Valentine Jim Dine

Fun and quick Valentine’s Day project I did with PK. I showed the work. By Jim Dine and we talked about how they thought he made his paintings. I love them because they are messy but controlled. 

I told the little ones to use a stamping methods with the brush. We used Paint Cakes, my favorite. They were familiar with the paint cakes and how to use them properly. I told them to work with one color at a time. Wet the brush, load up the brush with paint, and gently go up and down, up and down stamping color onto their hearts. Once the paint rain out, wash your brush and pick a new color. 

As they finished at different times I had another table set up with colored paper and crayons. They washed up and picked a color and scribble scrabbled all over the paper with different colored crayons. 

I quickly glued the hearts to the backgrounds and they were able to take their Valentines home that day! 

Mixing Primary into Secondary

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You would be surprised how many children and adults do not know which primary colors make the secondary. I did two versions of this lesson for the younger elementary kids and the older ones.

The younger kids, 1st grade-2nd, did the ice pops. I did find the lesson online but I changed it up a little. We did this following our How to use a brush Winter Style lesson. I did just a lesson on mixing colors on white paper. I told them we were going to make magic today. The paint brush is your magic wand. We started out by making sure our brushes were super clean. We put some yellow on the paper, cleaned the brush, put a tiny amount of blue on the tip, said the magic words and they mixed green. They were really amazed. Same things with yellow and red for orange, make sure you reinforce just dipping the tip of the brush into the red (and blue) because they are such strong colors. Last we do red and blue to make purple.

I closed this lesson by having the kids take a look around the table at their friend’s colors. Are all the greens exactly the same? Some are more yellow and some are more blue. Why? This is how you can introduce the intermediate colors. Why would you want a green that is more blue? Why would you want a green that is more yellow? This can be a nice conclusion.

The older kids, 3rd through 5th, did the color wheels. They already knew the primary and secondary colors. We traced a circle on white paper, used rules to draw 3 lines through the circle, and outlined in sharpie. Then as a class we painted in the primary colors, skipping a space between each color. So you have red, blank, yellow, blank, blue, blank. This is where they mess up. Some kids will just go again and know that they two colors surrounding the blank spaces need to be mixed in there, so red and yellow to make orange in the middle. Others you have to do it step by step.

Moving on to the Ice Pops. I actually got observed for this lesson, and because it was a step by step process it was deemed not creative enough. Which is fine, but I think the lesson served its purpose because after all the kids knew exactly how to make orange, green and purple, and they had fun. I pre-drew the ice pop shape, and even color coded labeled them with Y O R, for yellow, orange, red. They already had an introduction to mixing so it was applying last weeks skills. I still did it step by step so no one was left behind. Some kids liked painting the top, then bottom, then mixing the middle. Others painted the whole top and middle yellow then added red on the bottom going up to make the orange middle. Depends on the students.

The background was choosing horizontal, vertical or diagonal lines in a pattern. So before they did that we reviewed all those words. We used PAINT CAKES! My favorite. And any colors they wanted. Cut, glue, done.

Tree Mania

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I decided to do a tree project because I was sick of seeing a typical trees being drawn with a poof on top. I think winter trees are really beautiful especially when there is a good sunset behind them. I did this with 2nd grade.

We did a lot of sketching, looking at paintings and photograph of trees and concentrating on the branches. They tried to make their trees as close to the images they were copying from as possible. They previously prepared their rainbow background paper, and only painted their black silhouetted trees when absolutely ready after practicing on white paper first. We added snow last.

Since we did this towards the end of the winter I continued right into spring trees. We made tints of colors by adding white; they chose any color they wanted. We used brown instead of black, and replaced the snow with different colored flowers or leaves. They loved their spring versus winter trees.

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While on the subject of trees I went into the most famous tree of all, Klimt’s Tree of Life. We discussed how we were trying to paint our spring and winter trees to be realistic. Looking at Klimt’s tree how was it different? They were even able to come up with some interesting meanings for why the branches were spiraled and what the black bird represented (death).

