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Ancient Dwellings Rock Art

Ancient Dwellings Rock Art

By on Mar 6, 2016 | 2 comments

This art project offers kids the opportunity to create their own rock art petroglyphs using terra cotta clay scraps and white paint. And the best part is that the project takes less than 45-minutes. To start, read your favorite ancient rock art book. I picked up a copy of Ancient Dwellings of the Southwest in Arizona but there are many other books that illustrate the art of our earliest habitants. This is a project that is perfect for air dry clay. Sometimes with air dry clay, the small details in a work of art can be chipped off, but this flat shape is safe from the typical perils of it dry clay. Purchase terra cotta clay and you’ll make the project even easier to do (and more authentic). I gave each student a handout of petroglyph drawings. If you don’t have one, you can download one from a site similar to this one or make your own. We practiced etching with a wooden dowel on clay and then they drew their petroglyph on their clay square (about 3″ x 3″). It would be far easier to just paint the image on the square but it didn’t really occur to me at the time, so etching is what we did. After the students etched their design, they use white underglaze to paint on top. If you are using air dry clay, using acrylic paint or even liquid tempera paint would work very well. I fired the clay rock tile since they were dry. No glaze is needed. Here’s what my group of second graders created: If you are looking for a more detailed lesson on cave paintings, take a look at...

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Hawaiian Dancers Art Project

Hawaiian Dancers Art Project

By on Mar 4, 2016 | 2 comments

What you’ll need: 12″ x 18″ white drawing paper (or watercolor paper if you have it) Black water-proof marker (I use Sharpie brand) Watercolor paints (I use liquid watercolors but pan watercolors are fine) Colored markers Tissue paper Optional: small silk flowers, leaves or decorations Drawing the Dancers The steps for drawing the dancers are varied, depending on how you like to draw. For me starting with a letter “U” about a hands length down from the top of the paper works best. Some kids will draw this letter large and some will draw it small. The resulting figures will be based on whatever size created, so make sure you reinforce the notion that all sizes are just fine. I leave the face for now and go directly to the neck. After the neck, draw shoulders. I emphasize that the male dancers have broad shoulders and the female dancers have small shoulders. Next comes a trick I learned as a fashion illustrator. It brought about a few laughs but basically it gets the job done. Just below the shoulders, add two dots (one below the left shoulder and one below the right). So you can see why the giggles, but these dots are guidelines for the torso.From those two “dots”, draw a line, slanting inwards, to create the waist. For the female the slant is more exaggerated, for the male, not so much. Now that we have shoulders and a torso, its safe to draw arms. I give a few options here, so you might want to do the same. After the arms, draw a skirt or in the case of the male, a sash. Draw the legs and then go back and draw a head piece first then the hair. Facial features are next and then the background. I put up a few Tropical scenes to give the children ideas, but basically they knew what they wanted.     After the drawings are complete, use markers to color in any small areas. It doesn’t make sense to color in large areas with markers, as painting with watercolors is much faster. Hand out pans of watercolor paint. I had a few bottles of glitter watercolor paint and it worked really well with this lesson....

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Abstract Moose Winter Art Project

Abstract Moose Winter Art Project

By on Jan 11, 2016 | 3 comments

During my visit to Alaska in 2014, I scoured books stores and art galleries looking for an artist who captured the spirit of Alaska and whose art could be translated to children. Dawn Gerety’s work fit the bill. I love her paintings: colorful, pattern-filled and whimsical, her collection of art went beyond the galleries to books for kids. When I got home, I crafted this project for older students. It is rich with the elements of art, captures the graphic beauty of the mighty moose and is easy enough for even the most art-timid child to be successful. The project uses watercolor paints and watercolor paper along with salt to achieve the fabulous texture, but if you don’t have all three ingredients, I offer great substitutions....

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How to Draw a Perspective Landscape

