Sunday, April 29, 2018

Fruit Still Life

Still Life With Apples, by Paul Cezanne

Our Friday afternoon art class painted still life art in the style of Paul Cézanne. We carefully observed several pieces of fruit, noting the shapes, colors, and comparative sizes. 

Then we chose a piece of fruit to place in the front and drew it with white soft pastel. We then drew various pieces of fruit behind the first one, and one more piece of fruit in the background to one side.

Next, we filled in the fruit with layers of soft pastel, remembering to create tints and tones to indicate realistic shapes and colors. 

We then added black pastel around the edges of each to emphasize shape, an effective technique used by Cézanne.

We added a small white highlight on each piece of fruit; then we added our background colors, blurring them a bit and not worrying too much about shapes or forms. 

Lastly, we added cast shadows beneath the fruit, smearing the black pastels to soften the shaded areas. Beautiful!

Our thanks to Young Art Love for this terrific art project!  

Mixed Media Still Life

Paint Your ART Out painted still life art this week. 

They selected a small section, maybe 5 objects, from a very large still life arrangement set in the middle of the table. This arrangement included flowers, candlesticks, a bubblegum dispenser, fruit, bottles, mugs, and other interesting things. 

They drew each object from front to back, remembering to overlap near objects over background objects, and some remembering to place near objects somewhat nearer the bottom of the paper. 

They then moistened the paper with a clean wet paintbrush and went over all of their lines the point of a skewer dipped in India ink. This part was great fun, and also a little scary! Some of the ink bled on the wet paper for some very interesting effects. 

Now it was time to watercolor our still life art. It didn't matter what  the original colors were; in fact, I encouraged them to change the colors any way they desired.

Next, it's time to add one more medium - pastel! We added a few lines and details using oil pastel. Another option is to add a few splashes of color with soft pastels.

I went with oil pastels because they don't smear on the completed piece.

Our thanks to KinderArt for this great project idea!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Kandinsky Abstracts!

Every so often you've gotta make some abstract art! 

Over the years I've learned to get the juices flowing by introducing a few of  Kandinsky's abstract works, such as his Composition 8, shown here. 

Born in 1866, Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky was an
abstract expressionist. He often used clean lines and graphic-like images to create his abstract paintings.  He decided as a young artist that shapes and colors alone could be the  subject of his art.

Often very playful, his art incorporated geometrical shapes, circles and dots, checkerboard patterns (sometimes skewed), angles, and a few organic shapes and squiggles just to change things up. His colors could be subtle, bright, or bold. No rules!

After taping our watercolor paper to our boards, we traced a variety of items to create geometric shapes all over the composition. Some did this randomly; others considered and planned every shape, line, and pattern very carefully. We then placed strips of masking tape randomly through and across the design.

Next, we painted. We randomly filled in our designs with lots of watercolor: bright colors, bold colors, and subtle colors. After the paint was dry, we carefully removed the tape (not the tape on the edges) and added bold lines and other details. Some lines went right over the previously taped areas. 

Once the composition was complete, we erased any remaining pencil lines within the white areas and removed the tape from around the edges.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Still Life by Little Artists!

This week we created still life paintings. What is a still life? Many of our young artists didn't know, or weren't quite sure. So, we walked around the studio to look for examples of still life art. We found several paintings of flowers in a vase and we found a painting of fruit in a bowl. The children decided a still life is a group of interesting objects arranged on a table waiting to become a painting!

Our Little Artists created two paintings. The first was a study of various pieces of fruit. The idea was to chose some fruit and look at it carefully. Using cake temperas, our goal was to paint the shape of the fruit using the color(s) of the fruit. The position of the fruit didn't matter.

Their fruit paintings are shown here.

The second painting was a floral arrangement in a vase. Yes, really!

The children selected their favorite flowers (this took time; we have a LOT of silk flowers) and a pretty vase. They arranged their flowers, set them on the painting table, and began to paint!

Here are their beautiful paintings. Notice how well they matched the colors and how they filled their compositions with flowers!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Wearable Woven Art

These "wearable weavings" were created by our Paint Your ART Out class. 

The idea was inspired by Native American weavings and beadwork.

What's interesting about this wearable weaving is that the loom  becomes part of the artwork. The weaving remains on the small cardboard loom, which is decorated to complement the woven art using markers and Sharpies. Holes are then punched into the loom to string beading along the bottom and a necklace to the top.

This was a first weaving experience for some of our young artists.

The kids loved the soft feel of their growing weavings as they selected a variety of different yarn textures and colors for their work. They quickly learned to avoid pulling each row of weft too tightly and to push each new row up next to the last one.  

Each artist created a blanket-like bit of woven artwork with different textures that beg to be touched!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Open-Ended Art

Open-ended art is "process art." It is providing the means, the opportunity, and the materials for young children to create spontaneously without inhibitions or hindrances. 

Open-ended art is not the "cookie-cutter art" that you often see on school bulletin boards or windows. A child's art should look like no one else's. It should represent his or her own exploration of art tools, materials, and processes.

The very nature of art provides a creative outlet for anyone, young and old. However, very young children specifically can benefit from being "allowed" to create as desired and without a specific or expected outcome. 

Play is said to be the work of children, and art is play! Art is and should be an experimental process (even for adults). If a young child were to verbalize his or her own spontaneous art-making process, s/he might ask questions like:

What does this paint do? 
What if I paint over this tissue? 
Will yarn stick to wet paint? 
What if I scribble with crayons then paint over it? 
What if I punch holes in it or glue feathers to it? 
Can I glue feathers on it or will tape work better? 
Can I draw with markers on top of paint? 
Can I glue skinny pieces of colored paper over everything? 
What else could I stick to this?

The process art-making is so important to a young child, that often the end result is long forgotten when it is time to go home or move on to another activity! Children don't often make art to put on the refrigerator (although adults do it anyway). They might not even consider that they are "making art." They are just having fun with the materials at hand, and they are learning oodles at the same time, like:

Cooperating with those around them. Respecting the efforts of others. Manual dexterity (think scissors!). Making choices. Mixing colors. Using glue. Sitting still and focusing. Completing a project start to finish. Self confidence. Cleaning up after themselves. Helping others. Building self esteem.

These children made butterflies with floating, fluttering wings. They painted and decorated the wings at will on a traced template. Yes, template shapes are permitted for open-ended art, at least if you want the desired butterfly to have wings that flutter when you are done. Which brings us to this: Children love making art that becomes a TOY! (They might even remember to take it home.)