Thursday, September 24, 2009

Shells On the Beach

Students took one class period to draw from real shells, before composing the final painting. Shown in the photo are a few sketches of the shells from our observational drawing.

We took two slightly different approaches to the shell assignment. In fifth grade, we drew lightly in pencil and then shaded the edges of the shells using adjacent colors. The backgrounds are being finished up currently using repeated patterns. The pieces are very dynamic and imaginative. In sixth grade, we worked with pencil drawings and developed the shell colors by building up layers of wax crayon. Then a warm brown was mixed up for the sandy area of the beach and cool blues were made for the ocean waters. Salt sprinkled into the wet paint was optional and it created a perceived texture that imitated sand or water. Final details such as swirls and lines in watercolor pencil were added after the water color dried .

Stay tuned for more photos of finished work.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Brushes in the Classroom

I keep our classroom brushes on top of the cabinet next to the sink. The cans are held by a 3 inch deep box lid which helps keep the brush storage area organized. We separate the brushes according to the bristle size and type of handle. All the tall easel brushes are in one can. The wide, flat brushes are in a different can. We have three cans that hold smaller, detail brushes.
When children are painting with watercolor paint they are responsible for rinsing out brushes and returning them to the can at the end of class. Notice that the brushes are stored with the bristles upright. I teach my classes to put them back with the "hair in the air". The little rhyme seems to help.
If tempera paint was the chosen media, then I have brushes collected in a soapy water bucket so that they have time to soak and I wash them myself.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hot Air Balloon With a Landscape

Nora gr 4

The fourth graders have been busy creating a scene of beauty from a hot air balloon. We practiced drawing the shape that is full and round like a sphere or egg and has a narrower opening for the air to fuel the flight. I am always amazed at comparisons students will think of in discussions while we plan projects and today was just a good example of that. One student compared the balloon's form to a persons head and neck. I'd have to agree, they do have the same form. And if that helps someone think of a way to draw that form, all the better.

Here are some preliminary sketches they made to help know how to compose the scene on the final paper:

On the next day of class most students were
ready to start composing on the final paper. Surprise! We used embossed paper towels for a new and different texture. They drew out the balloon first and then the landscape scenery. This way if the

passenger basket hung below the scene it would be overlapping the landforms. From here on out it was a challenge to the artists to set up contrasts of smooth and bumpy textures. We found art media that allowed the texture of the paper towel to show. Markers, especially ones that were slightly dry were perfect in the sky for this effect. So were regular oil crayons when used with little pressure. Often the older unwrapped ones were perfect for rubbing lightly across the surface and they picked up the textures of the paper nicely.

Peter gr 4

When it was time to do the smooth fabric of the balloon I introduced the oil crayons that are water soluble. My favorite brand is made by Portfolio. They are so creamy and smooth and they blend so easily with a fine mist of water from a plastic spray bottle.

The paper towel was a bit fragile when wet, but the children were careful not to over work the project at this stage. We used an old piece of 12x18 construction paper as a placemat to absorb extra ink and water. In fact, we had more problems with the paper clips when the works were in storage. The clips caused more rips than the damp paper. Once the paper dried it was easily patched from the backside using a small piece of paper towel and gluestick.

Payton gr4

I mounted everyone's work on a 12x12 square of colored cardstock. Today we had a showing of finished pieces in the artroom and those that were nearly done had additional time to get finished up. I read from an art book while the early finishers sketched and others helped themselves to the Portfolio oil crayons to put on the final touches to the balloons.

This was a new project this year and I am glad we tried it. I am now inspired to create a different lesson for my other grades so they could experience the paper towel as a painting surface.

If you'd like to view more of this series on hot air balloons, this link will take you to the artsonia website where we have exhibited all the 4th graders balloon and landscape compositions.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Apple Still Life are some art examples that would be a great assignment for fall harvest time. Emma gr 3

The 3rd graders tried it out recently and found great success with the painting and printmaking that was involved with the creation of this still life.

