This is a lesson I've posted about before. It is based on artwork by M.C. Escher, and introduces the concept of negative and positive space, as well as negative/positive space reversal. One thing that is really awesome about this lesson is that there is no trash! Every single piece of paper that gets cut out of one side gets glued on the other side. With many other paper cutting lessons, the paper scraps all over the tables and floor take some time to clean up, but with this lesson, the only reason we would have any paper to recycle is if someone messes up and starts over.
Here are a few student examples.
This student created a car:
Another student noticed that when turned upside down, it looks like a cow face! Everyone thought that was pretty awesome.
This year, I put every single student's work on my bulletin board. I love how they look in a group! I think they look stronger together than individually.
As my 3rd grade students are beginning a unit on color, I first introduced a fun project with lots of colors. I showed the students some photographs of jellyfish (which really aren't very colorful; if you've ever seen them in real life, they often are fairly transparent, and just a milky white). Then, I told the students that sometimes artists use color to enhance their art, adding colors where they don't really belong to make the picture beautiful. Then, the students began drawing jellyfish from the photographs I had, but altering the colors. They used oil pastels on fade-resistant black construction paper. But, black is hard to photograph, so the photos don't do the actual artwork justice!
Sometimes when I'm browsing the internet, I'll find a really inspiring contemporary artist. I recently discovered an artist named Colleen Wilcox, from Hawaii! Her seahorse painting and octopus painting especially inspired me.
So, I shared her artwork with my 5th grade students (sometimes it's more meaningful to them to see a modern-day artist instead of an historical artist from a long time ago).
Then, the students created their own undersea artwork, focusing on line, color, and pattern. They first drew their ocean scene with crayons, and later painted with watercolors. I asked them to only make lines with their crayons, and to fill shapes in with paint, instead of coloring.
Here are some results from my 5th grade students.
Below are the paintings from Colleen Wilcox that I showed the students. But, I encourage you to visit her website, and browse her other work!