Sunday, November 28, 2010

Native American Totem Poles

As part of our section of American art, students learned about Native American nations of the Northwest. The  Tlingit, Tsimshian, and Haida carved elaborate totem poles out of wood to honor someone, to tell a story, or sometimes just as art. We studied their use of color and its representation, and talked about animal totems.

First, the children built their totem poles out of paper towel cardboard tubes taped to a rectangle of chipboard about 6x9 in size (I used the backs of old paper pads). Then they painted the poles brown and the bases green. Our totems were four figures high. We used 2.5 inch strips of paper in red, white, blue and green.

They drew each image in sharpie and added more color with cray pas. For images that didn't extend beyond the width of the pole, we just wrapped our paper around and adhered with tacky glue. For larger images we used a second strip of paper, cut the outer edges of both strips together, and sandwiched the two strips to the front and back of the pole.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Laurel Burch Cats

There are many examples of lessons for Laurel Burch, and it just seems like the perfect one for kids. There are bright colors, patterns, fun compositions, and great subject matter. My students loved using construction paper paper crayons and the metallic paint markers were pure magic!

We talked about Burch's life and her subject matter, then discussed the body shape of her cats. The children drew in pencil on black construction paper, and then filled their cats with color, pattern and shapes. Paint markers were the last to be added, outlining there cats and adding final details and pattern to their compositions.

Here is a great feature on Laurel Burch, from a past episode of 60 Minutes, if you'd like to learn more about her. And here are the masterpieces created by my students. Great job guys!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mixed Media Autumn Trees

Inspiration for this lesson came from the Briargrove  Elementary Art blog. I love their use of recycled materials for so many of their projects.

First the children each designed a leaf stamp in black marker on a circle of styrofoam egg carton material. They pressed the details into the foam with ball point pens, and then cut around the outer edges of the leaf. These were glued to recycled bottle tops and ready to use as stamps.

Then we set out to make a bare tree collage. Each child chose a 12"x18" sheet of Fadeless 2-Color paper. We trimmed a 2" strip from the bottom of sheet, flipped it and glued it to the bottom edge of the now 12"x16" piece.  We discussed how this would be the horizon line of their work and that the trees roots could reach down below the line and into the ground. The children used scraps of various colored construction paper glued onto their background paper to form the tree. The scraps were to illustrate the varying color and texture of the bark and the tree's roots, trunk, and branches.

We then brushed tempera paint onto our stamps and filled our trees with leaves. I encouraged not cleaning the stamps between colors to let the leaves have a natural variation in color. The children were also allowed to try colors that may not actually be seen on real trees in nature. The final works were so colorful and expressive—an all over great lesson. I love autumn!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sugar Skulls

I had been wanting to do a class on Sugar Skulls to celebrate Dia de los Muertos with my students.  Well I found these papier mache skulls in the clearance bin at a local craft store, and had my chance! We talked about the holiday and how it celebrates the people in our lives who have passed. Did you know that the sugar the skulls are made out of represent the sweetness, and the skull shape the sad? We painted the skulls with a base cost of white acrylic paint. Then the kids had paint markers, sequins and glitter glue to create their designs. Here are some of our creations.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sketchbook Saturdays

Here are a few reasons why I love Sketchbook Saturdays classes with my students! Exercises as of late have been in ink, watercolor, pencil and marker. Are these guys great or what?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Teaching at Elementary School

Yesterday I got a call in the late morning. The art teacher at my daughter's elementary school hurt her back and they needed an emergency sub for the end of the day. So, I have finally taught some classes in my school district. Hurray for progress! I taught a lesson on masks of Africa/Oceania to 2nd graders and two 1st grade classes were painting their 'Where the Wild Things' Are creatures. What fun and what a lot of work. Hats off to all of you full-time art teachers. I think the kids' energy forced me to be a little more up than usual, and that is tiring! Maybe that magic power wears off after a while. Each class had free choice activities if they finished their projects early. Some used building blocks and clay, some drew or painted a get well picture for their teacher, and a few created art just for little old me. It was a wonderful first time in an elementary art room and I can't wait to go back. Thanks Ms. D. for thinking of me, and get well soon. Here are my gifts of art from yesterday's students.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Frida, Halloween and Dia de los Muertos

I hope you all enjoyed Halloween. It is by far my favorite holiday! And I love to acknowledge Dia de Los Muertos as well. This year for Halloween I chose to dress as the artist who inspires me, and I hoped it would teach the children  little something too. Here is my rendition of Frida Kahlo. Do you like my monkey?

Some of the more interesting guesses from adults were Carmen Miranda (do you see any fruit on my head?) and a flamenco dancer. I guess we could all brush up on our art history! The funniest thing happened too. I have recently met another woman in town named Paula, who is an artist, a parent, and is preparing for the Praxis exam to become certified to teach art. Her son happens to be in my daughter's class this year. We both participated in the kids' Halloween party at school and both decided to be, you guessed it Frida! Paula had a monkey on her costume too. So funny!

What a blast! We joked that we planned to be the portrait of two Fridas. I was named Frida with freckles. Paula called us the gang of Fridas. We dressed up a second time and met just to document our great minds thinking alike. You can never have too many Fridas! Did anyone else dress up for Halloween and art history? Are there any other Fridas I should know about? You could join our gang. Good luck on your exam Paula!