Sunday, 14 October 2012

Warm or Cool Coloured Monsters

Grade 6 students were challenged to create monsters using either warm or cool colours.  They used the alternate colours for their backgrounds. 

Their monsters had to fill the page.

Oil pastels were used.  One thing students discovered about oil pastels was that if they made a mistake, the pastels were very forgiving.

Although this project was completed by grade 6 students, it would be easily adaptable to other grades.





Friday, 21 September 2012

Colour Theory with Found Objects

After the success I had with my grade 5s and their "human" colour wheels, I decided to try a similar approach with my grade 6s.

This time I challenged them to find objects in the classroom that fit the criteria.

First I asked for three students who thought they knew the primary colours.  They then had to search the room for the colours, bring them back to the front and wait for confirmation by the other students.

Here are the primary results.


Next, three more students searched for secondary colours.  One of the students volunteered herself.


The whole class was challenged to find warm coloured objects.  Hectic but enthusiastic results.

Once again, everyone was involved in the search for cool colours.
Finally we created a colour wheel.
The primary coloured objects were placed first, then the secondary ones.
We talked about tertiary colours and students searched for them.
There was much discussion as students moved objects around to better balance the wheel.
Once again, students were able to very quickly complete their colour theory sheets.
This method would be great at any grade level.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Mona Lisa...You've Changed

Recently my students examined da Vinci's Mona Lisa.

We discussed her pose, clothing, location and of course, her famous expression.

They were then challenged to create their own versions using pencil crayons and/or markers. 

Some of  the results are below.  Check out the facial expressions!


Colour Wheel with a Twist

I decided to take a different approach to reviewing the colour wheel with my grade 5 students today.  I used them. 
Fingers were crossed that they would show up wearing a variety of colours and except for being a little off on the violet, it turned out well.
I began by asking them to stand if they were wearing a primary colour.  We talked about what made a colour primary.

P9170955-1.jpg P9170955

Next those wearing a secondary colour stood, they were asked which colours were used to make it.

Students then arranged themselves in warm and cool combinations.
We talked about tonal values and lined up legs to show different shades and tints.  They knew how to use black or white to change the colour.
Students wearing green also wanted their picture taken.  We discussed how adding more blue or yellow could change the colour.
At first students did not quite understand the concept of complementary colours being opposites.
I briefly did an afterimage exercise with them. 
First I had them open their agendas to a white page, then I had them place their pencil crayon boxes on it.  I asked them to focus without staring hard on the yellow on the box.  I timed them for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, then had them pull away the box while still looking at the page. 
 Ooos and ahhs were heard around the room as they briefly saw violet on the page.  One student was so excited, he called another one over to "see" the colour he saw.  I related the effect of the afterimage to film negatives.  You know you are getting old when not all knew what they were! 
Afterwards, they were able to name all the complementary combinations.
Finally students created a "human" colour wheel.  One of them pointed out how they were lined up with their opposite.  Success!
To end the project, I handed out a colour assignment sheet.  They very quickly completed and correctly labelled it with little help from me.
I will definitely do this again in the future.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Birdhouse Inspiration

While driving in Prince Edward Island,my cousin, aunt and I came across a display of birdhouses at the foot of a driveway.  Curious, we backed up and drove in.


What we found was a small shed called The Bird House. 


We also met the creator of all the houses, a retired gentleman, who liked to work with his hands and who told us that his wife did all the painting.


I purchased the one shown below, and, yes, it was a challenge to bring it back in my suitcase, but, it was worth it.

 So, what has this inspired?  Right now I have several posibilities going on in my head.  It could be the basis for "crooked" paper mache houses, paintings of birdhouses on poles, positive/negative images,   cutting paper into geometric shapes to create houses, repeated images or even make the types of fantasy birds or other creatures that would live in houses like these.  We'll have to wait and see what develops.          

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Maud Lewis Activity Book

While I was in the Maritimes on vacation I came across a book published by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Maud Lewis.

