Saturday, February 22, 2020

Winter Tree Silhouettes

These winter tree silhouettes are unusual in that we used "warm" instead of "cool" colors to create them. 

Why did we do that??? 

Consider that snow reflects the colors of the sky, which is usually blue. However, as in this photo, we painted the "golden hour," when the ambient light takes on gold, orange, pink, lavender, and other warm or warm-ish colors. These sunrise or sunset colors are reflected in the snow.


We started by painting the sky area with clear water, for a wet-in-wet technique. Then, using liquid watercolors, we added our sunset beginning with yellow at the horizon line and allowed the colors to bleed and blend. 

We painted additional lines in the midground and thicker lines and shapes in the foreground to indicate hills and snowdrifts, adding pan watercolors if desired. Then we allowed our paintings to dry. 
Now it was time to add our details, which would be silhouettes. We needed to mix a good solid black, like ink, to create these shapes. 

We outlined our horizon and added the trees in the distance. We also added an old fence in the foreground and long grasses along the fence posts.

We then painted our tree silhouettes, first starting with a vertical line, then 
adding branches. We filled them in, thickening the tree trunk, and adding additional branches an twigs to finish our trees. Then we added more grass, shadows, and some birds flying in the distance.

Our artists were ages 7 to 16.  Thanks to Deep Space Sparkle for this beautiful winter art project idea!

Friday, February 14, 2020

Floating Hearts!

As a cool Valentine's Day project, we made these Jim Dine-style "floating" hearts. I love how the hearts look like they are popping off the page!

We've made these floating hearts twice before, but I always get requests to make them again! This time I'll show you step-by-step how to make these beauties.

You'll need a piece of 140 lb. 9 x 12 watercolor paper,  bleeding tissue paper in several colors, pencil, acrylic paint, white soft pastels, charcoal pencils (soft), and soft charcoal sticks. 

Cut the tissue paper into squares or strips. Paint the paper with water and lay the tissue over it. Use your brush to paint water over the tissue as well to ensure the color bleeds through it. 

Dry the background with a blow dryer until all of the tissue flies away and the remaining background colors are dry. Draw a heart shape in the center and paint it a few shades of red using black or orange to mix them.

Outline the heart with charcoal pencil. Press hard. Decide which side the light source will come from, and lightly add charcoal to the other side of the heart. Blend the charcoal into the heart and along the edge of the background with your finger to create shadows. Continue to add charcoal shadows, rubbing  and blending as you go. With the white pastel, add highlights to the heart. You can also add a little charcoal to your background for additional dimension and interest. 
You can see our floating hearts from previous classes here and here.

Happy Valentines Day!

Mosaic Paper Hearts

We made these beautiful mosaic hearts using cut paper and glitter tape on black paper hearts.

We've made mosaics in the past, but these paper mosaics don't take nearly as much time to complete, so we really liked that about using paper.

Before beginning this project, I handed each artist one of my books about mosaics (I have a lot of them) and we examined how mosaics are created and how beautifully the tiles and pieces all come together into one piece of art. 

Our goal would be to combine interesting patterns and colors within a heart symbol while cutting and carefully fitting various shapes next to and around each other just as ancient (and modern) mosaic artists did. 

The trick is to leave a tiny bit of the black background showing around each and every mosaic piece. 

We started with one 9 x 12 piece of black construction paper for our heart-shaped base. The paper was folded in half and cut into the largest heart shape possible.

Then we looked through our paper scraps for patterns and colors that we liked and selected two or three different patterns. We also used at least one solid color. We cut a strip of each chosen paper and cut that strip into triangles, squares of what-have-you to create a pattern.

Then, starting along the inside of the heart shape, we glued down a set of shapes to create a patterned edge. If the artist wanted to try something different, that was okay too. 

This artist created two different color sets and placed them randomly within each side of her heart. Clever!

Artists also had the option of using glitter tape and metallic Washi tape. This artist used violet glitter tape while embellishing the inside of the border with shiny gold tape.

This project took a bit of patience and a lot fine muscle coordination, but our efforts were well rewarded. 

The mosaics were completed within one class period and were quite stunning.

This is my sample, and (of course) I went for the metallic and the glitter tape too!

Our mosaic artists ranged in age from 10 to 16. A "heart-felt" thank you to Deep Space Sparkle for this fun mosaic project idea!

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Painted Hearts

This is a "free painting" art project. We used brushes and tempera paint on small sheets of white poster board. This  was about practicing brushwork, working with color, creating an interesting painting, and having fun!

Artists were given these basic instructions: 

The painting would have three parts, including a patterned border, a background, and the heart in the center.

Each section would be painted a different color. Double and triple loading of brushes was encouraged, as was mixing tints to be scattered throughout the painting.

The border and the heart would be outlined. 

The borders would need to be filled with some kind of pattern using black or any other color(s).

We would use white somewhere within the composition.

Besides creating a design and patterns, artists needed to select colors combinations that are appealing to the eye. We used the color wheel to identify analogous and complementary colors to consider for our designs. 
Aren't these little paintings spectacular?

Our Painted Heart artists ranged in age from 6 to 12.