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Buildings and Architecture

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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Skyscraper Line Drawing

Skyscraper Line Drawing

By on Mar 17, 2013 | 20 comments

Inspired by illustrator, Marz Jr. 5th grade students looked at pictures of skyscrapers and created a retro line drawing of their observations. The students used a black Sharpie marker to draw the contour lines of a skyscraper (we looked at famous New York landmarks) and then got busy adding the dozens and dozens of extra windows and doors. I suggested drawing 2-3 skyscrapers on the colored paper and leaving enough room for a 4th skyscraper somewhere on the paper. After drawing the skyscrapers on colored paper, I handed out sheets of 12″ x 9″ sulphite paper so the student could draw a final building. They cut the building from the white paper and glued to the colored paper. Stunning...

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Paper Skyscrapers

Paper Skyscrapers

By on Feb 11, 2013 | 10 comments

Cutting and pasting is a big deal in Kindergarten. Learning how to manipulate paper into shapes and then into a picture is an even bigger deal. It doesn’t matter what the subject is: a house, a sailboat or a skyscraper, the technique is the same. Start by giving each student a sheet of 12″ x 18″ black sulphite paper, a sheet of 12″ x 18″ white sulphite paper, a bowl of scissors, some school glue (or a glue stick) and some colorful paper scraps. The first step involves talking about a skyscraper. I have the most wonderful book that I bought at a book sale Skyscrapers: A History of the World’s Most Extraordinary Buildings. Although the text is detailed, the photographs are a wonderful resource for the kids. The  book is tall and lends itself well to the lesson. I already spoke about the loveliness of The Shape of My Heart and like I said in my review, there are many art projects other than Valentine’s Day in which to use this book as a great visual resource. This is one such lesson. To make the white skyscrapers, the children cut their white paper into 3-4 sections lengthwise on the paper. Then, they alter the tops of the resulting rectangles by cutting out towers, adding a slanted roofline or just making the rectangle shorter than the others. Glue the rectangles (skyscrapers) to the black paper, leaving a strip of black paper at the bottom. The edges of the rectangles will be choppy, but don’t worry about it. If you were doing this lesson with older children, they could use a ruler to make the skyscraper sides straight, but for 5 year olds, this is not important. The younger the child, the harder this next task is to accomplish: making windows and doors. I demonstrate how to cut small squares and rectangles, using different colored pieces of paper, but if a child only has enough stamina to complete one or two of the buildings, that is a success. Don’t underestimate the concentration needed by these little ones to cut the dozens of windows necessary to fill a skyscraper. Once windows and doors are glued on, children can start making cars. I...

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Paul Klee Art Lesson

Paul Klee Art Lesson

By on Sep 26, 2012 | 14 comments

Paul Klee has quickly become one of my favorite artists to showcase in my art room. Purchasing The Cat and the Bird by Geraldine Elschner and Peggy Nille is a big reason for this excitement. It’s so much easier holding up an exquisitely illustrated picture book than coming up with my own powerpoint or dry explanation of an artist. Although the story is best for children ages 5-8 (and is the most perfect companion book to Klee’s Cat and Bird painting),I emphasized the warm and cool castle drawings in the book for my fifth grade students (10-11 years). After thumbing through the illustrations (I didn’t read the story to this age group), I brought out some of Klee’s works and spoke about warm and cool colors. I passed out watercolor paints, scraps of watercolor paper and a waterproof marker. The students practiced drawing quick rectangular shapes and then painted warm or cool colors into those shapes. It’s tricky painting small areas and it takes a lot of practice to do well. I don’t often do a watercolor lesson with a pen drawing as it’s very hard to contain the watercolors. That’s why I use oil pastel in most lessons. It’s way easier for children to be “successful”. After the practice session, the children were given a 9 x 12 sheet of 90 lb watercolor paper and a thin-tip waterproof black pen. Starting from the bottom of the paper, they drew tall structures topped with triangle roofs. I used cardboard templates to assist with drawing the rectangular shapes. I prefer templates to rulers as I don’t want the children measuring and getting to caught up in making things perfect. Once the structures were in place, the children drew a moon or sun freehand. Using trays of watercolor paint, the children painted their structures with cool colors. Was this easy? No. My students still have a really hard time distinguishing warm and cool colors or at least they find it hard to stick with a color group. I don’t blame them. It takes discipline. I don’t see a problem with allowing the children to use their own color choices unless you needed to grade a child’s ability to distinguish between warm and cool colors....

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James Rizzi Skyscraper Art Lesson

James Rizzi Skyscraper Art Lesson

By on Feb 3, 2012 | 11 comments

James Rizzi has left his mark on the world. His amazing illustrations has made an indelible impression on me and my students. Last Fall, my sixth graders did a unit on James Rizzi which included Faces and Simple Birds. This time we had fun with James Rizzi Inspired Skyscrapers. This is a super easy lesson for older students. 100% fun and successful. The technique is simple: oil pastel and watercolors. I explained the technique here and used the same 2012 James Rizzi Wall Calendar  for inspiration and drawing guidelines.  I think it’s important to use watercolor paper, no matter what the quality, as that is what makes the project so vibrant. If you use regular construction paper, the watercolor paints soaks into the paper fibers which would result in a dull appearance. Also, make sure to press hard with the black oil pastel. The drawing is easy for older students. Instead of straight rectangular buildings, students added curved lines and interesting shapes as a substitute. A few pictures of any James Rizzi skyscraper art is all students need to be inspired! Aren’t these wonderful. This lesson didn’t take long; just two, 50 minute classes. It helps to use small watercolor paper (9 x 12) to aid in the rapid completion of the project. Sixth Grade Skyscrapers… This post contains affiliate...

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Watercolor Castle Art Project

Watercolor Castle Art Project

By on Jan 6, 2012 | 24 comments

My Kinder students joined in on the fairy tale fun by learning how to turn lines and shapes into a castle. By combining squares, rectangles, triangle and a few half circles, Kinders created their very own castle. You don’t need many supplies; a 12″ x 18″ piece of regular drawing paper, some liquid watercolors and some oil pastels. I like to start the drawing with a simple line. Children select their favorite color and draw a line across the bottom of the paper, being careful not to touch either side. Then, they draw two long lines up each side. The drawing at this point looks like a square with 3 sides. Now, they complete the two towers by drawing a short line across the top of each tower and then all the way down to the first line. This may sound complicated, but it isn’t. The towers are basically two rectangles. To make the face of the castle, connect the two towers with one simple line. Above the line, children draw battlements. Place two triangles on top of the towers and the drawing is really taking shape. After adding embellishments such as flags, a doorway and windows, children use their colored oil pastels to draw bricks or patterns. The final step is to paint over all the shapes with liquid watercolor.  If you have liquid watercolor, use it here. It really helps having the pre-mix colors as pan watercolors would take slightly longer to apply. I opted to cut out the castles with the students so we could make a bulletin board display, but if you don’t like that idea, continue drawing a simple background (add a horizon line at least) and paint.     Looking for more castle projects? How to Draw a Castle for 4th Grade Fairy Tale Castle Project for Second Grade This post contains affiliate links...

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