Monday, April 27, 2015

4th Grade Oil Pastel Cakes

After looking at cake paintings by Wayne Thiebaud, my 4th grade students created their own using oil pastels. They did a great job of first drawing a cylinder, then cutting a 3-D slice out of it, and lastly blending the pastels to create different values for shadows and highlights on the cakes. I'm looking forward to making a display of these pieces in the hallway, because I love the way they look in a group!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

3rd Grade Seahorses

A favorite art lesson in 3rd grade is warm and cool color seahorses, based on artwork in Eric Carle's book Mr. Seahorse. This year, by the time we got to this project, most of my watercolor pans were out of blue! I always order more Prang refills of blue than any other color, but last year's order wasn't enough. I've ordered more, but until they come, I've been giving the students a cup of liquid blue watercolors to go with their paint set. For the seahorse assignment, I gave the students two kinds of blue; turquoise and regular blue. The vivid colors from Blick liquid watercolors really made the paintings stand out, and heightened the contrast between warm and cool colors (the main concept learned from the project). I am so pleased with these vivid colors, I plan to continue using Blick liquid watercolors for this lesson! Here are paintings from two years ago, so you can compare.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

6th Grade Insect Art

It's almost time for Bug Bowl at Purdue! As a Purdue student several years ago, I always enjoyed the festival (even though I didn't participate in the cricket spitting contest!!). I think I tried some of the chocolate covered ants and meal worm stir-fry at least once. Now, as an art teacher, my favorite part of Bug Bowl is the student art contest! I am so pleased with my students' work this year! I think they did better than last year's 6th grade class.

The students worked from photographs. I had about 20 different insects already printed in color, and the students could choose a picture to work from. Alternatively, they could tell me a specific insect they wanted to draw, and I printed a picture for them. All these photos will be saved for next year, so I don't think the color printing is a waste!

Of course there is some whining when you tell 12-year-olds that they are going to draw insects. So, I made them all hold their questions and comments until the end; then I showed them some creepy crawly insects. We talked about the details on them, and how to draw them realistically. Then, I showed them some beautiful insects: butterflies, ladybugs, and dragonflies! That got some of their attention a lot better. Lastly, I told them that they could create any scene they wanted with their insect; a dragonfly flying over a pond with cattails? Sure. A ladybug on the stem of a rose? Absolutely. A moth flying through a forest with a waterfall in the background? Awesome. By making the scene their own, a lot of students became more interested. I have one student who shows cattle, and has included a cow in almost everyone of her pieces of art this year. She drew a cow with a butterfly on its nose for this assignment! It was such a creative way to stay within the guidelines for the assignment, and still draw something she was interested in.

I allowed the students to work in any medium they liked. The main choices were crayons, colored pencils, oil pastels, soft pastels, or watercolors. I really wanted the students to take some ownership over this assignment, and make it the way they wanted to (we all know that the most motivated students are the ones working on something they like!)

Here are this year's Bug Bowl pictures from Carroll Elementary School. I hope we get some ribbons this year; I will write another blog post if we do!