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45-minute art lessons

Draw a Flower Garden

Draw a Flower Garden

By on Jun 4, 2017 | 2 comments

Who doesn’t love an easy project? This one Watercolor Flower Garden is as easy as you can get. All you need is a small sheet of watercolor paper, black waterproof marker, a white crayon and a few colors of liquid watercolor paint. Children draw a series of flowers to make a garden. The flowers don’t have to be complex…just a few simple circles with petals is all you need. You can download a drawing guide that will generate ideas quickly or you can have each child create their garden from their imaginations. After drawing with a black marker, outline each flower and the leaves with a white oil pastel or white crayon. This helps define the flower shapes even more. If a child wishes to have an area of the art stay white, encourage him to color the area our shape with the white crayon. Now for the fun part….dab, brush and dribble liquid watercolor paints over the entire drawing. No need to stay within the lines! Here’s a video to show the process… Need a drawing prompt? Here’s a drawing handout to download. Click on the YELLOW tab...

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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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How to Draw & Paint a Turkey

How to Draw & Paint a Turkey

By on Nov 17, 2016 | 21 comments

Need a quick and easy 40-minute art lesson for your Kinders or first grade class? For the last day of my Fall rotation, Kinders created these adorable thanksgiving turkeys. I hadn’t done a guided drawing lesson with this group yet, but since they have all settled down and have become quite good listeners, I figured a directed line drawing lesson was due. You’ll need a 12″ x 18″ piece of sulphite paper, black oil pastels, colored oil pastels, liquid watercolor paint, craft feathers, white glue and a small plastic container lid. Want to know where I get my supplies? Download this handy guide. Watch this short how-to video: How to draw a turkey… I must admit that my own version of a Thanksgiving turkey looks more like a peacock than a turkey, but at the time, it was the best I could do. I experimented with a few body shapes before deciding that tracing a container top was the best way to begin this lesson with my Kinders. I was not alone with this assessment. A group of students who like to help me prep in the morning all agreed that tracing a circle was not only far cuter than my previous sample and they liked the simpler lesson for their little buddies. Who’s to argue with sixth grade girls? Another KEY component in helping this project along was to fold the paper in half to create a crease line. You might think this is silly but for my group of Kinders, many have low spatial awareness and although we’ve been working hard on this, many drawings tend to start way at the bottom of the paper. Have you experienced this? Thought so.   Need a handout?   DOWNLOAD FREE DRAWING PDF FROM THE SHOP So, to draw a turkey…. Fold paper in half to achieve a crease line and place container template on top of the crease line. This helps not only center the turkey but sets the stage for the turkey’s size. Trace container top with a black oil pastel. Draw two dots for eyes and an upside down triangle for a beak. Place oil pastel on crease line right next to the head and draw a BIG, FAT belly. Go all the way around to the other...

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The Top Watercolor Techniques for Kids

The Top Watercolor Techniques for Kids

By on Nov 3, 2016 | 7 comments

Are you a new art teacher wanting to try a watercolor project with your students? Perhaps you’re an artist who is  teaching art to kids for the first time. Determining the best watercolor techniques for young children can be challenging. For children in Kindergarten through fifth grade, I have always found that its best to keep it simple. Here are my top 4 watercolor techniques that I use with children in grades K-6: Wet-on-Wet Wet-on-Dry Wax Resist Black Marker Last summer, I hosted a workshop for 200 teachers. I demonstrated a simple experiment that is great to try at the beginning of a watercolor unit. You can present it as a practice session before the real project but in fact, the resulting art can be quite beautiful. I did a version of this experiment with a group of 6th graders (age 11-12) a few years back as a practice for a detailed watercolor project. The experiment helped children identify the properties of watercolor paints and explore all the possibilities of what the medium can do. You can read all about my 6th grade watercolor experiment here. WHAT TO DO: I created a Cheat Sheet for you to download as a guide to help walk you through drawing the grid, the 4 techniques and what to say to the kids. I also included a few simple drawing prompts in case some kids get stuck on what to draw. We don’t want the drawing holding them up as the point of the lesson is to experiment. The first thing to do is to draw a grid. I demonstrated 4 techniques to my room full of teachers, but you can add or subtract techniques depending on the age of the children or just the complexity of the experiment. Note: The PDF demonstrates what to do. Work your way through each of the four techniques. I like to demonstrate ONE technique at a time and allow the children to work for 5-10 minutes on the technique before moving on. In elementary school, we are always looking for process-based art projects that lead to the development of skills and creativity. Understanding what mediums can do in order to fully express a child’s creativity is a part of this process. I encourage...

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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. 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! ARE YOU A SPARKLER? JOIN THE MEMBERS CLUB AND GER ACCESS TO OVER 300 ART LESSONS, VIDEOS AND...

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