Guest Post by Emma Smith Puffinpalooza!

Guest Post by Emma Smith, 4th grade artist from Wilder Elementary

“This is a puffin I painted.  You might ask “why did she decide to paint a puffin?”  Well, I thought not many people make art of puffins or penguins.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a penguin and a puffin.  A puffin has a big orange beak and the body is shaped differently.  My puffin is from the artic and she does not have a family.

I liked making this art piece because I did it on my own and I used different techniques with the watercolor like salt and rubbing alcohol.

This is one of my most favorites!  I hope you like my painting.”

Laurel Burch Patterned Pets








Laurel Burch, an American artist, started her career creating jewelry from metal she found in junkyards.  Her designs, mostly animals, were bright and colorful with a mix of many patterns.  Her vision blossomed into “fantastic felines”, dogs, moons, hearts, and mythical animals.

Our students study Laurel Burch as a design influence.  Patterns, for example, are a first grade curriculum unit.   What better way to look at pattern and work with it than the inspiration of Laurel Burch?

Here’s all the behind the scenes work we did to get to the pretty finished project:

First we started with guided drawings.  With guidance, students drew two different cats and two different dogs:

The next step was allowing students to choose his or her favorite animal that they had learned to draw and redraw it larger on a heavy weight drawing paper with pencil.  Then students re-traced the line-work with a back sharpie.

After all the drawing, we were ready to paint.  Student had choices of thinned bright, neon colored tempera paint.  We used a wash (painting water first to allow for better blending) and applied light layers of color, moving from one color to another.

Next, students worked with pattern on worksheets, trying out different designs for their animal.  Some examples were spirals, triangles with circles in the center.  When they settled on one they liked, students drew it on the animal, spacing it out with a finger’s width between, using a black sharpie.

The last steps were cutting out his or her cat or dog and gluing it to a black background.  Students used a different pattern in the background, drawn with a gold metallic marker.

We love the bright colorful results!

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!


“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.


Leapin’ Lizards

By Jenna F.

We started this fun painting project with some guided drawing lessons.  We drew several kinds of lizards using this resource – 123 Draw Pets by Freddie Levin. 
We drew our lizards on a nicer, heavy weight drawing paper and I really encouraged the students to draw large!  Next, the students traced over their pencil lines with black Sharpie.

The details such as the stripes and dots were drawn with white oil pastels.

Then we painted!  At each table, I set out liquid watercolors in warm color sets or cool color sets and a small cup of kosher salt.

For the watercolor demonstration, I showed kids wet-on-wet:  painting one color, then while the paint is still wet, adding another on top to blend.While the paint is still wet, sprinkle some salt to create small twinkles of star-like dots.

Wet-on-dry: Since this lessons takes 2-3 classes, once one section of the chameleon is dry, they can then paint over that section to create spots, stripes, dots, etc. as well as the branch and leaves.

Look at the fun lips and eyelashes!  First graders add the cutest details!

A is for Art!

These whimsical highlighter letters are a fun color lesson.  I teach this to grade 4’s.  We gridded out the actual letters – this was the hard part.   Gotta love it when kids come to art class and complain about having to “use their math brains”.

After students draw the letters on grid paper and transfer them to cardstock, we create sections by using different line type.  Then we outline with a sharpie and begin to add color with pick, yellow and blue highlighters (the primary colors!)  Next, we layer colors on top – creating secondary colors as we go, orange, green and purple.  The last step is adding whimsical lines that go around and through the letter.  These are gorgeous and a fun way to use highlighters.