Saturday, October 24, 2009

Baby Update- Seven Months- 30 weeks down 10 to go!

Nine months is surely a long time. It will all be worth it in the end, but right now I am really wishing that human gestation lasted 30 weeks instead of 40. At night, I try to sleep on my side, but after an hour or so the hip and leg on the bottom get sore from the pressure. So I roll over and it takes another hour or so until the other side is sore. So it goes all night long. I try to sleep on my back propped up with pillows which helps, but then I slide down in my sleep and supposedly sleeping on your back is not so good for the baby because of the pressure it puts on the uterus. Oh, I cannot wait until I can sleep on my stomach again!

On the brighter side, baby is almost always moving. It can be seen through my shirt now. I can't imagine there are any more cannonball dives going on at this point, but I am asking myself when does this child sleep? Music continues to be a major inducer of movement, as are my quiet times of drawing or reading out loud to the boys during school. I really can't wait to meet her.

I know that these next weeks really will fly by, but here in this moment I am wishing I could give that bird a little caffeine to speed him up just a bit!

On a completely different note, don't forget to send in your post for the next Gallery Blog Carnival. Just click on the paintbrushes and you can submit your article from there.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

This was a project I did with first and second graders. They did a really great job! The big trick in working with this age group is to get them to use the whole paper and to use color consistently.

Using a step by step method, the first thing I have the kids do is fold their papers in half lengthwise. Then I have them draw a rainbow by making dots on both sides of the fold. We add another dot up higher where the bow is going to arch through. The the rainbow is drawn from dot to dot. We close up the bottom with a straight horizontal line. I think the rest of these visual steps are pretty self explanatory.

From here the kids can color with marker or crayon or a combination of both. The clown does look a little bolder if it is outlined first. Adding a hat and backgrounds are also a nice touch as well. When coloring I encourage the kids to work in small circles as opposed to broad lines. The color tends to be more even and consistent that way, especially with marker. With older kids, you could also work on shading techniques. A shadow effect can be produced by using the same color marker or crayon in a second layer. I also added some highlight to my sample with some white oil pastel.

Here are some student examples. There are a few in here that I really love that look like clowns on stilts. Who knew first and second graders could draw with foreshortening?(I'm still working on it my own self!)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oh My Gosh it's a Bosch!

By Kendall- Age 9

The Art Lesson-
Bosch was a Dutch Surrealist Painter in the 15th and 16th century. This is 400 years before most people think surrealism really began. Artists like Salvador Dali took the art form to it's highest peak in the early 20th century. The art form incorporates realism in fantastic and often nightmarish situations.
Bosch explored the both the good and bad extremes that people can sometimes be. In this we will do the same through depicting beauty and monsters together.


9" x 12" piece of drawing paper
black sharpie
oil pastels

1. Fold the paper in half lengthwise. On one side draw the side of a vase in pencil. Start at the top corner and make curves all the way down to the bottom of the paper.

2. Now draw the same curves on the other side in a mirror image.

3 Some of you will recognize this as a drawing exercise called "vase faces" or "gargoyles". If you look carefully you will see the profile of two rather grotesque figures in the curves you have just made. Now it's time to play them up and make them as bad as you can.

4. Once you are happy with how horrifying your profiles are, make as pretty a face as you can in the middle space left by the profiles.(see the Botticelli Face of Venus lesson for a face drawing tutorial)

5. If you have any white space left fill it up with pictures of things you like and don't like. (For instance kitty cats and broccoli)

6. Use a black sharpie to go over all the pencil lines, and then color in with a combination of marker and oil pastel.

7. Bosch used his paintings to tell stories, so as an extension of this activity you can write a story about what it happening in your picture.

More pieces from the kids gallery

By Tatum Age 8

By Zee Zee Age 9

This lesson has just been used by Tech4Learning in their Spring 2009 issue of Creative Educator to support the integration of technology,
art, and language in the classroom using their Pixie2 software

(which my kids love by the way, though it was not used to create this lesson
and is not necessarily needed to complete it)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Not so Ho-Hum Hummmingbird

This was a post from a while ago, but what the heck, a classic is always in style, and I am beginning to have visits from these lovely creatures in my backyard again.

Many a seemingly complicated drawing project is really simple if you just break it down into steps. When teaching a lesson, I always start with a black line coloring book style drawing. Most details and color blending is done as the last steps in a project, but tends to get seen first and can distract you from finding the "bones" of the drawing. I obviously used a still picture to do this project and drawing from life is much more challenging, but the principle is the same. Practicing gesture drawing in quick sketches is the best way to get the structure of your drawing and then go back and add details later.
This blackline came from the Jan Brett website and is available as a free coloring page.

I tried to break this down into manageable pieces without making too many steps.
If you find it confusing, just try to break it down into even smaller steps. What does a shape look like to you? Do you see a triangle or maybe a Hershey Kiss. Do you see a sideways letter C or maybe a rainbow or happy face? Making those kind of connections is what turns you into an artist, not simply following someone else's steps.

The finished hummingbird at the top of this post was completed with watercolor pencil and white oil pastel for highlights.

Below you will find some images of real hummingbirds to reference for color ideas.