Monday, December 31, 2012


I love Pinterest! It has helped me so much as an art teacher! As a visual person, seeing pictures and ideas on the internet that I can pin for future reference is absolutely wonderful. As 2012 comes to a close I am sharing my Pinterest Art Education Board with you. *********************************************************************** ***********************************************************************
*********************************************************************** Hope everyone who has shared their ideas with me via Pinterest helps you when looking for an art lesson idea!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Charley Harper

Charley Harper was born August 4th, 1922 and died on June 10, 2007. He spent his adult life in Cincinnati and is considered an American Modernist artist. His artwork is made up of highly stylized wildlife prints, posters and book illustrations.
Charley Harper had a unique way of looking at nature. His prints of birds, especially cardinals reveal simple geometric shapes.
He was a conservationist as well as an artist. Harper’s wildlife also showed his sense of humor. He was an American artist who grew up on a West Virginia farm and developed an early love of animals. Below you can see a video of some of Harper's cardinals. You can also introduce him to your students while the video is playing. He graduated from the Cincinnati Art Academy and taught there for many years. I think his artwork is flat, hard-edged, and simple, which is why young students react to the playfulness in his artwork. Below are some examples done by my KDG. students.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Harvest Moon - a 4th grade batik

I have done this lesson plan for several years and always get wonderful results. It has become one of my students' favorite projects. I do this in 4th grade once the leaves have started to change their colors. Here is the lesson plan.
Session 1: I introduce organic and geometric during the first time we meet. After we discuss the essential question (see lesson plan), we discuss different organic and geometric shapes and forms. We discuss autumn and leaves. I pass out white drawing paper, pencils, leaves I have collected from my yard, and rolls of masking tape. I ask the students to drop the roll of masking tape onto their paper. Wherever it lands, they trace it. We discuss that although it is a geometric form, we are going to use it as an organic form – the Harvest Moon. The students then drop different leaves onto their paper tracing each one. They should have at least three, but may have more. If the leaf falls partially off the paper, then they just trace the part that is on their composition. Next each student adds the veins on the leaves. I pass out baskets of crayons for each table to share. I demonstrate how I want the students to color their leaves. I ask them to press very hard on the crayon and I also ask them not to color the veins of the leaves. We also color the stems. The students may use any colors but BLACK. The last thing we do is write our names on the back in crayon and I collect these as they clean up before leaving.
Session 2: We discuss batiks and pysanky eggs during this session. I show them two short videos from YouTube (listed on my lesson plan) – one on making batiks and one on making pysanky eggs. We discuss the similarities and differences between the two techniques. I also show them several examples that we pass around the room. I found out the hard way, it might be a good idea to show the pysanky egg inside a clear plastic container. Once each student is finished coloring his or her Harvest Moon composition, it is time to turn it into a paper batik. I demonstrate the steps and write them on my agenda board. After each student puts on a paint shirt, takes a deskcover and gets his or her project back, check to be sure coloring is complete. ********************************************************************************* Step 1: Take project to the sink; crumble it up into a ball about the size of a baseball. Step 2: Wet it under the sink – no longer than 5 seconds. Step 3: Shake off excess water into sink. Step 4: Take deskcover and open and spread out project onto it. Step 5: Get black ink or paint (thinned tempera), a paintbrush and a clean damp sponge. Step 6: Paint entire surface with black paint – cover completely. Step 7: Put on plastic throw away gloves (like they use in food service). Step 8: This is the most important part – take the damp sponge and start lifting the black paint off the project. The sponge may need to be cleaned and rinsed several times. Step 9: The little cracks we made by crumbling the paper create the effect of a batik. Step 10: Carry project to drying rack on deskcover. Throw away gloves and clean up desk or table area. The reason we wrote our names in crayon last time is because the wax in the crayon will resist the black paint as it soaks through the paper to the back. I usually iron the projects when they are dry.
Last year we drew pictures on a piece of paper, put a piece of wax paper on top of it, and then a piece of muslin on top of that. We could see our designs through the muslin and wax paper. We traced our designs on the muslin with Elmer’s blue gel glue. The next class when the glue was dry, we painted the muslin with acrylic paints. I took the projects and soaked in warm water for about 30 minutes and then scrubbed off the blue gel glue with a hand brush. When these dried, I ironed them. They really looked like a batik. ********************************************************************************** All examples here were created by 4th grade students.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Organizing the Art Room

