Saturday, September 28, 2019


This week our Friday classes painted UNICORNS! 

This was a bit different than a normal art class lesson in that it was a choice-based art project. 

Our goal is always to encourage self-expression and creativity, even within the parameters of the given project or process. However, everyone wanted to paint the unicorn like the one hanging on our wall, so I decided to offer choices and options to make the unicorn their own. This was my effort to lean more towards TAB art education methodology (Teaching for Artistic Behavior) and to not produce a roomful of look alike artwork. 

I would like to incorporate TAB in as many of our art projects as possible. 

Choices and options:
What media will you use? Options might be watercolor, tempera paint, or acrylic paint.

What will you paint on?
Surfaces might include a canvas panel or watercolor paper (depending on paint media).

What drawing method will you use? I encourage freehand drawing, but for the sake of getting to the process of painting I collected a variety of unicorn templates for them to choose from to trace & transfer. 

What will be in the background? Landscape, sky, rainbow colors?

What will be your color scheme?
Analogous colors, color tints, or maybe rainbow colors?

Will you add an outline?

How will you finish your painting?

These artists all chose to use a favorite unicorn image template and many used carbon paper for the very first time. It was so fun to see them lift the corners and see the image transferring to the canvas like magic! This allowed them to not sweat the drawing and move on to the real fun of painting in their unicorns!

Everyone also chose to paint on canvas except for this young artist who has a cast on his dominant arm and decided that watercolor would be easier to handle. I think he was right! 

Monday, September 23, 2019

Beautiful Sunflowers!!!

To commemorate the end of summer, we painted  these gorgeous SUNFLOWERS!

First we examined resource photos of sunflowers, like this one that grew in my yard a few years ago. 

We also observed a vase of sunflowers and similar flowers (like black-eyed susans), and a few paintings of sunflowers.

Using liquid temperas, we then painted a dot somewhere near the center of the paper but not right in the center.  Then we created a bulls-eye type design around the dot using any chosen colors. 

We then mixed a bit of orange into our yellow paint and created the petals of our flower. We also added a bit more orange to the petals to create depth. Some also added a bit of yellow-green. Then we painted another smaller flower in one of the corners (if there was room).

The next step was challenging but fun! We added patterns to inside of our sunflower, like dots, zigzags, short lines, and curvy lines. Some were white but most were black. 

(We used a stylus to paint many of our little dots.)

Next, we painted the background around the flower using as many tints and tones of green as we could make and/or share.

The last step was to add a critter! 

Our artists added ladybugs, butterflies, ants, spiders, and beetles.

Our artists ranged in age from 6 to 12 years old. 

This is my sunflower sample.

This lovely sunflowers were created by a 6-year-old!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Farm Animals!

Every year right after the Eastern Idaho State Fair, we create a fair-themed painting. Specifically, we paint farm animals just like the ones at the fair!

We used liquid tempera paints to create these cows, sheep, and horses wandering around in these peaceful sunny pastures. 

We started by lightly sketching an animal after looking at resource photos from our farm animal files. We then painted the sky and the green pasture around the animal's shape.  Some artists added a dark green tree line along the horizon as well.

Now it was time to fill in our animal with color, shading, and textures - especially the woolly sheep!

Facial details were also added.

Some of the lighter colored animals were outlined.

The last step was to add grasses and flowers. This was a great way to create shadowy areas beneath the animals and more depth and perspective in the painting.

Our farm animal artists ranged in age from 6 to 14.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

A Pet Painting Party

At this Pet Painting Party, young artists chose to draw and paint their pets from memory or from observation of a photo.

Spontaneous,  imaginative, and gosh darn cute paintings!