Thursday, November 7, 2019

8th Grade Neon Paintings


 In late July I attended and presented at the TAB KC summer conference. A couple of the ideas shared were drawing with India ink in bingo daubers and making neon artwork and letting it glow under a black light. These idea were a huge hit with my 8th graders!

Disclaimer: I used Amazon Associates to link to a couple of the products we used for this lesson. If you happen to purchase the items through my link, I may earn a small commission but it does not charge you any extra.

I set out some large pieces of drawing paper and let students practice with the bingo daubers before they started on their own paper. This let them get the feel for it and approach their drawings with confidence. It doesn't work very well to have students draw it out in pencil first since the tip on the daubers is much thicker than a pencil. They have to learn to loosen up and embrace and "mistakes" that happen. The bold outline also gives it a pop art feel.
I ordered some neon supplies off of Amazon. Others were purchased from my local Walmart.
Did yo know that not all white paper will glow under a black light? If this is important to you, check your paper before students begin so they know how to plan. Some of the paper I had glowed but not all. I never figured out the difference since the paper had been removed from the packaging long before. Our white paint also did not glow.
When students thought they were done painting, they put their work under the black light as a test. I put a black lightbulb in a small lamp and placed it in the kiln room so it would get dark enough to see.




Since I couldn't figure out a way to get a black light in the hallway we settled for a printed photo of the picture glowing under a black light so viewers could see the intention.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

4th grade Calder Inspired Circus Sculptures

Each year my elementary school starts the year with a theme and this year the theme is circus! I like to use that theme as a starting point for each grade's first art classes of the year. This year my 4th graders looked at Alexander Calder's circus and then had choice of a whole bunch of materials to use for their own circus sculptures.
I pulled out a tub of pipe cleaners to serve as our wires. In my cabinet I also found buttons, feathers, sequins, beads, other "crafty" materials that were donated, and found objects. I put the tubs out on the table and the students were able to take what they needed buffet style. 
I cut pieces of cardboard down for bases and showed how to attach things by poking holes, making slots, using buttons, etc. Of course students invented their own methods and some things required glue.
Feathers make for very fluffy lions.
While some of the sculptures are more abstract than others, I saw a lot of problem solving and experimentation, which I think is more important than perfectly polished artworks.
Here is the display. There is even someone on a flying trapeze hanging from a support!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

1st grade Circus Drawings

My elementary school chooses a theme each year and this year's theme was circus! I like to kick off the school year having students create artwork with some choices within a theme and/or medium to ease into things so using the school's theme works perfectly. My 2nd graders looked at Marc Chagall's circus art and 1st graders looked at examples of Chagall's and others' artwork. If I ever need to find a variety of artworks based on a theme, I start with wikiart.org and just search for the keyword. That usually give me lots of options so I can show a bunch of different styles, time periods, cultures, etc.
After looking at the artwork, I asked the students to think about what kind of act they might like to do if they were in the circus. They thought of clowns, tightrope walkers, horse riders, and more.
The students sketched their ideas in pencil first then added color with marker. I'm usually not a big fan of markers and honesty considered just recycling my old markers because students tend to be sloppy with them, but then I received a box of Sargent Art supplies when one of my students got 1st place in the Kansas Sargent Art Contest last year. Included in the box was a class set of 12 count brush tip markers and I decided to let the students try them. You guys, they were SO CAREFUL with the "fancy" markers! I got out the broad tip markers we already had for big areas, but they did a great job using the finer brush tip markers for little details. 
Students starting to add color to their drawings


When the drawings were finished we put them up in the display case across from the 1st grade classrooms. I used butcher paper to make the display case look like a circus tent.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

2nd grade Chagall-Inspired Circus Art


My elementary school chooses a theme each year and this year the theme is Circus! Making art with a common theme or medium is a good way to kick off the school year while still giving students choices. We looked at the art of Marc Chagall who did a whole series of circus paintings. (Read about that here: https://www.christies.com/features/Marc-Chagall-Le-Cirque-series-8862-1.aspx) The students also brainstormed a bunch of different things you might see in the circus before beginning to work.
This poster helped show the students examples of Chagall's circus paintings and joined their artwork  when we put up the display in the hallway.
The students drew directly onto 9x12 inch drawing paper using oil pastels in the first class. I demonstrated by drawing and thinking out loud as I drew, even making a "mistake" so the students could see how I turned it into a happy accident. I talked about adding details and showed how to create textures by rubbing the oil pastel.
In the second class period the students had the option to add watercolor to create a resist effect. Most were excited to try it but some chose to keep their drawings as drawings.
I'll be sharing more circus lessons soon!