Monday, May 14, 2012

Continuous Line Paintings: Inspired by Geoff Slater

I recently subbed in the art room and was asked if I had a one class lesson plan I would like to work on while I was there. I used this lesson that I originally saw at: They have a great visual step-by-step lesson plan that you can check out.

We looked at works by Geoff Slater and saw that they were painted in one continuous line. We worked with the goal of two lines: one to fill the flower and one to fill the background. I also let them know that even if they used more than two lines that it would be fine. As long as their paintings resembled a maze, they were accomplishing the goal of a work inspired by the artist.

Students had a choice of painting a daisy-flower shape or a tulip-styled flower, which I had examples of on the blackboard. They also had the option of using realistic or non-realistic colors. This is a great lesson for watercolor technique and brush control, because the students need to use the tip of the brush and they need to have the right consistency of paint to pull their maze lines along the paper.

Sometimes it is difficult for the children to remember that you pull your paint brush, not scrub with it. And you need to add a bit of water to the pan of color and gently wiggle the brush to loosen the paint, not mash it into the pan! For this lesson too, watch carefully when they begin to paint. Some students just revert to filling in the areas with their paint brush, rather than creating continuous lines. Correct early and things go smoothly from there on!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Animal Engravings

As part of our class based on My Art Book: Animals, the children and I learned about Albrecht Durer, the famous painter and printmaker from Germany. His famous Rhinoceros print is featured in the book, and is the basis for an engraving on heavy foil. We thought about what animals might have interesting textures to engrave and our images varied between tortoises, rhinos, and lizards.

We used animal photography as reference and then each student did a preliminary sketch on tracing paper. The metal plates were taped down onto a magazine for a soft engraving surface, and the tracing paper drawing was taped and hinged over the plate. After tracing the sketch onto the plate, the tracing paper was removed and lots of textures and patterns were added freehand to the engraving.

A layer of India ink was applied to the metal plate using a sponge brush and set to dry. Then we burnished the plates with steel wool, to shine up the surface and to enhance all of the line work on the plates. You can choose to skip this step if you like the metal surface as is. Another suggestion from the book was to ink around the animal and use the inked background as a scratch board.

When observing a colleague of mine teaching a similar lesson, she punched holes and mounted her students' projects using office fasteners. I thought this was a brilliant idea to make the pieces look more finished, so I had to steal her genius!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

My Art Book: Animals Winners

Thanks to everyone who entered the My Art Book: Animals give-away. I loved reading all of the comments about your favorite animals! My three lucky winners have been notified and a copy will be mailed out to you soon. Congratulations to Marcia, Pat and Katie! I'll be posting some of my experiences with the lessons in this book soon.