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! 

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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.

Kandinsky Color Theory

We all see Kandinsky inspired art in like every single art teaching book. I decided to use Kandinsky as a way to finalize our color theory unit. Students learned how to paint a color wheel, how to mix primary into secondary, what the complementary colors are, what the warm and cool colors are the order of the rainbow. These were all mini lessons leading up to this.

After all the mini lessons we reviewed by playing the color game, where I give them stripes of all 6 colors and you ask questions like what is the opposite of blue and they quietly raise the orange strip. Students can lead this game at their tables or with the whole class. Put the strips in rainbow order, wave the warm colors, wave the secondary colors. You can see who remembers and who will need extra attention.

I show them the Kandinsky circles and we talk about color feelings and choices. They know a lot about color and they know about what feelings a color can portray from the warm/cool lesson.

This whole painting is planned on a worksheet. I give them a handout with 6 boxes and on top it reminds them all the color combinations. They have to color in with markers/crayons/colored pencils their entire project before they get to paint on big paper. 4 out of the 6 boxes have to be a pattern of one of these: primary colors, secondary colors, complementary colors, rainbow order, warm or cool colors. The 5th and 6th box are free color order, and students usually just pick from the list.

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Once their planning sheet is filled we practice painting in rings on a smaller paper to gain confidence before they head over to the big paper. I tape their planning paper to the back so they can refer to it and follow their plan.

If they mess up explain the beauty of painting that we can always wait for it to dry and paint over it! To keep my sanity I previously pour out paint into cups and keep 1 brush per cup and a water cup with extra brushes. They know not to mess with the colors and always make sure their brush is super clean before switching colors. Tickle the bottom of the water bucket, wipe the excess water on the edge of the bucket, dab it on paper. Tickle, tickle, tickle, wipe wipe wipe, dab, dab dab. They like that.

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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Feel Good Words

Originally this project belonged to a friend of mine. She called it Feel Good Words. It is based off of Robert Indiana’s famous LOVE stamp. I did it with 4th and 5th grades.

Prior to this the students learned color theory. They made their own color wheels, learning how to mix primary to secondary first. From the color wheel we saw that it puts the colors into rainbow order, how complementary colors are opposite one another, and grouping of warm and cool colors. You have to do all this before which turns this project into a nice unit. I will post on how I taught each color relationship in future posts.

Students brainstormed 4 letter feel good words in groups, then chose which one they wanted. Be sure to remind them they’ll be stuck with this word for a while.

We also looked at the work of Romero Brito who uses patterns in his work. This is for breaking up the letters and boxes so there is more room for color.

Out of the 4 boxes they had to follow the rules of color theory. One box could only have primary  colors, the next could be in rainbow order, or just warm colors or just cool.

They made a mini version of it on their worksheet using pencil then markers. Once that was planned out they got started on the big paper. Pencil first, then paint!

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