Cool Days, Warm Hands


Kindergarten has been working on using pattern in an artwork and learning warm and cool colors.  The result?  Warm colored mittens covered in a zentangle-ish pattern and backgrounds painted in cool colors, using plastic wrap to create an icy texture.

Enjoy these paintings by Hallie and Zach.




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.”

Carousel Creations










Fourth grade students designed, painted and created carousel animals (or in some cases, reptiles, dinosaurs, birds or fish).  We looked at folk art as our  inspiration, studying hand carved examples.  Particular deatil was paid to adding a fancy saddle.  Sometimes it was difficult to find a way for a particular animal to wear a saddle, like a hammerhead shark, but students used their creative problem solving brains to figure it out!  In addition to painting and cutting out, students embellished thier carousel animals with metallic paints and sequins and rhinestones.

Enjoy Maggie’s giraffe and Tyler’s Chicken.

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?

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.


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!