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5th Grade Art Lessons

Mola-Inspired Holiday Stockings

Mola-Inspired Holiday Stockings

By on Dec 4, 2016 | 0 comments

Part culture, part color theory and all fun, this Mola-inspired Holiday Stocking will keep the kids busy drawing, cutting and composing their own colorful stockings. ABOUT MOLAS Molas are cloth panels that form part of a blouse for the Kuna women of Panama. They use a quilting technique called reverse appliqué to create the designs in the fabric. Because I used to be (and hope to be again!) a quilter, I know all about reverse appliqué. It’s pretty fun to do but darn hard to explain to kids. After a few attempts I decided that it’s just best to say that a Mola is a fabric panel with colorful strips sewn in. USING MOLAS IN THE ART ROOM Art teachers all over the world incorporate Mola art into their curriculum to help children connect with the process and purpose of creating art. Sometime art becomes abstract for kids if all we do is teach our students that art is about history and famous artists. Art can be found all around us: where we live, our clothing and everyday objects. One way to do this is by understanding THE STEPS to making a Mola-Inspired project: Draw Mola image with basic shapes and rainbow or echo lines. Molas are made up of basic, recognizable shapes: turtle, sun, flower, fish, etc. Notice that the Mola has a basic center shape and then lines are drawn around this shape to create the recognizable image. In the Mola above, the turtle starts out as an OVAl. Lines are drawn around the oval to create the head and four legs. Repeat the drawing of lines until you have the shape desired. Add vertical or horizontal strips of paper to achieve the decorative background. This can also be achieved using construction paper crayons or oil pastels. DOWNLOAD A FREE MOLA STOCKING PROJECT   ARE YOU A MEMBER? The Mola-Inspired Stocking full project tutorial plus hundreds of lesson plans, art resources and videos is included with your monthly membership. Enrollment opens January...

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Paper Plate Poinsettia: Holiday Craft for Kids

Paper Plate Poinsettia: Holiday Craft for Kids

By on Nov 22, 2016 | 10 comments

While decidedly Christmas in flavor, this easy holiday craft for kids can vary in paint colors to compliment any season. I’ll admit that creating these pink beauties filled my creativity bucket for the day. So grab some paint, a few paper plates from your pantry and crank up the holiday tunes. I guarantee, you’ll enjoy this as much as your kids! This project is perfect for those days during the holiday season when you need a fun activity for your festival of lights unit or holiday unit. Picture Book Recommendation The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie DePaola This book is set in a small village in Mexico and is a retelling of a traditional folk tale. It does have strong religious content so it may not be appropriate for your class. Each teacher can determine whether it is suitable for his or her classroom. Here’s what you’ll need: 10”, 9” & 6” Plate (exact size is not as important as 3 different sizes) Red, white, green and yellow liquid tempera paint Gold metallic paint (optional) Small kitchen sponges (cut a regular sponge into smaller rectangles) Red, white and green oil pastels Paint brushes Yellow tissue paper Scissors Pencil Small plastic cup or lid White School Glue Don’t be alarmed by the extensive supply list. Most everything can be found in your art pantry. I find tempera paints are best but if you have craft acrylic paints (the kind you find in craft stores) then you are great. Curious what the difference is between tempera paint and acrylic paint? Here’s a video showing what I discovered: Acrylic vs Tempera Paint. * DOWNLOAD THE FREE PDF BELOW FOR INSTRUCTIONS, PHOTOGRAPHS AND ARTIST STATEMENT How to Make the Poinsettia: Each student receives 3 paper plates. I use the most inexpensive brand that has no printing on it. It doesn’t matter the size of the plates, but it does help to have 3 different sizes: small, medium and large. Place a small condiment cup or circle template in the middle of the LARGEST PLATE. Draw a circle. Starting at the outside edge of the plate, cut a leaf shape towards the center circle. Do not cut through the circle. For younger kids, it may be helpful to...

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Contour Cat Watercolor Project

Contour Cat Watercolor Project

By on Oct 5, 2016 | 3 comments

The complementary colors of orange and blue are everywhere this fall season. And why not showcase these happy colors with a blue belly cat? A bit of doodling the other day prompted a quick contour drawing of this cute cat. Using the simple drawing handout,  children can free-draw their own contour cat to use as the subject of three watercolor techniques: Wet-on-wet watercolor (cat) Wet-on-dry watercolor (background) Wax resist (white outline and watercolor barrier) This lesson can be done in two steps. First, draw the contour cat with a sharpie on watercolor paper. Then paint the cat and background. Second, after the paint dries, add the pattern and lines. ART SUPPLIES waterproof black marker watercolor paper (90 lb) pan watercolor paints white crayon or oil pastel medium round brush water TECHNIQUES wet-on-wet wet-on-dry wax resist contour line drawing patterns, shape and line DRAWING DIRECTIONS Use the drawing handout as a guide to draw a contour line of a simple cat. Focus on drawing two ears, a head, a long neck, hunched shoulders, simple paws and a long, curvy tail. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect. The fun part is drawing wonky lines! Draw two oval shapes for the EYES. With a white crayon, trace carefully along the outside of the black marker line. With a brush, touch the blue paint and dip into water so the clear water has a tint of blue. Brush water inside the contour line. With BLUE paint, start painting a LINE of color along the bottom of the cat. Hold paper upside down so that the blue drips and mingles towards the body. Continue painting the cat blue, allowing the paint to migrate down the paper using gravity. This is really fun for kids as they can see how the colored paint will travel to the wet areas. Paint outside of the contour line (NEGATIVE SPACE) blue’s COMPLEMENTARY COLOR (orange!) After paint dries, use the black marker to add a NOSE and a MOUTH. Fill the cat with patterns, lines and...

