Wednesday, March 28, 2012

You Know it's Spring When the Zinnias Zoom and...

oil pastel and watercolor resist

the art teachers start pullin
g out lessons
on Georgia O'Keefe's flowers.
Yes, spring has sprung where I live and the rainbow
in my backyard is blooming again!
In art class last week and the week before we focused on Georgia O'Keefe.
She has a very interesting biography and you ca
n read more about that here,
but for now I have two projects for your consideration.

Project # 1 Oil pastel and watercolor resist

Materials needed:
black oil pastel
water color paint
watercolor paper

masking tape
a flower of your choosing

(before you begin, use masking tape to attach your paper to a board. Go all the way around all four edges, the end result will look like a crisply edged print!)

1. Start by looking at your flower, really looking at it! Look inside as far as you can, notice the parts and their shapes.

2. Sketch out what you see. Remember O'Keefe's flowers were done in a tightly cropped and very "zoomed" in composition. Use oil pastel instead of pencil and try to capture what you are seeing without worrying about mistakes. The point of this is not total drawing accuracy, but connecting with what you see through drawing.

3. Once your sketch is done, decide what colors you are going to use- they do not have to be the same as the original flower. Paint right over the pastel which will resist the watercolor.

4. Once the painting is dry, remove the tape and enjoy!

Project # 2-(intended for older or more advanced students)
pencil floral element composition

Materials needed

drawing paper(3 sheets each)
flower or picture of a flower of your choice

1. Sketch the flower as accurately as you can. Really look at the shapes of the petals and the details of the leaves- are the veins prominent? Are the edges straight or serrated?

2. Once your drawing is done, look at that shapes again. Try to pull out at least ten elements of shape or pattern and draw them on another piece of paper.

3. Using these elements, create a new design or pattern. It shouldn't really look like a flower, just a composition made up of floral elements.

4. Once your the basics of your design are in, then shade. Really try to create an array of pencil tones and shades that go from very light to very dark. The more shades you have in a drawing then the more interesting it will be!

Have fun!

Monday, March 26, 2012

How Very Vermeer- An art Lesson on Jan Vermeer- Revisited

Just to let everyone know, I am feeling better and have a few new lessons in the works, but for now, here is one of my favorites.

Jan Vermeer

(1632- 1675)

Jan Vermeer was born to an art dealer father in the city of Delft in the Netherlands. His father's position afforded him an early advantage of contact with artists and art buyers. Vermeer painted mostly portraits, completing only 40 or so paintings in his lifetime. More have been attributed to him, but their authenticity can not be established. Other painters so admired his work that they tried to paint exactly like him and this has confused many art historians. It was some 200 years after his death however that the general public took any notice of his work and began to realize its importance.

Vermeer was very much a "starving artist". He worked hard to support his wife Catherina and their 15 children(only ten survived childhood), though it was never enough. The family lived with Catherina's mother Maria Thins and Vermeer still had to borrow money just to feed his children. Financial devastation overtook the family when the government allowed widespread flooding in order to rid the country of the Spanish that had overtaken their country. The family farm was destroyed, as was Vermeer's health and he died a short time later, leaving his wife a widow with ten children to care for all alone.

There was a time when his portrait work was in demand and evidence of this can be found in his paintings that have blue in them. The main ingredient used to make blue paint in this period was extremely expensive and most artists couldn't afford to use it. Another clue to a period of prosperity lay in the maps that frequented the backgrounds of his works. Having a map in one's home was an indicator of wealth, education, and possible world travel.

Only a few of Vermeer's paintings were not of people. Most were of indoor scenes with women, a window to the left of the frame casting a strong light on it's subjects.

