Immense Insects

Guess I should qualify “immense” to mean the insect, not the size of the paper.

Fourth Graders studied the work of Georgia O’Keefe and learned vocabulary words such as magnification, organic forms, and composition. We knew that Georgia painted close up flowers but we choose insects for our subject matter. Of course the boys loved this turn of events, but the girls surprisingly loved their bugs too!

Students were required to draw their bug touching the sides of the paper and/or going off the edges of the paper completely. Many students soon understood that the more they zoomed in on their insect the more abstract yet interesting their painting became. Paintings were first drawn in pencil, retraced in black Sharpie and finally painted with semi moist watercolor paint.

What sort of lesson have you taught using Georgia O’Keefe as a starting off point? Have you made insect themed art?


Irresistible Indian Corn

My first graders created this awesome Indian corn that has a textured surface.  They were a big hit at the fall art show and many mommas’s asked to have them home for Thanksgiving.

Here’s how we made them.

Kids rolled a slab of clay with rolling pins to a thickness of about ½ inch.

Next, they placed a template (which somehow looked a little like a grenade) on top of the clay and lightly traced with a dull pencil.

The cool texture was the next step.  We used a popsicle stick, pressed in lightly, to make rows of corn kernels.

Next, we cut out the ears of corn with needle tools.  Luckily, I had some Mom and Dad helpers to help cut them out.  Be sure to cut a bumpy edge.

After I fired the Indian Corn, we used under glazes sponged on and painted on to re create the look of authentic Indian Corn.  I dipped them in clear glaze and fired again.

For the corn husks, I used real corn husks from a neighbor’s garden.  I soaked them in water to make them pliable enough to put through the hole in the top.  I think they look fun and festive!  The first graders were so proud of one of their first works in clay.

What ceramic projects are you doing with your little ones now?  Any fun fall projects?

Marvelous Matisse Cut Outs

Students in first and second grade created striking collages made from  a variety of images similar to those designed by Henri Matisse.  In reference to his paper cutouts, Matisse stated, “I cut paper, but I’m drawing with the scissors.”  Matisse also called the collage process  “cutting into color”.

We looked at examples of Matisse’s  Goldfish and many examples of his cut paper designs.

Here’s the process:

First we painted some watercolor paper with watercolor paints in cool color and covered the paper with saran wrap while the paper was wet to get a fun, watery texture.  Let this paper dry.

Next, we worked with the background paper, creating blocks of color with some precut geometric shapes and glued them down.

We also cut lots of organic shapes form colorful paper, in the style of Matisse, “drawing with the scissors”.  Some were glued to the background; some were saved for using in the composition later.

To make our goldfish bowls, we folded an 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheet of printer paper in half (either lengthwise or crosswise) and drew half of a vase starting from the folded edge to create a symmetrical template.  Then this shape was cut out to create a shape to trace.  Trace the goldfish bowl template onto the back of the watery painted paper and cut out the goldfish bowl.

I had some templates to trace for the stool and students cut them from black paper.  We also cut goldfish from some collage paper that had been painted for another project.

The last step was assembling the many elements of the collage.  This was when kids really got to use their mad artist skills and try lots of different compositions before gluing down the end product.

As Matisse (also) said: “Creativity takes courage.

Enjoy Simon G. and Leah’s collages!

Watercolor Flowers

Second grade students painted these beautiful, bright flowers.  As a jumping off point, we used Donna Hughes video “Art Lessons For Children”.

It’s a wonderful video lesson for learning how to use watercolor.  Kids learn how to move the paint around on the paper, as well as mix colors.

After the paint dries, we draw the details of the flowers with sharpies, experimenting with different pattern and texture.  Some of the kids even played with depth by adding black areas.

In the past, we sometimes have added shrinky dink bugs stuck on with dimensional foam tape, just for fun. This time we just ran out of time, but I think they are stunning – with or without bugs.

“Bookish” Owls

Third graders designed these pattern owls and drew them on recycled paper from books slated for the big dumpster outside of school.  When the Librarian told me that she was throwing away books, I literally grabbed them.  I think the pages make our owls look like pretty smart fowl.

Students had a wide range of owl resources to look at while drawing and then brainstormed the patterns.  After going over the pencil lines with sharpie, the owls were either painted with liquid watercolor or colored with markers.

These owls brought to you by Reagan, Annaliese, and Henry.