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Chalk Pastels

Winter Skaters Art Project

Winter Skaters Art Project

By on Dec 18, 2015 | 2 comments

Last year I came across the most beautiful winter art scene from this artist’s gallery . It reminded me of my childhood growing up on a horse farm in Eastern Canada. During the month of February, snow would often melt then quickly refreeze. In the hollow of one of our grazing fields, a large rink would form. My sister and I would pull on our skates and stay outside until dinnertime. Using extension cords, we hooked up flood lights to allow our skating to resume long after the winter sun set. What fun we had in our own winter wonderland. This painting reminds me of that joy. Art is meant to be an emotional experience, not just a learning experience. The technical sides of any art project is always there but it’s important to make connections to our own lives. This is a story-telling project where young artists can create their own stories inside their artwork. I hope you try this lesson yourself and get lost in your own imagination....

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Chalk Flowers Art Project – 2 Ways

Chalk Flowers Art Project – 2 Ways

By on Oct 16, 2015 | 12 comments

Chalk is an underused art medium. Too dusty. Too messy. High maintenance. And spraying? Forget it. I say ignore the bad rap and go for it. Chalk pastels, also known as soft pastels, are an incredible product for kid’s art-making. Similar to old school finger-painting, chalk is truly like painting with your fingers. Kids love it. And when I say that, it’s true. In all my years of teaching, I’ve had maybe two kids who didn’t like the feel of chalk. They totally get into it and come up with the most beautiful expressions of art. If you are wondering if you should spay chalk art, you can read this post. Here is one of my most popular lessons (with the kids!) that uses two techniques:  Pencil, white school glue & black paper for older kids ages 9-12 Black oil pastels on black paper for younger kids 5-8 Sometimes using the right art technique can make or break a project depending on the kids age group. Older kids can manage the handling of the glue better than younger kids. In fact, younger kids can barely brush glue onto paper, let alone draw with it. So unless you want to help your students a great deal, use oil pastels with the younger set. So much easier and age-appropriate.   For both projects you’ll need a black paper. Here’s the thing: it doesn’t have to be large. I like the 9″ x 12″ size or even 12″ x 12″. This makes it easier for the kids to color the entire paper and not get too bored. Start with the drawing. If you are using glue to draw with, it’s okay to draw simple shapes with a pencil. Some kids may want to skip over this step and draw with the glue. The trick to drawing with glue is to make sure the bottle can squeeze an even stream of glue onto a piece of paper. You should test it first. Then, treat the orange plastic tip as you would a pencil lead and just draw. Start at the left and move to the right if you are right handed. Let the glue dry over night on a flat surface. Don’t use a tilted drying rack. Drips.Drips. Drips....

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Jelly Fish Art project

Jelly Fish Art project

By on Jun 20, 2015 | 31 comments

One of the prettiest projects my third graders created this year happened during the very last days of school. I get rather desperate for ideas and organization towards the end of the school year so I had to scramble for a fast, two session project. I came across a jellyfish painting on my Watercolor Pinterest Board and it was love at first sight. My third graders LOVED this project. And I did too. I had all the supplies on hand (just barely) and stretched this relatively quick lesson into a 2-session project.   Here’s What We Did: 1. Each child painted a 12″ x 18″ piece of white paper (I like Tru-Ray drawing paper) with either a gradient of blue or red paint. I was a bit of a control freak here as I wanted to make the prep easy. I squeezed white, red, purple and black paint into 3 muffin-style palettes and blue, white, purple and black into two muffin-style palettes. Depending on where the child sat, he would either create blue or red gradient paper. That’s right. No choice. Feel free to allow a child to choose though. I did this as a matter of simplicity and quite frankly,  laziness. I’m not ashamed. Starting at the top of the vertical paper, the kids painted a strip of white paint. Without cleaning their brush, they dipped their paint brush into a little bit of red paint. They applied the paint below the white strip and blended. They continued on, dipping their brush into more red, then adding purple (this gives the paint the bright pink/fuchsia color and then finally black. We worked slowly and carefully with this step. I wanted it to last the entire 40-minutes. 2. After the child finished painting his gradient, they added white paint for bubbles. To do this, give each table group some white paint that has been watered down some. In order to splatter well, the paint needs to be the consistency of cream. 3. After the background paper has dried, it’s time to draw a jelly. – Use white soft chalk pastel and draw a curved line for the top of the jellyfish body. – Add a wiggle line across the bottom of the jelly for his...