It is an inexpensive activity book that has pages to colour based on her paintings.  As well it includes crossword puzzles, word searches and find the differences among other activities.  A brief history about Maud is also added.

Seems like a good way to introduce Maud Lewis to a class.


I picked up my copy at Chapters so it should be readily available.

The ideas in this book could easily be applied to other artists with a little effort.

Friday, 3 August 2012

The Real Picasso

IMG_1475What a difference seeing something in person makes. Reproductions do not do them justice.

Today I went to see Picasso - Masterpieces from the Musee National Picasso, Paris at the AGO in Toronto.

Wow.  Unbelievable colours, amazing brushstrokes and the life that emerged from the works.  

Already I have several ideas for new projects, have to see how they develop.

One of the featured paintings was the Portrait of Dora Marr, 1937.  It's also on the poster. Amazing.  

Last year my students did an assignment based on it.

Here are some photos of their results.


Tuesday, 31 July 2012

One Image Three Ways

This is a project I have done with my grade fives but it can be adapted to others.

It involves using a variety of media.  Students will be able to see how the same image can be affected by different media.

Students begin by drawing a chosen image on a sheet of cartridge paper (6" by 8") and include a border.  They usually just use a ruler width for the border.

Next, using pencil crayons or felts, the image and border are coloured.  Try to avoid black in the image as this will not show up in the second project.

This student chose a multicoloured effect for the
frame or border.

Try to encourage students not to include fine details as this could affect the success of the other projects.

100_1429                                                      Second Project

The next project involves drawing the same image on black paper, again the same size as before.  

Students used a pencil to draw with, it could still be seen but did not stand out if it wasn't covered in the end. 

This time students created a mosaic or stained glass effect by using cuttings from magazines.

Once the colours are found, cut the page into random shapes.

Complete the image with the cut papers.  Too much detail could create a problem.

Stress the importance of leaving an edge of black all around the cut paper.  Remind them that this is the grout or leading around the piece.

Glue stick or liquid school glue was used to attach the pieces.

The gloss from the magazines adds to the effect.

                                                       Third Project

The final project has the students working with black and white patterns. 

Same image once again but get them to experiment with as many different patterns as possible.

This time Sharpies were the tool, but black markers, pencil crayons or even pen and ink could be used.

Encourage students to think about contrasts when adding patterns and the use of light and dark.

This time this student decided to go for a unified look to the border.

Finally, all three images are mounted on one sheet of construction paper.



Here are all three images together.


      Two more examples.   


Thursday, 26 July 2012

Animals That Pop

I attended a session at convention by a teacher presenter named Andrea Daly who had many wonderful ideas.

She suggested putting an animal into a "natural" setting but to use unusual colours for the creatures. 

When I returned to school, I tried it with my students.

The successful results are below.

Liquid school paint was used once the pictures were drawn with the animals as the main focus.

Students completed the backgrounds first then coloured their animals.

The unexpected colours make the paintings pop.

The two below weren't quite finished but you can see where the artists were going with them.




I think they look great!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Self Portrait Glasses

Recently I was given a stack of paper 3D glasses and decided to have my students make wearable art.

Bristol board was used to to create objects that showed their interests.  It seemed that many were into sports this year.  Pencil crayons and markers were used for colour.

Students had to figure out how to balance everything on the glasses, make it appealing and most of all, make it wearable.  Noses sometimes presented a challenge. 

Everything was glued in place.

The glasses base also had to be covered before the images were added.  An additional layer of bristol board was added for strength.  The original glasses were used as a pattern (lenses removed) then glued to the bristol board.

Although this was a self portrait project, any theme could be used for the glasses.

The glasses would also work as a base to create a mask.

This project is suitable for multiple grades.

The original shape of the 3D glasses can be seen in the image below.

Everyone was able to wear their finished glasses.

