Thursday, June 07, 2018

Abstract Collage Art

This abstract watercolor collage art is so lovely - and yet so simple! I've found it equally suitable for all ages, kinders, teens, and adults alike.

The first step is to simply paint. We used scraps of watercolor paper left over from other projects. 

We drizzled, dabbed, and splattered. We painted squiggles and zigzags and we tried wet-on-wet and let the paint bleed. We made new colors. We used bright colors (no brown or black) and we did not make mud. 

Once all of our little paintings were done we dried them (blow dryers are fun!) and then we cut them into triangles: fat skinny, large and small. It didn't matter. 

Then we fit them together on the square poster board substrate like a puzzle and carefully glued them down. Rules: no pieces may touch, and leave some substrate showing around the outer edges of the piece.

Part of the appeal of this project is its large size, I believe. So much fun to take home a huge piece of beautiful art to display! One of our artists was sure his piece will be hung in a museum.

My sample, on black poster board, 17.5" x 17.5"

Thanks to Like a Musical Ride for this great project idea!

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Animal ART!

Always a favorite at the Blackfoot Art Center, we completed this project for our last class of the school year and by request: oil pastel animals on black paper. 

The children did a wonderful job and were quite surprised at the results and their own ability as artists! (I love it when that happens!) Oil pastels are similar to crayons, yet a huge step up as far as color intensity, blendability, softness,  versatility, and so much more.

The secret to success is to use a resource photo that is the correct size (not too small) for a 9" x 12" sheet of black construction paper. They transfer the image to the paper using tracing paper and then carbon or graphite paper: it's like magic!

This technique eliminates the time taken (and stress of) trying to draw the image freehand. They can jump right into the oil pastels and fill in the colors. 

They can then practice creating textures, blending colors, and adding shading and highlights.

Even the youngest children can learn to work effectively with oil pastels while creating an amazing masterpiece of their favorite bird or animal!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

More Memory Project Portraits

You may recall that our students have participated in the Memory Project in the past. 

We first created portraits of Bolivian children in early 2017. We then created portraits of Congolese children.  
We just completed our third Memory Project portraits, this time of Afghani children.

We are always excited to see the video the Memory Project creates for us of our efforts and delivery of the portraits to the children. When it is available, we will post it for you!

Friday, May 25, 2018

We Love Candy!

On our last Friday art class of the school year, our charter kids created some sweet pop art (think Andy Warhol or Peter Blake). 

Our subject was CANDY, which was also their reward after their candy art was completed - yummy!

First, the artists arranged their favorite candy on a paper 'stage' and observed it carefully. It was okay to open the candy and poke it out of the wrapper, or to draw the candy without the wrapper. 

Each artist pretended to be a bug, looking at those HUGE pieces of candy. Our goal was to draw the candy much LARGER than life size; to fill the paper, even taking it past the paper's edges. 

For some, this was not an easy task. 

Once the basic shapes were drawn on the paper, they filled them in with tempera paint. We used cake temperas because they can be thinned with water to resemble watercolor for things like Gummy Worms, or we can create thicker, more vivid colors for bright candy wrappers.

We used liquid burnt sienna, blue, and white to create creamy brown chocolate colors. Then we painted the background using a solid color.

When all of the paint was dry, we added details using Sharpies. This included the zigzags around the edges of the peanut butter cups and outlines around the lettering. The kids enjoyed filling in the Hershey's Kisses and Hershey's lettering with silver metallic Sharpies.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Designer Feathers!

We just designed and created feathers. 

Very LARGE feathers! 

We drew them lightly with pencil, divided each into sections, and painted using just four colors. 

Then we painted in additional details and interesting patterns and so forth. We also used a variety of interesting objects to stamp on shapes and our trusty stylus collection for dots.

We then dried them, cut them out, and cut little V's from the edges to give them a 'feathery look. 

Then we added some matching fuzzy feathers to the bottoms for a realistic touch, and attached our amazing feathers to a piece of black poster board using three little pieces of two-sided tape. Our finished feathers are 9" by 22."

We LOVE how they turned out!

Our thanks to Small Hands Big Art for this
great project idea!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Flowers for Mom!

This week we painted flowers for Mother's Day. The original plan was to paint a little watercolor painting to attach to a card to give to Mom. That way she would get a personal card and a piece of art to keep and display too. 

Often kids have different ideas, like painting on a full sheet of paper. They wanted to paint a PAINTING, so they did. A few even painted a second one for Grandma. 

First each child chose a vase that he or she liked. Then they chose flowers that would work with the vase as far as size and color, and they arranged them in the vase.

Now they needed to study their subject very carefully. 

What is the shape of the vase? 
How large is it compared to the flowers? 
How can the entire subject be fit into the composition without going off the edges? 
(This often happens, usually cutting off the flowers at the top, which we didn't want to do.)

I reminded them that they have "creative license" to change whatever they want to. So if the vase is tall and skinny, they can make it shorter so the flowers will fit on the page, like this one with the pink tulips. 

The only 'rule' was that no pencils were allowed. I didn't want them to focus so much on drawing. I wanted them to trust themselves and dive right into the process of painting.

They began by visually measuring how large the vase will be, and then sketching the shape of the vase with thinned watercolor.  They then painted at will, with very little instruction. Some added a few details to the vase if it was clear glass, like stems and leaves. Others painted it a solid color.

Then they added the main flowers, stems, leaves, and the smaller flowers. They learned that white flowers could be added by simply choosing a color to paint the outlines; then adding the centers with a few dots of color. Let the white paper do the rest. They also learned that adding water to thin colors creates watercolor tints such as baby blue and pink and lavender. No white paint required.

The last step was to paint the background. This required imagination, while the flowers required careful observation skills. The background could be realistic, like a table and a window, or it could be very simple or maybe a mishmash of colors and patterns.

For the background, our artists also needed to select colors that would complement the floral arrangement. 

Decisions, decisions!

This artist painted a small floral (my original idea), which we glued to a folded piece of cardstock.

Below are our flowers for Mom!