How Very Vermeer- The Lesson Plan

Materials Needed
watercolor or cardstock paper
black Sharpie@ markers
oil pastels
baby oil
Examples of Vermeer's Paintings

Vermeer tended to paint indoor scenes. There was usually a woman or two strongly lit from the left by a large window. In some of the paintings he did there was a map on the wall and a diamond shaped tile pattern on the floor. In his most famous painting, Girl with a Pearl Earring, the subject is wearing a pearl earning (obviously) and has the color blue in her headdress.
These will be what the project needs to be based on.
The end result should be a a project with these criteria:
1. An indoor scene
2. One or more figures in the scene
3. A large window in the left hand side of your picture
4. A map of some kind in the picture
5. Include a pattern of diamond shapes somewhere in the picture.
6. Include jewelry somewhere in the picture.
7. Include the color blue in the picture somehow.

My suggestion is to look at as many Vermeer pieces as you can beforehand. Ask the students if they notice any other patterns in Vermeer's work that they may want to include in the guidelines.
If your students require more direction, then you can print out a Vermeer print and have them trace it to a blackline. From there they can create their own version on a new piece of paper(or they can use it as a homemade coloring page) and personalize it to her satisfaction. For the faint of heart in the drawing department, never fear, the desired result of this lesson can also be achieved through making a collage from Vermeer prints or even from magazines. This lesson is all about the "criteria". If your student has met all of the requirements in the guidelines, then their pieces are successful.
After they are satisfied with their drawings, they should outline all the pencil marks in Sharpie. Then they should color the pictures in with oil pastel. Once all the color is on, have then take a Q-tip dipped in just a little baby oil onto the oil pastel and rub it around. The oil breaks down the pastel into a more liquid, spreadable, and bendable form. Try to use a new Q-tip for each color and to use the oil sparingly as the picture can get greasy quickly. If it has too much oil, simply blot the page with a paper towel until the oil is absorbed. The Q-tips offer much more control than a brush for student hands. This is a great technique and I use it a lot in my classes.

Hopefully your students will love their pieces and they will probably be able to tell you and everyone you know for a very long time the specific elements that help make a Vermeer standout!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Rainbow Easter Bible Verses

As requested, here are the corresponding bible verses...

Red is for the blood, Jesus shed on the cross...

Romans 5:9 Since we have been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through Him.

Orange is the color of the spices used to prepare His death cloths...

John 19:40 Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.

Yellow is the color on the hem of an angel's robe, who from the tomb,rolled away the stone...

Matthew 28:2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.

Green is the color of the brand new life we find in Jesus Christ...

IICorinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come.

Blue is the color of the comfort and peace He gives, even in the midst of strife.

Phillipians 4:7 And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Purple is the color used to dress the King...

Revelation 17:14 They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings- and with Him will be His called, chosen and faithful followers.

Remember the rainbow colors and how Christ gave us EVERYTHING!

John 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made: without Him, nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life and that life was the light of men.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not persish but have eternal life.

All verses from the NIV.

Easter Rainbows

7 sheets of paper, red, orange, green, blue, purple, white
paper plate
paper trimmer and or scissors

1.Start with 7 sheets of paper stacked in this color order, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and white. Use a paper trimmer or scissors to cut the papers in half lengthwise.

2.Use a large circle to draw a curve at the short edge one of the papers. Cut this curve and use it as a template to trace the same curve on the remaining papers. Turn over and trace on the other side of the papers. You want a mirrored curve here so that later when the pages are folded in the curves will match up.

3. On the white paper, after the curve is traced, add a wavy line on both sides.

4. Cut all the curves.

. Stagger the papers so that each shows evenly. Fold the bottom up to meet the white and create two rows of cloud. Crease the fold. Clip to hold in place.

6. Reopen and staple on the crease. It is best to staple from the outside in so that staple points aren't sticking out to poke little fingers.

7. Close book up and place under heavier books to get to lay flat.

In honor of National Poetry Month, this is my Easter rainbow poem. You could write this out in the rainbow book you just made! I am planning on making these with my Sunday school class of kindergartners and four year olds this Easter. I will print out each verse on labels or sticker paper and have them stick on the appropriate verse for each color.
If anyone would like the corresponding bible verses, let me know and I will post them.

