Thursday, April 2, 2015

A Lot of Hot Air!

As the warm weather returns to NJ (finally!), I'm feeling a little of the old wanderlust.  Here are a few hot air balloons from last summer's art camp at the Markeim Arts Center where I teach ages 5-12.  They make me feel like I'm ready to head for the horizon! We used tempera paint on blue paper for the backgrounds, and while they dried students cut balloons from templates and decorated with oil pastels.  Baskets were added and attached, and off they flew!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Moroccan tile printmaking.

Fifth grade discussed the notion of functional artwork when we studied Moroccan tile.  We studied the patterns and colors and viewed many examples, and then came up with some thumbnail sketch snazzy designs (yes, snazzy) of our own.  We talked about different ways to print the pattern so that many tiny prints could work together collectively.  We discussed rotating, brick, half-drop, and block patterns, and many students chose rotation. 

Once the design was complete, we used cubical rubber erasers to create a printing plate.  We made sure any lettering would be carved backwards, and sketched our design in pencil and then Sharpie on the eraser surface.  Then we got to work with printmaking tools (students mostly employed the "V"), and carved our printing blocks.  Color was added with regular Crayola markers, and I stressed to students to re-ink with each printing.  Final designs were printed on 1" grid paper. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

St. Basil's patterned cathedrals.

After reading "Rechenka's Eggs", by Patricia Polacco, third graders discussed the history and characteristics of the architecture of St. Basil's Cathedral.  They loved hearing that it is rumored that Ivan the Terrible had his architect blinded so he could never create anything so beautiful again!

Students followed a simple step-by-step set of instructions to create the structure for their own buildings, and then got to work on exciting and unique patterns.  Pencil lines were outlined with Sharpie, and then colored with colored pencil.  

For a final step, students could add a bit of glitter in one or two spots.  *I set up a "glitter station" that I can monitor so that they don't turn the artwork into a glittery mess.  I let students apply the glue and choose a color and I do the glitter shaking. 

The BEST artist!

Kindergarten students listened to the story "I'm the Best Artist in the Ocean", by Kevin Sherry.  We then looked at photographs of giant squid, and then students created these colorful versions using a step-by-step method. They traced their pencil lines with oil pastels, and added some fun sea creatures in the background using colored oil pastels.  Then students painted with tempera cakes.  *They went a little nuts with this step, but I let it roll and they turned out amazingly!

Modigliani self portraits.

Modigliani is one of my favorite artists, so I get really excited each year to complete this project with fourth graders.  I teach the students about Amedeo Modigliani first, and stress that it was his unhealthy lifestyle choices that lead to him having such a short life.  They feel pretty grown up about the matter when I tell them that I wouldn't introduce this topic with younger students for that reason. 

I found this lesson originally on Art Projects for Kids, which suggests that you fold the paper into quarters.  This really helps the students map out the page, and it is easy for them to align the facial features and streeeetch the necks out.  

I used gray paper to give a darkish undertone to the portraits.  
1. Folded the paper into quarters and then unfolded. 
2. Colored heavily in oil pastel. 
3. Used yellow or white oil pastel to give a highlight "halo" around the head. 
4. Heavily outlined EVERYTHING in black, and smear with one finger. 
5. Signed last name in corner in black oil pastel ---- Modigliani style.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

More Pop art cows...

Here are a few more of the happiest on the planet from my past post! (At least they make me quite happy).

Blazing Banyan Tree.

I found this phenomenal project in Dynamic Art Projects for Children, which someone got me as a gift when I was in grad school.  It is an extremely successful lesson!

I love how excited the fourth grade students get to learn about the The Great Banyan Tree in India.  We discuss why the Banyan tree might be the national tree there, and how it symbolizes unity to them because they gather under the shade it provides.  I also played them this video that basically blew their minds when they considered that what they were seeing was ALL ONE TREE!