Monday, April 19, 2010

Professional Photographer Magazine

Yes, I'm asking you to vote for something else!  If you have a minute, please vote for my friend, Amy Cyphers' photograph in the Professional Photographer Magazine's Cover Photo Contest.

Amy does great work!  Here is her business's blog:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Underwater Marker Paintings

I like the visual of making marker paintings under water but the project was really about marker paintings of underwater scenes!  I read about "marker painting" as a way to sort of recycle dried out markers.  All you need to do is dip the marker tips in water cups and start spreading the pigment on the paper.  I had the students start by making a pencil drawing and tracing over their lines with sharpie- any permanent marker will work.

Along with dipping the markers in water cups, I also gave the students paint brushes.  The paint brushes can be used to spread out the "paint" created from the markers.  If the markers are not dried out, a brush and water can be used even more easily to spread the marker pigment.  I don't know if students everywhere are this excited about ocean projects, or if my students are extra excited since Kansas is pretty far from the nearest ocean, but this project was a big hit!

I raided the library for books about fish and other ocean animals so the students could use the images for reference.  One of the students told me that dolphins are a type of whale and I didn't believe him until I looked it up!  I couldn't believe that after all the books I read when I was little and random trivia I know, I had never heard that before!  I required the students to have at least one animal and something in the foreground- either sand, rocks, seaweed, reef, etc.  Some students also included treasure chests, sunken ships, and scuba divers.
I was surprised at my 3rd grade student's Beatles reference and he was equally surprised that I got it!

Friday, April 16, 2010

When I grow up...

The other day, I was listening to some of my first grade students talk while they were working.  This is what I overheard:

Student 1-
When I grow up, I'm gonna make people paint everyday.  But, like, different pictures.
Student 2-
I love art because you can like get into character and create. 
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Artsonia Artist of the Week Finalist!

Hi everyone,

I was very excited to receive an email this morning notifying me that one of my students, DeShawn, a PreK student at Pauline Central, is a finalist in Artsonia's Artist of the week! Please help out DeShawn (and my budget) by following the link and voting for him!

The piece of art nominated is a mixed media ocean scene, check out his fish! It doesn't take very much time to vote AND you can vote once a day, today through Saturday.

Thank you so much for your help and support!

Monday, April 12, 2010

1st Grade Tornado Safety

*Click here for an updated version:*
In Kansas, we are used to crazy weather.  Even though I've never been through a tornado, I'm not super comfortable in storms.  When I was little, I didn't understand the difference between a tornado watch and a warning.  Of course tornado watches happen all the time in the summer.  Whenever I heard a watch announced on TV or the radio, I would haul my books, art supplies, Fluffy (my doll), and all the other "essentials" to my parents' basement.  We had the first tornado drill of the year before spring break and I started thinking that some of the students probably feel the same way about tornado stuff that I did when I was little.  Whether or not the students are afraid, they are all interested in tornados.  I decided it would be beneficial to review tornado safety tips through an Art project.
(Oh no, these little people didn't follow the safety tips and the tornado's about to suck them up!)

First, I did some research to find kid-friendly weather sites.  I found that FEMA for Kids has some good tornado information and I also really liked Weather Wiz Kids.  I read the safety tips on those websites and made a list of tips to read to my students and use in the projects.

Lesson Objectives:
1.     The students will learn about tornadoes and tornado safety tips.
2.     The students will cut geometric shapes from construction paper.
3.     The students will tear organic shapes from construction paper.
4.     The students will create a collage depicting a house, a tornado, and a tornado safety tip.

This project took two 40-minute class periods.  On day one, I hooked up to the projector so we could explore the weather websites and discuss tornado safety.  Next, I explained the assignment to the students and we discussed geometric shapes.  I showed the students how they could use a paper rectangle or square and a triangle to make a basic house just like they do in their drawings.  After the basic house was formed, the students added more details like doors, windows, and chimneys.  We used construction paper and bottled glue.  (My two favorite gluing mantras are "just a dot, not a lot" and "like the glue, don't love it.")  Most of the students did a really nice job but I did have a couple meltdowns from students insisting they couldn't a triangle!  The students glued their houses to 9x12 inch gray construction paper.  (Although greenish might have been more accurate!)

On day two, we reviewed safety tips and geometric shapes.  Next, we discussed tornados as organic shapes.  Each student was given a 6x9 inch piece of black construction paper from which to tear their tornados.  I ended up tearing two tornados during the demonstration.  The first one went really smoothly, I showed the students how to hold their fingers close together and tear a little bit a time to make a funnel shape.  It is best to start the tornado at the top and go clear to the bottom, otherwise you end up with 2 inch tornados.  Then, I tore one with mistakes to show how to fix them.  A lot of the students would just grab both sides of the paper and rip which didn't give them any real control.  Since we were gluing the tornados down, it was no problem to just piece it back together on the paper.  After the tornados were added, I had the students draw a strip of paper with a safety tip printed on it.  The sentences were cut apart, some into short phrases, some one or two word chunks.  The words were glued onto the tornados to finish the projects.  *Remind the students to read the sentences before cutting them apart so they can glue them down in the right order!  Ok, I've gone on long enough, check out the artwork below!

