Tag Archives: plans

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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Happy Accidents! Abstracts with Liquid Watercolor

brilliant purples using just red and blue

One of the issues when creating any piece of art, but particularly with watercolor painting, is how to salvage a painting or make something out of a problem when you make a “mistake” – especially with elementary students  You have spent all kinds of time and energy making your masterpiece and you can’t throw it away!  This is especially true in an art class where you have a minimal amount of time to complete your project and limited funds for supplies.

It can be hard to loosen up a little and “let go” of what you perceive as a huge eyesore in your work or to look at it a little differently and discover something new and interesting. This is what artists often refer to as “Happy Accidents”.  Students not only had great fun, but also learned to ” hide” a little something inside that fun (or accident) “Where’s Waldo” style.

This project also reinforces the principles of color and mixing primary colors in different strengths to make other colors.  It also reinforces the “mud” factor… too much paint only makes “mud”.  I like doing this project in 4th grade because they are just old enough to be respectful and careful of the supplies we use that are very tempting in other grades.  They aren’t quite “cool” enought to go crazy yet, either.  (-:

We used watercolor paper squares, straws and primary colors of  liquid watercolor (I like Blick Art for brilliant colors) I put in a little squirt/dropper bottle.  I also give each student a good length of paper towel.

After blowing to our heart’s content … we got some wonderful results and the students are soooo excited about all the items they “find/create” in the art.  The color blending is awesome too!  They are beautiful mounted on black paper and put on the wall.

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Filed under 4th Grade, The Art Room, ~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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