Claire gr 3

Lance gr 3

We had a cluster of real apples in the room when we were doing our opening discussion about artists and creating still life arrangements. I had some examples of Henri Matisse's apple still life. We talked about showing the apples from an overhead viewpoint before we drew on the paper. To provide the children with an easy start, they used a 9 inch lid to get the bowl shape started. They could trace around the edge using their choice of a pencil, a yellow marker or a brown marker.
The next class the children talked about color in terms of warm and cool and we planned to paint the background behind the bowl using warm colors on one side and cool colors on the other side with the possibility of blending them a bit just above and beneath the bowl. Yellow could be used on either side to lighten or brighten either color family. We put the pieces in the drying rack until the next art class.

The third day of class I prepared some cross cut apples to use for printmaking. Red, green, and blue paint were available in portion cups. The students painted directly on the cut apple slice and used it to print. I encouraged steady pressure and showed that a slight twist would produce the clearest print. While the apple print was still wet, they painted in the shadow on the same side as the cool background. They were able to blend it into the apples edge.

The 4th class was used for catching up and adding the indentation and stem using markers. The childrne also made up some kind of repeating pattern to follow along the rim of the bowl. Most apples were sitting in the bowl with the stems facing up, but one or two might be tipped sideways in the bowl.

I thought the children did very well at arranging their compositions and I was impressed by blending skills when the backgrounds were added. I would definitely repeat this assignment in the future.

Tessa gr 3

Peter gr 3

To see more works of art in this same series from all our third graders, please click here. The link will take you to Artsonia where we have placed all the apple still life pojects on exhibit.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Storing Artwork at School vs. Sending Work Home

Our school very much enjoys participating on the Artsonia website. Since we have been posting children's artwork on-line it is more available for parents to see what their child is doing in art class and they can let other relatives know where to look on the website to see current art projects.
Having the Artsonia website enables me to save up more projects at school. I like to have many options available to me when I am getting ready to hang a show or put up the annual exhibit at our shopping mall. I do keep all 2-D work together at school by homeroom groups. This way I can include a little bit of everything in an art show at the end of the year. Assignments that are 3-D tend to go home shortly after creation or I assign them closer to the scheduled art show.
I have found that photographing the artwork takes minimal time when I lay them on the floor in a line and just shoot the photo while standing. When I photograph ceramics or other sculptural works I set up a backdrop of paper and photo the object from a stool.
Perhaps you would like to see for yourself what the Artsonia website is all about. Click here to see the homepage and you'll be able to check out the work of many students all around the United States and the world. You'll be amazed.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Our Artist Trading Card Collection

Our trading cards that we have designated as part of our schools permanent  collection are housed in binders.  Our largest binder has cards of all topics.  Shown here are just our cards from the color themes only.  I will blog about our monochromatic cards today.  The binder system works so well because it is a reference to student artists as they are creating for their own collection.  They love seeing cards made by older brothers and sisters.  
     Each binder is filled with cards that were design specifically with an emphasis on that special color. The artist thinks of an idea that can be interpreted in predominately just one color and different values of that same hue.  It is a lot of fun to draw, paint and collage with such a limited color scheme.                                                                                                                 
The black and white binder has some of our all time favorites!  This color combination is so classic and has the best contrast.  Many of the cards started with the inspiration from black and white scrapbookers paper or even a crossword puzzle.  The children were so creative when they put these cards together.  Don't you just have to love the eyes peeking out from the mask on the ATC in the lower left corner?   Some of the value shaded cards turned out spectacularly well.
any school out there willing to plan a trade with grades 3, 4, 5, or 6???
Please let me know in the comment section or by e-mail on my profile.
Thanks for looking!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Welcome To the Art Blog of Gallery2404

Hello and welcome to my blog about teaching art to children in elementary school. We have students in 3rd through 6th grade. Our young artists have an excellent background in creating and designing thanks to the fine art teachers in the primary school. I see many unique drawings, paintings, and sculptures created in my classes. We also have an avid interest in making artist trading cards and we are willing to trade ATCs with other schools.