A Rainbow for Jesus
By Julie Moses

Red is for the blood
Jesus shed on the cross
Orange is the color of spices
Used to prepare his death cloths
Yellow is the color of the hem
Of an angel's robe,
who From the tomb,
Rolled away the stone.
Green is the color of
the brand new life
We find in Jesus Christ
Blue is the color
of the comfort and peace He gives,
even in the midst of strife.
Purple is the color
Used to dress a king.
Remember the rainbow and
How Christ gave us everything.

This book can become many things. You can write your own rainbow poem or story in it, cut out same colored items from magazines and make a rainbow collage,
or think of items that are that color and draw them in yourself.
Turn it into your own favorite bedtime story so that you too can have rainbow dreams!
For older kids who want to get in on the fun have them check out some rainbow history.

This is a video of the same process.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Op Art Eggs

I've seen this project around quite a bit lately, so I just had to give it a try. Of course, I did give it an Art Fairy tweak or two.

Instead of using the traditional sphere shape, we used an egg in honor of Easter.

This was also done in two pieces. The eggs were done on a separate paper, cut out and then attached.
They were given a cardstock egg shape templates to draw the eggs.

To draw the grid on the eggs, I had the students draw a slightly curved line down the center of the egg creating two sections. they drew another curved line in in the center of each new section, creating four sections. I told them to think of the longitude lines they would see on a globe. We repeated this process for the horizontal or latitudinal lines. 

The eggs were then colored with watercolor pencil, water was added using Q-tips, and lastly cut out. 

Because of time constraints, students were given a grid that was premade on the computer and printed onto cardstock. Again we used watercolor pencils for the grid.

We discussed a bit of color theory and looked at the color wheel. We talked about complimentary colors and how primary colors are mixed to create secondary colors. We also discussed how they complimentary colors are always composed of one warm and one cool color.

Students were instructed to choose one warm and one cool color to complete the grid patterns and hopefully create 
a bit of "chromatic tension". 

The eggs were then attached using rolled up pieces of tape.
Gluing would probably be better, but tape allowed us to move ahead without waiting for it to dry. The eggs were lightly shaded at the edges with vine charcoal. White highlight was added to the center of the eggs with chalk pastel.

Before we started our project we watched this little video on You Tube about the history of Optical Art. It is actually about Pop and Op Art but is nicely split in two sections right in the middle around the 5 minute mark. Several of the pop art images were more than I was willing to explain to my elementary level students so we skipped ahead and stopped early on the video. We also watched this 
video slide show of Op Art by Victor Vasarely. 

Next time I try this project, I'd like to try adding a basket as well and see how that turns out. Can you think of any other ways to modify this project to fit what you're currently working on? I'd love to hear your ideas...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hoppin Down the Bunny Trail...

What in the world do the Easter Bunny and Cubism have in common?
Really not much at all except that I chose Fernand Leger to be my Artist of the Week in art class and it is also two days until Easter, so I chose to do a bunny in a cubist style.

What you will need
oil pastels or crayons
oval template

1. Start with a simple bunny drawing. You can follow these steps or create your own. I gave students an oval shape to create the head in the first step. It really had two purposes, one was to keep everyone in the same type of proportions and the second is that it will be used in the the second part of the project.

2.At this point, you will want to outline the pencil lines in a blue or purple marker. Black will be too harsh and just leaving the pencil may be confusing in the next step.

3. Take the egg and trace it over and over again all over the paper. Make sure to make lots of overlaps and intersections, but try not to make too many very small spaces.
Try to let some of the oval shapes run off the page as well
You will now be coloring the areas created by the intersecting egg shapes. You have a choice of using a very limited color palette or using as many colors as you can think of! How you color is key though. Use heavier pressure near the edges of one or two sides of the shapes- not all around. Let the other side get lighter and keep the sides fairly consistent with the pressure- if you start with heavy pressure on the left side and bottom of a shape, continue to do with most of the shapes. You can change here and there, but the consistency is what will really give you the effect we want.

