Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Arty Animals

Children love to create ANIMAL art. Animals can be drawn, painted, cut and glued collage style, sculpted, or paper mache'd. It doesn't matter; animal art is fun!

This week we created a variety of animal art. Our youngest students glued fuzzy cotton "sheep" to lovely green meadows. You can find an example of this project at Artsonia. Our older elementary artists made beautiful tempera paintings of their favorite animals, such as those at Deep Space Sparkle (one of my FAVORITE art sites for great art ideas).

Our favorite animal art project, which we do every summer, is pastel on black paper. The children try both soft or oil pastels - each medium has its pros and cons. Some of our more experienced young artists have their preferences. Soft pastels are messy, but they can be wiped off and they can be smeared and softened, which can be lovely. Soft pastels must be sprayed with fixative when completed. Oil pastels are much less messy, bright and bold, and can be layered - but cannot blended or smeared or softened. They do not need fixative. Soft and oil pastels cannot be mixed.

We have done this pastel art with children as young a eight or so with surprisingly lovely results. You need only a few supplies: (very) black 9 x 12 heavy construction paper, drawing pencils or a charcoal pencil, a good set of soft pastels AND oil pastels (try both!) of 24 to 36 colors or more, and lots of good photos of animals to work from. We use mostly Zoo Books and old calendars. You might also have some tracing paper and carbon paper on hand. I allow kids to trace the basic shape of the animal, then transfer onto the black paper if the photo is the correct size (not too small) if the child gets too hung up on the drawing part. This is more of a lesson in selecting a good palette of colors and learning pastel techniques.

I am always amazed with these wonderful pastel art paintings! Some of these children have never tried pastels before. Wow!

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