Mixing Greens

2 Sep

 

Students used tempera paint to create many shades of green.

I received the book Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger as a gift from a parent. This beautiful book (it won the Caldecott Honor in 2013) is filled with all things green.  It is the perfect tie-in to a color mixing lesson.

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, winner of the 2013 Caldecott Honor.

I read Green to my second grade art students.  They loved it – the book is full of die-cut holes and the kids enjoyed peeking through them. Can you see the die-cut holes in this video?

Materials:

  • white sulfite drawing paper (or other paper that will hold up to painting)
  • black crayons
  • paper placemats (we used 12″x18″ construction paper)
  • brushes
  • paper plates
  • tempera paint: blue and/or turquoise, yellow, black and white
  • black construction paper for mounting
  • scissors
  • glue sticks
  • colored construction paper (to create jungle animal collage)
Second graders used blue, turquoise, yellow, black and white tempera to mix shades of green.

Second graders used blue, turquoise, yellow, black and white tempera to mix shades of green.

Mixing greens

After reading the book, we got to work creating our own jungle. Students began by drawing a variety of leaves on their paper. They added veins and stems. They placed their white paper onto the construction paper placemats. Next, they scooped up a small amount of yellow paint onto their paper plates. They added dots of blue paint and mixed to create green, then painted a leaf.

The students experimented – adding white to create tints and black to create shades. Students were excited to create army green and blue-green. Seriously – they called each other over when they created cool new colors. They loved color mixing so much we had to do it a second session.

We did not use water for this project. The goal was to mix a wide variety of greens. If necessary, they brushed excess paint onto their placemats.

Create a jungle collage

After the paints dried, we mounted the paintings on black construction paper. Students cut leaves out of their painted paper plates and used them to decorate the corners or create a border. Then they constructed jungle animals from colored paper and glued them on  top of the paintings.

mixing greens - jungle collage

This was a very successful lesson plan! The students enjoyed color mixing so much we could have done it for weeks.

Enjoy!

p.s. the project would be nice as an Henri Rousseau lesson plan.

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Decorated Clay Cupcakes

23 Aug

decorated clay cupcakes feature lettering and clay roses and

These lidded clay cupcake boxes are extra-special: they feature lettering and clay roses!

decorated clay cupcakes feature lettering and roses

Materials:

  • clay (we used low-fire white)
  • individual silicone cupcake molds (such as Wilton Silicone Baking Cups
    )
  • pin tool or plastic knife.
  • white vinegar
  • q-tips
  • alphabet pasta (I use La Moderna brand from the Hispanic food section at Wal Mart).
  • underglaze
  • clear glaze

Make the cupcake base

Give each student a lump of clay and a silicone cupcake form. Create a pinch pot, place it in the silicone form and press the clay all around against the textured sides of the form. If the clay pot is higher than the form, trim the clay with a pin tool or plastic knife.  Turn form inside out and remove from clay. Students should write their name on the bottom at this time.

Make the cupcake lid

Take some more clay and roll into a ball. Flatten the ball. Invert the top of the cupcake form and place onto of the flattened clay. Trim clay to fit cupcake form. Write student name on one side of the lid.

Want more tips? Check out this clay cupcake post from The Art of Ed.

Adding roses

I saw this great post on making simple clay roses on the smART Class blog. Essentially, you create a coil (rope) of clay, lay it on the table, pinch the top (‘spine’) along the length of the coil, and spiral into a rose.  Please see the smART Class blog post for a full photo tutorial.

We attached our roses (and optional leaves) to the lid using vinegar applied with a q-tip. Some students skipped the roses and added other decorations. Variations included a sun, animal, wrapped present, and cherry.

(Note: vinegar is our glue. We use it instead of slip when attaching small clay objects).

Adding text

Pour some alphabet pasta into a plate. Press alphabet pasta into wet clay. Write a birthday message or anything else. Do not remove (the pasta will burn out in the kiln).

Fire to cone 04.

decorated clay cupcakes feature text and roses.

Glaze the cupcake

Glaze the base with three coats of underglaze.

If the lid has text, use a stiff brush to press a dark color of underglaze into text indentations. Wipe off the underglaze. The text should now be legible. Carefully glaze the roses/leaves/decorations with three coats of underglaze. When dry, add 2-3 coats of clear glaze. Fire to cone 06.

decorated clay cupcakes at the art show.

Enjoy!

p.s. This would be a nice Wayne Thiebaud lesson!

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Rainbow Footprint Tile Mural

16 Aug

rainbow footprint tile mural

Thinking about a mural project? If you want a mural that is engaging, beautiful and enduring, consider this rainbow footprint tile mural. I used Craig Hinshaw’s Rainbow Footprint Mural lesson from Pottery Making Illustrated July/August 2004.

Whole school mural project made from individual clay tiles, each imprinted with a shoe sole.

Whole school mural project made from individual clay tiles, each imprinted with a shoe sole.

