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Mexican Unit

Diego Rivera’s Mother’s Helper Art Lesson

Diego Rivera’s Mother’s Helper Art Lesson

By on Jul 30, 2012 | 17 comments

Diego Rivera is one of the most famous painters in the twentieth century. After studying in Spain and France, he returned to his homeland of Mexico. There he travelled across the country, exploring the cultures, architecture and history of the different regions. Returning to Mexico City, Diego began painting murals for which he became famous. His painting “Mother’s Helpers” contains all the wonderful elements Diego Rivera is famous for: deep, rich tones, depiction of Mexico farm life and dark outlines.  The Drawing Fourth grade students used a black oil pastel and purple 12″ x 18″ sulphite paper to sketch the woman and child. I helped them along by drawing the steps on the whiteboard how to draw the girl and the woman. Take some time to point out the gentle slope of the woman’s head, shoulders and back. The line extends from the top of her head to the curve of her knee. So simple and beautiful. Point out that the heads are out of proportion with the bodies and that children shouldn’t worry if their bodies and heads are perfect. If it works for Diego, it’ll for for them!   The Coloring I place trays of chalk pastels on each table. Use newspapers to cover the desks. Here are a few tips for working with chalk: Understand that chalk is a messy medium and that it’s okay for a child to get messy. Clean-up is easy with baby wipes placed at the end of each table. Use one finger to blend chalk. Think of moving the finger around in little circles, pressing the chalk into the paper fibers. Use a flat end of the chalk whenever possible for this lesson. Children will want to avoid using a sharp angle to color as it takes longer. Spraying often distorts the artwork so I rarely spray. Instead, I use newspaper to cover the artwork. The Outlining The final step is to use a black oil pastel and a black chalk pastel to outline and to add shadow and depth. This is one of the few times I allow my students to use black chalk pastel. Most of the time, it is hidden away in a separate box! Fourth grade Diego...

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Frida and Diego Art Lesson Plans

Frida and Diego Art Lesson Plans

By on Apr 13, 2011 | 0 comments

Frida Kahloand Diego Rivera are two of Mexico’s most celebrated artists.  I adore all art from Mexico. There is an element of color and composition that evokes wonderful emotions. I’m always looking for inspirational pieces to round out my art curriculum and especially showcase artists from Mexico. These two lessons feature elements of Frida and Diego’s art: Frida’s Portraits and Diego’s symmetrical flower venders. Frida Kahlo Portrait:  David Diaz’s illustrations in Amy Novesky’s Me, Frida is a perfectcompanion to this lesson. The story has visually stunning pictures and brings Frida to life. I developed a portrait lesson based on the cover art using a paper folding technique that makes it easy for all children to master facial proportions. Diego Rivera’s “El Vendedor de Alcatraces”is visually dynamic with it’s strong color contrasts and symmetry.  Using the latter concept, I built a lesson based on symmetry. We dissected the drawing and magically made it appear again. Clever art techniques engage the students every time! The results are stunning. Original Deep Space Sparkle Handouts Include… Frida Portrait Face Guide Step-by-Step Visual Drawing Aid for “El Vendedor de Alcatraces” Teacher Script and visual drawing aid for “El Vendedor de Alcatraces” The 16-page booklet includes detailed photo-tutorials to guide you and your students every step of the way. Full student galleries, website suggestions and detailed drawing guides included. A perfect addition to your art lesson repertoire....

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Mexican Unit: Chalk Adobe

Mexican Unit: Chalk Adobe

By on Feb 25, 2011 | 21 comments

Want a quick, easy project where every student is successful? This is it! The best part about teaching art is seeing how my students respond to a new lesson. I’m not a scientist, but boy, it sure is interesting to see if my expectations line up with reality. This lesson exceeded it. Continuing with my Mexican unit, fifth graders drew adobes with colored chalk and oil pastels.   So here’s what we did: Take a 12″ x 18″ black sheet of paper and fold in half. This is my way of protecting the artwork from the chalk. Using a black oil pastel, draw adobe shapes. Using the handout (provided!) children drew adobes starting at the bottom of the paper and moving upwards. I encouraged simple shapes. Fill in with adobe colored chalk pastel. Talk about contrasts: brown adobe with a bright teal door, etc. Define lines by using the black oil pastel to trace over all original lines. This step really makes the colors pop, so don’t skip over it! When the picture is complete, fold the black paper over the artwork. This keeps the chalk from smearing during storage. When the time comes to display the artwork, cut off the extra paper. Fifth Grade Efforts:   Click to Download Free Handout: Adobe Drawing Aid...

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Aztec Warriors

Aztec Warriors

By on Feb 21, 2011 | 6 comments

Aztec Warriors are really fun to draw. Using few supplies (black waterproof marker, colored broad tip markers and paper) my sixth graders dove straight into the drawing with a black marker. When you look at the gallery, it’s hard to believe that no pencils were involved, but they weren’t necessary. I recently discussed the pros and cons of using pencils in the art room in this post. This lesson is a prefect example of teaching drawing techniques and how to use mistake lines to enhance your drawing. The kids did really well and they loved the energy of the final piece. I personally love the facial expressions–so serious, yet funny! This lesson was inspired by an article in the LA Times featuring an exhibit at the Getty museum in Los Angeles. For a detailed look at the process of drawing the ancient aztec figures through tutorials and drawing handouts, you might want to check out my Art lesson Booklet  Art from Around the World PDF Art Booklet. Sixth Grade Efforts!...

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Mexican Unit: Fruit Crate Art Project

Mexican Unit: Fruit Crate Art Project

By on Feb 15, 2011 | 9 comments

Continuing with our Mexico-themed art lessons, second graders created “Market Day” fruit crates. The project took three 45-minute sessions. First session: the students created their own painted paper.  Second session: students free-cut (organic shapes) fruit and vegetables.  Third session: they created a wooden crate from brown paper, added a colorful border and glued all the pieces together. For a final flourish, the children glued vintage fruit crate labels to their crates. I found them at Now and Then Designs on Flickr. Click on this link to read about How to Make Painted Paper Use old “placemats” cut into long strips as a colorful border.       Second Grade fruit and vegetable crates!...

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Mexican Unit: Sombrero Art Project

Mexican Unit: Sombrero Art Project

By on Feb 11, 2011 | 19 comments

My third grade classes are a creative and energetic bunch. They have a hard time sitting still. Instead of trying to reign them in, I take a different approach: offer a lesson as energetic as they are. For my Mexican Art Unit, I selected the sassy sombrero as my subject. The kids loved it and when I brought out the paints, these kids knew what to do. My art room was an explosion of color and style! Here’s what you’ll need: 18″ x 24″ bright colored paper (I used red, orange and yellow), black oil pastel for drawing sombrero, scissors, white glue, tubs of bright tempera paints, lots of brushes, pans of sequins or other embellishments, black paint, tissue paper and paper scraps. The students followed a simple directed line instruction for drawing the sombrero. Afterwards I brought out paints and placed six tubs of paint per table. My solution for keeping things relatively under control is to provide one brush per paint color. If that color is being used, a child must use another color. I rarely have more than 5 students at one table, so it seems to work. At this point, we set the sombreros on a rack (barely fit!) and allowed them to dry. The next class, children added more paint details and then outlined all of their patterns with black paint. Set a tray of sequins or embellishments, yarn and some paper scraps on a table and allow the children to decorate according to their tastes. This was a fun project. I didn’t work too hard trying to enforce standards, although we did look at the color wheel. Couldn’t find a picture book with a sombrero theme. Anyone know of one? Third Grade...

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