At the end of May I received the much anticipated news from the Ontario Arts Council that I received the Artists in Education Grant! I've been working on applying for this for close to two years... by building rapport with the local Public School, and gaining experience. Last Fall was intense as I worked on the actual application form. Anyone who is familiar with this application would understand the intensity of this process! It was a great challenge, and it forced me to grow as an artist in so many ways. As a result of this grant I have been approved, and will be funded, to spend approximately 8 hours of class teaching time with each of the 11 classes in the Port Rowan Public School.
The title of my project is "The Field, the Woods, the Wetlands, and the Town". My goal is for the students to take notice of their unique environment, and to reflect that appreciation and observation in the visual arts. I have four mixed media art projects planned. I'm excited for this opportunity! And I'm so grateful to the Ontario Arts Council for this opportunity.
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.
This past November I spent an hour or so in the Grade two class. We began our hour together by discussing perspective and fields. Each student sketched out his or her plan for this project on a scrap piece of paper - they were to choose one item that they see in our local fields (i.e. a wind tower, a bale of hay, or a tractor). Then they chose one colour to paint with. They sketched out their plan on the paper and painted each plane - working from the foreground (a darker tone) all the way to the background (the lightest tone of the colour). They turned out great!
Last week the children in the Grade 1 and the Grade 3/4 class did a still life drawing/painting of fresh spring flowers. They all turned out uniquely beautiful! Here are just a few:
Yesterday I joined the Grade 3/4 class so they could finish their artwork from the week before. Their drawings were based on a bug's perspective. They had to employ their imagination!
The question that prompted this self-portrait project for the Grade One Class was: "When I grow up, I want to be a ...":
Yesterday I joined the Grade One class again for a simple art lesson utilizing drawing skills, and watercolour painting skills. I drew a simple bunny based on the idea from http://www.thebeeskneescousin.com/blog/watercolor-value-study-for-spring. I had the children draw a bunny based on this idea; then I had them draw with white crayon wherever they wanted white to show on their picture.
Next the kids all used watercolour paint to paint their bunny. I gave them the choice of what colours to use. They had fun experimenting with mixing colours.
I love how different each painting turned out! I love them all so much, I wanted to share images of all of them with you:
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.
March 2 is the birthday of Dr. Seuss; and so with that in mind, since the class will be celebrating his birthday for the month of March, I chose a Dr. Seuss themed art lesson for the Grade One's today. I also wanted to mix in some colour theory. With a review of the colour wheel, I introduced them to the idea of opposite colours. Then I had them draw out their own fish.
Once they had finished their fish and cut them out, they drew a line design of their choice on the paper. And then I had them choose two opposite colours of their choice; blue/orange, red/green, or yellow/purple. They painted their background with these two colours:
The last step was to glue on their fish drawing. They look great!
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.