Monday, April 30, 2012

Kindergarten Multi-Media

This week, working with Shape, Line and Color, kinders will be attacking old phone books to practice cutting skills. Well, maybe "attacking" is a little too strong of a verb -- we'll see!! After reading and discussing the shapes in Mouse Shapes, by Ellen Stoll Walsh, students will cut straight sided shapes from old phone book pages. The straight columns help children visualize their finished squares, rectangles and triangles.

When they have 3 or 4 shapes, students will use primary colored crayons to draw and color the inside of their shapes (leaving a plain border). After gluing these onto their background board (hopefully in a pleasing composition), they may want to outline the shape with one of these colors as well.
In my sample I was using musical scores instead of the phone book. I may have one or two classes try this paper, too.
The last step will be to use black tempera and pieces of cut scrap board to print black lines around each of their shapes as many times as they like. I anticipate that some will be timid and print simple outlines, while others "go a bit wild" and print a lot of lines. Either way, I think the results should be interesting and give kids the chance to explore the process. I'll post results later in the week.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Agapanthus, Where Are You?!

Usually this time of year beautiful purple agapanthus fill this section of our school's garden. My plan was to take classes outside to do some observational sketches followed by paintings using tempera and pastels.

So, I went out 2  weeks ago to take some photos to put on the Smartboard for us all to discuss, and what do I find? -- a carpet of green leaves with 3 dried agapanthus left over form who knows when!! Not a purple flower in sight!

Not to be deterred, I cut the dried stalks, thinking I would go to Plan B and have the kids sketch them instead. Then last week I decided to check again. Believe me, during my first trip out there I searched between all the leaves looking for prospective buds, but didn't find one! Now, all of a sudden, look what I find -- a beginning!!!

So now, I think I'll wait a week or two and see what happens. Maybe I'll get my bed of solid agapanthus before school ends after all and we can do this project I have in mind. Meanwhile, I have to decide on something else for this week:)) I have several ideas and will let you know what I end up with:))

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Liquid Watercolors, Yeah!!

Here are a few last "bird's eye view" apple still life paintings that first graders did in a lesson posted here. They were using good watercolor paper and SAX liquid watercolors (just red, yellow and blue) diluted with water (about 3 parts paint to 1 part water.) for the background. Students had made the apples on a previous day using red tempera. Since we were practicing a wet-on-wet technique, they outlined the plate and apples (a la Mattise) to keep the watercolors from running into each other from the plate to the background. I love the luscious colors that students created for their backgrounds.

My work today will be to frame them, and then they'll be ready to hang!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Oil Pastels and BABY OIL - Part 2

Drying still life paintings
2nd graders made their still life mixed media art this week. They were working from a photo (in my last post) enlarged on the Smartboard. We talked about where each of the fruits were positioned and I demonstrated how to use the oil pastel first,

shade with a bit of black and then blend all together with a Q-tip dipped in baby oil.

We talked about starting with the apple in the very center and emphasized making it about the size of a real apple or their fist. After that, the kids were on their way making their fruit. I  must say, it is a pretty forgiving media and very easy for the kids to handle successfully.

When they finished their fruit I showed them how they could draw in the plate and the horizontal line to divide the table from the background.

These were done with oil pastel to act as a barrier to keep the liquid watercolor from wandering too far.

The last step was to quickly paint the plate and background using a wet on wet watercolor technique. They had yellow, blue and red liquid watercolors. It comes concentrated and I diluted it about 50% and still got pretty vibrant colors.

We reviewed how to clean the brush between colors and use the sponge to dab off excess water. It was interesting to me how some kids were willing to explore mixing the colors on  paper and others were more timid in their work. I love it when everyone leaves feeling totally successful!!
I LOVE all the secondary colors that the students created:))

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Still Life with Oil Pastels and BABY OIL!!!

Tomorrow I have 2 classes of 2nd graders that will be making a still life using oil pastels and baby oil for the fruit and liquid water colors for the table and background. This all has to be finished in one 45 minute period, and I think it is doable! We'll be using this still life:
Here is my "practice version" of a slightly different set-up.
I always learn so much by doing a sample first. In this case, we are using donated scraps of all different brands of illustration board and I wanted to see how it took the watercolor and how much to dilute the liquid watercolor so it wouldn't overpower the color of the oil pastels. I was also testing this brand of baby oil because I hadn't used it before. I am looking forward to seeing what the kids do tomorrow:))

Friday, April 13, 2012

Another Foil Contour Variation

It is our last day of Spring Break -- a rainy day with thunder and lightening and I am alternating between making asparagus soup, reading a fairly entertaining "who done it" book and fooling around with the art materials I have out on my dining room table. I figure that all these activities beat cleaning the house, ironing or weeding out old clothes from a closet (all things I considered doing!).

So, here is a variation of the geometric foil shapes I posted about last week (here).
This time I started with organic shapes of foil and outlined with a Sharpie marker.

I left a blank, white space between the watercolor contours so that the colors of primary colored paint would not run into each other.
I found that I wasn't as pleased with the overlapping results of this variation so I may try another version before the day is out.
Right now, though, it is back to the book:)) Hope everyone has a happy Spring weekend before heading back to school next week:))

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Geometric Foil Shapes

We are still on Spring Break and I've been doing a bit of experimenting, thinking of future lessons.These would also be good for folks looking for something to do during vacation breaks!
 I don't know about you, but at certain times of the year my lessons seem to be driven by what materials I still have on hand. You may remember my GIANT box of sandwich foils that I purchased at Smart and Final. Well, I still have a LOT of them left, so I started with that.

Three straight sided geometric shapes are spaced out on piece of illustration board.
Then Sharpies make contour outlines, eventually "bumping into each other."
Finally, primary colored watercolors fill in the channels:
I've actually made several variations of this. It's amazing how I think I know how it is going to turn out, and then I try it out and run into unexpected problems. This is one of those instances -- there were some "mistakes," although I like the overall look.  I'll post some of the other trials later.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sweet Tweets!!

1st graders finished up their Calder-inspired, rocking birds this week. Here are a few:

I posted the whole lesson earlier in the week HERE and HERE.

One little disclaimer. Attaching the wire was WAY too hard for my classes (25ish in a group) to do on their own and have them not wobble. Fortunately, I discovered this before we started, so guess who spent an evening in front of the TV twisting wires and applying a bit of masking tape to cover the sharp end?!! Not really as bad as it sounds:))
I also cautioned kids to pinch the blue spot with one hand when they moved the wire neck with the other (if they had to move the neck, that is). That kept the neck from wobbling.  These turned out pretty cute, but if I were to do it again, I'd allow time enough for the kids to make feathers come out of the top of the heads:))