all the animals' eyes and that that added a spark of life to each illustration. So, with that in mind, the animal drawings began. I always like to try out any lesson before doing it with kids, so this was an experiment in using different media, but I sort of got carried away and did more than one!!

The bearded seal (from the book) makes a good starting point for practice:
 The seal's body is done with cake tempera.
The eyes and nose are crayon (note the white highlights). I think it helps to make the eyes and nose separately and glue them onto the body. It is easier to make the eyes the same size this way.
 It helps to plan this part holding up the paper to the painting.

 I thought this was finished . . .
But decided to add cut string to add some dimension to the whiskers.

This project is a nice way to integrate art and science and technology as kids choose different animals and research an unusual fact about their animal. With Google images to capture pictures of animals, the possibilities are endless:))
 The red-eyed tree frog shows its red eyes when it is startled.
This is crayon with water color resist.

This little chipmunk was at my brother's Montana house, gathering seeds for winter. The top example is marker eyes and nose with pencil sketch. The bottom example has colored pencil added.
This turkey is a marker sketch with watercolor and acrylic.
And finally, this reindeer is marker eyes and nose with oil pastel and baby oil for the rest. 
Did you know that, according to some reindeer, native to Arctic regions (scientific name of Rangifer tarandus), actually do have red noses due to a "dense array of blood vessels" located around the nose to regulate their body temperature in their extremely cold habitat?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Few Pumpkin Results for Thanksgiving Week

A few weeks ago I posted a lesson titled "Pumpkins in Puddles" where students used watercolor markers and plain water to make reflection drawings. (click here for steps)

When I did the actual lesson in class, I had this assortment of squash and gourds for kids to see and touch. I also had this photo displayed on the Smartboard so that everyone had a good view.

I asked them to imagine any of these outside on the ground after a rainstorm, when the sun came out. What would they see? -- A reflection, of course. 

Students drew their pumpkins, etc. on a fold line in the center of their paper (just regular copier paper) using Crayola watercolor markers (Classic set). I emphasized shading and leaving white highlights where the light hit the top of each squash. Then they brushed water on the bottom of the paper, folded the dry half onto the wet half, pressed thoroughly and VOILA!! Reflections everywhere!!

As you can see, we talked about overlapping, shadows and blending colors. I also mentioned that their final results would look different once they added the water and that it was a bit of an experiment in that sense.

Happy Thanksgiving!!