Monday, June 10, 2013

Chihuly installation with coffee filters

You will need:
500 coffee filter pack
Crayola markers
Couple dozen solo cups
Water in a spay bottle
Masking tape to stick to a window

So simple and so effective. Students folded a coffee filter down to a 1/4 slice (fold it in half, crease, fold it in half one more time) and colored with markers a design on one side of the folded filter. Students cut the edge in a organic way. Spray filter generously with water so that the ink from the top layer soaks down to the rest of the filter. Unfold, and drape over a cup. When dry, tape them up on a wall for your own Chihuly installation

Matisse inspired batiks 6th grade

You will need:

Sheet of construction paper ( some brands work better than other so you might want to experiment)
Print outs of a variety of vases, flowers, and fruit
Oil pastels
A piece of chalk pastel
Watery black tempera paint (the consistency of chocolate milk)

After learning all about Matisse and his love for interior still lives, my 6 th grade class embarked on creating their own Matisse inspired still lives. Students first created some thumbnails of their composition. I gave them print outs to look at of different vases, flowers, and fruit so that everyone's was a little different. Once they had their sketch down, they drew a simple contour drawing of their composition with a piece of chalk on their construction paper. For the batik process, it is important that you do not color over the top of the chalk. Students then colored AROUND the chalk with oil pastel and filled their composition with patters and color. The last process is the best. Students took their works to a painting station and covered the drawing with a coat of watery black tempera paint. They were so scared! Once covered, you rinse the paint off in the sink, the. Black paint does not stick to the oil pastel and only sticks to the chalk pastel. This gives you a great outline effect like Matisse used with out it getting too "outline-y"

Upside down drawing the masters

I think there is something really powerful about copying a master work, especially in middle school. For this project, we took Betty Edward's Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain drawing upside down technique to the next level. I was inspired by an article (which I wish I could find to give proper credit) in which a HS teacher had her students draw Picasso's Stravinsky upside down and apply a color scheme.

What you need:

A large sheet of paper (I used 18 x 24)
A print out of any master work cartoonified (simply, a work of art that has been simplified to a line drawing like something you would find in a coloring book. Just google "Picasso coloring book" or "American gothic coloring book" ect...)
Crayons, color pencil, and markers
Black sharpies or other black markers

Have the students first practice drawing Picssso's Stravinsky on a piece of copy paper to get started. Practicing will take you about a day and this project last about 4 weeks ( 50 minute sessions every other day) if you don't have that much time, use a smaller piece of paper. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is now on YouTube. I highly suggest showing students the segment on drawing upside down. She explains it in a way that I couldn't.

The students drew their master work from observation completely upside down the entire time. This is a break through technique for those of you that have not tried this with students. When it was time to color them in, I taught them about every color scheme I could think of and made them choose one. Everyone was happy with their end product.

Stella inspired sculptural reliefs

All you need for this project is:

Poster board (1 sheet per student)
9 x 12ish piece of cardboard off a box or something
French curves (I printed some out and cut them out with an exacto and had kids trace that rather that buying some)
Cheap acrylic paint
Glue gun and glue
Scraps of card board or foam core

This project was super simple and the kids (8th grade) absolutely loved it. I introduced the lesson by showing them the works of frank Stella and how his art evolved over the years. I couldn't find a youtube video that wasn't really boring so I just showed them a slide show of his work. We started by tracing the French curves onto poster board. I told them to trace 6 large, 5 medium, and 4 smalls. The smaller ones Are really hard to cut out so kids that had a hard time with it did less smalls and more larges. Once the French curves were cut, the kiddos painted them a solid color, let them dry, then splatter painted each curve. Oh how they love to splatter paint. Once all curves were painted, they painted the cardboard backing. I told them to paint stripes or some other geometric pattern on the cardboard. Anything will work because you don't see much of the background. Next, they arranged the French curves on the backing and cut up little pieces of foam core to attach with hot glue to the back of each curve in a variety of heights to give the work some dimension. Some kids got crazy with it. The crazier the better.

Sorry for the bad picture quality! iPads don't take very good pictures!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

O'Keeffe inspired desert landscapes with cow skulls

I'd you have never drawn bones with middle schoolers, you must do it quick! The shape is so unfamiliar it forces them to really concentrate and study the bones. Effectively, they get on the right side of the brain. On a side note, if you have not read Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards, it is now your homework. It explains that whole right side of the brain thing. Also, if you search her on YouTube you will find the book in video form.

