Monday, April 9, 2018

Beyond the Border

This beyond the border art project is meant to explore the design principles of emphasis and contrast. Students illustrate some type of animal or insect and some nature in the composition with a square in the middle. Everything in the middle square should be in bright color and everything outside the square should be in different values of black and white. The entire animal or insect should be in color to create the illusion that it is breaking out "beyond the border." Students should use the rule of thirds to create an interesting composition while also exploring different colored pencil techniques.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Skeleton Drawings

These skeletons started as a practice in drawing positive and negative space. Students had to carefully examine the spaces in between (the negative space) as well as the bones (the positive space). After two classes, students began to add detail and value to the bones. To fill in the background space, I demonstrated how to use watercolor paints for a crayon resist. I let the artists decide how they wanted to paint the background. This is a great drawing project to teach the principles of positive and negative space as well as value and color contrast.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Abstract Sailboats

We began this project by learning about abstract art. We learned about Jackson Pollock and how abstract artists usually use color, shapes and/or lines to express a feeling or emotion. We then used crayons, texture plates and watercolor paint in cool colors to create an abstract painting. During the second class, artists learned about American painter Winslow Homer and viewed many of his different seascapes. We then created a blend of warm color paints- from red to orange to yellow to create a sunrise or sunset sky. The abstract painting from the previous week was torn up to create many layers of waves. The final class was used to create sailboats out of corrugated cardboard and white paper. This project was a lot of fun and covered many aspects of the curriculum-warm/cool colors, space and depth, Abstract art, seascapes and texture.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Watercolor Dragons

Students in grades 4-6 created these vibrantly colored dragons to celebrate the Chinese New Year! We started by learning about Chinese New Year- the traditions, why each year is named after an animal and how people celebrate the holiday. Next, students looked at different examples of dragons and began sketching a dragon face. We chose the best sketch to draw large- folding the paper in half to only draw half of the face. The drawing was then traced with black crayon and rubbed off onto the other side to create a perfectly symmetrical dragon. For the painting, students could use any combination of colors they wanted as long as they kept the symmetry. Students loved the results especially because dragons are our school mascots!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Watercolor Weavings

To create these artworks, students first began by creating an abstract textured watercolor painting. The students used an analogous color scheme to create a sense of color unity. These paintings were then torn into 1/2" strips and woven together on a large piece of paper. Weaving is an important method of art making around the world and most students enjoy the process.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Native American Buffalo Hides

2000 years ago, the Anasazi Indians inhabited the cliffs of the Southwest. They were the ancestors of the Pueblo Indians who live there today. There are 20 pueblo villages left; at one time there were 200! These ancient villages are built from adobe bricks. These natural homes are warm in winter and cool in summer; it rarely rains in the Southwest, so they won't melt.

The Anasazi Indians left Petroglyph drawings on rocks and cliffs. Some were chiseled into the rock with animal antlers, some were etched with the acid juices from cactus plants. They are pictures of Indian symbols. Symbols are pictures drawn very simply of things in nature, such as animals, plants, stars, people, etc.

The Indians were very spiritual people. They respected the earth, never wasted resources, and were ingenious at using the things in nature around them.

Students created these buffalo hides over three classes. We began by drawing a narrative using Native American symbols. After the drawing, students covered the paper with a light brown watercolor and cut the paper to look like a real buffalo hide.

The next class, students used fluorescent tempera paint to paint in all of their symbols. For the last class, students outlined all their symbols and also created a pattern around the edge of the hide.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Students in PreK and Kinder created these fun and vibrant fish tanks to learn about color, shape, movement and repetition. We began by attaching tissue paper to a 9"x12" white paper using glue water. These were later cut into fish shapes and a black eye was dabbed on to complete the look. The fish bowls were blue and green watercolor paintings where we talked about different types of lines and created a pattern to show movement in the water. The table was made by piecing together square pieces into a mosaic like pattern.