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I taught them how to draw and paint spirals too. I was observed for this, my formal actually, and I wish I could say it went well but it was not an easy period. It was with one of my more challenging classes that I never, ever had a problem with. I’m not saying I let them do whatever they wanted, but I didn’t make them do the typical lets sit down and have a rigorous discussion for an eternity, because they would fight if they weren’t happy. This class did the best work, because they had so much time to actually paint and draw (you know art class stuff, kids are now WRITING in gym class, GYM class, whatever other blog) … needless to say they wanted to get into painting and not sit there and have a conceptual discussion on why we are painting spirals.

In the end their own trees of life were amazing. Since it was their imaginary tree they were allowed to use any color they wanted, not the typical lets me a Klimt tree out of gold paint because it is such a good excuse to use gold paint. Gold paint is expensive.

We added a collage element to the trees using colored construction paper to add in all the fun shapes like Klimt’s tree and a ominous black bird.

Tiffany Lamps

I did this with 1st graders and some 1st-2nd inclusion classes. After we did a symmetry butterfly thing they knew a lot about keeping things the same on both sides. 

We started out by looking at images of Tiffany lamps discussing why someone would want this lamp over an ordinary lamp. We talked about what shapes, colors and things they saw. 

Since it was springtime we mostly kept out detail themes to flowers and bugs, and used shakes for in between. 

We had a drawing day and I put out images of different bugs and flowers. They folder a paper into 4s and had to try 8 sketches on the front and back. 

Next day I have them a blank lamp template and we looked at Tiffany lamps and talked about size and placement of our main detail flowers and bugs and our background shapes. 

We had a formula to follow putting one detail big in the center and repeating them on the sides. The top and bottom could be decorated with shapes or a big sun or big flower. I showed them how to follow symmetry by remembering to do whatever they did on one side to the other. This was a draft so mistakes are supposed to happen here!

When their draft was done they got a big paper with a lamp template drawn out bigger. The hardest part is to make their design bigger so we talk about that before they start. 

Once done they outline with sharpie and add more shapes if it’s too empty looking, or lines to cut it up. 

Before they use watercolors we have a lesson on appropriate brush sizes. I tell them the story of Goldie locks and the 3 bears. So we refer to the brushes as the momma brush, papa, and baby. They get a practice paper with different sized shapes to make the right brush choices. 

Then it’s off to paint their lamp! I recommend staying away from black because it’ll over power, but brown looks great in watercolors almost looks golden. 

I bit the base, but in the future I’d like to use gold and bronze paper and buy a string of white costume beads for a pull string for the lamp. 

Recycled Art

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I adapted this project for my campers a couple years ago. Originally I subbed this lesson in a middle school. It was more connected to the idea of recycled art because you can paint endangered animals on the cans. Instead, because it was summer camp we used emojis to decorate the cans and the campers loved that idea.

The inspiration comes from an artist named Charles Kaufman

http://www.crushed-can-art.com/kaufman-crushed-can-art.html

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Have the kids flatten their cans by stepping on them carefully. You have to take care with the top and bottom and make sure it folds over the right way, so it isn’t just mindless stomping. Trace the can 4 times on a paper. They have to try 4 different designs before committing to one. When they picked an animal or emoji ask them to think about colors and backgrounds. If you’re doing the animals they can research what the animal eats. If you’re doing emojis you can do patterns and colors.

Prepare the can by paintings it with white tempura paint 1 or 2 coats, 2 is probably better. They can do this after they trace so it is dry and ready for next time but you can always use a blow dryer to make it dry faster but be careful because it can get super hot!

When they decide on a design they can use a pencil to draw it on the prepared white tempura. Depending on the age and skill of your painters you can have them paint the subject first and then the background surrounding it. Or you can have them do a base color for the background then the subject on top. I just like to do the animal/emoji first because they can draw it with pencil on their cans and see it better.

You can glue gun string to the back and have it hang or hot glue it to a matte board and it will loose nice and framed!

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