Saturday, July 31, 2010

Blog Hopping

Hi there y'all. I know I've been out of circulation a bit- if your baby was as cute as mine, you probably would be too! But she's a bit older now and I am slowly but surely being drawn(ha ha, get the pun?) back into the art teacher blog world. It has grown while I was gone and I have been finding some amazing new blogs with oodles of new creative inspirations for my kiddos this fall. I have also been humbled as I find links to this site on quite a lot of them. So if you have a link to this site on your blog and I don't have you in my blogroll yet, would you drop me a comment and let me know you're out there? I anxiously await the opportunity to steal, oops make that SHARE all your wonderful ideas. Even if you don't have a link to me, let me know and I'll add you to my blogroll anyway!

I'll just take this opportunity to update everyone on the precious princess Emberjayne whose image is gracing this post. I have the great honor of saying she will be completely off oh the antiseizure medication as of August 2nd. Currently she is down to only one dose (from two) per day. We are already seeing quite a change in her personality. She is babbling more and is just a lot more alert. She has been on the meds since she was 3 days old so we never knew what the difference might be. Phenobarbital is a central nervous system depressant so babies who have to take can be delayed as a side effect. She was hitting her milestones pretty well(not early but sort of in the middle of the timetable) so we weren't too concerned. It will be very fun to see what happens now though and maybe get to meet our real daughter for the first time very soon!

On another note, I hope to have some new lessons up here pretty soon. Leo's Helios will be up first!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sitting Under the Klimt Tree

This past week we learned about Austrian artist Gustav Klimt. If you know Klimt's work, you may think that not an appropriate choice for a kids class. For the most part, I would agree, but he does have several family friendly pieces and his contribution to the art world is still significant. Not to mention he is one of my favorite artists. Though his life was not one we Christians can admire for his high morals, he had few, his work is still exceptionally beautiful. He used a lot of gold in his paintings, being the son of an engraver helped him to become an expert at the gold leaf process.
For this project you will need examples of Klimt's work. is a good resource. There is even a children's book called Klimt and His Cat by Berenice Capatti and illustrated by Octavia Monaco.

The narrator is the cat and Klimt's world is seen through its eyes. It is in no way a complete biography but it is a kid-friendly way to introduce this particularly controversial artist. There is some nudity in the book, so be prepared. I take no shame in my censorship and placed post it notes over questionable images. I also did not let kids view the book on their own so they could not "peek".

Materials needed:
Print or photo of Gustav Klimt's "The tree of life".

Metallic gel markers (we used Prang, purchased at WalMart)
Black or other dark toned paper (pastel paper would be good, but I used scrapbook paper)
oil pastels(brown and black)

1. Have kids decide whether their composition will be vertical or horizontal.

2. Once they decide this then they should find the middle of their page on the bottom edge. Just to the left of this have them draw a curved line with a metallic gold or silver marker that starts at the bottom edge of the page and ends in a spiral. Have them move to the right a bit and repeat this curve in the opposite direction, still ending in a spiral.

3. In the middle of these two curves they should draw a "V" shape. This will create a tree trunk.

4. Now the kids get to make their tree grow. Continue to have them add spiral branches, some growing from the first spirals moving outward and some moving upward until they have just about filled the page. Encourage kids to make some spirals larger and some smaller, some going right and some left. Hopefully they will leave some room though as there are lots more details to add.

(note)There is a lot of detail to this project, so younger kids or ones who aren't into art that much may benefit from breaking this project up into 2 or 3 shorter sessions instead of one long one.

5.Have the kids fill in the tree trunk and then thicken some of the branches on the curves only. The actual spirals probably won't need to be thickened.

6. At this point the kids should add a horizon line. Have them draw a line from the right side of the trunk to the edge of the page and repeat on the left.

7. At this point have them draw in pink and purple flowers with green stems. They may add as many or as few as they like and they should be on the ground and in the tree.

8. Next they will add green triangles, stars(any color), circles, and dots. All these shapes look better when they are done in a grouping and not just by themselves randomly scattered. The dots especially look nice if they follow along the edges of the spirals. Then have them add green and blue swirls on the ground in between the flowers. Encourage variety in sizes, making some bigger and some smaller.

9. At this point have the kids start putting black and brown rectangles on the tree trunk and thicker branches of the tree. They can also add some gold or silver rectangles here depending on whether they started with gold or silver. Again encourage variety in the rectangle pattern. Some should be vertical, some horizontal, some filled in, some empty. The cloak of the male figure in Klimt's "The Kiss" is a good example of this.

When all is said and done these pieces are beautiful and very dramatic especially if mounted on lighter paper and then on black.

This was the example I made.

This is from an 8 year old student.

This was from a 6 year old student.

This was from an 11 year old student.

This was from a 5 year old student.