Friday, December 12, 2014

Birch tree moonscapes for middle school

This was a very successful
mat board / cardboard strip black paint smearing/flicking birch tree project 
that I elevated so that it was appropriate for 6th grade and more challenging than I've done previously.

As (hopefully) all of you know, the birch tree trick project is a no-fail project that makes every student feel like a super-duper artist. The objective this time around was to
create a full landscape that demonstrated great depth and shadows. 

Before I start- I am so close to 200 followers(!) so please pass this along to friends
or colleagues so that I can hit a new milestone.
(I think it will also motivate me to do my blog design overhaul sooner rather than later.)

The lesson: 
 This was my favorite of my photo and print examples. 
It is a woodcut called "Northern Shadows" by Lisa VanMeter
who has many beautiful woodcuts and tree-themed work on her website

Project breakdown:

1. Sketch closest trees
2. Add in horizon line and hills. 
3. Sketch in the rest of trees ( I required a minimum of 6.)
4. Draw in moon and shadows. 
5. Add in extras: houses, animals, footsteps, etc.

1. Use cardboard or mat board pieces to scrap thinned black tempera for the birch.
2. Paint in sky with liquid watercolor. 
3. Paint in shadows and create a "chalky moon texture" with a very light black wash. 
4. Use watercolor pencils for tiny things like houses, pine trees, animals. 

*To expedite the process I had three sky color options pre-made
and the shadow paint pre-mixed and ready. 

For elementary teachers I have a "wicked" old version of this project and a round-up of many other winter project ideas here

Monday, December 8, 2014

quick winter printmaking project for artsonia

My middle school has joined Artsonia this year. It has been going really well. 
I felt I needed to post a winter themed project for my parents. 
I did a quick printmaking project with 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, using 5 x 7 styrofoam.
The theme was snowpeople. 

6th grade had a choice of:
-included a border 
-having a larger snowperson in the foreground and a hill or landscape background 
(see top row below)

7th grade:
I encouraged to draw one or more snowmen from a worm's perspective. For the kids that chose to follow my strong suggestion they came out really great. Some of the kids did other spins on the idea. 

8th grade: 
These guys have done styrofoam printing with me. I showed them some inspiration examples of different scenes and snowmen illustrations and they could design as they liked. 
(shown in the title image) 

Some of my parents ordered holiday cards and ornaments with the prints which was my hope! 
View the full gallery here

Thursday, November 20, 2014

PLEASE vote for my student

I joined Artsonia this year. It is going really well. I can do a post soon about my experience thus far if anyone would find it helpful. I was VERY excited to get an email this week letting me know one of my students is a finalist for ARTIST OF THE WEEK!
Please please please please CLICK HERE and vote for Rhs59 - the pink flower paintings! It takes about 3 seconds to do.

Also- you all should really consider uploading your lessons to The smART teacher!
I won the Blick challenge of the month for October's painting challenge and won a $100 gift card.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Oil pastel figure lesson differentiated for High School

  A little while back I posted a successful middle school lesson
I did using oil pastels and wood figures. 
The high school art teacher I work with recently used the lesson with her Drawing and Painting I class. The high school students used white 18 x 24 paper (I used 12 x 18 with middle school) and made them really big. The added challenge was to include a complementary color background to make the figures really pop. They are awesome!

Monday, October 6, 2014

deconstructed circle collaboration

Thank you Zamorano! I used Mr. Masse's art lesson as the kick off lesson for my eighth grade. All of my middle school lessons at the start of the year were connected to the Van Gogh quote, "Great things are done by lots of small things brought together." This fit perfectly! 

Students designed a 9" circle using with oil pastel and watercolor resist. 
They were pretty good sports about cutting their nice circles up, and were really pleased with the end result. I'm going to have 7th grade do a series of circles to build off of these. 

My introductory images included:

Advising the student's to look up Talavera tile designs on their ipads, 

 Maritza Soto's quilts 

this lighthouse quilt 

and this nice example of radial symmetry 
to trigger the student's memories of the radial designs they did last year.
At the end of last year, these students made work inspired by Indian Rangoli street painting. I put them on the wall at the art show. There are tons of fun videos of the chalk painting tradition on youtube and it's a great example of empowerment for women through art. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

pinterest boards, spreading the lesson board love

Hi everyone, happy October!

Just a quick note/pinterest PSA- if you a pinterest-er who followed one or a couple of my lesson boards a long time ago and didn't "follow" me you might not realize I have added a whole bunch more in recent months and recently re-organized as well. I like to follow fellow pinners and then unfollow particular boards that I'm not interested in so that I automatically get the new boards.

I have noticed a lot of action via my pinterest account and pins recently and figured I'd put it on your radar.
How did we ever organize lessons without pinterest?!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Oil pastel figure close-ups

This was one of my favorite lessons from last year. (I feel like I always say that....?) 

But seriously, this was great. It would work for a variety of grades- elementary or high school as well. I did it with 7th grade and will again this year. 

Using the move-able figures- students had to create a zoomed/close-up composition using the figure, taking the negative space into consideration. I actually had them do a "photo shoot" with their ipads: take photos of the figures in different positions and then cropped the photos. For some students it was easier for them to work from the photo. 