I have been thinking about what art lesson to share this month and I decided since it is the beginning of a new school year; I would share a tip instead. ******************************************************************* My classroom has 6 tables with 4 students at each table. You could do this with individual desks too (by grouping four together). Each table has a name - your choice - I use art periods with a poster of each period by each of my 6 tables. The students learn very quickly what art period is their table. ******************************************************************** I put little round stickers on each corner of each table. I bought a pack of dots at Wal-Mart. They are Hot Pink, Orange, Yellow and Bright Green. I have a chart posted on the wall with job assignments - Supplies, Collector, Clean Up and Helper. I use Velcro strips on the backs of the 4 rectangles on my chart. ******************************************************************** I change the chart the beginning of every cycle. I never worry about missing a student or calling on one too often. My chart solves that. The Helper job does any jobs if someone else is absent or we just need extra help with one of the other jobs. ******************************************************************** Supplies - Pass out all supplies for the lesson. Collector - Collect all supplies, materials, and tools. Clean Up - Clean up table, floor, scraps, etc. Helper - Do job of absent person or help one of other three. ******************************************************************** I would like to take credit for this idea, but like most, it was passed down to me from a former art teacher I worked with for many years. Thank you Diane! It has served me well for more years than I care to say.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Printmaking and Pattern in KDG.

STILL - LIFE: Printmaking Patterns and 3D *****************************************************************************
In KDG. we have art class for 60 minutes. I have one sink for 16 o 22 students. This project requires 2 class periods to complete. ******************************************************************************** We discuss different types of compositions throughout the year. This is one lesson I use when discussing STILL LIFE. You can choose any artist you would like. I used Cezanne and Van Gogh. ********************************************************************************* We also discussed printmaking and what exactly it was. I usually show them some different types of printmaking and we talk about any experiences they may have had using printmaking techniques. First we used rounded shaped objects to print 4 or 5 flower shapes on different paper scraps. I use tempera paint, printmaking ink, or printing pads, depending on which I have at the time. ****************************************************************************** While they were drying and we were cleaning up our printmaking areas, we then took a rectangle of color (precut by the teacher) and created patterns on it (we had discussed patterns earlier in the year). The students pick from different piles of color. The last thing we do on Day 1 is to pick out a background piece of paper, put our names on the back and make a patterned table or tablecloth.
********************************************************************************** On day 2, we cut out our flower shapes. We glue down the colored rectangle so it makes a 3D shape and curves out from the paper. On the paper we add stems, leaves, etc. to our compositions. The students may add any ideas they would like to create.
********************************************************************************* If we still have some time left, we glue our project down to a larger piece of paper to create a border. We decorate it.

Monday, May 28, 2012

From Leonardo to Pablo

In 4th grade we study Realism and Cubism. We do self portraits using facial mapping and learn about Leonardo da Vinci. We also study Pablo Picasso and his different periods of art. We concentrate on Cubism and do a portrait on the internet. After printing our portraits, we create clay relief sculptures. Our art classes are 75 minutes long and the whole unit takes about 5 art classes to complete.
******************************************************************************** Day 1: Introduction to Leonardo da Vinci and Realism. We discuss facial mapping and use it to compose a realistic self portrait using mirrors, pencils, markers, erasers and 2 pieces of paper(one for our drawing and the other for our facial mapping guidelines). We also use a black sharpie marker to draw our facial mapping guidelines and our pencils and erasers for our actual realistic drawing.
******************************************************************************** Day 2: Completion of Realism - Self-Portrait. We complete all of the important parts of our face and finish all of the details on our drawings. For those who finish early, they may add colored pencil to their portraits.
******************************************************************************** Day 3: Introduction to Picasso and his Art Periods - Emphasis on Cubism. I show students a PPT. presentation on Picasso and we look at several of his Cubist portraits. We hand out laptops and go to the following website. Here we compose a Picasso Cubism portrait and print it out. Below are 2 student examples:
******************************************************************************** Day 4: Relief Sculpture - Cubism Portrait. This class period the students learn about relief sculpture, clay, tools and procedures. Using the printed compositions from last art class, each student constructs a Cubism portrait relief sculpture from clay.
******************************************************************************** Day 5: Ornamentation of Clay Sculptures. Once all projects have been fired in the kiln, the students are ready to add acrylic paint, glitter, wire, beads, buttons, feathers, whatever to their sculptures. I give them the option of using modpodge or another type sealant before they add the other details.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Art Show Time

I have been so busy getting ready for our 30th annual district wide art show, I totally forgot about my blog this month. Getting ready for an art show is always a major undertaking. We have art work from KDG. through 12th grade. We also have a feature that shows art works and thoughts from our alumni. Our area technical school will also be displaying their student art work. I am excited to see what new creations will inspire me this year. Here are a few of the pieces I really liked this year.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Henri Matisse 1869 -1954

This art lesson is based on Henri Matisse and I taught it to my Kindergarten classes to review color and shape.

Henri Matisse
was born in France and lived to the age of 84.
He began studying law but once he was introduced to painting, he decided to become an artist.

He did many different types of art – drawing, printmaking, collage, sculpture and painting.
Many of his pieces emphasize color and shapes.
He liked creating patterns too.

During the last 14 years of his life, he was sick and could not paint anymore.

This did not stop him from still creating art.

