Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Winter Trees for the Holiday Show!

Hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving! 

It was a nice long break and the kids seemed excited to be back in class. Now that Thanksgiving has past, it is time for us to start thinking about the artwork for the holiday show! We will hang two projects. One will be the winter animals that the kids finished before the break. The second project is a landscape scene with evergreen trees and we began working on that today.

The kids started class working on watercolor landscapes. We focused solely on the background, filling in the sky and ground with blocks of color. Although there were no specific parameters around color choice, when we talked about what time of day we were thinking of painting most of the kids were excited by the idea of sunset. That opened the pictures up to all pretty much every color in the rainbow. You should all be proud to know that the children worked well together sharing these lovely watercolor sets.

After we finished up the backgrounds, the kids had the fun of painting with glue on white watercolor paper and sticking green squares of tissue paper all over. I encouraged them to fill the space with color but it isn't easy to do. This part of the project gets sticky really fast. Next week we will cut evergreen trees from the green tissue paper pages and arrange them on the watercolor backgrounds. The kids can then decorate the trees and sky as they like with some mixed media materials I have on hand.

At the end of each class, there is normally between five and ten minutes of free time. During this time the kids can work in their sketchbooks, exploring ideas from the days class or following their own interests. We had a full ten minutes today and I wanted to share just a few of the drawings that were created today.

I absolutely love watching the kids work, especially in these moments where nothing in particular is expected of them. It is so amazing to see what interests them and how they approach a blank piece of paper. I love watching the interactions between them also. It is such a treat to witness the kids admiration for each others work and how they share what they know when asked.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Paper Weaving (part 2) - Winter Animals

Happy Thanksgiving!

Remember the paper weavings from last week?

Today we transformed them into winter animals in a snowy landscape!

The kids began by choosing which winter animal they wanted to make. Choices included a fox, a polar bear and a bunny rabbit. We had pre-made stencils of the animals that we used to trace the animals onto their multi-colored weavings. The kids worked with me one on one for the tracing and cutting.

Meanwhile the rest of the class was busy creating their winter landscapes. We began by arranging our papers according to the animal we chose. The bunny was tall and thin, sitting up on it's hind legs, so the kids making a bunny arranged their papers portrait style. Kids who chose the bear and fox arranged their papers landscape style to accommodate their animals.

We began with a simple horizon line then added a little color with oil pastel, blue for the sky and white for the snow. Quickly after we moved into painting, filling the sky with a bright blue and adding texture to the snow with some white paint.

For such simple instructions and materials, it is notable how varied and interesting the landscapes were. Finally we gave these lovely animals a home in a snowy world by gluing them on. I absolutely love these! Even the subtle choices the kids made in composition (how they placed their animals on the page) showed the beautiful range of their personalities. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Paper Weaving (part 1)

Today we worked on paper weaving, the first stage of a two part project that will eventually result in checkered animals in a winter landscape!

Although it looks simple, weaving paper is not easy! Each of the kids got a large piece of construction paper, pre-cut into strips (although the strips were left connected on each end to hold the weaving together as they worked). Then the kids picked their colors and began the "up and down" process of weaving. The hard part is alternating the "up" with the "down" as you begin each new strip. They did really well. We talked about how as the weaving moved along they would begin to see a checkerboard pattern.

It was really interesting to see what happened. Some of the kids decided to approach color choices with an eye toward making a pattern while others enjoyed exploring the relation between different colors. Some just enjoyed the process of manipulating the paper and watching the pattern appear. Whatever approach they took, the results speak for themselves. Don't forget to take a peek back next week to see what we transform this work into!

Mixed Media Landscapes

After working "close up" with nature last week making leaf prints, this week we backed way up and took a long view of nature and worked on landscapes. After a quick reminder of what it means to arrange our paper for landscape (wide side to side) we set right to work.

Following along with the group lesson we began a pencil drawing of hills in the foreground. We added some pattern (kids choice) and texture to hills. Then we moved back to the sun (setting with rays spreading through the sky). The kids were then free to add any details they liked to their composition. Clouds, trees, animals and flowers were all in evidence.

Then the kids traced their pencil drawings with permanent marker. Then they added color using oil pastels. Then came the exciting part, painting with watercolors over the oil pastels. We talked about how because oil and water don't mix well and because of that you can get some really neat effects using oil and watercolor together. The oil in the pastel resists the water in the watercolor and lead to some bright and unusual effects. Take a look!