Monday, 23 July 2012

100 (blanks) and a (blank)

Looking for a project that can be completed at once or over time?  This one could work.  It is suitable for a variety of grades but you might want to reduce the numbers for the lower ones.

First students pick a theme. Possible themes include 100 Animals and a Chair, 100 Vehicles and a Comb, or 100 Necklaces and a Bottle.  The idea is to have the single item completely different from the 100 objects.

I have them try drawing about 20 quick sketches to see if they are capable of coming up with 100 images.  If they can't do at least 20, they won't succeed so I encourage them to find another theme.

Using cartridge paper (12" by 18") and a pencil, students randomly draw their chosen items.  Try to discourage them from drawing in rows, they usually will end up with unused space.  I try to get them to draw from side to side and top to bottom for balance.

Some chose to begin with pencil crayons and/or markers.  Vary the size, shape, direction, colour, and pattern.

Once all 100 images are completed, the individual object is added.  It is best to place it away from the center as that is where people tend to look first.  The object is to be fully drawn and coloured.  It should not be partially hidden.

Mount the finished work and include the title. 

This project attracts a lot of attention as students get up close and search to find the individual object.

100 balls and a mouse

100 Balls and a Mouse

100 items of clothing and a ball

100 Tops and a Ball

Escher Inspired Cubes

Here's another project that was inspired by Escher.  This time we focused on his metamorphosis shapes.

Students began by tracing a pattern for the box onto cartridge paper.  I used bristol board for the patterns and they have lasted for years.  The pattern is T-shaped and flaps were added to make assembly easy.

Each side of the cube has a different pattern.  Students had to work out how to merge each side so that they flowed.

Colours were limited to black and white for strong contrast.  Markers were used.

Students could either cut the shape out before they started or at the end of the project.  Most waited until all the sides were nearly completed then cut it out so they could accurately match where the sides joined.

Assembly consisted of sharply creasing the folds then adding glue to the flaps and attaching the sides. 

We chose to hang the cubes, so, a paper clip with a loop of crochet thread was inserted before all the sides were closed.

This could just as easily be a stand alone project or stack all the cubes together.

Other students liked to spin the finished cubes to watch the patterns change.



3D name sculptures are also hanging from the ceiling.

The cubes were created by grade 7 and 8 students.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

2D to 3D Name Sculptures

This mixed media project attracts a lot of attention from other students as they try to discover the name in the sculpture.

3D NameStudents begin with a sheet of bristol board.  (I cut the sheets in half before handing them out.)  Using their first or last name, they outline the letters on the board.  It doesn't matter where the letters are placed as they will later be cut apart.  Make sure that the letters touch at some point to each other.  Encourage a variety of shapes and sizes.

While they are doing this we talk about positive (the letters) and negative (shapes between) space.  Check their work to make sure when they cut the letters out that they do not have one large piece remaining.

Next students colour the letters and include patterns.

Then the negative spaces are coloured.  Positive and negative spaces are coloured with pencil crayons and/or markers.

Once the front is completely finished, the work is turned over.

Students now paint the back of the bristol board with a variety of colours and patterns.  Let dry.  The back is painted because it will be seen in the final project.

Letters are cut out next and all the negative shapes are also saved.

3D NameNow comes the challenge. 

Students use all the pieces to assemble their sculptures.  Shapes are bent, inserted, layered and twisted together to create an interesting form.  Sculptures are constantly turned to make sure they are balanced.  You have to watch for students that turn it into a ball, have them open up some of the pieces and bend them in other directions to avoid this.

Glue was used to attach the pieces which were held in place with paper clips until dry.  Staples can also be used.

Once completed, a loop of string was attached and the sculptures were hung in the room.

Although I've done this with my older students, it could be easily adapted to other grades.

3D Name

We end with a discussion about how the original positive and negative shapes now become the positive shape of the sculpture and the spaces around and inside become the negative.

3 D Name

This project can also be completed as a free-standing sculpture if you don't want it to hang.