Friday, August 27, 2010

Art class: wild things

I'm really behind with these art class postings - I have three that I still haven't written about! Yesterday was the last summer art class and pool party. A good time was had by all!

Last week we worked on creating our own wild things. (The week before the girls did self-portraits, but I didn't get any good photos that day so I won't be posting about it.)

After reading Where the Wild Things Are, the girls got to work drawing their own wild thing in pencil. I gave step-by-step instructions - first draw the head, then the body, then the arms, legs, etc. Sometimes when I give them free-reign they rush through and finish too early. Going slowly gives them time to think about what they're drawing. I also gave out blank scrap paper in case they wanted to sketch some ideas before starting. I was surprised at how excited they were to do this part. I'll definitely include this step in other classes. When the drawings were finished I brought out the oil pastels for drawing patterns and outlining. Then the girls painted with watercolors and the spots where they used oil pastel resisted the paint. Most of them remembered this from the other time we did it.

Some of the names they came up with for their wild things were funny.

{Eagle wild thing.}

{Puppy pal wild thing.}

{I don't remember the name of this one, but she
told me it was a drawing of her mom!}

{Penguin wild thing.}

{Guinea fish wild thing.}

{Cop wild thing.}

{Puppy fish wild thing.}

After the wild things were finished we had some time left. I was expecting these to take up most of the class time, so I didn't have anything else planned. I spotted a tub of Crayola air dry clay that I had purchased a while back for Malayna. Each girl got a bit of clay and instructions to knead it in their hands before making something. They LOVED the clay and were so helpful to each other. I brought out some cookie cutters and one of the girls showed the others how to make little bowls. This could've been an entire art class on its own, divided into two sessions since the clay has to dry for a few days before it can be painted. This time they were sent home and told to wait 2-3 days for the clay to dry before painting it with tempera, watercolors or acrylics. You could probably even draw on it with markers.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Art class: collage with painted paper

Wow! This art class had so much energy! It was so lively and busy that we didn't even have time for snack until the very last minute. That's huge, people.

We read a fantastic book called The Lion and the Little Red Bird. The watercolor and mixed media illustrations in this book are colorful and inspiring. The story is great, too - about the friendship that develops between the two creatures, even though they don't speak the same language. The lion's tail is a different color each morning, and the girls enjoyed trying to figure out why.

Part of the reason this class was so energetic was because they were moving the whole time. Instead of having them sit at the same table for the entire class (like they usually do), I set up four painting stations. Each station/table had a different colors of paint and the girls would move to the next table after painting a sheet of paper (or two or three…). Table one had brown, black and white, table two had orange, red, yellow, table three had blue, purple, green and the last had yellow, white and pink.

They were so into it that I had to keep an eye on the time and move them along after a little while. I think they would've easily filled four or five sheets of paper at each table. My intention was to have them paint one sheet per table, but that didn't really work out. They tended to do two sheets on average and some were constantly asking for more paper. How could I say no when they were so inspired?!

In addition to painting the papers, they could use things to make impressions in the paint, like plastic forks, bubble wrap (the favorite), sponges and brushes. I need to get more bubble wrap - it's art class gold.

While they worked on painting their papers, my assistant Tessa had to start drying them with a blow dryer. I realized halfway through that they wouldn't be dry enough to complete the project. Once again I was so glad that I had an assistant.

After the papers were dry and we found the owners of them, I handed out bird body templates. The girls traced the bird body onto their painted papers, then wings, tail feathers, and head. Some girls went further and created nests, the sun, leaves and branches. I gave each girl a googly eye for their bird. I also let them use the oil pastels to draw on them. They cut out their drawings and glued everything onto blue construction paper.

I love the way these turned out! This, to me, was the perfect art class: there was tons of energy, the process was fun and the product looks great. Most of the projects we do are more about process than product, as it should be at this age. But it's a plus when pieces like this happen!

This project was adapted from one I found on the Deep Space Sparkle blog. She has lots of great art class ideas with excellent instructions.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Art class: hats

We did something a little different in last week's art class. Up until then we'd been working on 2D artwork, but this time we played around with some three-dimensional stuff. We read two books about hats (the girls voted for a second book): Twelve Hats for Lena (which may have been a little young for this group) and Millie's Marvellous Hat (a cute book about imagination).