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Picasso’s Le Coq Pastel Project

Picasso’s Le Coq Pastel Project

By on May 21, 2015 | 3 comments

The inventory situation in my art room has reached a critical point. I have depleted my black oil pastels, white paper and white paint. This trio is my milk, eggs and bread of the art room.  Not wanting to place an order when I have two more weeks of classes, I’m forced to go beyond what is comfortable and start using up the left-overs. My pastel drawer, which in September was flush, organized and plentiful, is now barren, chipped, stubby and pathetic. Still, chalk pastels work just as well when they are broken and as when they are unbroken. My fifth graders hadn’t worked with chalk this year so I brought out my trays of broken bits and thought back to one of my more successful chalk lessons for older kids, Big Fat Hens. Turns out that I have a huge carton of black paper (the results of a paper ordering mistake) so I set black paper, oil pastels and chalk pastels on the table. Instead of re-creating the Big Fat Hens lesson, I recalled that Picasso created a colorful cubist rooster. Turns out that I had a poster of this piece, so I introduced Pablo Picasso’s Le Coq to my fifth graders.   To start, I had some fun on the white board demonstrating how Picasso used cubism to draw portraits. I drew examples of how the profile and frontal views of a face merged to form a typical “Picasso” portrait and how he used the same technique with the rooster. We talked about the placement of the rooster’s eyes and how Picasso broke up the body into angular sections. Then the kids got busy. First they used a colored oil pastel to draw the rooster. My fifth graders are very comfortable drawing with oil pastel at this point in their art journey. They know that if a mistake is made, they can turn it into something else or turn over the paper. Some of the kids practiced on one side of the paper and created their good drawings on the other side. Read how to work with chalk pastels here. Using my collection of broken chalk pieces, I demonstrated how to color in a shape with one color, add another color for interest and then smudge the...

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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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Henri Matisse Purple Robe Mixed-Media

Henri Matisse Purple Robe Mixed-Media

By on Mar 8, 2015 | 5 comments

Henri Matisse may be best known for his colorful cut-outs, but I love his paintings. Purple Robe with Anemones is bright, colorful, fluid and offers a high interest level for kids. There is so much to look at: the colors, patterns, textures, etchings and perspective. I created a Purple Robe with Anemones Lesson for my Modern Masters Art Project PDF a few years ago. My students used oil pastel and tempera paint to create layers of interesting colors and textures. This time around, I opted to add chalk and colored oil pastels to the list of materials. The process involves drawing with an oil pastel then adding layers of tempera paint. With cold and flu season hitting one particular 5th grade classroom hard, many children missed the “painting” lesson. To help these children catch up, I showed them how to use a combination of oil pastel and chalk to create an equally interesting painting. DAY ONE: DRAWING One: Figuring out what to draw first is always a challenge for kids. We started with the flowers, moved to the table then drew the figure. I detailed these exact steps in the downloadable lesson plan. We used black oil pastel and white sulfite paper. DAY TWO: PAINTING Two: Using a variety of colored liquid tempera paint, the children painted the big areas (wall paper, table, robe) first. Three: To create texture, the kids doubled up the paint and scratched away the top layer to reveal the bottom layer. Each student created something unique to them. Four: If a child missed the painting step, they had the option of using oil pastel (you can layer oil pastel and scratch the top layer away to reveal the bottom layer) or chalk. DAY THREE: DETAILS For most kids, the third session was spent creating details but a few kids had some catching up to do. If their drawing was completed, they skipped the paint and moved directly to the oil pastel or chalk pastel. One: Instead of using paint, use chalk pastel to color in big areas. Two: Once the main areas of color were filled in, children had the option of using a black oil pastel or a black marker to outline their shapes. This step mimics Matisse’s efforts. During the...

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