Saturday, August 29, 2015

Art Rocks!!

How about this for a cool way for kids to practice shading to create the illusion of depth?! You could start by having your class collect their own rocks/pebbles to draw, or you could use a photo of rocks, like this photo of river rocks taken on my vacation in Montana this summer. I ask kids to imagine what it would look like if each of these rocks had a magical patterned stripe (or stripes) around them!

This can be done with any number of rocks appropriate for your age group or time restrictions. It starts with a pencil sketch using a light source to identify shadows. I know I have written about my light source icons, but it bears repeating. Here is a link to that lesson idea:  I find that often students need practice in how to press harder to get darkest values and lighter for highlights.

 I like to circulate as students work, asking them to identify their darkest and their lightest areas. Sometimes what they see as dark is nowhere near dark enough to make their drawing "pop". We talk a LOT about this. A value chart can be useful for some.

Once the pencil drawing is complete, students create bands of color patterns using permanent (or watercolor) markers. I like Sharpie fine points for this. I think that this is a good way to review (or teach) color elements at the beginning of the school year ( primary, secondary, complementary, etc.) This would also be the time to point out that the color bands will be curved, following the contour of the rock in order to appear more realistic.

The rocks can be cut out and then stacked, overlapping on a background paper like in the photo below. You could easily turn this into a collaborative project by having students make individual rocks, cut them out and glue them as a class cairn (or rock pile).

For those with more advanced drawing skills, the rocks can be drawn  stacked with overlapping parts and then colored like this:

I like using the book, Three Pebbles and a Song by Eileen Spinelli, as a literature connection for this rock project. 

As I look at some of these rock compositions, I see that you could do essentially the same lesson in the spring with eggs as the subject.

Rock on, artists!!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Why Doughnut Art??

Well, I could say that the reason for making doughnut art is to practice tinting and shading to create the illusion of depth; 

or I could say it is to reinforce the study of shapes; or I could say it is to experiment with color or different media; or learn about Wayne Thiebaud's art . . .  One could go on and on. 

One could also say that I wanted a good excuse to visit my favorite donut shop in Costa Mesa, California (right next to Newport Beach) and buy a bunch of their cinnamon crumb cake donuts -- YUM!! 

After using these as inspiration for art I would, of course, have to eat them. I actually make the trek to this shop (one hour drive each way) often, just to buy the donuts. I eat a few and then wrap the rest singly and freeze them for when the craving strikes. Seriously, these are JUST THE BEST!!!!

But I am digressing -- back to the ART.

This project starts by having students use a ruler to divide a square paper into fourths. That is a whole lesson in itself for some. (How to start measuring at the end of the ruler - or where the zero would be if we considered the ruler as a number line -, how to hold the ruler in 2 places so it doesn't wobble, how to measure and mark in two places so the lines are equal distances apart, etc).

(For younger students, or to accommodate time constraints, you could have each student draw just one donut instead of four.)

Then, using photos of donuts (or the real thing), kids sketch and shade their 4 donuts. Notice that each donut just about touches the edges so that the donut "fills the space." Sometimes I have students use a little photo icon of a light to remind them where the light source is and where the shadows will be as they are shading. (see here for example:

Then comes the color. Instead of using just one media I like to put out crayons, oil pastels, colored pencils and paint so that students can experiment with each. This is a good way to introduce use of materials at the beginning of the year and it is a good way for students to discover for themselves the variations that can be achieved with different media. Oil pastels definitely work best for making the "sprinkles" because of their strong color!

 Once these are done, they can be framed as individual pieces of art . . .

. . . or they can be combined into arrays as collaborative works. I actually like this because it opens up lots of possibilities for integrating with math!!
Here we have 4 X 4 = 16.

And here is 4 X 6 = 24 or 6 X 4 = 24 or "What fraction of the group is Jelly Donuts?" or "If you eat half of this box of donuts, how many are left?"  You get the idea:))

A great Literature Connection for this lesson would be to read Homer Price by Robert McCloskey.

 Just think of all the great math questions one could generate with this illustration!! I can remember hearing this story as a read aloud in, I think, my own 4th grade classroom decades ago!!!
On that note, I think it is time for me to go eat a doughnut or two:))

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Art Teacher Challenge

I'll bet a lot of school auditoriums or meeting rooms look something like this before the school year starts. This is our auditorium--two very long bulletin boards extending down both sides of the length of the room.

Who gets to transform this room with a little art magic?? People like you and I. Luckily I got a couple of good friends (newly retired) to come and help me with the transformation this year.

Last week I was painting captions and spattering them in my bathtub with primary colored paints.
Today it all came together with design backgrounds, lettering and most important, children's art that I had saved from last Spring to post now. Here are all the creations with links to their lessons: (regular readers will recognize most of these lessons from prior postings)
Link to Dot lesson:

Collage Kitties
Link to lesson:

Collage Fish:

Crooked Buildings, Crooked City:

Intersecting Lines in a Ring:

Circles in a Circle:

So what to do now while I wait another week for school to start?? Think I'll kick back with an iced mocha and read. I seem to be on a mystery tangent lately and have this whole stack lined up to entertain me as summer creeps to an end.

For those of you who have already started school, I hope you are off to a great start!!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Cakes Revisited

I was recently asked by a reader how to draw cakes like the oil pastel ones below (which I did with 5th graders a few years ago during a study of Wayne Thiebaud).

I thought maybe I had directions somewhere on the blog showing the steps I used that I could refer her to, but I couldn't find any. So, here is a quick step-by-step. Hope it helps!!

Of course, you could just bake up (or buy) a luscious cake, cut out a slice or 2 (which you could eat as a snack at recess time), project the cake onto a screen with your document camera (if you have one) and let the kids do an observational drawing. Just sayin' -- it's an option:))

Here is what a whole bunch of cakes look like. You may notice that kids made their cakes whatever number of layers and flavors they wanted and decorated however they liked. We also talked a LOT about "light source" and where the shadows would be. The platters were sandwich foil that I got at our local Smart & Final and they were glued first, before the cut out cakes were glued on.