Tag Archives: creative

Van Gogh Sunflowers in 2nd Grade

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Another of my favorites in 2nd grade because it seems everyone is successful with this project.  It is so beautiful that everyone comes away with a frame-worthy picture!  This project is one of the few that I spend 2 class times on and everyone finishes.

The first time we meet and after discussing Van Gogh and his interest in Japanese Woodcuts and his studies of sunflowers, students draw their LARGE sunflowers on 12×18″ black construction paper (I like Tru-Color).  The vase is a simple stencil to help save time and start the “large” process, which can be hard for some at this age.  I ask students to decide if their vase is clear glass or ceramic … if it is clear, what will we see?!  They then have to draw the stems in the vase, and many times nice marbles or rocks at the bottom for interest.  The vase needs to be sitting on something so students draw a line to show a tabletop.  This year, I had one student who thought to make his table small and round … very “out-of-the-box” thinking!

After all the pencil drawing is done, cover white glue along the pencil lines.  This will protect the black paper when dry and give it the woodcut effect after adding the chalk and pastels.  There is a fine line between too much glue and too little or dots instead of lines etc.  but in the end they all look beautiful.

DAY 2 – IT IS TIME TO ADD THE COLOR!  I found a use for the chalkboard chalk donated by a retiring teacher!!!  It brightens our pictures like crazy!!  We use the chalk along with 2 kinds of pastels – regular Cray-Pas and Flourescent Gallery Pastels and the contrasts really makes these sunflowers POP!  You have to use the chalk first and blend the pastels in last … the oil in the pastels repel the chalk.

I ask that students cover their entire paper with color and show them that by turning the chalk on its side helps with laying a base of color, as well as giving their art a different look from using the tip of the chalk.

Chalk and pastel tends to be very messy and doesn’t adhere to the paper well.  To make sure that these masterpieces can be enjoyed for a long time, we spray them at the end to seal everything.  Instead of using an aerosol of some kind (hair spray or you can by a non-toxic that still smells terrible) I mix a little white glue with water (about 1 part water to 6-7 parts water) in a spray bottle and spray across the art.  Lay it flat to dry and when dry it is ready to mount!

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Filed under 2nd Grade, Pastels, VanGogh, ~Blog~

Clay Busts in Fifth Grade

This project is always one I enjoy because I think it brings out the best in the boys.  The boys feel free to experiment a little and bring a little craziness to their bust I don’t always see with other projects.  Clay seems to be the medium most boys thrive with.  Don’t get me wrong … the girls do  great job too, but some boys really struggle with drawing and painting and all those fine motor skill activities and clay helps them realize they are creative and artistic!  It’s just like playing in the sand box or in the mud at the creek!

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By the time they are ready to do clay 3-d heads, students have not only used clay before, but we have talked a lot about the map of the face – where the features belong (did you know your eyes are really in the middle of your head – not up towards your forehead?!?!) and keeping things in proportion.  After some review on all these subjects, they are ready to rock and roll!  This project is one that ties a lot of concepts together and students are able to pretty much just enjoy what they are doing and everyone is successful!

The clay I use is gray, self-drying clay (a day or 2) and I try to give everyone a pretty generous amount.  A 25 pd brick breaks out to at least 65 students.  I purchase it at Blick Art.  Students can paint or Sharpie details on if they like after the clay dries.

Of course, our most valuable tool when using clay is our hands, but I also give students a simple toothpick, the sculpture tools I make from clothespins and a hook of paper clip, and it just wouldn’t be complete without the garlic press for cool hair.  I like using plates for the clay.  It really keeps the desks clean and helps with clean-up.

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Filed under Clay, Faces, ~Blog~

The New Creative Artist – A Book to Inspire

New Creative ArtistI recently discovered the book, The New Creative Artist, by Nita Leland.  She calls it a “Guide to Developing Your Creative Spirit”.  I have read other book by Nita Leland in the past and have found her to be very insightful and generally spurns me on creatively, but she has outdone herself with THIS book!  It is chock full of inspiration.

There is an activity to stretch your creativity for nearly every day and the book explores many mediums and new ways to use each one.  Many of the exercises use everyday things you may have around the house and is easily adaptable to helping change up your lesson plans or personally trying a new technique.

In the book, Nita Leland discusses forms of Art and Craft (printmaking, quilting, scrapbooking, etc.), as well as Realism -vs- Abstraction.  There is also a complete chapter on building your confidence as an artist.  The ideas in this book help you stretch your own ideas for lesson plans, as well as your personal art experience and I think it is appropriate for artists of all ages!

The book is really well laid out and easy to read.  A beautiful book!  Try it!  If you can’t find it at the library, Amazon or Barnes and Noble sell used books for around $14.  It is a hard-back, ringed book and easy to flip through.  I like the rings because it opens fully and stays open while you are following the instructions!

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Filed under Right Brain Ramblings, Sparks~Inspirations, ~Blog~

My First Post!

Welcome to CreArtive Sparks!  This is all about thoughts on the creative process… This is my first attempt at blogging and I am excited to be joining the bloggersphere.  I can’t promise daily updates, but I hope to make this a helpful, organic blog to all those folks who are looking for creative exploration.  I will speak a lot about my experiences in the classroom and art for children, but we are all children at heart~~ I would appreciate all your comments, questions and any inspirations you may have too!

Being creative is like breathing to me and I know there are lots of you out there that feel the same way.  I love talking about what everyone is doing and how they are doing it and I hope you share your thoughts and ideas here, as well as find your own inspiration!

Artfully yours,  Laura

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