Thursday, May 12, 2011

What a Difference a Year Makes!

Hello and thank you to all of my fellow art teachers, parents, friends and blog followers. It has been just over a year since I have started this blog of art adventures, and I have just hit the 100 followers mark! It thrills me to be part of this incredible community of creative people who value the arts. So, in classic blogger style, I would like to throw a little giveaway at you!

For five winners chosen at random, I will mail one of these new rubber stamps from Museum Stamps featuring the works of Wood, van Gogh, da Vinci, and Munch. I have used stamps like these in student's sketchbooks as a reward. I've also made book marks and thank you cards for art teachers that have allowed me to substitute for them. We have had a mini masterpiece gallery on the walls of my studio as well. The children would color the stamped images as a free choice activity, but the rule was one for them to take home, and one for the studio. I think it is something about the size and fame of the images that really make the kids love them.

Here are the rules:
You must be a follower of this blog—easily fixed if you would like to enter. Just join us! One entry each. Entering more than once will not increase your chances. Please enter by commenting to this post, and leaving an email address or way to contact you. You must enter by May 31st. Winners will be chosen on or about June 1st and mailed ASAP. Winners and stamps awarded by random drawing.

Good Luck!
And thanks for following, being inspired, and inspiring me.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Great Art Sites for Kids— Keith Haring

It's time to add another great art site for kids to my list. This one is Haring Kids! Along with information about the artist, there are lots of games, interactive puzzles, and online as well as printable coloring activities. If you get a chance, check it out.  There are also lesson plans and requests for teachers like you and me to submit our Keith Haring inspired artworks. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Blue Willow Plates in Tempera

I first saw this lesson at the Use Your Colored Pencils blog, and knew I would be using it someday. Thanks Anne! The supplies needed are minimal: white paper plates, tempera in blue/white/black, brushes and water. We practiced mixing shades and tints of blue for our designs. The cross-curricular opportunities range from poetry and storytelling, to the culture of China and its influence on pottery through out the world. 

We looked at a piece of Blue Willow china and discussed what images we saw on the plate. I then told the children about the legend which the pattern illustrates. To help remember what we saw, and to help everyone to chose elements to use in their designs, I shared the following poem:

 'Two birds flying high,
A Chinese vessel, sailing by.
A bridge with three men, sometimes four,
A willow tree, hanging o'er.
A Chinese temple, there it stands,
Built upon the river sands.
An apple tree, with apples on,
A crooked fence to end my song.'

They were asked to chose one, or a few of the elements, but some did even more! The children sketched lightly in pencil first, and then began to paint. I reminded them that the border was an important part of their design as well (the ridges of the paper plate can aid them in creating simple border designs.) Great job guys! I love them all!

If you might try a Blue Willow lesson, here are some great links to go with your planning:

Wikipedia has an article about the Blue Willow pattern:

A telling of the Blue Willow legend at:

New Zealand director Veialu Aila-Unsworth made a short animated film about the Blue Willow legend. You can view the trailer here:

And if anyone knows where I can see the entire film, PLEASE let me know!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Koi Pond Collages

The children and I worked on a rather large project, designing koi pond collages.  Koi originated in Eastern Asia and China, where black koi were kept in the rice paddies to provide food during the winter months. Sometimes mutations in the color of the fish occurred and they were bred to create more aesthetically pleasing fish. They were brought nearer to homes and kept in small ponds, making them easier to farm and used as a decorative element. Eventually these practices made their way to Japan and became very popular there, as well as around the world. In Japan, it is said that koi bring a serenity and calm. The water in which they live is a world of dreams. The better the environment you create for your koi, the more beautiful and healthy they become.

 Our first step was to create the water for the pond. We used white cray pas to create waves and ripples. Then a watercolor wash was added using a combination of blue, green, and purple. The last option was  sprinkling coarse salt onto the wash, which would absorb some of the pigment to give the water some sparkle. When dry, we cut our ponds into interesting shapes and mounted them onto 12x18 black construction paper.

On white paper, we drew and used tempera paint to create koi for our ponds (2 to 4 fish were suggested.) Black, yellow, orange, and red paint were offered, as well as palettes, to create new shades of gold, red, and orange. I like to encourage color mixing, to give each project a little more originality.

 We then used sponges and shades of gray tempera on gray construction paper to create the appearance of stone. The paper was cut when dry into rock shapes to place in and around the ponds. Finally, I gave each child rectangles and strips of green paper to create lily pads and grasses. They embellished them with green shades of cray pas. A final option was to add tissue paper lilies to the lily pads.

After adding our fish to the pond we glued our stones and plants. These elements make the pond beautiful, but also protect the koi. Brightly colored fish are easy targets for animals like raccoons and herons. The lily pads give the koi a place to hide, and the stones around the edge make it harder for land animals to reach in to grab them. I think the children did a great job with all of the prep work involved, and in integrating all of the elements together. The fish really appear to be swimming around in their world of dreams!