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 natureartjournal.blogspot.com 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.

8th grade expressive grid portraits

I like to do a grid portrait first with 8th grade. This year I wanted the portraits to be a little more expressive and dynamic. I showed students many examples of expressive artist including the Fauves and Andy Warhol. I got a strange mix of projects. That's good, right?

Grinding with middle school can be the biggest pain of all time. My team finally came up with a simple way to do this.

Take a one inch plastic ruler and trace the ruler in rows vertically and horizontally on your 8 1/2 x 11 photo. This will give you one inch squares. This requires no notch making!

Take a standard 28 x 22 poster board and do a two inch grid using the same method as above. My colleague found some cardboard to make a two inch wide "ruler". It works fabulous.

The poster board will end up with more squares so just trim off the excess.

We used oil pastel to create the value. I encouraged them to be expressive with color choice.

Supplies: 8 1/2 photo, 22x28 poster board, 1 inch wide ruler, pencil, 2 inch wide ruler made from cardboard strip, oil pastels ( or colored pencils)

Sea shell contour line 6th grade

After all that practice drawing shells, it seemed a shame not to squeeze one more project out of it! I bought a giant bag of shells at Michaels for about $10 and had the student choose their own shells and arrange them into a personal still life. At this point my student had already been introduced to contour drawing. I reminded the often to, "draw what you see, not what you think a shell looks like."

Kids had the most problems with the simple shells, like the one in the Shell Gasoline logo. I also encouraged students to draw the shell from the side with the opening. This made the drawings a little more dynamic.

The backgrounds of these are done with tissue paper pieces wet down with a spray of water. After the water dries, remove the tissue paper and you are left with the wonderful "bleeds" the paper left behind. Students cut a matching blue shadow to give the work some depth.

Supplies: pencil, thin black sharpies, a variety of matte tissue paper cut or torn in 1-2 inch pieces, drawing paper, blue construction paper, glue, sea shells for observation