Since the weather was uncooperative (very hot and humid with a threat of thunderstorms) I decided to play it safe and hold class indoors. My assistant had camp this week, so my mom helped out. We talked a little about what could go on the hats, but they were very anxious to get started. I put out a variety of materials for them to work with: feathers, oil pastels (they love these), paints, buttons, ribbon, yarn, pipe cleaners and pom-poms.

While the hats were drying (those pom-poms need a lot of glue!), they drew people with crazy hats on black paper with chalk pastels. Those were also a big hit. Some of the drawings were just a big mess of pastels that they had smooshed around the paper with their hands. A few of the girls (mine included) just wanted to put their hand in the pastels - never mind a drawing. I managed to reel them in and remind them to create a crazy hat drawing!

One of the girls had the idea to make bracelets with the pipe cleaners, and hats were even created for a special stuffed animal.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Art class: printmaking

It sure seems that every Thursday (art class day) is 95 degrees or above with at least 90% humidity! It's been a hot, dry summer. The dry part is good (for art class anyway), but it's a little tricky to stay cool outside while making art. Maybe I should invent some kind of art-making class we could do in the pool…

Last week we did some printmaking. The kids enjoyed making their own printing plates from foam plates after I read "Swimmy," a book that features illustrations created by printing different materials. First, the girls created a background on their paper with watercolors. They really like using watercolors (or paint of any kind). I did have to remind them not to mix too many colors together or else they would end up with "mud." I don't usually tell them which colors to mix or not to mix colors, but when they've created a beautiful color by mixing two paints, I hate to see it covered up with a muddy brown.

While the backgrounds were drying, the girls created their printing plates by drawing images of fish on foam plates (cut into squares). Some tried their hand at creating their own, but other wanted me to draw the outline for them, after which they filled them in with patterns, eyes, scales and fins.

We put those aside and went back to the backgrounds, printing with doilies, bubble wrap, rolling pencils, the lips of cups, pencil erasers and even fingers! The bubble wrap was probably the favorite material, and it was really tempting to pop it while painting on it!

Ideally, the printing plates would have paint applied to it with a brayer, but in this case we used tempera paint with a somewhat dry paintbrush. I had them test their plates on a separate piece of paper first to make sure the lines they drew were deep enough to resist the paint. (A few needed to be re-drawn.) This was Malayna's favorite art class so far.

After the underwater scenes were finished, we worked on artist trading cards. I gave each girl 8 small cards that I had cut from heavy paper and told them that they could "print" each card and then at the end of class everyone would trade cards, so we would have a card from each person in class. They loved this part! I was really impressed with the ideas they had for printing. One girl even did her own version of monoprinting - she painted on one card and then made several prints from that one image. They were so creative!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Art class: collage

Last week's art class was filled with cutting, pasting, drawing and lots of talking. I read the book "Baby Rattlesnake" and we talked about patterns, especially the ones we saw on the borders inside the book. Each girl created a snake collage with desert backgrounds and patterned borders.

The night before class, I cut strips of wallpaper for the girls to use as borders around their paper. I used wallpaper sample books for all the patterned paper in this project. It was free and the kids loved sorting through the papers and finding different patterns. Instead of using glue sticks (I wasn't sure they were going to stick), each girl had a small paper cup filled with glue and a paintbrush for applying. This definitely took up a lot of time, but that was a good thing. They enjoyed "painting" with the glue and getting messy.

After the borders were glued on, we put the papers aside to dry and traced and cut snakes from templates. Some needed help since the snakes were curvy. (I'm very thankful for my assistant Tessa, who helps me fill water cups, clean brushes, wash hands, help with cutting, etc, etc.) After the snakes were ready, they cut and glued small pieces of paper to the snake.

We let the snakes dry, and in the meantime did some work on the backgrounds with oil pastels (which are wildly popular!). We talked about the kinds of things that are found in the desert, like cactus plants, mountains, rocks, sand. After the backgrounds were finished, the girls worked on gluing their snakes on and adding pattern to the borders.

It was a long and fun project that kept them busy for almost the entire class (which is 2 hours long). Can't wait to see what they create this week!