Monday, April 25, 2011

Speaking of Space -- Here's Some Alien Portraits by Grade One and Grade Two!

A few weeks back I was subbing for an art teacher and the students in the first and second grade classes made really cool alien portraits using markers and crayons! The backgrounds were divided into patterned segments. Some students spent so much time drawing the aliens they didn't quite get to the patterned part or even to the coloring in part... but here (and above) are some awesome aliens!

Today in Kindergarten

Today was a really fun day of substitute teaching in a kindergarten class. It was so exciting because the students were being introduced to space -- that's right, the great beyond! They were learning about the planets and the names of space related vehicles and astronauts. Anyway, the students all made their own space rockets using construction paper. I sat down and made one, too! I got a little fancy with some 3-D details:

Then during "choice time" there was one table that was a drawing table and I sat down with the kids and had a great time drawing horses with them. This class really liked horses! They all wanted my picture to color in, which seems to happen a lot when I draw with the students, so here is my horse drawing. I might keep it to use as a coloring page. Everyone else can do that, too, if they want to download the picture. Here is my horse, Cl0ver:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Feathered Friends -- Bird Themed Projects

With the shining sun and the cool spring air comes the joyous song of birds on the wing.

I've had the opportunity to teach bird-themed projects in two different venues and soon to be three with an upcoming May workshop held as part of a public school fine arts day event.

The first project is a paper arts project that was part of a mini-course I taught last summer at art camp. The mini-course wasn't just for the birds. It was actually a course on making lots of things from folded papers, but the birds were probably my favorite thing to make. The pattern for this project came from a book titled "The Magic Of Paper Sculpture" written by David Swinton. The book also gives step-by-step directions for forming the birds.

Here is an example that I made:

And here is one made by a student:

Most of the students in the mini-course were between 12 and 14 years old, so I would say the folded paper birds project is best suited for middle school students.

The other bird project I will talk about is one that I mentioned previously. It was done with kindergarten and first grade students at my church where I teach religious-themed art lessons that tie in with the weekly gospels. The birds the students made were sitting in "God's hands", but the ones I am posting now are just really cute birds made from model magic and feathers. I did not glue wiggle eyes onto my examples -- I actually like them better without the silly eyes, although the students would disagree.

Here are a few sample birds:
Depending on what colors of model magic you have on hand, this lesson can be used to teach complimentary, warm and cool, contrasting, primary or secondary colors. The birds are formed from a about 2 1/2 oz. of model magic each which students roll into balls. Then the head is "pinched" out and the base of the tail is "pulled" out. The beak and feet are added from small pieces of model magic that are actually cut to shape with scissors. Finally, the craft feathers are poked into the clay (the feathers can also teach color theory depending on what kind you have) to form wings and tails.

An extension of the above is to create a home for the bird. This is what I am planning to teach to kindergarten students in May. The house is made from poster board that is cut to 6 x 22", pre-folded and pre-punched with a hanging hole. The board is unfolded and texture painted with sponges. I used white and black tempera on colored poster board.

The painted poster board is set aside to dry while the birds are formed. When the birds are done the paint should be dry and the houses can be re-folded on the lines and stapled together to form a triangular house. A string can be looped through the hole at the top for carrying or hanging.

Bird in a triangular house.

New Quilled Series

So, I've decided that not having a ventilated workspace is not going to stop me from making art that I enjoy. That used to mean making oil paintings and it still would if I had the ventilation, but since I became aware of paper quilling last year when I was asked to teach a workshop on the subject, I've continued to dabble with quilled paper designs. Mostly, I find myself drawn to designs with rotational symmetry and some floral influence. They are circles within squares (or diamonds, depending on how you orient them).

The designs do feel like they have some relationship to my work in oils. The scale and size are about the same and they relate to the en-masse series in that they do have repeated shapes that are clustered together. For now, making them is proving satisfying in many ways. I like the look of them, the tactile quality, the verging on the edge of 2D and 3D design, and the way I can pick them up and put them down whenever I can squeeze in a few minutes of time. There is little cleanup or preparation and all the materials store easily in one portable box.

Also, today I learned that the paper quilled designs have a personal and emotional connection for a dear friend of mine -- a family member of hers used to make them right before passing on. I'm glad seeing my designs brings back happy memories for her.

Recently, I made a triptych of three designs, which I aptly names Rotational Motif 1, 2, 3.

Each individual motif is a 4" quilled design mounted onto a 6" embossed paper. Together, matted, the trio measure 8" x 22".

The smaller designs (I usually work 6 x 6") were made for a fundraiser show that takes place tonight. If anyone wants an opportunity to own some beautiful artwork with over 100 pieces represented, raffle tickets for a chance to win these works are only $2 and there will also be some pieces sold at auction. The event also has free food, live entertainment, and a collaborative wall drawing taking place. More details are on the poster below and on the gallery website:
All proceeds go to support the Red Cross and Japan Quake Relief and are being matched dollar for dollar so if you do want to take part in this great event, your dollar will go twice as far as it would on its own!

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Room With A View - Grade 2

This is a one-class drawing lesson for elementary students. The theme is to draw a picture of a room with a view to the outside of the building as well as a view into the mind of the artist. The objects in the room should be representative of interests, hobbies, favorite things, etc. This lesson is also a great opportunity to integrate perspective, pattern, background, foreground, texture and line. Matisse's "Red Room" and Van Gogh's "Bedroom at Arles" would be good references to show to the students to get them thinking about perspective and patterns.

Here is my example drawing:

Matisse's painting:

VanGogh's painting