Another Variation...

Add a layer of black oil pastel and then scratch off areas to make lighter and darker values as well as creating texture.

Student Examples

By Taylor- Age 10

By Ryan -Age 7

Have a Great Easter!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Faux Stained Glass

First I found a stained glass coloring page- a very simple oval one. Then we cut up each section of the oval into five or six smaller irregular pieces. This first "stained glass" piece was accomplished by using Prismacolor markers on regular copy paper. The ink bled through heavily. So what we are seeing is actually the back side of the paper. There are little bits of white that resemble some of the frosting you see on traditional stained glass. After that was attached to black paper with glue and allowed to dry. The "leading" was traced over with black glue. Black glue is regular white school glue with just a little black acrylic paint mixed in. It dries with a raised surface. This one turned out very pretty.
This is another simple coloring page sans the extra sections but with a dove added. This is crayon on wax paper. Again the leading is black glue and the frame is two pieces of black construction paper with the oval center cut out. This one would make a really nice sun catcher displayed on a window.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Rainbow Color Wheel Silhouettes

First we made 12 sections on our papers.
Then we added the primary colors. Red, blue, and yellow.
Next came secondary colors. Orange, green, and purple.
Last but not least, the tertiary colors, which we had to create by mixing the primary and secondary colors. We used watercolor pencils, so I had students lay down a layer of darker color first using lighter pressure and then add the lighter color over the first one.

We then used cotton swabs dipped in water to spread and mix the color around. Lastly, the silhouette profile and umbrella were added with a glue stick. Raindrops were added with black sharpie. The final step was to add white highlights

You could also just use a black and white profile photo printed out on paper and trimmed.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Not So Shady Side of Picasso-In Color!

This is a reworking of an earlier project The Shady Side Of Picasso. We followed the drawing directions from this lesson, but when it came time to color, we used oil pastels and followed the technique from this lesson Hoppin Down The Bunny Trail.

How do you rework and mismash lessons to get new results?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Not so Ho-Hum Hummmingbirds

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.

St. Patrick and More Shamrocks: Scratches and Rainbows

St. Patrick was actually an English citizen who was captured by slave traders and sold as a slave in Ireland. For many years he worked in the fields as a shepherd. This gave him a lot of time to think, especially about God and His plan for Patrick's life. After many years, Patrick felt God was telling him to return to England. After a harrowing journey filled with miracles, Patrick made it back home to England and to a family who had long believed him to be dead or lost forever. It was after this that Patrick became a priest rising in the ranks to become a bishop. Patrick began to hear God's call once again urging him to return to England to share the good news of the gospel with the mostly druid and pagan tribes of Ireland, the place of his long enslavement. Having been among them for so long, Patrick had an intimate knowledge of the Irish people that many others would not have had. He did return and many miracles have since been attributed to him, including driving all the snakes out of Ireland. To this day, Ireland does not have any snakes.
He also used the shamrock or "three-leaved clover" to help explain the idea of the trinity to his Irish parishioners, which is why we often use the shamrock to symbolize this special day.

Links to help you learn more...

Shamrock Scratch(Art Project)

What you will need:
White paper(preferably cardstock)
Colored construction paper for the frame- your choice
crayons- shades of green and black
brass fasteners(also known as brads, or use a skewer or paper clip)

1. Fold paper into eighths
2. Draw half a heart on the fold
3. Cut through all layers
4. Should produce 4 symmetrical hearts

5. Color three of the hearts with shades of green. Color with a lot of pressure.
6. Color a second heavy layer of black.
7. "Scratch" designs on the black layer with a scratch tool-
(Brass fastener, skewer, or paper clip)

8. Arrange in the shape of shamrock and glue down
9. Add a stem
10. Add a background (perhaps a rainbow?)

Go to this link to make a FUN PAPER FRAME