Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Notan Collage

Notan is an arrangement of light and dark that creates an impression of beauty. Notan is a popular form of collage in Japan. Students focused on two art principles for this project- shape and space. Students were allowed to work with either realistic or abstract shapes when creating their collage. Notan collages are so unique and beautiful because they focus on a play of positive and negative space that create interesting shapes. We overlapped several different colors to create an even more dynamic and layered design.

Mosaic Still-Lifes

Students in PreK and Kinder created these artworks to learn about still-lifes. We began by gluing pieces together to create a mosaic style vase. In the next class, students used sponges with blue and yellow paint to create different textures. I wanted the students to get to see first hand how mixing two primary colors can make a new color.In the final class, students used cut paper to create the flowers. The result is a beautiful artwork perfect for welcoming the spring season!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

O'Keefe Style Flowers with Butterflies

Students in grades 1-3 completed these brightly colored mixed-media artworks for spring. We began by learning about the artist Georgia O'Keefe and making a watercolor flower in her style. We looked at examples of many different flowers and students were free to create their own. I did require some type of texture lines in the petals and the flower had to touch every edge of the page. Students used a combination of regular liquid watercolors and fluorescents. During the next class, we learned about symmetry and created perfectly symmetrical butterflies. These were then painted symmetrically as well. For the final class, students cut out and glued the butterflies and also used oil pastels to blend the flowers and create some value. The end result is a beautiful painting perfect for the beginning of spring!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Rhythm Fish

Students in grades 4-6 created these magnificent fish designs. We began by looking at different examples of fish. Students were free to either draw a fish from observation or create their own fish. I required students to draw them a certain size and to include a certain amount of detail. Once the fish was drawn, we traced it onto the back so it could be transferred repeatedly to a larger paper. Students would then fill the space with repeating fish in any type of layout they wanted. The final step was using colored pencils to the fish. I demonstrated several colored pencil techniques so students could blend or fade the coloring. 

Aboriginal Paintings

Aboriginal artworks have been created in Australia as a way to both tell stories and to map landmarks. Because of Australia's unique location, the art from this area is very extraordinary and different in its perspective and use of symbols. We began by looking at examples of traditional and modern Aboriginal art and drawing comparisons between the colors, patterns and subject matter. Students created some sketches and chose their best for a large scale painting. For cultural art lessons, Aboriginal art is by far my favorite. I love the colorful designs and dot patterns that cover the composition.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Elmer the Elephant

Elmer is a wonderful children's story about appreciating people's differences. I enjoy teaching this lesson to PreK and Kinder classes and the kids love the story. Elmer discovers that when he tries to change his appearance in order to 'blend in' with the other elephants, they no longer recognize him, or accept him as one of their own. This makes Elmer sad, and he experiences how it feels to be treated like an outcast, after being ostracized by his old friends. It's only when it begins to rain, and the grey paint that Elmer has covered himself with starts to disappear, that Elmer's 'true color's are revealed, much to the surprise and delight of his friends, who preferred his multicolored and fun loving persona. Following their happy reunion, the elephants reassure Elmer that they love him because of his differences, and not in spite of them, and they celebrate by painting themselves in multi-colored paint, in recognition of Elmer's unique appearance and personality.

We began by using a glue and water mixture and brushing it over squares of tissue paper to attach it to a white paper. During the next class, we drew an elephant shape on the back of that paper and cut it out to create the Elmer. All you need to add is an eye and an ear with black crayon or marker. We glued our elephants onto a torn paper background of palm trees.

Value Techniques

Students in middle school created these abstract designs to practice creating values with various techniques. We began with a set of instructions that the students could interpret for their design. Students were instructed to draw 3 straight lines, a curved line, a zigzag line, 5 circles, 2 other shapes and several types of stripes. I showed the classes how to create value with ink using stippling and cross hatching. Then, I showed them how to use colored pencils to create values from light to dark and also from color to color. Students needed to use light and dark values to keep the composition balanced as well. This is a great project to get students comfortable creating various types of values.