Friday, June 27, 2014

Collaborative Dotty-ness.

Wowza, it's been a while.  Sorry about my hiatus Arties, but it's been a busy summer so far, full of graduate school classes, house projects, and planning an upcoming trip which you'll find out more about later!

So, I've gotta admit.  I'm cheating just a lil' bit.

How am I cheating? Wellllll, since I am taking the summer off from teaching summer school (MY FIRST SUMMER OFF EVER may I add, can you sense my excitement?!), my posts this summer may consist of me sharing projects from the school year past.  Don't worry, there won't be any re-runs, it'll all be fresh and new, just like a box o' Crayolas at the beginning of the school year.  Don'tcha love that smell?!

I want to share a little collaborative project I did at the year's end with my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders.  I had seen similar stuff on the Land-Of-Oh-Geez-Where-Did-Three-Hours-Just-Go, AHEM, I  mean, Pinterest, and since I was determined to pack up my Art Room in a timely fashion this year, I decided to give the project below a whirl, as it uses very few materials.

  • Lids, all sizes to use as tracers
  • Leftover LARGE paper (sturdy enough to hold up to tempera paint)
  • Pencils
  • Tempera Paint (liquid or cakes works--we used tempera cakes to keep it low maintenance)
  • Waterpots and brushes
  • Q-tips

I've gotta say, I LOVE doing end of the year collaborative stuff because:

1) I hold onto them until next year and hang them on our super sad and empty bulletin boards until we get cranking in the Art Room

2) It's a great way to encourage collaboration between my students and I get a kick overhearing the kids being kind and encouraging to one another.

Now, it's not always lollipops and unicorns when we're doing a collaborative project, and sometimes there is a friend or two that needs a little 1:1 chat with Miss French Fry, but all in all, I would vote this project a SUCCESS.

I had my 1st and 3rd graders create large murals about the size of our art tables.  Some papers were square-ish, others were rectangular...I used what I could dig up in my end o' year bin of leftover scraps and schtuff. They traced the templates first (after I had demo-ed and talked about concentric circles and referred them to Master Kandinsky).  After the pencil, our steps were bright tempera colors, then the addition of a black tempera paint outline.

The First graders added lines and dots to create designs and patterns inside and around their circles too, adding a movement effect to them.

The two close-ups below are by 3rd graders and these two tables bypassed the black tempera in favor of a black crayon outline BEFORE adding on the paint.  You know, just a little watercolor resist up in here!

I wanted the 2nd grade murals to have a different look, so we skipped the tracers for their murals, and instead...

1) used bright tempera paints to fill our paper with irregular circles
2) added a black outline and details with a Q-tip

I loved using papers in this long strip format as students were able to work with a partner on their mural.

I think these babies are going to come in handy when Dot Day strikes on September 15th.  I always miss out on this great day, but looks like we are going to be going DOTTY in Miss French Fry's Art Room this year!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Printmaking and Summer Break Celebrating!

I am now two days into summer break after finishing the world's longest school year and so, so very happy to get on with the summer.  I mean seriously, June is half over!

I gave a sneak peek into the printmaking project my Fourth graders had been working on here and we finally finished up our carving and printing this week!

I love my Fourth Graders and they are very slow and careful, conscientious artists which can be great.  Buuuuuut, when we have two art classes to finish carving and printing a series of Illinois Wildflowers, they needed to turn off the molasses and turn on the Red Bull!

Students had to select one Illinois wildflower to use for their prints.  We sketched out our plan onto paper first, traced over our final design with charcoal, and then transferred it onto our 4" x 6" rubber block.

There will be more projects coming soon, as we were busy busy bees at the end of the year!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Mooooo-vin' On with Kindergarteners.

What do you do with Kindergarten when you only have ONE remaining Art class left?

a) hmmm, good question...
b) movie?
c) get ready to sleep REALLY well after a day of teaching Kinders.

I decided to dive into paint one last time.  We read one of my favorite read alouds Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type.  The first time I heard of this story was on NPR and the radio folks started a whole discussion about collective bargaining, as the cows, chickens, and then ducks end up going on strike and refuse to produce milk and eggs.

Collective bargaining is not a topic I'm about to explore with my Kinder kiddos, but the vocabulary in this story is fabulous.

We used only Q-tips and black paint to paint our cows, farms, and any extra details.  I really liked the Q-tip's effect and the wobbly lines.

We talked a little bit about the expression to add onto our cows' faces.  For example, sometimes the cows in the story look surprised, sometimes puzzled, and so on.

Because this was a one day project, we used watercolors to add a quick splash of color to our farms too.

Surprised cow momma and her baby.  Note the evil farmer lurking in the background...

How impressive is this 3-D barn, folks?

I find this story a little bit ironic as my district is currently in the process of negotiations.  Fingers crossed everything goes well and both "cows" and "farmers" are happy at the end of things!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

O'My, O'Keeffe!

