Friday, May 30, 2014

The Great Wave by Hokusai Art Project

I have always been drawn to this wonderful image created in about 1830 by Hokusai as a woodcut.  It was one of 36 views of Mt. Fuji that he published as a book.  This woodblock was printed about 5000 times until the lines started to wear away and they couldn't create a good print anymore, that's how popular this art was and still is.  Although the huge claw like wave is sometimes assumed to be a Tsunami, it is an okinami ("wave of the open sea").  

Since I am doing an Ocean unit I decided to try and adapt it into an art project.

I began by simplifying it into a bare bones line drawing.  I decided to leave the boats out and if the kids want to put them in we can create them out of brown construction paper and glue them in.

I am planning on showing this simplified drawing to the students and we'll talk about the direction of the dripping water or foam and how it goes in different directions throughout the composition.   I will probably start them with a directed drawing of the biggest wave and then let them go from there.

Next I will demonstrate a watercolor wash for the background and the blue of the waves, being careful to leave the foam and snow white.  They will do wet into wet blue stripes in the waves to create the movement in the water.  Be sure to talk about the direction of the lines and how important that is.  Don't worry if they get blue or brown into the white, in can be covered up with the white acrylic paint in the next step.

Demonstrate the addition of the white areas with white and blue acrylic paint.  The white areas are sponged on with a sea sponge.  The blue spots are applied with a small brush while the white paint is still wet.  In this example the white acrylic paint has been added with some drops of blue dabbed into the white foam.  The blue is very random, just putting it in where it looks good while looking at the original artwork.
In this example the top of the big wave and the wave in the foreground have been sponge painted.  The wave in the background and the top of the mountain are just left alone with the white paper creating the white in those areas.
Finally they will use a toothbrush and splatter white paint on the painting to create the drops of water from all the waves.

Quite a few drawing and painting techniques are introduced in this project as well as some art history and printmaking.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Mini Matisse Dog Acrylic Painting on Canvas

I love the way matisse creates this dog with just a few simple lines!  I wanted my students to try their own version of this on a small 4"X 4" canvas using acrylic paint washes.  This will give them a chance to work on drawing as well as mixing acrylic paint and working with the watered down paint as a wash.
First they will draw their dog on paper and get a feel for how to use just a few lines to create him.  Next they'll draw the dog on the canvas using pencil and then go over the pencil with sharpie.

Now they can decide on the color of their dog and using acrylic paint mix it and add a little bit of water to it to make it thinner.  Once they apply the light wash they can add some darker areas with a fine tip brush.  The sharpie should still show through. Now they can decide the colors for the rug or  blanket and paint them.  I used a red/orange for the background because the complementary colors for blue and green are orange and red.  Matisse used complementary colors masterfully and we'll be discussing this prior to choosing the colors for the rug and background. 

The end result is a little snapshot of the entire Matisse painting focusing on the dog. Students can choose a different pattern for the rug, or a solid color and a pattern for the background, however they want to change it is fine.  Matisse is the inspiration, the starting point, where they go from there is up to them!

Giraffe Pattern Printmaking Art Lesson

I have been wanting to do a giraffe art lesson for a long time.  I decided to incorporate pattern into the spots on the giraffe to make it more interesting.  It's really simple.  
Just draw the giraffe on paper as a practice and then draw it again on foam.  
The ears are triangles, the face is a rectangle and the neck is a tall rectangle, etc...   
The spots are easy, pretty much any organic shape they want to make and then add pattern into the shape.  
I use large foam disposable plates, I cut the flat center out and then trim it to the shape I want using a paper cutter.

Make it more interesting by using colored card stock and an ink color that really pop together.  I used Speedball Block Printing Ink in turquoise.

The fun part of printmaking is seeing the print when they are finished, and they can make multiple prints from the same foam plate (cards, gifts).
A frame worthy kids art project!

Gold Rush or Gold Mining Art Project

I have been teaching some classes for 4th grade and their teacher asked me if I could do something to coincide with their 3 day Coloma, CA field trip.  Since they are primarily studying the gold rush while there I came up with a printmaking activity that might be fun for any teacher studying the Gold Rush.

Since Printmaking was the primary form of communication during the 1800's I thought a printmaking activity would be a good fit, but it could be a sketching activity as well.  I am going to talk to them about how newspapers and posters were the way people received information during this time, and artists needed to use printmaking techniques to create illustrations for the newspapers etc...

I have the card stock already printed with the wording because the words print backwards.  The students will be doing the image in the center.

I am going to give them the outline of the miner to trace onto foam that I cut from foam disposable plates. (This is so much easier than lino or wood cuts.)  Then I'll demonstrate how the outline gives you clues as to where to put the interior lines.  Wherever they draw creates a white line, wherever they don't prints black.
Here is the pattern sheet to print onto card stock:

I am going to talk about pattern and how they need to create a few patterns in their drawing on the foam (mustache, hat band, pan, water, edges).  This makes their design more interesting.

