Saturday, April 30, 2022

Critters in Oil Pastel!

Every once in a while we've just gotta break out those oil pastels!

This medium is just so exciting and the results are so satisfying, I try to regularly work them into our schedule, especially for newer students. Even absolute beginners can be successful!

This particular animal art project is one I've done several times over the years. We sketch the image of a bird or an animal on a 9" x 12" sheet of black (sulphite) construction paper, and then we fill in the colors and textures with layered oil pastels. 

We don't focus too much on drawing skills - this project is more about learning to work with oil pastels to blend colors to create shades and highlights, and adding texture such as fur, feathers, softness, roughness, etc. to the image. 

To remove the stress of drawing a 'perfect' image, we transfer the image that we've chosen directly from a photographic resource (usually a calendar picture) to the paper using tracing paper and carbon paper. (Click here to find out how we do this.) This really does allow the student to move on from the drawing phase and get the business at hand - learning to paint with oil pastels. 

Once the basic outline of the model has been transferred the paper, the fun begins! The resource photo is placed on an easel for easy reference, and oil pastels are held up and 'matched' to the colors in the model. These chosen pastel sticks are then set aside as the color 'palette' that will be used for the painting. 

The artist then begins filling in the figure with color - and determining along the way whether to press firmly or lightly, use long lines or short lines or dots of color, and how to layer colors to create shadows, or layer white to create highlights, or create textures atop colors.  

We also learn how to use a sgraffito technique to scratch or carve textures (such as fur) into heavily applied oil pastel. 

In this post is shown an always-favorite subject for oil pastel critter paintings: owls. In the past, our homeschool art club in particular has enjoyed creating oil pastel owls around Halloween time.

Here are some 'kitty' portraits. 

I've have found that art students of any age (even adults!) can find success and great satisfaction painting birds and animals in oil pastels. 

All of the paintings shown in this post were created by young artists ages 8 through 12, all of whom were trying oil pastels for the very first time!

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Rabbits and Wildflowers

To celebrate Spring, we painted these wild rabbits! 

Over the years, this wary little rabbit, venturing out into a meadow of yummy treats, has become a favorite painting project! 

Whenever we paint these wild rabbits our young artists particularly enjoy painting the dandelion seed pods floating around while their rabbits are munching on goodies. 

These little fellows were painted with liquid tempera paint on lightweight, rough (not slick) poster board, 16 by 22 inches. 

We used a variety of painting "implements" for the wildflowers, such as round sponges and frayed cardboard tubes. We used round stiff brushes and plastic scrubbers for the dandelion seed pods. After all, an artist is not confined to brushes alone! 

We used Sharpies for the finishing touches, such as a bit of outlining and (of course) whiskers! 

In an earlier weblog post, I included an original poem about our painted dandelion rabbits. My hope was, and is, to inspire young artists to write something creative about their artwork or to select some of their own creative writing to illustrate with a painting or drawing.

Friday, April 08, 2022

An ART Explosion!

This week we made   ART 
Also called Squash Books (because they are 'squashed' closed), these little art objects fit in the palm of your hand.

About 4 by 4 inches, the books are tied closed with a cord or ribbon.  When opened, they EXPLODE with bold, exciting ABSTRCT ART!

We started first by creating a large piece of colorful abstract art. First we used black Sharpies to outline a few basic shapes and areas in which to paint our colors. 

Then we worked with both liquid and pan watercolors to add color to our abstract artwork. We also added color to larger areas, filling in the entire painting with color. 

After the paintings dried, we added additional details using metallic Sharpies and glitter pens. We also added splattered paint, just for fun! (Yes, abstract art is not only fun to look at, it's fun to make!!!)
Once the artwork is finished and dry, it's time to cut it up! The artwork is cut into twelve 3-3/4 by 3-3/4 inch squares.

(Since our artwork was created on 12 x 18 inch paper, we ended up with leftover strips that we made into bonus book marks!)

Next, the artist chooses her favorite square to glue to the front (or the top) of the book. 

Then the interior structure of the book is created from three 8 by 8 inch pieces of black paper.  Here's a video showing how the book is folded, constructed, and attached to the covers.

Now four of the abstract art squares are glued to the inside of the book and the rest of the squares are cut diagonally and glued to the remaining triangular shaped spaces. 

The last square can be cut and glued to the back of the book and the artist signs it!

Take at look at our original post, Exploding ART Books, for more great 
                             ART EXPLOSIONS!