And with one whole week still left of school, this is pretty much how I feel right now...

OVER IT.  Pretty sure my students and I are counting down the days in a BIG way.  The days lately have been perfect summer days and being cooped up inside is tough.  So we've been going out to our butterfly gardens and doing a lot of nature sketching with chalk.

Our last artists of the month this year were Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keeffe.  We read Through Georgia's Eyes to kick off our study of Georgia in 1st grade and 4th grade.

The Fourth Graders studied the work of Lauren Fensterstock, an artist whose work I had previously seen at the Kohler Arts Center last summer.  I also attended a fantastic workshop studying her pieces while at the NAEA convention this year too!  Her work will blow your mind.  She sticks to mostly black paper and will throw in some mirrors amongst her intense quilled installations.

Seriously, research her if you get the chance.  Her pieces fill up and take over a room in such a remarkable way.  They have this crazy effect of "creeping" around a room's perimeter.

My Fourth Graders borrowed inspiration from Lauren Fensterstock to create their Georgia gardenscapes.  Each gardenscape had to address the following criteria:

- at least 5 quilled pieces
- the foreground, midground, and background
- elements from Georgia's paintings
- a clay skull

I had a bazillion scraps of white paper stored in my hoarding boxes,  so we looked specifically at O'Keeffe's Cow Skull with Calico Roses, as this piece features the black and white contrast we were trying to achieve.

Check out our Georgia gardenscapes below:

The student above created a mini bed for Georgia on the roof, just like hers since she would climb onto her roof to sleep at night.

I'm digging the pop-out sun in this one!

And my little First Grade friends, created their own versions of O'Keeffe's Sky Above the Clouds (housed locally at our very own Art Institute).  

This piece is HUGE in real life, measuring about 8 feet by 24 feet.

Now, our pieces weren't that big, but we used about 16" x 20" paper for our skies.

After folding our papers in half, we used cool colors on one half and warm colors on the other.  Clouds were added the next class.  I had students paint big and little clouds on a separate sheet of paper too.  The big clouds were used for bulletin board decor and the littles as pop-outs on our paintings.

Welp, that's all for now folks.  More artwork coming your way soon, don't worry!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Kinders Do Self Portraits.

Ohhh yeah, we so went there.  Each and every year, I try and do a self portrait unit with each and every grade.  And each and every year, I am ever so curious (and just a little bit nervous) to see how they go with my Kinder kiddos.

To begin, we read Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss and my students were a little concerned about my well-being because it never fails, I ALWAYS tear up big time while reading this book.  Darn end-of-the-year emotions!

After the story (and wiping away my tears), I did a quick little demo of drawing my self portrait with only an oil pastel starting with a basic "U" shape for my head and going from there.  We talked about our eye colors, our hair colors and textures, and proportions of our facial features all while I did the drawing demo on our Smart Board.  I felt juuuust a little bit like Bob Ross as I talked while drawing, and found myself saying things like, "and let's add in a happy mouth."  Love that guy.

After the Kinder kids drew their own portraits in oil pastel, I demo-ed how to mix colors on our mixing papers to make my transparent skin color (seriously, I look like I belong in The Walking Dead) and then use the primary colors to add in a pop of other colors for our facial features, clothing, and backgrounds.

The next class, I plopped down some palettes of paint with varying skin tones, some white and black, and the primary colors.  I wanted to share just a few of my favorite portraits with you below.  Now, while I gave some of them silly titles, I want you to know that EVERY single little artist put their heart and soul into their paintings and I don't mean any disrespect.  Sometimes we art teachers just need to have a little fun, especially when we have an ENTIRE week added onto our school year. Grrrrr, Midwest weather!

 So without further ado, here are some select portraits below:

The "NO! My Hair is Orange" Portrait

Here's how the conversation went:
Me: "Ummm, what color is your hair sweetie?"
Kinder:  (without hesitation) "Orange, of course!"
Me:  "Are you sure?  It looks kind of like dark brown to me.  But maybe run into the bathroom quickly to check."
Kinder:  "No! My hair is orange."  (runs to the bathroom)

Five minutes later...
Me: "Did you check your hair?"
 Kinder:  "Nope, but I did use the toilet."

The "Most Beautiful Bambi Eyes" Portrait

The "Cosby Sweater" Portrait

The "If Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes Was a Real Kid" Portrait

The "Most Textured Hair" Portrait

The "Friendliest Kindergartener" Portrait

The "Dot-alicious" Portrait

The "Jackson Pollock" Portrait

The "Yeah, I'm Wearing a Mouth Guard" Portrait

The "Channeling My Inner Modigliani" Portrait

The "Primary Color Party" Portrait

The "I Just Might Be Part Gonzo" Portrait

Best of luck to you with your end of the school year.  And if you're already on break, enjoy a well-earned grown-up apple juice for me, you lucky teacher, you!