Once they have their completed design they'll ink it (Speedball block printing ink) and print it, carefully putting pressure everywhere to get a nice even print.
When it is dry they can add a little bit of mod podge or glue to the nugget in the pan then put some gold glitter on the nugget, just for fun.  
A great project to mix history and Art!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Watercolor Techniques Cat Art Project

This is a simple way to paint a cat and also to experiment with watercolor techniques.

The students will draw the cat outline taking up most of the space on their watercolor paper.  Note that the cat is more to the right side of the paper.  
After they draw the outline they will draw the whiskers and the eyes.  To help with the placement of the whiskers they can draw a nose and erase it later.
I used Colourless Art Masking Fluid for Watercolor paper by Winsor & Newton.  The students will use a small brush to paint the masking fluid onto the whiskers and eyes.  This will block any paint from the paper in the painted areas.  It's a fun technique because it's almost magical to use.

Once the masking fluid is dry the students do a black watercolor wash over the cat.  When that is a little bit dry, but not all the way they can come in with the background colors.  It's alright if the cat and the background bleed together a bit.  It just makes the cat look fuzzy/furry.
When they are happy with the background they can drop a few pieces of salt into the sky to create stars.  They will need to go back in with the black and re-do their cat shape so it doesn't get too blurry.

The painting needs to be completely dry before the masking fluid is removed.  It just rubs off with the fingertips.  Once the initial layer is removed put one drop of masking fluid into the top center of each 
eye.  Now using green (or whatever color they want to use for the eye) fill in the eye shape with color.
When the green is dry use a fine tip brush to do an upside down triangle for the black iris with the masking fluid in the top center.
When the eyes are completely dry remove the drop of masking fluid and the cat is finished.  
The students have learned several watercolor techniques while creating their semi abstract cats.

Franz Marc Inspired Blue Horse Oil Pastel Project

Another Animal Themed Project for Camp this summer - 
This one inspired by Franz Marc and his Beautiful Blue Horses.

I am going to read the students the book "The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse"  by Eric Carle, and then we'll look at a few examples of Franz Marc's Blue Horses.

I tried several versions of this project and eventually simplified it to one horse on blue card stock layered onto a sheet of red card stock.  The exaggeration and somewhat abstract style of Franz Marc is a challenge to translate into an elementary project.

This project is for young elementary age students so I'm going to give them an outline of the horse shape to trace onto blue paper.  Once they have the outline we'll free draw the inside lines of the jaw, eyes, ears, chest, stomach etc...

I'll demonstrate how to use oil pastels with emphasis on mixing colors and creating shadows and highlights.  They'll use an assortment of blue, black and white oil pastels to create a rich layering of color for their horse.

When they are satisfied with their horse we'll use the red card stock to draw a background similar to the one in this painting:

Now they'll use yellows, greens, oranges, etc.. to create their own version of Marc's vibrant color.
We'll talk about the direction of the oil pastel strokes and how they create movement in the "painting".  How using vertical lines in vertical shapes works better than horizontal.  The same for using horizontal lines in the sky etc...  They can ignore the area where the horse covers the paper.

Once finished we'll mat the Oil Pastels on Black Cardstock.

I can't wait to see the student's version of this project!

Tiger in The Jungle Inspired By Henri Rousseau

I'm working on developing several Animal Themed art projects for my Art Camp this Summer.  I have always thought a Rousseau inspired project would be fun so I decided to give it a try.  

Rousseau's Paintings are very dreamlike and primitive.  He painted several jungle scenes even though he never traveled outside of France.  He wasn't formally trained in art and simply taught himself how to paint.  I'll show the students a few examples and then we'll do a directed drawing of the Tiger in pencil on Watercolor Paper.  It's pretty simple if you break it up into simple shapes:  a circle for the face, rounded triangles for the ears, triangle for the nose, etc...

We'll discuss what parts of the tiger are white and what parts are orange, also the stripes down the forehead, across the cheeks and across the chest.

They'll outline their final drawing with black sharpie and then using just the orange, paint the outside of the ears, the face and chest, leaving the appropriate areas white.  I am going to have them paint along with me - I'll demonstrate and then they can do theirs.  I'm not trying to have them copy me, just that they understand how to work with the watercolor.

 After the orange is dry they can go in with black paint on a fine tip brush and go over the stripes with a ziggy zaggy brushstroke.  While they are waiting for the orange to dry we'll cut some leaves and flowers out of tissue paper.  The eyes and nose are yellow with a drop of orange put in while it's still wet.  If they get it too orange I'll show them how to squeeze the water out of a brush and use it to remove excess color.  Now they have practiced a watercolor wash, wet into wet, and removing excess pigment.
The final step is to use a glue stick and tissue paper to surround their tiger with jungle foliage.  A fierce and fun mixed media project!

Galaxy Unit Astronaut in Space Mixed Media Art Lesson

I taught this lesson to my 3rd grade students for their galaxy unit.  I borrowed the class photo and enlarged it on a color copier to ge...