The students sketched out shaded pencil drawings first. Then they drew them BIG on 12 x 18 slate grey Tru-ray construction paper (one of my favorites, along with their turquoise). 
They chose a color palette to work in and had to have 3 different shades of oil pastels so that they could convey the shadows. 

 They all came out awesome! And it gave students a chance to strengthen a variety of skills. Some needed to master blending, some needed to strengthen their ability to communicate dimension, etc. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Artsonia, video references, and a new school year

I hope everyone's school year is off to a strong start!

I have a favor to ask-- I am planning to pilot Artsonia with my middle school students. My admin is asking for some references. Do any of you have experience with Artsonia? I'm looking on input.
- How did the launch and set up of it go for you? Would you have done anything differently?
- Is it difficult to maintain?
- How do your parents like it?
- What do you do for marketing of it? Has the fundraising element of it been profitable?
Feel free to comment or email me :

From my spring art show.

Looking for a great video to introduce or review? I showed this video yesterday and it was awesome. (I think it's wonderful as a review actually - perfect for middle and high school.)
If you're a Frozen fan you have to check this out as well!

Did you see this project Mr. Masse at Zamorano recently did???! - it is super awesome and I can't wait to try it!!!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Free online class via MoMA

I received an email from MOMA yesterday that said they are hosting a FREE ONLINE PD course on Interactive Strategies for Engaging with Art. Thought some of you might be interested!
It starts July 7th. 

If any of you readers do sign up please feel free to comment on this post so others know who else may be taking the course as well. 

On another note- I have neglected my blog since mid-spring, apologies. One day soon I will update some of my final middle school lessons from this school year! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Rhythm & design with acrylic, inspired by multicultural fabrics

Gessoed masonite (9x12)
Acrylic Paint

For the raised parts:
Mat Board scraps & cardboard squares - glue gunned 

This lesson focused on the PRINCIPLES of DESIGN, 
and specifically RHYTHM. 
It was also a wonderful way to introduce the kids to acrylic paint. 

Resource for rhythm:
I can't say enough great things about this post from the Helpful Art Teacher
And I HIGHLY recommend showing the short video to your students if you are trying to get across how to abstract nature or create designs that are inspired by an object but shouldn't look like the object. (I used this resource for an eighth grade abstracted nature project.)

For this project:
I supplied students with the following list of keywords and they did google image searches. 
They could google as they pleased, and had to find
three sources of inspiration before creating their design. 

Indian block printing, Adinkra printed cloth, Kente woven cloth
Mudcloth from Mali, javanese batik, Tapa cloth,
Quilts of Gee's Bend, Quilts by Eleanor McCain

They planned their design out in pencil. 
It had to be inspired by their three sources convey rhythm and repetition. 
Raised painted shapes were optional,
and I did my best to deter them from creating a centered design. 

For IPAD teachers!
My students created a slide show illustrating their inspiration and process in Explain Everything. 
I had them save each slide as an image and email the images to me. 
Then I popped all of the slides into imovie so I have a slide show of their design process to display at the art show. 
Here is one great example:

Friday, May 9, 2014

Chinese Brush Painting and Perspective

My seventh graders are in the middle of an Asian-influenced unit. 
To begin the unit I introduced them to Chinese Brush Painting. 
My school has lower, middle, and upper school are all on the same campus.
So I was very lucky to have the chance to have one of the high school Chinese students,
who had learned traditional brush painting when he was younger, came and did a demonstration for my classes. 

Before we started the main project, for one class session I cut down small 6 x 6 pieces of rice paper for the kids to practice on. They practiced bamboo, trees, mountains, for the most part. I have a few Chinese students, and they showed the kids how to write their names in Chinese characters as well, which they loved. 

I had inexpensive chinese brushes on hand but most of us liked to use these size 6 and 8 round white nylon watercolor brushes by Sax instead. 
The ink can be watered down with a little water on a small palette to get dark grey in addition to black. Most of the kids shared a tiny cup of ink and a tiny cup of water. 

The project:

From there we took a break from brush painting and the students learned how 2-point perspective works. After practicing this new concept, they each had to select a photo of Chinese or Japanese inspired architecture that demonstrated 2-point perspective to draw. 
They drew the buildings on 9 x 12 paper. 

Then they placed the rice paper over their drawing and traced the drawing in ink. 
This part of the process was the least time consuming and only took 1 to 2 class periods. 

To give them a finished look, we back them with construction paper and popped them in pre-cut mats. They look awesome and the kids learned so much! 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Farmland landscapes using perspective

I did this lesson with seventh graders, most of who have not learned anything about perspective drawing. This was a wonderful introduction to perspective drawing & landscapes. I would recommend it for 5th-7th grade. We did a 1 point perspective worksheet first. 
The use of soft pastel on colored construction paper is no fail.
I love setting the kids up with a project that is destined to look great. 

Students had to draw a landscape and include crop lines some how.
Tracing in sharpie before applying the pastel was optional. 

These were a few of the examples I showed the kids. If you'd like my entire slide show leave your email in the comments and I'll happily send it along to you.
*** I now have my slide show available via this link. ***

There are so many great Van Gogh examples, you could easily tie it in with a Van Gogh lesson. 

Some more great finished products: