Second Graders (!) did these fabulous Picasso Heads! They really got into the spirit of Picasso when they drew and “painted” them with oil pastels. It was very exciting to see how they embraced the fact that not everything needs to look exactly like the real thing … even my very linear thinkers stepped out of their comfort zone for this one!
We first talked about the use of color and shapes in art to communicate feelings and meaning in a painting. Using Picasso’s Portrait of a Woman … the use of blue and cool colors, triangle for a tear, a white/open circle where her heart is, shows us she is very sad. We then moved on to the painting, Girl Before a Mirror. This is an excellent example of Picasso’s use of shape and color. Also, Picasso many times would put a line through the face to show that the subject has more than one personality or many sides. He also outlined everything in black to accentuate his color.
Students drew 3 heads that touched … representing a relationship between their characters. They then had to draw a line top to bottom on each head showing the 2 sides of each “person”. Using shapes for features, students began building the personality of their Picasso heads. We talked in simple terms about what shapes might represent. A heart for a mouth, corkscrew for eyes, etc. Of course, crazy shapes for hair is a given!!! After pencil, everyone outlined in Sharpie – their choice of thick or thin lines.
For color, we used oil pastels. I introduce the fact that oil pastels aren’t really glorified crayons. There is a reason for oil pastels. The pastel goes on nice and thick, but pastels are made to be spread and blended like paint! We use Q-tips to make the pastels look like oil paint and get a heavy coating of color. The use of an everyday item in our art always gives the students a little thrill and makes them think, “what else can I use?” (and no one put them in their ears … (-:!)
OUR RESULTS WERE FABULOUS!
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!
I LOVE this project because it introduces an artist who is still alive and painting today, as well as exposes my 5th grade students to a more “modern” medium ~ acrylic paint.
Peter Max’s art is not only eye-catching and appealing to young children, but his subjects tend to the ones that are easily remembered and appreciated. We talk about his influence on pop/psychedelic/60’s art (beatles’ Yellow Submarine), as well as his modern take on painting iconic things and people.
I love the book, The Art of Peter Max by Charles A Riley and we look at many different examples of his very distinctive style. This book is chock full of visuals!
Peter Max paints very freely and doesn’t worry about getting that perfect paint color or line on his page. I encourage NOT cleaning your brush much and just “loading” your brush with 3 different paint colors and just explore the paint and colors. I love the shrieks I hear when I turn the paint plate upside down and hold it there for a minute or so to demonstrate to students the thick paint that doesn’t mix and mingle with other colors like other mediums they are used to using. The unique properties of acrylic paint (we talk about these too) really lends itself to this project and older students appreciate using a medium they have never experienced before. It is so flexible and forgiving they can’t really mess up and the bright colors used make all the paintings beautiful. This project always goes up on the classroom boards afterwards!
I chose the postage stamp theme because it was a different way of looking at the paper and it celebrates all the philanthropy Peter Max has done through his art. I mention that every July 4th, Peter Max paints canvases of the Statue of Liberty and the proceeds of the sale of the painting goes towards her continued restoration and maintenance. At one time, Peter Max painted numerous paintings of Lady Liberty, donated the proceeds and, some say, he single-handedly saved Lady Liberty from disrepair. Peter Max also designed postage stamps to raise money for our National parks – hence the postage stamp theme!
I demonstrate and encourage students to play with the paint and the colors with their brushes. There is lots of dabbing and rolling of brushes to get different effects.
Starting with a stencil of a postage stamp, students trace the stamp outline which will become the paintings frame. After painting and the paint dries, the final step is to cut out the postage stamp!
I absolutely LOVE Paisley patterns. This is my personal version and I am sharing the black and white line drawing for you to fill in with your own color scheme. I like it best with ink pens or markers.
This is a “no brainer” that can be done by kids of ALL ages!
paisley outline to color
Third graders study Indians and do a lot of discussion about how they use natural resources for all their needs. I thought it would be fun to think about how they make their blankets and anything else that is textile related. After some discussion about how the indians (and pioneers for that matter) had no stores that sold fabric etc., we talk about how yarn is created (spun from animal hair) and how they dyed the yarn (plants and minerals). The ancient craft of weaving is found in countries around the world and people have woven yarn and fibers to make useful items for centuries.
We then talk about the weaving process itself and how a loom is made and the weaving is held together. The indians made crude looms by securing tree branches together, then evenly tieing thin string from top to bottom (the warp). Weaving then begins with the “weft” yarn.
