Last week I spent time with the Grade 2 Class in the local public school. The teacher had shared with me her interest in having the students do colourful artwork based on a sunset.
I began the lesson with the students gathered together on the carpet. With some paint chips as props, we discussed the colour wheel, and warm vs. cool colours. Together we separated the paint chips into two piles (warm and cool colours). I showed them how the temperature of colours are very much 'relative'; they 'change' according to the colours they are paired up with. For example, purple is generally considered a 'cooler' colour. Especially when set beside red (because purple has blue in it - a cool colour). When purple, though, is set beside blue, purple becomes then the warmer colour of the two (because of the red in it).
The children were to begin their project by separating their crayons (or pencil crayons, or markers) into two piles: the warm or cool colours. Then they divided their paper into half - the top half for the warm sunset, the bottom half for the cool ground. Using a pencil they drew line designs that they then filled with colour.
Last week I spent some time with the students in the Grade One class in the local public school. The art lesson was based on the art of the Russian 19th century abstract artist Wassily Kadinsky. From past experience with the grade one class, children of that age love experimenting with paint mixing. Some children at that age haven't had too much experience yet with mixing paint. The teacher had also been recently teaching the students about 'lines', and primary and secondary colours. So considering all of these things, I was lead to have the children 'copy' one of Kadinsky's familiar abstract paintings.
The children began by dividing their paper into 8 squares (which was a true feat for many of them!). Then they each had the primary colours to start with. As I saw the children progressing with their paintings, I added white, and then eventually black, to their palette. I didn't want to add white and black too soon for fear that their paintings would be dominated by those colours.
The instructions were for them to simply have fun mixing colours - but to do so 'strategically'. They weren't to just mix all 3 colours together right away to make a 'sludge' colour, but to consider how the different colours mix individually with each other. They were to paint the rings of the circles each separately.
I wanted to do paper mache trees with the Grade 2 class, and their teacher needed them to make tree hats for their Christmas Concert performance ... so we combined our ideas and made paper mache tree hats! They turned out great.
I experimented this Fall with paper, and an exacto knife. I have a new-found admiration of the artists who have created delicate, fine-detailed paper art... it was not easy! My one finger was numb for a few days after finishing the cornfield piece. And I felt a new pain in my shoulder for a while after -- I guess detail exacta-cutting worked muscles I wasn't aware of beforehand.
All in all despite the challenges, I loved working on these paper sculpture projects.
I had fun last month building a cardboard house. My girls had fun building their own houses also. This made me realize the sometimes unintentional influence I have on my daughters. The art projects I work on often have this sort of impact on them.
Today was week one of the art camp I am holding at my studio for children. I have 11 children involved, between the ages of 7-9. Today we talked about colour - and painted a group colour wheel to go along with that. We began a mixed media project, one that we will be further working on over the next couple weeks (today they glued ripped up pages from an old book onto a masonite board). We also did a little drawing study. And I also taught them about 'non-representational art', or 'non-objective art'. I played four very different sounding songs, and had the children paint whatever colour in whatever non-objective form they felt led to paint based on the way the music made them feel. Lastly, the afternoon class had a few spare minutes, so they created a shadow image of a city-line. One of the boys had fun making a ufo shadow overtop :)
This weekend I experimented with making my own 'watercolour' paint using nothing but flower petals/leaves which I found around my yard... and water. My daughter and I collected various flowers/leaves - such as dandelions, pansies, geraniums. We ripped them up with our fingers, and then them them steep in some hot tap water all morning under the sun. After a few hours, the water had mostly evaporated leaving behind a lovely natural tinted sort of paint. I had fun later painting with this all organic natural paint. It certainly behaves differently than the typical store-bought paint.
I spent the morning at the public school in town and had two fun art classes with the Grade 3 class and the Kindergarten Class. I taught them about what 'Collaborative' Artwork means. I explained how when more than one artist work together to create art, that is collaborative art. I gave the example of a photographer taking a photo; then another artist using that photo to create a painting.
I also talked to the kids about 'community', what that looks like what buildings might be a part of a community. With these two concepts in mind, I invited the kids to be a part of a collaborative artwork between the two different classes. Their project was to design their own houses/buildings, including trees etc., in order to piece them all together in a collaborative way, creating their own community.
I asked two girls in the grade three class to paint the background for their community onto a canvas. Before long their was a small crowd of 8 kids or so trying to get in there to help out! I love the effect that the water colour paint had on the canvas; I encouraged them to let it drip and get messy.
The Kindergarten class also had fun designing their own houses - many of which ended up with a fun, whimsical look.
Stay tuned for part two of this project, where I will show you the final product! Its going to be both fun and challenging to piece all of the images together to make one large artwork.
Just this morning I joined the Grade Four class to share an art lesson with them. I introduced the colour wheel to them; Primary, Secondary, and Opposite colours. Then they got to work creating a winter scene. After they drew the horizon line, I had them put down masking tape wherever they wanted their 'birch' trees to be. Then, they were to pick a colour and using that colour and its opposite colour on the colour wheel, paint in the sky:
The kids were excited when I asked them if they were ready for the 'grand reveal'; to take off the masking tape. Unfortunately the tape was extra sticky and took some of the paper with it. It actually created a nice effect; looked like bark was literally peeling off the trees! :)
I gave the kids the option of adding some classic birch tree details. Some kids really wanted to add in some wildlife; i.e.: squirrels.
A few weeks ago I joined the local grade one class again to do another art lesson. I began the art lesson by teaching them the basic colour wheel (introducing the primary and secondary colours). I then guided them into drawing themselves as though they were catching snowflakes on their tongue. The kids had fun using their own individual ideas as to how that looked:
It was fun finding the completed pictures out in the hallway a few weeks later, with poems that the kids had written about their artwork:
I live in Southern Ontario on a farm with my husband, Dennis, and our two daughters. Painting out of my studio on our farm allows me to stay close to my family and to be surrounded by the natural landscape that continues to influence my work.