Saturday, August 27, 2016

Oil Pastel Dots for Dot Day - Art Audition #2

With September just around the corner, it's time to start thinking about International Dot Day to celebrate Peter Reynold's book, The Dot. Each year I get engrossed in thinking about all the wonderful possibilities of tying art lessons to this fabulous little gem of a book, and this year is no exception. You can see previous years' lessons here, and here.

The first idea I am auditioning for this year is this simple (and quick) lesson that will introduce oil pastels and pinch-tearing all at the same time.

The supplies are simple: 9 X 12 construction paper pre-cut into fourths, some oil pastels, and a piece of background paper on which to glue the shapes. Pentel is one of my preferred brands because the pastels are soft and easy for students to use with good results.

The first step is to "pinch tear some dots". I would have kids practice this first using scratch paper. You can see a lesson on this by clicking here.


Once students have a few "dots" torn they start coloring areas using either warm or cool colors, using a color wheel as a guide to their thinking and planning.  I like to have them overlap areas of color just a little to see how the colors interact and what new colors appear. Using white to tint some of their colors makes for some nice experimenting, too. You could have students use any color system, not just warm and cool.

I had intended to use just black construction paper, but decided I liked the variety of using lighter colors of paper, too. I also thought about and tested using baby oil and swabs to blend the pastels slightly, but found that that didn't really add value (except, perhaps the lovely clean aroma of the baby oil in a classroom!) to this project. That is one of the advantages of auditioning a lesson first, before using it in the classroom!

The final step is to glue the dots on a background paper (either plain or painted if I want to get a little messier), overlapping edges just slightly.

I am actually thinking about doing this as a collaborative project that will cover a HUGE area, with hundreds of dots!!!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Art Audition - Footprints in the Sand (or Tea Bag Art)

I think one of the most fun parts of teaching anything (but art in particular) is trying out new ideas with students and seeing the results. For me, these don't have to be original ideas (but it's fun when they are) just new to me or the first time I have tried them with kids. And I ALWAYS want to "audition" them first at home before introducing them to the classroom. It seems that this is the time of year (2 weeks before school starts) when a lot of these ideas start percolating. I thought it would be fun this year to share with you some of these "art auditions!"

Here we go with the first one:
Footprints in the Sand or Tea Bag Art!!

Last January, following joint replacement surgery, I was told to walk EVERY day, and I have been pretty consistent in following through. While walking in my local park, on the sand and gravel pathway, I noticed the variety of footprints imprinted in the path and thought, "Wouldn't kids have fun with this!"

Step one is to create the sand. Great use for all those used teabags after making ice tea!! Coffee would work, too. Pressing lightly on the bag creates a light beige, leaving the bag a few seconds before lifting up results in a darker tone. Good time to talk about value.

Overlapping the tea bag prints is pretty important for an over all sandy look.

I didn't even wait for the background to dry before printing the soles of a few shoes. In the classroom, kids can trade shoes to make a variety of sole designs. I used pastels that I dragged across the sole and then just printed it on the damp background. If you want to get a little messier you could try this with paint!! I didn't think I wanted to try cleaning paint out of all the grooves, though. **Have plenty of water and paper towels for kids to clean their shoes after printing.

For younger students I would probably stop after they had covered their "sand" with footprints. Older kids could use black Sharpies to outline the patterns on the shoes, as in the example below.
In my last post I had this photo of a local mural where a boy is looking towards the beach through his binoculars. 

I think I would probably have kids discuss this mural, which is on a wall that is walking distance from school, as well as Dr. Seuss', Oh the Places You'll Go! , as a part of this lesson.

Sounds like fun, huh??!!
Hope you are all having fun thinking about getting back into the swing of things!!