A Stroke of Genius

My fourth graders study brush strokes as a part of the curriculum. It used to be a difficult concept for me to teach, but this lesson has helped create painters out of my students. Art teachers often teach painting with color theory, but few teach the application of paint to a surface. Without learning a painterly technique, students tend to draw with paint, using lollipop shapes and colors with black outline edges.

The process to create the paintings is simple: use a primary color as a center “dot” (for example red). Create a painting around that spot, using the complementary color. Mix various colors, including black and white, with that complement. Last, students paint with a short brushstroke, no longer than a thumb. Our technique: press the brush with paint to the paper and lift it. This is important because students were used to drawing (and painting) lines. Students were encouraged to bring wider, bigger brushes from home; some smart, lazy students loved this!

To help students remember the sets of complementary colors, we call them Christmas colors – red and green, Bronco colors – blue and orange (this IS Colorado!) and Easter colors – purple and yellow.

We discussed that each person’s brushstroke is like a unique fingerprint and looked at many artist’s paintings, such as Van Gogh’s and Monet’s. Students learned color theory, painting skills, and insight into the brushstroke techniques of the Impressionists. It was a painterly experience!


Brrr, It’s Cold Outside!

This was a fast and fun drawing and coloring project for a kindergarten class that was ahead.  To keep it a little more manageable, we traced the four squares first – lightly – with a pencil. Then we drew our snow man.  After outlining with sharpie, we colored the background and the snow people’s accessories!

When the coloring was finished, we used q-tips to add some fluffy white snowflakes.

Kind of like the snow we’re seeing here in Colorado today.  Darn, it’s so cold; we should have given those snow men some scarves!

Dear Tooth Fairy

The Tooth Fairy Queen by Sophie

“Dear Tooth Fairy,

When you leave me money for my tooth, could you leave me a letter too? PS I lost a tooth on the sofa.”

First Grade Students and I read a charming book called “Dear Tooth Fairy” by Alan Durant

and we drew some fancy tooth fairies.

We used simple shapes, such as triangles and circles to draw the fairy.  Her wand is a toothbrush!  We outlined them in sharpie and colored them with oil pastels.  The last steps were a watercolor wash and glitter glue for the stars and the crown. Check out her fancy shoes!