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Matisse Garden – Book Review & Video

Matisse Garden – Book Review & Video

By on Jun 13, 2016 | 5 comments

MATISSE’S GARDEN My favorite activity is popping into a book store to browse. I hardly do it anymore mostly because bookstores aren’t as plentiful. And doesn’t Amazon make it easy to buy your favorite books? But as I was walking down Sate Street last week with my daughter, we popped into The Santa Barbara Museum of Art book store. Nothing makes me happier than being immersed in colorful children’s book covers, except maybe art books written for children. Matisse’s Garden by Samantha Friedman is a must have book for your art room library. It moves past Matisse’s back story and dives straight into the process of creating art, choosing colors and seeing art in a new way. And if you don’t have any of Matisse’s works of art nearby, there are eight reproductions you can use to show your students. Nice, huh? I love the illustrations by Cristina Amodeo. Perhaps a little less saturated than I prefer but still lovely and appealing. I was so inspired that I decided to draw my own little Matisse Garden inspired by Amodeo’s illustrations. Here’s a video that shows how to use basic markers to draw organic shapes and create a composition of your own. I used a simple sketchbook and Faber-Castell broad-tip markers. I tried really hard to leave the colors flat, like Matisse, but I couldn’t resist. In the end, I grabbed a Sharpie and outlined the flowers. I think you are either in one camp or another. I almost always outline but I love the organic beauty of not outlining, too. I know. So many tough decisions in art-making. Which do you prefer? Outlining or not?     SAVE THIS POST!...

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Paper Cut Molas

Paper Cut Molas

By on Mar 3, 2016 | 7 comments

Molas are cloth panels that form part of a blouse for the Kuna women of Panama. They use a quilting technique called reverse appliqué to create the design formalizers of fabric. Because I used to be (and hope to be again!) a quilter, I know all about reverse applique. It’s a pretty fun to do but darn hard to explain to kids. After a few attempts I decided that it’s just best to say that a Mola is a fabric panel with colorful strips sewn in. Sometimes it’s best to keep it simple. Take a look at this blog, Postcards from Panama. There are some wonderful photographs of Molas. I wish I could see them in person. Aren’t they wonderful?   How to Make a Paper Mola I used the project in the book, Dynamic Art Projects for Children by Denise M. Logan as inspiration and used the wonderful handouts that accompany the project. You can also create your own.  I showed the kids how to start their drawings but drawing the main body or largest shape first. After a few quick demos on the board, the students picked their favorite Mola shape and drew their image onto a piece of 12″ x 18″ white paper using a black marker. I like broad tip Crayola markers for coloring. I set a tray of them on each table group then demonstrated proper marker technique. Take a look at this video that shows how I color drawings. It really helps to trace around a shape and then color slowly; giving ample time for the ink to flow onto the paper. After image is colored, cut it out. Glue colored piece onto black construction paper and glue strips of paper along the borders. Tip: leave a little space between the colored drawing and the strips of paper. Fifth Grade Paper...

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Sketchbook Project #7: Farm Animals

Sketchbook Project #7: Farm Animals

By on Feb 16, 2016 | 1 comment

The Sketchbook Project is a record of how my sixth grade students used sketchbooks during their art class to record art information and create projects. Learn how I used sketchbooks instead of individual sheets of paper to teach art & creativity. Week One: The Beginning Week Two: Creating Value Week Three: Atmospheric Perspective Week Four: Tree Line Drawings Week Five: Sonia Delaunay Abstract Art Week Six: Portrait Journalling Week Seven: Line drawings   WHAT WE DID: Drawing animals is a favorite art subject for pretty much every child. Children love to draw their pet and can often do so with ease, but drawing an unfamiliar animal takes some practice. For this project, I wanted to offer my 6th graders the opportunity to explore farm animals. I gathered some books, of which Farm Anatomy by Julia Rothman remains my favorite. The strategy for this project was to encourage the kids to use their sketchbook to practice drawing a few animals. I photocopied animal pictures from books and placed some photographs on the white board. I asked the kids to draw at least 3 different animals, or one animal 3 different ways. The intention was to push them out of any comfort zones they may have. After they sketched a few animals, they selected which animals they wanted to develop further. Using pencils, the kids drew their animal(s) in an art-style of their choice. This was the fun part. Some kids created farm scenes, others created pop art animals, others went 3-D…so many options! And with many of the Sketchbook projects in this series, I allowed the kids to use whatever coloring medium they wanted. Some used markers, pencil crayons, watercolor paints and others went the collage route. I have to admit, that this project produced the most varied results. The kids LOVED choosing their own medium. At first I worried that allowing the children to move around the art room to gather supplies from the art cupboards would result in chaos, but the opposite happened. They were quick and deliberate. They put their own supplies back when class was over. They were empowered with their freedom (as most 6th graders are) and for me it resulted in a lively art-making session. I don’t know if this fits in with the choice-based classroom...

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