Thursday, October 17, 2019

Wiley Inspired Self-Portraits

Students in grades 4-6 made these self-portraits inspired by contemporary American painter Kehinde Wiley. We began by drawing out the portrait- I explained all the proportions of the face so the students would know how to lay features out in the right places. We also used mirrors and as students filled in with colored pencils we incorporated highlights and shadows to increase the 3D effect. We then learned about painter Kehinde Wiley, most famous for painting the official presidential portrait of Barack Obama. Wiley often uses complementary colors in the backgrounds and very detailed patterns. Students rocked these portraits and the resemblance of each one is amazing!


Mandala is the Sanskrit word for circle and is a form of art stemming from the Buddhist and Hindu traditions. A Mandala is a spiritual and ritual symbol that represents the universe and is meant to increase focus and strengthen meditation. These mandalas were created by middle school students by repeating a design to create radial symmetry. Students then outlined these designs with black sharpie and used colored pencils. We learned different techniques with the colored pencils- like blending colors, shading light to dark and creating smooth coverage. More advanced students were able to incorporate more detail into their patterning as well.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Line Monsters

This is a super fun lesson for Kinder and PreKinder students on line, shape and color! We started by drawing out a bunch of different lines. Straight, curved, zig zag, cloud, castle, etc. Next, students took watercolor paint and filled in the sections between the lines. This was our first attempt at painting so students learned all the techniques and procedures for the first time! For the next class, we cut out the shape of our monsters and added arms and legs. The final class was spent learning how to change the eyes, mouths, and eyebrows to make the monsters have an emotion. The kids loved how these turned out and some even resemble the artists!!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

There are many ways to create depth and show space on a two-dimensional surface. Students in grades 4 through 6 learned how to use one-point perspective and highlights/shadows to make shapes look like they are going back into space. As a fun touch, students used fluorescent colored paints to splash and create an abstract outer space looking background. This is a fun lesson that the kids loved and almost all the results were out of this world!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Starting with Selfies!

PreK and Kinder classes began the year with a self-portrait project. We began the first class of the year by completing a crayon drawing. These were then mounted onto a large yellow paper. We used different shapes to create a self-portrait and drew the faces using simple lines. During the final class, students attached yarn for hair and Made a pattern around the border. We also attached a crayon to the hand to commemorate their drawing from the first week of school!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Chuck Close Style Self-Portraits

Students in middle school created these self-portraits in the style of American artist Chuck Close. We began by working from a photograph- students drew a 1/2 inch grid over the photo and a 1 and 1/2 inch grid over a 12x18 sheet of drawing paper. We then transferred the information over so the portrait was accurate and proportional. Next, students chose a color and created a value scale in that color from light to dark. The drawing was then filled in with different values that matched the black and white photograph. Students had to become comfortable with blending and creating many values within the portrait. I do this project every year and the results are always incredible!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Animal Portraits

The final project for middle school art students for the 2018-2019 school year was this animal zen tangle painting! Students chose a favorite animal or family pet to create a brightly colored painting! Students needed to effectively use space, pattern  and their knowledge of color schemes to produce a unique animal portrait. The kids loved how these turned out and these got a lot of attention while they were on display in our hallways!