Saturday, August 15, 2020

Circle Weaving!

Weaving is a traditional skill that we have practiced before with a traditional square loom. 

This time, why not change things up and use a triangular loom? 

Why not make our loom from twigs? Or weave in the shape of a circle? 

Why not add add feathers? And pine cones? 

Why not?

Friday, August 14, 2020

Seashells on the Seashore

Imagine walking along the beach, listening to the waves as the lapping water cools your toes. 

You look down -- and what do you see? 

These are small canvas paintings designed to inspire an imaginary walk along the beach. Do you hear the seagulls, smell the salty ocean, and feel the sand between your toes? 

We painted the smooth green and blue and turquoise ocean colors first.

We added the sand on the other end of the canvas, using our own mixtures of yellow ocher, tan, brown, and white. We used a stiff one-inch brush to dab on the sandy texture.

Then, along where the water and seashore meet, we added our frothy white waves.

We even added glitter paint for extra color and shine!

We chose our seashell models from my collection. Artists could paint them directly onto the sandy beach, or separately on prepped canvas material, to be cut out and attached to the seashore. 
This is my sample painting with seashells painted directly on the sand.
I also painted another seashell on a bit of prepared canvas fabric 
and cut it out to display with the painting.
Our artists selected their own favorite seashells, plus a sand dollar (collected by yours truly in California) to take home and display with their completed seashore paintings.

Sunday, August 09, 2020

More Outdoor Still Life!

These still life tempera paintings were inspired by impressionist Berthe Morisot

Most of our young artists had painted a spring bouquet in her style in a previous class, so they were excited to try again. This time they would be painting a still life creation of their own.
We first assembled a simple still life, combining man-made and natural elements, and set it on our table to observe.

Then we selected a piece of colored sulphite paper, and taped it down to the table (it was a very windy day).

We started by using black tempera paint (no pencil) and a small round brush to outline the basic shapes of our still life on our paper. We then painted in our still life objects while  wiping excess paint colors in the background for color repetition and excitement. (We rinsed our brushes only to avoid muddiness or remove black paint.) 


We then added small details, such as notches in a birch stick or decorations on a vase. 

The last step was to re-outline the still life elements and table top line once again, as needed.

This painting was created by our youngest artist, age 6.

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Still Life Art - Outdoors!

When we think of painting out of doors, we don't often consider still life painting. 

Maybe we should! 

In an outdoor setting, an artist can easily find interesting subject matter for a still life painting. 

Our goal was to create a mixed media still life painting using pencil, India ink, watercolor, and soft pastels. 

Our first step was to gather our still life elements. I supplied a few "man- made" items, such as a fruit basket, glass vases, and a jar. Each artist selected one or two of these, one or more pieces of fruit, and one or more natural objects from our outdoor environment. 

They then created their still life arrangement and sketched the basic shapes in pencil on taped watercolor paper.

The next step was something new! We quickly moistened the paper with clear water using large watercolor mop brushes, then we dipped the sharp end of a wooden skewer into our India ink and traced over our pencil lines. Oh no! Some of the lines began to bleed - for a (surprisingly) nice effect...

We continued with the ink, allowing the drawing to draw itself, so to speak.

Since we were outside, the paper dried quickly, so sometimes we had to add more water. 

Next, we opened our watercolors and painted our still life drawings. We could paint them using actual colors or make up new ones. 


We simplified the table surface and the background using any chosen colors.

After the painting was dry, we added a few white and brightly colored soft pastels to highlight just a few areas of our paintings. Not too much!

Then we removed our dry paintings from the painting boards.

The kids really enjoyed applying the India ink with skewers. Those who had time wanted to try this technique again. They used India ink to draw their own personal art subjects, and added color as desired. 

Our thanks to KinderArt for this great lesson idea!

Friday, July 31, 2020

More Bird Feeders!

We made these recycled bird feeders! Can you tell what we made them from?

We also used acrylic paint and natural materials for the roof.

First, using a Sharpie, each artist drew an opening (or two) on each side of the carton, and I cut them out with my craft knife.

Meanwhile, our artists selected items like bark or wood to glue to the top to create a cute roof. We used hot glue for that.

Then we proceeded to paint.

This artist started with the roof first. (Yes, it is okay to paint the roof.)

To thoroughly cover the carton, we learned to add a little white to the paint to make it more opaque.

The next step was to add a hanger. Then each artist received a small bag of birdseed to feed the birds. Some of them also made little bird journals so they could draw the birds that they see.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Feed the Birds!

This week our young artists made bird feeders. What a great way to invite
songbirds into our yards, so we can watch... and draw them!

Our older kids used natural materials to create their bird feeders.  They selected a wood base and additional materials that appealed to them.

First they drilled holes in the corners or around the edges for the hangers (yes, we used power tools!) and began to plan their designs.

They needed to design a barrier to keep the seed from blowing off the feeder, then build from there. We used glue guns to attach each component.

After creating this pine cone barrier, this artist wrapped it and jute and then added sticks, swirly wire, and beads for a colorful, funky look.

The next step is to add a hanger using wire or jute or twine. Some chose to incorporate beads into their hangers or even to wrap colorful jute around the hanger wire.  

The hangers were attached by slipping the ends through the drilled holes in the base, then wrapping the end around a short twig to hold it in place. The trick is to then balance the feeder so that it's level when connecting the wire at the top.

Last step. Each artist filled a bag with birdseed to take home and feed the birds!