He began to use scissors and make cut outs that he glued together.
This is considered his cut out or collage period.

Today his paper cutouts are in museums all over the world.

After looking at some of his work and discussing colors and shapes, I showed my student a Lego movie by Yellowhead Productions about Daedalus and Icarus.

Then we looked at Matisse’s Icarus and talked about what each shape and color represents.
I passed out paper, glue, scissors, and pencils.
I asked my students to create Icarus like Matisse.

First we put our names on the back of our papers and then drew our Icarus on black paper.

We talked about his arms and legs and in what position they might be posed considering the story.

Then I left them decide what other shapes and colors to cut out and add.

Here are some examples from my students.

If any students got finished early, I suggested they make some cutouts of their own just like Matisse.

Many of my students made up their own endings to the story of Daedalus and Icarus.
This student wanted Icarus to land in the ocean and be rescued. Although he never saw his father again, he survived.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

David Armstrong - 1947 to 1998

Painting a Winter Landscape Composition

I was very fortunate to have David Armstrong as my watercolor teacher. When he was attending Bucknell University, he taught some graduate courses for the Pennsylvania State University.

David was born in 1947. He lived in Kent, Connecticut on his family’s sheep farm. He studied at the Taft School, Bucknell University and Indiana University.

He spent most of his life in Unityville, PA on his farm. He painted realistic watercolors of everyday life and the beauty of the American landscape. He always painted the mood of the moment on location, not from photographs.

I love watercolor painting and always want to share what I know with my students. I taught this lesson in 1st grade and 5th grade. I introduce the class to the watercolor paintings of David Armstrong. Because Bucknell University is in our hometown, the children relate to it.

We discuss landscape painting, winter, foreground, middleground, background and sky. We also discuss perspective and the horizon line.
We discuss winter and I explain that we are going to paint a winter landscape that demonstrates all of the above and some different watercolor techniques.
Once we all have paint shirts on, tools and materials ready and our names on the back of the paper, we begin.
First technique is masking: We discuss what masking does and then take masking tape and put in the horizon line (one strip across our white drawing or watercolor paper). Then we take three pieces of tape and run them from the top of the paper and down crossing the horizon line. These will be trees. Next we tear pieces of tape to make branches and twigs on our trees.

The second technique we discuss and do is resist. You can use crayons or oil pastels. We used crayons and colored in the moon – the choice is up to each individual student - full, crescent, rising setting, white, yellow, etc.
Our third technique is wet on wet. We are ready to paint the sky. We talk about winter skies and then wet the top part of the paper (the bottom will stay white as it is the snow on the ground) with water and add blues, purples, whatever the students think they want their skies to look like.
Our fourth technique is to take the plastic or wooden end of our paintbrush and scratch some trees right above our horizon line. Because the paper is wet the color goes to those scratches. We are creating distance and adding details to our landscapes.
The final technique is using salt to create an interesting texture on the sky. While the sky is still wet we drop some table salt onto it. Pretzel salt makes a different technique than table salt. We review the five watercolor techniques we used and put our projects on the drying rack until next time.
Second art class: Review and hand back landscapes. We are again decked out in our paint shirts and have deskcovers on the tables. Our first step is to very carefully remove the masking tape from our papers. The horizon line should be the last to be removed. (If anyone tears his or her paper, you can usually tape the back or glue a piece of white to the back where the hole may be.)
We talk about hard lines and soft lines. I show them black charcoal and some pictures of white birch trees. I show them how to use the charcoal and blend it –we used pieces of paper towels and erasers for this part. We discuss the textures we see on the trees. I ask them to turn their trees into birch trees making sure the tree bottoms come down past our horizon lines. This will give us some distance in our landscapes. We discuss these are the trees in the middleground of our landscapes.

When they are finished we discuss the moon and how it might create some shadows from the trees on the snow. We add the shadows on the snow next. We also discuss how to make distance in our landscapes and then we put some objects in our background – again it is up to the individual whether he or she adds more trees, buildings, mountains, hills, people or animals. We also discuss what might be in the foreground – animal, people or vehicle tracks, snowmen, fences, buildings, etc. and then we add them.
We review all of the parts of our landscapes using our vocabulary words. We wash the charcoal off of ourselves and erase any marks on our papers we don’t want there.
Our last part of this project is to create a snowfall on our landscapes. We discuss the sixth and final watercolor technique of spattering. I demonstrate both methods – using a paintbrush and tapping it or using a toothbrush and a piece of cardboard. By running the toothbrush over the edge of the cardboard, it also will create spatters. We use white tempera for this because the white watercolor paint does not show up as well. Remind them that the spatters should go on the landscape not on themselves or their neighbors.
Clean up, collection and closure are last. Below are some finished results.
The first three are from Grade 1 and the last three are from Grade 5.

If you want to learn more about David Armstrong and see some of his other work just click on watercolors.