Picasso’s Three Musicians (minus two)


By Wylie Mc Bride

Inspired by Picasso’s Three Musicians, First graders created collages using construction paper scraps and some hand painted papers.  Students focused on shapes and creating a face with free form shapes.  They loved making a music stand and drawing the music on it too.

Students chose a variety of musical instruments.  We had guitars, flutes, horns and many other instruments.


Fly, Soar, Flutter, Squirm, Zoom…


This gallery contains 5 photos.

  Second Grade Flying Insect Collages, with verbs….except for the kiddos who didn’t make a flying insect…except for the few who chose a preposition or adjective.  Haha! We are focusing on using lots of recycled materials around the art room this … Continue reading

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!

Kandinsky for Kindergarten

Wow – is it fun looking at Kandinsky artwork with kindergarteners.  They are still so literal and try so hard to make an abstract work be something.  Kandinsky is such a great jumping off point for our line collages though.  We study line as an element of art.  Not only do we draw lines, and dance lines, we cut lines!

After the lines are cut from black construction paper, we paint a background with just colors, not trying to make this painting be something real.  When the painting is dry, we glue down our cut out lines.

Making is collage is fun, and so is saying the word – cooo-laaage.  See, you just spoke French!

Enjoy Shay’s ode to Kandinsky.

John Nieto Inspired Animals

John Nieto is a contemporary Native American artist who paints animals with vibrant colors and bold lines. My students were especially drawn to the use of non-realistic colors.

My students used a similar style to paint animals, reptiles, fish, and insects.

After looking a Nieto’s art, students drew the animal of their choice in pencil on white construction paper.  To achieve the bold, black line work, we used the “Slick” black fabric paint to go over pencil lines.

When the fabric paint dried, students painted the animal with tempera paints – using some realistic colors combined with unexpected, totally unrealistic color choices.  Think violet ladybug.

After this paint dried, students carefully cut the animal out of the white paper, leaving the black outlines.

Students choose a pre-painted background paper that I spray-painted directly on construction paper, creating tonal gradations (ombre effects) in many color combinations.  After the animals were glued down, students added a collage element that showed a part of the background, such as seaweed for a fish or a rock for a lizard.

(This lesson was inspired by a lesson in a School Arts magazine – I think – from several years ago).

Collages in the style of Eric Carle

This cute and quizzical elephant was created (by Grace) by collaging hand painted papers especially made by our second graders.

We began this lesson by learning about favorite artist/author Eric Carle.  This movie:  Eric Carle, Picture Writer is a great way to see him at work.

Students painted the papers collaboratively at tables on tissue paper, using many tools such as stamps, carpet bits, cardboard, combs, etc. We tried to do as Eric Carle did – just paint pretty papers but not think about painting something in particular.   After the papers had dried, they were sorted by color and cut down to manageable sizes.

Meanwhile, student had been drawing animals, insects and mythical creatures, birds, etc in a “coloring book simple” style. They used these preliminary drawings as a reference for their collages.   These collages were as much fun for me to look at as they were for students to make.  Enjoy these student examples:

3D Neighborhood Collages

This is a slightly altered project from the Usborne Complete Book of Art Idea.  Second grade created these for the school art show.  This project came on the heels of our big Eric Carle collage project.
 If you look closely at the projects, they are made of three separate sections (or strips) that are then stapled to a piece of poster board.I gave each student a piece of 4 1/2″ X 12″ white tag to work with for the first strip, 6″ X 12″ for the second, and the last strip (the skyscrapers) are made on a slightly taller piece (sometimes I even give them the entire 9″ X 12″ piece).
 They are then given a scrap box filled with lots of hand painted patterned papers  The first strip must have a street and a row of houses. The second row must have more houses! The last row gets skyscrapers.  Lots of super creative kids added landmarks, such as the St. Louis Arch (go figure, we’re outside of Denver), the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty along with the tall buildings.  
 I had them leave a slight bit of white at the bottom of each strip. Staple all three rows on to a piece of railroad board or poster board, bending each row slightly so that they stand out in a curved arc.