Thursday, October 29, 2015

Watercolor Leaves

Students in grades 1-3 created these fun and festive fall paintings. We began by doing a leaf rubbing and cutting it out to create a stencil. This was then retraced onto a large paper repeatedly. I made the students aware that they would be coloring the background in black or brown so the closer the leaves are to each other the better. Repetition in art and negative space are important principles to stress and learn here. Once this is completed, students painted the leaves with the three warm colors- red, yellow and orange. I showed the students how to blend the colors from light to dark and to blend them into each other. The darkly colored background acts as a good resist so the students can be a little more free and loose with their painting.  

Fall Pumpkins

This is a great project for teaching wet-on-wet painting techniques, color blending, and how to use space in an artwork.

We began by doing sketches of pumpkins. I made sure students used contour lines while drawing and focused on details like vines and leaves. Once students were comfortable sketching the pumpkins, they then transferred that drawing onto a large piece of paper. The students had to be very comfortable with the drawing, because the large drawing had to be done with glue! I did not let the students use pencil because once the glue dries, it becomes clear and the pencil drawing would become visible. These were left to dry overnight. The next day, I had the students use an ultra fine sharpie and outline all of the glue lines. It can be very difficult, and sometimes you may need to tilt the paper to be able to see where the glue is. Finally we were ready to paint! I showed the students how to use a wet-on-wet technique to spread color quickly, as well as how to blend analogous colors. You have to be sure to NOT paint over the glue lines, the glue does not resist the paint and can be very hard to remove.

These painting were very fun to do and extremely successful! I received many compliments and they made for a great Autumn display!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


A Mandala is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Indian religions representing the universe. 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.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Mondrian Minions

Students in grades PreK and Kinder created these adorable Minions in the style of Dutch painter Piet Mondrian. Mondrian was famous for his grid paintings that utilized horizontal and vertical black lines and the three primary colors (red, yellow and blue). 
We began by drawing the Minions step by step. I used simple lines and shapes, while showing different details to use to make the different characters. We then outlined them in black crayon and added a simple border with a ruler. Students then learned the three primary colors and used these to paint the Minion and border. Children love this project because they love to draw characters from movies, plus it's a great way to introduce the primary colors to young artists!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Swimming Self-Portraits

Students in grades 1-3 began the year with some fun end of summer self-portraits. We began by drawing the self-portrait in our favorite swimsuit. Next, students outlined them with sharpie and colored them in with colored pencils. The pool was made using a white crayon to capture the reflective light seen at the bottom of a pool. We added printed bubbles on top and some students added a beach ball or floatie. This was a fun take on the self-portrait that captures a favorite summer memory!

Tiki Time!

These wonderful Tiki masks were designed by our 4-6th grade artists! We began by sketching perfectly symmetrical masks and giving them a strong black outline. These were then painted in using bright colors and detailed patterns drawn out on top with crayon. The students learned about the Maori tribes of New Zealand and their style of artwork. These masks were a fun way for our students to explore the art and culture of many Polynesian countries!