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4th 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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Foil Turtle and Fish Collage

Foil Turtle and Fish Collage

By on Apr 8, 2016 | 25 comments

This lesson was inspired by a lesson in The Usborne Book of Art Projects. It was a huge hit with my third grade class. The lesson in the book focused on fish but I thought a sea turtle would look lovely swimming in the glittery waters. Here’s How: Creating the Background There are a couple of ways to make the water background for the sea turtle and fish. One method is to use liquid or tray watercolors and table salt to make a traditional speckled background as shown above or you could use Mod-Podge and glitter liquid watercolor paints. To make a watercolor and salt background,  use 6″ x 9″ pieces of 90 lb watercolor paper and regular watercolor paints.  Wet the paper with a sponge or large brush, then mix blue and green watercolors onto the wet watercolor paper (wet-on-wet technique). Salting the surface will give the “ocean” a sparkly quality. I had some of the Mod-Podge glittery paints left over from the Fancy Fish Lesson, so I though I may as well use it up before it hardened and became unusable. The students brushed the leftover “glittery paint” onto a piece of blue or lavender drawing paper. The results were shimmery and ocean perfect. To make the glitter paint, combine a few table spoons of glitter liquid watercolors with about a ¼ cup of gloss Mod-Podge. Stir and use like regular paint. Drawing the Sea Turtle and Fish CLICK TO DOWNLOAD How to Draw a Sea Turtle Set the ocean paper aside and demonstrate how to draw some fish and sea turtles.  The idea is to keep the drawing very simple because the drawing will be created on tin foil. It may be helpful to do a practice drawing on a piece of paper cut to the same size of the tin foil. Use the drawing guide or show pictures of sea turtles and fish and allow the children to identify the basic shapes and colors from photographs. Coloring and Texture You’ll need some heavy weight tin foil (regular tin foil is fine), and some texture boards.  To make a texture board, cut heavy board (tag board, etc) into 9″ x 6″ rectangles.  Cut up old mesh vegetable bags and tape to cardboard. I made about 25 and had a...

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Hawaiian Dancers Art Project

Hawaiian Dancers Art Project

By on Mar 4, 2016 | 2 comments

What you’ll need: 12″ x 18″ white drawing paper (or watercolor paper if you have it) Black water-proof marker (I use Sharpie brand) Watercolor paints (I use liquid watercolors but pan watercolors are fine) Colored markers Tissue paper Optional: small silk flowers, leaves or decorations Drawing the Dancers The steps for drawing the dancers are varied, depending on how you like to draw. For me starting with a letter “U” about a hands length down from the top of the paper works best. Some kids will draw this letter large and some will draw it small. The resulting figures will be based on whatever size created, so make sure you reinforce the notion that all sizes are just fine. I leave the face for now and go directly to the neck. After the neck, draw shoulders. I emphasize that the male dancers have broad shoulders and the female dancers have small shoulders. Next comes a trick I learned as a fashion illustrator. It brought about a few laughs but basically it gets the job done. Just below the shoulders, add two dots (one below the left shoulder and one below the right). So you can see why the giggles, but these dots are guidelines for the torso.From those two “dots”, draw a line, slanting inwards, to create the waist. For the female the slant is more exaggerated, for the male, not so much. Now that we have shoulders and a torso, its safe to draw arms. I give a few options here, so you might want to do the same. After the arms, draw a skirt or in the case of the male, a sash. Draw the legs and then go back and draw a head piece first then the hair. Facial features are next and then the background. I put up a few Tropical scenes to give the children ideas, but basically they knew what they wanted.     After the drawings are complete, use markers to color in any small areas. It doesn’t make sense to color in large areas with markers, as painting with watercolors is much faster. Hand out pans of watercolor paint. I had a few bottles of glitter watercolor paint and it worked really well with this lesson....

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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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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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