Friday, June 24, 2022

Custom Cowboy Boots!

Today our talented young western footwear designers created these magnificent cowboy boot designs. 

The fancy stitching along the side of the boot looks pretty impressive, don't you think? 

This is a mixed media project that involves a number of different processes.

The first challenge was (have you guessed?) writing the artist's name in cursive to use for that fancy stitching. We practiced first to get the right size and length to fit the boot.  Those who are not yet versed in cursive writing did their best with some fancy printing. 

Next we sketched our boots on white 12" x 18" sulfite paper - heavy drawing paper - using a template (I have three different ones). 

We folded the boot along a central line and wrote the name along the line using a charcoal pencil, then folded it over, and rubbed (hard) to create a mirror image. 

We added a fancy design to one side and made a mirror image in the same way. 

We also added other boot sections,  stitching, and a fancy toe design to match the boot design.

We drew a boot pull for the top and a spur with a star in the margins of the paper. 

Everything was then outlined with a black Sharpie, carefully painted in with watercolor, and put out in the sun to dry while we played a little cornhole

Then we carefully cut out the dried boots, glued on the boot pulls and spurs, and attached the star with a brad so it can spin! A little metallic Sharpie, glitter pen, and a few gemstones, and it was done!

This art project was the last of our June Westward Ho! theme for this summer's art camps and classes. I think our little buckaroos had a rip-roarin,' blastin' good time! Take a gander at our original Cowboy Boot design post for more exciting cowboy boot art.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Cactus Gardens in Watercolor


As we continue to 'explore' the Old West, we realize that much of our time is spent in the Southwest desert! 

So... we made these lovely Cactus Gardens using Native American patterns to decorate our planter pots. 

First we observed and practiced drawing various cactus shapes.

On an 11" x 15" sheet of watercolor paper, we drew the pot first, then added the soil line and the smaller cactus in the front. Then we drew the larger cactus behind the first to create layers (front and back), and we added patterns to the pot. The next step was to outline everything with a black Sharpie.  

Now it was time to add color! We first used liquid watercolor to fill in the background. We dried it before painting our cactus and pot to prevent the paint from bleeding. 

We painted the cactus by first mixing a variety of greens, starting with the Kelly green in the pan and adding orange (to grey it up) or yellow or blue and varying amounts of water for transparency. 

We also painted any colorful flowers and the soil. 

Finally, we painted in our pot patterns. After they dried, we added additional details in ink. 

I think they're stunning!

For more, take a look at our original Cactus Gardens post.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Rainbow Trout in Watercolor

Here's a great Father's Day gift idea - especially if Dad enjoys fishing - this colorful Rainbow Trout!

These beauties are first sketched in pencil, then outlined with fine and ultra fine black Sharpies. 

They are then painted with watercolor.

The background can be painted (add salt for a nice watery texture) or the trout can be cut out and mounted!

Take a look at our previous post for more detailed instructions for creating this beautiful rainbow trout.  

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Painted Indian Ponies!

This week we painted these Indian Ponies!

This is one of our favorite Old Western-themed art projects, as you can see below.

We first observed some Indian pony artwork. Then we used a special template to draw the right shape and size of the pony's head on our 12" x 16" watercolor paper: a large size rubber flipflop!

Then, using tempera paint, we painted the background and the horse. Finally, we added war paint and feathers (as an option).

This artwork was created by artists ages 7 through 13. You can see an earlier Indian Ponies post right here.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Old West Native American Trioramas

This week at Summer Art Camp our young artists built these impressive Native American trioramas. 

Campers got a peek at how North American Indians lived through 3-dimensional construction and assemblage of a native village. 

Our miniature scenes were created within a 3-sided display called a triorama. Ours were made from a piece of poster board cut to 14" x 18".  A slightly smaller triorama can be made from an ordinary piece of 12" x 18" construction or sulfite paper.

The triorama template we used calls for a square sheet of paper, but you can leave the excess (don't cut it off) to add a lake or an extension of land in the foreground, as some of our artists chose to do. Before assembling the triorama, we painted it, dried it, and glued it together.

We made our miniature objects with Kraft paper, cardboard, tissue and nature objects such as pebbles, twigs, and leather.

We made teepees, fire rings, canoes with oars, and wooden frames on which to stretch a buffalo skin or create a colorful weaving. 

We also learned about Native American symbols and inscribed some of them onto our miniature objects.

This project was a lot of fun! Young artists enjoyed working in a 3-D format with so many different materials.

Trioramas are a great way for kids to study and illustrate any subject, such as natural habitats, animal science, or to simply tell stories. They can be used to create a 3-dimenstional indoor or outdoor scene, and they can be attached back to back for a four different story scenes or learning sections in one. 

Sunday, June 05, 2022

Notorious Outlaws!

This was the first of our 'Westward Ho!' themed Summer Art Camp projects.  

Our wild rootin-tootin artists learned how to create soft pastel self-portraits while immersing themselves into the Old West era to create a humorous storyline/narrative along the way: what kind of an lawless, cantankerous scoundrel am I? 

The little buckaroos then designed their own WANTED posters with creative hand lettering and descriptive writing skills to construct a humorous, compelling, readable poster.

We started by choosing a good wild-west cowboy/girl name. Most of us (including me) had great Old West names to start with, so that was easy. We simply elaborated on them to get just the right name, using a few online ideas for the best cowboy names and cowgirl names

Then we decided on what type of notorious outlaws we were: your typical stagecoach robbers or cattle rustlers, or maybe something a bit sillier, like stagecoach stowaways or cat rustlers!

We created the written portions of our posters on the backside of very old, yellowed manila graph paper (yes, I have some, for some reason) (which, goes to show why art teachers never throw anything away). We left a large section in the center for the portraits, which we created on a separate sheet of manila paper in soft pastels and charcoal pencil. 

My Sample

I encouraged our lawless ones to use sepia tones and avoid very bright colors to keep that 'worn,' old-time look. We sprayed the portraits with hairspray to prevent smearing, and glued them to the posters. Then we attached the posters to a 12" x 18" sheet of brown sulfite paper on which a few boards had been previously "nailed," and we drew tacks in the corners of the posters with a Sharpie. 

The original idea for this project comes from Deep Space Sparkle’s Gunslingers & Outlaws lesson for 4th thru 6th grade.