Our second graders are studying healthy foods. We created this mural as part of the project. It was also an extension of our warm and cool color lesson.
watercolor paper, 7″x7″
reference photos of fruits and vegetables (we used the weekly grocery store ads from the newspaper)
Draw one type of fruit or vegetable on the paper using oil pastel. Fill the square. Use and warm and cool color scheme – if you draw a warm color fruit, use a cool color background, and vice versa.
After drawing, blend the oil pastels with a q-tip dipped in a BIT of baby oil. Be sure to use two q-tips – one for blending warms, and one for blending cools.
Place completed artworks on a drying rack for a day or two so excess oil can absorb into the paper.
I laid out the artwork face down in a grid, and taped all the seams together with masking tape. If you use enough tape on the back you can hang it as a single piece.
If you ever decide to take down your masterpiece, you have the option of cutting on the seams and returning individual artworks to students.
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.
Materials for the tiles:
Low fire white clay
pin tool or opened paperclip
underglaze in colors of the rainbow
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.
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 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.
I just spent four wonderful days at NAEA 14, here in my hometown of San Diego. I attended a ton of sessions, including a pre-conference tour and a hands-on workshop. Here’s a peek at what I saw and learned.
Friday, March 28: Pre-Conference Tour of Art Program and Murals and Zamorano Fine Arts Academy Art teacher/art ed blogger Don Masse led this tour of his public elementary school’s remarkable art program. Zamarano Fine Arts Academy employs five (!) visual art educators for 1400 (!) students from transitional kindergarten-grade 5. The school has a clay program, photography, fashion design, and much more. Don’s 5th graders create an annual ‘legacy’ mural…in addition, we saw many other outdoor artworks, including painted windows. See lots more of Don’s contemporary-art inspired projects at his blog, shite brite zamorano.
Monday, March 31 Shadow Puppets workshop with Grace Hulse
I have wanted to teach a shadow puppet unit for years, but never really knew how. Grace Hulse’s workshop was a great intro. Her Baltimore second graders put on a shadow puppet play every year.
We cut black tagboard into interesting animal shapes. Ms. Hulse encouraged us to create openings in the puppets using craft knives and decorative punches. We taped lace doilies or colored vellum over the openings to add interest. We could create articulated limbs with small brads.
We also learned about inexpensive materials to make a small theater.
Inspired by aquatic artist Wyland, our fourth graders recently completed a great big ocean-themed mural. We recreated the California kelp forest for the Wyland Foundation’s ‘Water is Life’ Mural Challenge.
The completed kelp forest mural. Dimensions 5’x10′
Who is Wyland?
Wyland Whaling Wall in Detroit. Photo source: Wahkeenah via Wikimedia Commons
Wyland is an American artist best known for creating life-size whale murals. He painted 100 of these ‘whaling walls’ around the world, as well as many more paintings of aquatic life. As seen in the whaling wall photo, Wyland often paints a ‘two worlds’ view of the ocean (both above and below the sea). Wyland’s art is very popular and he is commercially successful.
The Wyland Foundation provided us with a free kit, containing instructions, acrylic paints, brushes and a 5’x10′ Fredrix Paint It Yourself Classroom Mural Cotton Canvas Roll. We also used acrylic house paint and rollers. Blue painter’s tape was essential for getting a clean horizon line. We used Sharpies to sign the artwork and to add small details. We used soft-kut blocks and lino cutters to create fish stamps for our school of silvery fish. Tip: I matched our background paint to an undersea photo with the free Color Snap app.
The free Color Snap app is great for matching paint to a photo.
Students used their iPads to research the kelp forest and Wyland’s art. Students posted their favorite images, plus suggestions to an online board on Edmodo.
We painted the mural in stages. Day 1: background, days 2 and 3 were for sea life and details. A maximum of eight kids painted at one time; the rest made sea creature drawings at the adjacent lunch tables while they waited their turn to paint. We used several tricks to create the illusion of space in our mural, including size, placement, value, warm/cool colors and (most especially) overlap. This video shows six tricks artists use to show illusion of space.
We also had small teams of students on special assignment: team seal, team sea otter, official photographers, and fish stamp carvers.
Fourth graders add marine life to the kelp forest mural.
Each student stamped a fish on the mural, creating our own school of Pacific Jack Mackerel.
Although we didn’t win the Wyland Challenge, we created a beautiful mural. Everyone is so proud of it! We learned about the kelp forest, and how to create depth in art. Thanks so much to the Wyland Foundation for all the art materials, and to our parent volunteers for all their help.
Want to learn more about Wyland? Watch 2007 video from the CBS Early Show.
The mission of the Wyland Foundation is to help children and families around the nation rediscover the importance of healthy oceans and waterways through public art programs, classroom science education, and live events. Click here to see the winning 2013 murals and to find out about the 2014 Wyland ‘Water is Life’ Mural and Art challenge.
Punch rug created by a group of elementary students. Photo appeared in Arts and Activities Magazine, February 1974
I found a really interesting group art project in an old Arts and Activities magazine. Teacher Harriet M. Judy of Niles, Illinois, wrote ‘Rug Punching’ for the February 1974 issue. Before reading this article, I had never even heard of rug punching, but I was attracted to the bold graphic design (it reminds me of Disneyland’s ‘It’s a Small World’). Here is an excerpt:
The children were introduced to rug punching in the late fall. The use of bright colors and bold, geometric shapes was stressed as each child planned his design on manila paper. Old picture frames were collected, and burlap was tacked to them. (The tacking itself required coordination and was great fun.) The children drew their designs on the back of the burlap with permanent markers. A spare frame was used to demonstrate to the children the technique of using the rug punch needles. The children were allowed to work on their rugs after they had completed their other assignments and during a specified time at the end of the day.
The results were judged so magnificent that the teachers and the children decided to combine all the separate designs into one large wall hanging for display inside the entrance to the school. So a stretcher frame big enough to handle a large piece of canvas was purchased by the school. The burlap was attached to it, the designs were drawn, and the group work was begun.
…these boys and girls were so enthusiastic and absorbed in their project that they worked well together. Each one had his own design to work on, and everyone worked together around the frame. All the children’s names were worked into one corner by a teacher. When the rug punching was completed, the frame was painted.
The rug now hangs on a large wall in the entrance to the school. It is most impressive, and everyone admires and enjoys the colorful designs.
Click here to learn how to rug punch, or watch this 2-minute video.
Happy Throwback Thursday! Stop by next Thursday to see what I’ve found in my stash of vintage art education magazines.