Tornado Safety Tips

  • Stay alert about dangerous weather.
  • Have a plan for what to do in a tornado.
  • Go to a basement or interior room.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • If you can’t get inside, find a ditch, lie down, and cover your head.
  •  If you are in a car, get out and seek shelter.

The project can fit into one class period if the students add details to their houses with sharpie.

New Discovery: Cheryl Holz

If you have never seen this artist's work, you gotta check her out!  I was going through some postcards I got out of the freebie box at a KAEA conference and decided to look up Cheryl Holz.  I am so in love with her work.  I can't wait to do a project inspired by her artwork next fall!  Here are a couple of her mixed media paintings that I really like.

Leopold's Ethic
River Delta

I especially love the color, texture, and natural materials.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

We "Sea" Fish

There was a "Sea" theme for Kindergarten Roundup this year so I decided it was a great opportunity to make some mixed media "Sea" artwork!  We created these projects in two 40-minute class periods.

My mom saved a whole box of bubble wrap sleeves that were the perfect size for little hands.  

I used cardboard pieces for palettes and since I couldn't find the brayers that I KNOW are somewhere in the classroom, I tried using cardboard tubes to spread out the paint! I mixed light blue and white paint to get some variation in color.  It worked pretty good in a pinch. :)  The bubble wrap went on the students' hands, pressed gently (I stressed that there was to be NO popping of the bubble wrap) into the paint, and then the paint was printed on blue construction paper.  The paint dried pretty quickly so we were able to move onto adding sand in the same class period.

I am too afraid to let Kindergarten students loose with bottled glue, so I put a squiggle of Elmer's at the bottom of their paper (students chose either horizontal or vertical layouts) and the students sprinkled sand.  I bought a 50 lb bag of play sand at Lowe's for a few dollars and probably only used about a cup for over 100 students.  I placed a little dish of sand at each table and after the sand was sprinkled, the students bent their paper to dump the excess sand back in the dish.  I love the texture the sand adds to the artwork- it makes a nice tactile connection to the element of art.

Example background created in one class period.  *I made an example as I demonstrated in each class and gave it to any students who were absent in the first class period.  In the second class, the students were given a 9x6 inch piece of paper to make their fish drawings.  I showed the students how to make a very simple fish using a circle or ellipse and a triangle.  The students who were more confident drew a fish their own way, some even making sharks.  The drawings were laid out in pencil and crayons were used to add color.

Since I knew this was going to be a messy project, I covered the tables with butcher paper.  It worked out great because when we had extra time at the end of class, I let the students draw on the tables while waiting to wash their hands.  I ended up leaving the paper covers on for about two weeks.  The students kept adding drawings, paint and crayon was added when it went off the edges of the paper.  When I decided to take the paper off, I hung our semi-accidental, collaborative artwork on the walls!

Reminds me a bit of Cy Twombly!

Rethink Possible

I love this commercial. I just saw it while my husband was watching the Masters. I really like that they used children's art to get across the "anything's possible" point!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Designing the Mural

To come up with the mural design (see previous post), each student worked on a drawing either individually or with a partner.  I had never done a partner art project before, and I'm not sure if I'll do one again.  Some pairs worked VERY well together while some couldn't figure out how to have both students working.  (Or one was just content to watch the other do the whole thing!)  I gave everyone paper and let them use and drawing supplies they wanted to add color.  I hung a bunch of the drawings in the hallways around school and everyone has enjoyed checking out the different designs.  Here are some of the individual designs:

You can see more designs in our Artsonia gallery.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mural Design

I probably mentioned before (I talk so much I can't remember who I've told what and what I've written) that I got a grant last fall to paint a mural at school with my 4th-6th grade students.  The students each created a design that was turned in to me (some worked with partners and this was not my brightest idea).  I photographed the artwork, sorted it, and came up with three designs.  Yesterday I finally got "THE" design finalized!  I pulled ideas from different students' artwork and came up with a design that incorporates several of their ideas.  It was a lot harder than I thought to come up with a design.  Probably because I didn't want to limit the students to a strict theme when they were drawing, just told them to make whatever they would like to see as a school mural. 

Now I need to make my shopping list and transfer the drawing to the wall.  Painting will start in two weeks and will hopefully be finished in two weeks- (4 days, one 40-minute period for each class.)  I figure if there are small touch-ups left to do, I'll just finish it.  Getting pretty excited!

You can check out the students' designs in our Artsonia gallery.