I found a really good skull on google one day and printed a bunch off for the students. I wish I had a real cow skull...le sigh. Drawing from observation is always best, but when you are a young art teacher that doesn't have a massive collection of "stuff", you have to make do.

After students drew out the cow skull I got out the Sketch-and-Wash. It is a wonderful water soluble pencil. You need to explain to students to shade a little lighter than normal with the sketch-and-wash. Students can then activate the graphite with a wet brush to get a watercolor feel. Students love it.

The backgrounds were painted with Kimberly watercolor pencil. I had a bunch of different desert landscapes to choose from but they all picked the same one.

Supplies: watercolor paper, sketch and wash pencils, pencil, Kimberly watercolor pencils, pictures of skulls and different landscapes

Picasso playing cards, 7th grade

I found this on Pinterest and thought it was the perfect way to introduce cubism to 7th grade. I printed out a boat load of playing cards like the ones below. Each student picked 3 cards (they could be the same or different) and cut and rearranged the face in a cubist fashion. We discussed cubist techniques including showing multiple view points in one work. Once students had their compositions arranged, they were given a 22x28 inch piece of paper to draw on. I didn't give too much instruction on this. I told them to enlarge their small playing card design large. It did not matter if students didn't copy it exactly because, well, cubism is not perfect!

After students made the additional outline they went over the pencil with sharpie. We colored these in with crayon. We discussed ways to blend, gradate, and layer the crayon to create interest within the piece. I stressed that we were not going to simply color these in like a coloring book.

Supplies: playing card print outs (3 per student), 22 x28 paper (or smaller if you wish), glue (to glue the cubist face together), black sharpie, crayons

Contour line portraits with op art back ground 7th grade

I love the look of OP art but....on it's own, sometimes it can be too plain. We spent about a week on the background alone. Students used sharpies to fill in the checkerboard. We created the circles on a separate piece of paper with a protractor and cut and pasted the sphere on the background. We used a charcoal pencil to add the shadow to give it some depth. The contour line portraits were also done on a separate sheet and pasted. A lot of paper, I know. But, I think it was worth it ;)

Supplies: paper, pencil, rulers, protractor, sharpie and crayola markers, charcoal pencil, scissors

Spring flowers 7th and 8th

The first two paintings are from 7th graders that learned how to create an original composition using individual pictures of flowers. I wanted students to create a beautiful garden. The last picture is from an 8th grader that chose to paint one flower. All examples were painted with Kimberly watercolor pencils. They are my favorite thing! You can make your own personal pallet with the watercolor pencils. This is how:

Refer to the last image for reference. Thanks to for the image.

1: make a swatch of all the colors you want to use

2: activate the colors you need with a wet paintbrush

3: "recharge" the swatches periodically if they start to run dry

And paint!

Some student chose to add watercolor pencil directly to their paper, which is fine, but I think that the pencil is conserved better by making the palette. It makes the pencils last longer.

Supplies: watercolor paper, pencil, Kimberly watercolor pencils, water, pictures of various flowers

Flowers in pencil

Aren't these pretty? I provided some print outs of some flowers and these two just went at it!

Jazz music collages

This project was fun for the students. We studied Picasso although this is not a cubist project by any means.

1: print off a crap ton of sheet music

2: have students rip paper to irregular pieces of paper around 2x2 inches

3: glue down sheet music pieces, make sure to overlap and keep the direction of the notes random

4: draw a guitar (or anther instrument) in the center of the page using bare lines

5: using watercolors to paint the background cool colors (let them mix up a little)

6: paint guitar with warm colors

7: outline with sharpie when completely dry

Supplies: paper, sheet music, glue, sharpie, watercolors

So you wanna know what a teacher portfolio looks like? Take a look at mine

I'm going to leave out the resume page and my references for privacy purposes. This is what I used straight out of college. If you are trying to get a job, make you self one!

Pop art portraits 7 th grade

Two words: Roy Lichtenstein. Students learned all about the great 20th century artist and how he used "benday dots" to create value. I showed them how to use a bold marker to create the benday dots while using a ruler to keep everything straight. I had originally assumed that Lichenstein used benday dots in the hair. I was wrong. Students referenced the way Lichenstein colored in hair: yellow with black streaks, brown with black streaks, and black with blue streaks.

I realized that Lichenstein never painted a person of color, that I could find anyway. That was awkward when trying to show examples. Even though I went out and bought multicultural markers, all my student examples look white, despite half these students have brown skin. Humm.....interesting?

Supplies: paper, pencil, bold multicultural markers, card stock for speech bubble.