Fifth Grade Metal Repousse




Fifth Grade created these mixed media projects using metal tooling foil and metallic markers on black paper for the mat.  Students had to use components of composition and good design in the planning stages.  Metal repousse and chasing  is a metalworking technique in which the metal is  shaped by using tools from the top and reverse side to create a design in low relief. The students were encouraged to create a lot of texture in their piece.


Guest Post by Grace Benedict “Sunset Landscape”

This is a guest post by a fifth grade student here at WIlder, Grace Benedict.  Here is what she has to say about her artwork:

“My artwork is about the beautiful sunset glowing over the hills.  There is a long swirly trail and tall trees in my piece.  I like making this art work because it was a fun experience.  Before, I thought my picture would be pretty simple but now I think that artwork can be original and spontaneous.”

As a fifth grader, I am a leader, a gymnast, and best of all – an artist!”

Guest Post by Makena Guthrie “Drawing with Wire”

Makena Guthrie is a fifth grade student at Wilder.  Here is what she wrote about her artwork:

“This metal wire piece is about a plant and it’s leaves and petals.  In my artwork my plant is growing and blooming; the first swirl is a sign of spring.  Growth is happening all around and each plant is different.

I loved making my piece because when I stepped back to look at it, it looked alive (even though I had band aids on my fingers from poking them with wire!)

As as artist, I am me and my artwork always has me in it.  I am creative and love everything I do!”

Book Sculptures

Fifth grade students designed and created sculptures form “weeded books” from our library.  There were books destined for the dumpster because the non-fiction was out of date and/or they weren’t in good enough condition for use in the library.  We were able to upcycle the books as precious materilas for sculptures.

The students planned books according to a theme and planned the techniques used, as well.  Each book took considerable creative problem solving to produce. Each book was unique and different and beautiful.  Enjoy!

Oil Pastel Landscapes





My fifth graders just finished these gorgeous landscapes drawn with water soluble oil pastels and blended with water.

Students used paper turned horizontally and divided the paper into three layers representing foreground, middle ground and background.

Tree were added next, with one tree at each line, and got smaller toward the back of the paper – showing depth.

Next students applied oil pastels in each layer in a gradation from dark to light, the sky is also colored in a gradation

The trees are colored in last.   Students added shading to indicate a light source.

Last, they blended and softened lines with water.

I gave students choices with their color palette.  They could use a palette of cool colors or a combination of warm and cool colors, with one that is dominant.

Cool colored landscapes got a light splatter of white paint to include snow.

I think they are beautiful and the students were very proud of the way the landscapes turned out.

Enjoy Cooper, Sydney, and Grace’s artwork!

This idea came from Artsonia and Kathy Barbaro’s


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).

Colograph Printmaking

Taken from an observational drawing, the image is transferred to cardstock, cut out and glued onto a heavier surface, such as mat board.The collaged printing plate is then gessoed and inked with yellow water soluble printing ink.  We use a baby press to print the image. Additional primary colored ink is added to mix and create secondary colors.  Final image and print by Woody.