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5th Grade Art Lessons

Matisse Garden – Book Review & Video

Matisse Garden – Book Review & Video

By on Jun 13, 2016 | 4 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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Romero Britto-Inspired Hearts

Romero Britto-Inspired Hearts

By on Jan 22, 2016 | 16 comments

Romero Britto is a Brazilian born artist who now lives in Miami, Florida. His modern pop culture art work is known and celebrated all over the world. Like many art teachers, I love his work and love introducing his colorful art to my students. THE PROJECT Using broad tip markers like these markers from Faber-Castell and a piece of card stock, you can create an easy-to-draw Valentine’s Day Pop-Art Hearts with your kids. Here are the basic steps: Draw curved lines on bottom of paper with black marker Draw “sun” and sun’s rays (straight lines) Draw a large heart over and in-between the rays Double up the black lines so they are thick Use broad tip markers to color in areas of the artwork Light colors make a good color choice for large areas Draw patterns over white paper or colored areas THE VIDEO   Download a Free drawing Guide RESOURCES If you enjoyed the short video, you can extend your unit on Pop Art by studying Pop Art painter, Romero Britto. Artists bio and mixed-media lesson plan and video below: Romero Britto Pop Art Mixed Media PDF Lesson plan & Video Faber-Castell Children’s Art Products...

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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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Sketchbook Project #6: Line Drawings

Sketchbook Project #6: Line Drawings

By on Jan 10, 2016 | 3 comments

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 Before I get into the project, this is a good time to point out the importance of creating a project calendar. There will be some projects you teach that will consume a lot of time both in demonstrating the lesson and the actual art-making process. Try to balance simple projects with the multi-step projects (like last week’s portrait journalling). You all know that some kids will finish a project in the time allotted while others won’t. Easier projects like this one, offers kids a chance to catch up. All this project requires is the sketch pad, some markers and colored pencils. That’s it! You’ll need to find two or three simple, graphic drawings for the kids to use as drawing prompts. I took an old zentangle hand project I did many moons ago plus this giraffe I found through Pinterest. The kids loved these images and dove into the project. PATTERN IDEA DOWNLOADS You’ll want to demonstrate some lines and pattern ideas for the kids on the white board, just to get their drawings started, or you can download a few free patterns from sources on the internet. Here’s a good source for patterns. DRAWING INSTRUCTIONS I  didn’t go into very much detail with drawing instructions. These are 6th grade kids who pretty much know what they want to do and how they want to proceed. If you have never down the hand drawing before, it’s super easy. Kids place their non-dominant hand on the paper and trace around the hand with a marker. Then, draw a rainbow/echo line around the hand contour. I find that this border separates the hand from the pattern detailing that will come later. After the hand or the giraffe’s head/neck are drawn, the kids use their imaginations and creativities to draw shapes, lines and patterns. The only rule is to NOT draw a scenic background. COLORING I must admit that last year...

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