Materials for the tiles:

  • Low fire white clay
  • square viewfinders
  • pin tool or opened paperclip
  • underglaze in colors of the rainbow
  • small brushes
  • clear glaze
  • your shoes!
  • optional – for lettering: magnetic letters (refrigerator magnets), alphabet pasta

Creating the footprint tiles

We followed all the directions in the magazine article. The students were THRILLED to stomp their foot down onto a ball of clay.

Cutting the tile though the viewfinder opening was a bit of the challenge for the younger students. Instead of neat squares, we had a lot of irregular shapes. These tiles had to be remade, but it only took a few extra minutes. I had extra sixth grade volunteers on hand to help cut out the tiles for the kindergarteners.

 Creating Text

We created text two ways: 1) large text was created by pressing magnetic letters into clay, and 2) small text was created by pressing alphabet pasta into clay.  (Don’t worry – the pasta burns out in firing).

For the large letters, we pressed magnetic letters into the clay tiles.

For the large letters, we pressed magnetic letters into the clay tiles.

For the small text, we pressed alphabet pasta into the clay tiles.

For the small text, we pressed alphabet pasta into the clay tiles.

I did this mural with the students of Solana Santa Fe School. We prepared all the tiles and had them professionally installed on an exterior stucco wall.  Eight years later, it is still standing and looking great!

Another school in our district did a twist on the same mural project. Artist (and parent) Christie Beniston create a rainbow footprint mural with the students of Skyline School. Click here to see this mural. Note the rectangular and circular tiles.

If you are planning a whole-school mural, consider this project. The kids LOVED making the tiles. Each tile is uniques, just like our students. They mural is beautiful to look it and fun to touch. After it is installed, kids will look for their shoe prints. It is a permanent reminder of unity in the school community.

Enjoy!

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First Week of Art: Rules Project

10 Aug

I have struggled with the most effective way to present the art room rules. This fall I plan to try something new – an engaging rules project like the one Elizabeth Stroud uses in her art room.

Ms. Stroud’s rules lesson is an example of project based learning. I love how Ms. Stroud’s students work as teams, and come up with so many ways to demonstrate the art room rules. Even very young students were able to articulate examples of the rules!

Enjoy!

Do you have a creative way of teaching the rules in your art room?

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Japanese Marbled Paper

29 Jul

Looking for a fun printing project? Want to try a Japanese technique? We made suminagashi marbled paper mono prints at my Japan-themed art camp this summer. The project was easy and very successful. No two prints were alike, and my campers loved the process.

Please see the Blick video tutorial at the end of the post – it shows the entire process.

You will need a special marbling kit for this project. It costs about $15. You can use it to marble paper or fabric.


Aitoh Boku-Undo Suminagashi Marbling Kit – $14.98

from: Blick Art Materials

Materials

  • Basins for water
  • Suminagashi Marble Print kit (available at Amazonand Blick)
  • paper** to fit basins
  • small brushes
  • palette with wells
  • thread
  • newspaper to project tables and skim surface of water after printing
  • horizontal drying space
  • smocks or aprons

(**Note: The best paper has little sizing. I didn’t want to buy expensive paper for art camp. We experimented printing with different types of paper. We tried copy paper, recycled drawing paper, and thin Japanese calligraphy paper (ugh – too thin. It ripped).

We tried two types of printing: alternating concentric colors (I call them ‘tree rings’) prints, and float paper prints (intense colors).

Concentric ‘tree rings’ prints

I was inspired by this EXCELLENT post from Julie Voight’s  Art for Small Hands blog. Julie has ALL the instructions and lovely student examples for creating the beautiful concentric prints. You will need the palette and tiny, thin paintbrushes for this. Dip the brush in dye, and barely touch the water with the brush tips. Alternate colors. (NOTE: SEE THE BLICK VIDEO AT THE END OF THE POST). This is a very neat process, and you only use a little bit of color (your $15 kit will last a very long time).

We created single and double prints.

‘Float paper’ prints.

Bold! You need the reusable coated paper circles that come with the kit. You float the circles on the water, then aim drops of color at them straight out of the bottle.

To swirl and marble the ink, we experimented with blowing the floating ink, and dragging a single thread through it. We also tried second ‘ghost prints’ after our initial prints.

We also printed onto some yellow paper stars I had left over from another project. The colored background looks great!

This used more dye than the concentric ring project. It can be a messier option. The kids had to squeeze the dye straight from the bottle, then recap the colors and put them down. Soon there was bright color on the outside of the tubes. Next time I will arrange some sort of stand so the tubes can stay upright (and uncapped) for the printing process.

Video tutorial

Here is a great 10 minute tutorial from Blick.

Give suminagashi a try. It truly is a no-fail project.

Enjoy!

This project was part of my ‘Let’s Go To Japan’ art + cooking camp. Here are our other art and cooking projects:

Plus tons of kids books about Japan!

Thanks to Dahra and Ilana, our fabulous teenage helpers for all their assistance at camp.

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