How to Draw a Perspective Landscape

By on Sep 18, 2015 | 6 comments

Learning how to draw perspective is one of those art techniques that gets kids to sit up and take notice. Part of the excitement is realizing that art has rules. Kids are aware of the basic meaning of perspective, but when you actually show them what the vanishing point is and how it relates to the size of objects, its truly an aha moment. Drawing perspective can be applied to most any type of landscape project but I think it works best when there is a road featured in the drawing. Roads are familiar and many kids know that they appear smaller as it moves away from the viewer. In this perspective lesson, roads were placed in the center of the picture. If this is your first time teaching a lesson on perspective, I would start with this one.   DRAWING A DESERT LANDSCAPE  For this perspective lesson I thought it would be interesting to have a different view point. Instead of placing the vanishing point on the (horizontal) horizon line like the lesson referenced above, I placed it off to the edge of one side of the paper. It is still located on the horizon line, just not in the middle of the paper. You’ll need rulers or some type of straight edge, a pencil and an eraser and a piece of white 12″ x 18″ paper to start. Draw horizontal line in the center of the paper. Or, you can do what I did and folded the paper in half horizontally. This way, the crease can act as the horizon line. Then, place ruler on one side of the line at the paper’s edge. Trace an angle line to the opposite edge of the paper. Do again but this time above the horizon line. The angle lines don’t have to touch the corners as this might be too steep of an angle. The drawing of the cacti and the road will occur on the angle lines and NOT the horizon line. Erase any horizon line marks so this rule doesn’t confuse the kids. We chose to draw saguaro cactus and a dirt road to demonstrate the perspective. To do this, start on one side of the paper and draw...

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Lincoln Portraits Art Project

Lincoln Portraits Art Project

By on Apr 26, 2015 | 1 comment

If you are looking for a great story to read to your students, Abe Lincoln’s Dream by Lane Smith combines corny jokes, American history and great illustrations. The story alludes to the Lincoln’s bedroom ghost story and comes from the POV of a young girl taking a tour of the white house. She discovers Lincoln’s ghost and she assures him that the country has turned out just fine since he last left it. A readable story with clever illustrations make this one of my favorite reads so far this year. Here is the publisher’s promo video: I did this lesson with a second grade class and a second/third grade combo. Both classes did a great job but the older kids were more confident in the open-end strategy I employed for the final collage component. I borrowed the Americana collage idea from a former lesson on Lady Liberty. Honestly, I was quite impressed with the variety of images my little seven and eight-year olds created. Here’s what you’ll need: 1 sheets of 9″ x 12″ white sulphite paper 1 sheet of 12″ x 18″ white sulphite paper 1 6″ x 9″ black sulphite paper Strips of black paper (about ½” thick) Black oil pastel and black chalk pastel Scissors & glue Cake tempera paint Colored oil pastels Glitter (optional, of course!) 1. Drawing Abe Lincoln The book features a simple Abe Lincoln illustration which makes it very easy for kids of this age to observe and draw. I used a simple directed drawing for Abe. It goes something like this: Turn 12″ x 9″ white paper so that it is tall. Starting at the top of the white paper, draw a line down from the top and down about ½ way, across  and up again (angular letter U) to reach the top Add two vertical lines for the neck For the body: starting at the bottom of the paper, draw a line up one side, across the middle where the shoulders should be and down the other side. Make sure to touch the neck lines. Back to the head: Draw a wavy line across Lincoln’s forehead for one side of his hair. Draw another curved line for the other side of his hair. Draw a horizontal line below the hairline. This is Lincoln’s...

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Santa Barbara Mission Paintings

Santa Barbara Mission Paintings

By on Jan 16, 2014 | 3 comments

The Santa Barbara Mission is perched on top of a gentle hill over looking the city and the distant ocean. An extensive rose garden offers the visitor a place to picnic, play and enjoy the Spanish architecture of the mission. This is my city. The weather is glorious and I imagine the Spanish Franciscans who founded the mission in 1786 thought so, too. Three adobe churches were constructed on the site–one of which was destroyed in the 1812 earthquake.  Today, the mission hold services as well as opportunities for groups to gather for retreats. What You’ll Need: Paper bag or brown construction paper Black waterproof marker (I used Sharpie brand) Puck tempera paint (cake tempera) Paint brushes and water containers Drawing the Mission Drawing the mission is not as difficult as it appears. The lines and shapes that make up the main facade is easy for children to see and understand. I have done a ceramic mission with much success with my 3rd and 4th grade students and used a simple diagram that helped them build their ceramic piece. This diagram/drawing proved helpful when drawing the facade. Draw a square on the piece of paper. Beside the square draw two rectangles on either side. Top the square with a triangle.  On top of both side rectangles, draw two squares with arches in them. On top of the last “box” draw a dome, a smaller rectangle and finally a cross. Lots of stacking! Fill in the triangle roof with a border line. Add columns to the main facade making sure to leave enough room for the small arched doorway. Resist filling the side columns with a brick patterns for now. Leave this detail until after you paint. Then, once the paint dries, this detail can be applied with marker over the paint. Add a rectangle above the triangle roof and add a step effect to reach the cross. Add steps on the bottom of the drawing. The steps are a series of growing rectangles. Once the mission is drawn, the children drew large roses or there flowers near the bottom of the paper. Then, they drew a horizon line in back of the mission and then our Santa Barbara foothills and mountain range in behind....

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