Creating a loom with 3 straws is an interesting project because it makes students think about how they can use everyday things to help construct their art. There is an element of problem solving with this project that I like. This project can be a stretch for some 3rd graders because they haven’t quite developed the fine motor skills or the “following directions” skills necessary for success. Usually, everyone comes out with something lovely, however and I think the boys appreciate this project more than the girls!
The biggest challenge is getting students to understand the concept of weaving and catching one straw at a time in an “in – out” and “around” pattern. Once they have their “ah ha” moment though, everyone works really hard to finish. I give directions in a number of ways … verbal, demonstration, and then actually physically help move the hand for some. For some students, it is difficult holding the loom and weaving at the same time. In this case, I masking tape the loom to the desk and that seems to help.
The loom is secured at the top with masking tape, black yarn inserted for the “warp” using sparkly pipe cleaners to catch and pull through, we tie off the multi-colored “weft” string (thank you Wal-Mart), and then the weaving begins!
About 10 minutes before our class is over, I walk students through carefully taking apart their loom and tying off their weaving. Make sure the “warp” threads stay in place! Pull the straws down out of the weaving!
Wallah – they have a bracelet or a bookmark!
The best thing we can do in our special needs classes are to give them the opportunity to explore. Shaving cream is the PERFECT medium to do that with!
During these classes there is little patience for long explanations, so we simply talk about using our imaginations and try to draw a shape we might see in the fluffy clouds above.
I mix 1 part white glue to 2 parts shaving cream in a small foam bowl and mix it well with a popsicle stick. When it dries, you are left with a wonderful “foam” that doesn’t disintegrate like dried shaving cream does. The white glue acts as a binder.
Using heavy blue paper as our “sky”, students draw their shapes with pencil. Someone had the wonderful idea of tracing around their hand and making a hand cloud. Some of our students need help with the drawing and tracing and simple is definitely better!
Using a coarse, stiff bristled brush, students then applied their “foam”, filling in the cloud with beautiful, fluffy whiteness!
It is important that students “dab” their foam on. If you “paint” it on you won’t get the heavy application. I think more is definitely better than less!
Clean up is a snap – there is nothing permanent about shaving cream and white glue and everything washes up easily.
If you are doing another classroom right away and the bowls aren’t too messy they can be re-used. The foam won’t set up for another hour or so. When it does it develops a little “crust’ on the top that can be peeled away too.
Later this year I will be doing this project in Kindergarten and extending the project to include visualization and how to “think” in color, as well as drawing themselves in the clouds somehow. Everyone loves this project!
As a young child, I always loved making random swirls across a paper and coloring the fractured pieces. It is sort of making something out of chaos. Choosing the color combinations are key to success!
Lately, I have been thinking about my random chaos drawings and thought it would be fun to do again … only with a theme in mind. I was trying to get a stained glass affect and outlined the actual image in black pen, which in hindsight I think was a mistake.
Attached is the black and white version of this peace sign mosaic … what can you do with it?! I would love to see what everyone comes up with! Please share!
peace sign mosaic to color
First Grade students study ponds and fish and I love to do this project celebrating the art of Gyotaku. (Gyotaku: “gyo” = fish – “taku” = impression – pronounced: guh – yo -tah – koo). While it isn’t reeeeaally pond related and I suppose there are other ways to celebrate fish, this is a unique way to think about fish and art together!
Gyotaku originated about 100 years ago in Japan as a way for fisherman to record the exact size and species of fish they had caught. With no photography available and the practical need to sell or eat the fish the fisherman would hire an artist to make a print of the fish using inks or paints when they had an exceptional catch. The inks and paints used were water-based, and more importantly nontoxic so that the fish could be washed off and then sold in the market. Fish were painted to exactly replicate colors. If a fish is large, rice paper or a silk sheet is placed over the top of the fish, rather than trying to turn it over and get a good imprint.
In 1955, Gyotaku officially became an art form. The Association of Gyotaku was formed and the first exhibition was held in Tokyo. Recently,Gyotaku has become popular in the United States. Along the docks in San Francisco and Hawaii, and also in other parts of the country, artists wait for the sports fisherman boats to bring their catch back from the ocean. Many tourists on the boats choose to have prints made of their fish, rather than having it stuffed and mounted by a taxidermist.
I have done this myself using real fish (slimy), but I chose to invest in rubber moldings of the fish. I am so lucky to have purchased these when we had more grant money available… I purchased our “fish” over a 4 year period and finally had enough for everyone to use 1. Before, I was madly washing a re-using them in one class time. Thank goodness I have the classroom teacher who gladly helps!