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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Grade 6 Oil Pastel Fauve Landscapes

Well, I fell in love with these great oil pastels I found in art room of the middle school I was working at. They are chunky and water soluble--Um, hello!?! Water soluble OIL pastels? I do not understand the mysteries of the world, but I must say, my students and I used the bejeebies out of these last semester! 

This shows the stages of the project: Image selection, simplified sketch
and completed Fauve Landscape.

One great project the 6th graders worked on was Fauve landscapes. I have posted a Fauve Landscape project before which was more technical and science-oriented since it involved afterimages and such (check it out here--it makes a grew STEAM project). But this time, I went with a simpler version that still allowed the students to learn about the Fauves and color theory. These came out beautiful and made a wonderful display, but I didn't get a picture of them all together (I know, I can't believe it). Trust me, they are awesome and beautiful. :-)

Here's how it worked:
Students looked through the magazines in the classroom for three landscapes they liked that they thought would work to simplify--these oil pastels don't do detail well. The students met with me and we discussed their choices and they selected one to take to final. They could then simplify the landscape on newsprint using a grid format (or freehand it if they preferred).

Once they were done their draft, I had them transfer the image to a poster-weight paper. I thought that would hold up well. However, you could probably use white drawing paper. Students were encouraged to use at least two colors in each section of their drawing using blending. We had talked about color theory, warm/cool colors and atmospheric perspective so they could make great color choices. Once all of the sections of their landscape were complete, they could use a dark-colored pastel to outlines the sections (similar the some of the Fauve artists).

When done, the finished pieces were glued to a black mat (black paper cut 2" larger than the work). This really made the colors seem so bright and also made the pieces look more finished. Matting work just makes it seem more special.

Ta-da! Beautiful Fauve Landscapes! ENJOY!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

1 Point Perspective Shapes of AWESOMENESS

Ok, so this is a pretty basic 1 point perspective draw-a-long that I did with my 6th grade students. This was left by the art teacher for me to do with the students as their first project of the semester. Since it could be a little dry, I starting calling it "Shapes of AWESOMENESS" and used a super-hero-type voice that really inspired awe in my students :-) or maybe they were worried I had lost my marbles!

One of the students made me this--Thank you!

Anyhoo, this was a great way for them to learn the basics of perspective drawing such as horizon line, vanishing point, height, width, depth, facing size, construction lines, etc. They were able to draw geometric shapes, organic shapes, and letters. I encouraged the students to place their shapes and letters above and below the horizon line.

Once they practiced drawing a variety of shapes and letters on their "Shapes of Awesomeness" test sheet, I gave them another, smaller piece of paper and they could draw their names using what they had learned. They drew with pencil, outlined with Sharpie, then shaded with colored pencils.

My super-smart students then suggested we glue the finished names to their folders (duh, Mrs. P, why didn't you think of that!?!) and that's what we did. The teacher I was subbing for uses basic two-pocket folders for students to hold class paperwork and smaller projects in-the-works and these fit nicely on the cover.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Not-So-Scary Self Portrait Project

Many of my students dread the self portrait. I find that the older they get the more fear and loathing I see when I mention "self portrait." Not to fear! I was finishing up with last semester's 6th grade students and tried this neat twist on the self portrait from Dali's Moustache that uses clear acetate sheets (overhead projector film)--we had a surplus of them in the classroom, but I've also used sheet protectors (but those are more costly).

The students were pretty happy with the results, although some of them took a couple tries to get the hang of the drawing/tracing technique. We used watercolor paper and watercolors for our backgrounds.

I also saw this other version that uses collage for the background and I'm going to try that next time. Thanks, Janet Taylor for the awesome idea--I love collage!


And the bulletin board display of some of the completed self-portraits.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


We all can use a little inspiration, can't we?

I have some WONDERFUL news to share: SIX art ideas of mine have been published in the book "500 Kids Art Ideas" by Gavin Andrews published by Quarry Books! 

This soft-cover book is chock-full of great ideas that will really get your creativity going! There are eleven different chapters in the book that show full color pictures of a variety of art media and projects created by a wide range of ages. There are great ideas for working in felts, fibers, paper and book art, sculpture and 3D, technology and more!

It truly is a beautiful book! Each of the 500 projects has a full color illustration along with a quick list of materials used. While there aren't step-by-step directions for each project, there's enough information to get you started and art teachers, homeschoolers and creative kiddos will be inspired none-the-less.

Author Gavin Andrews is an art educator and artist who is currently employed at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. I love what is written about her on Amazon (on the "About the Author" section for this book), "She is dedicated to the role of art and creativity in people's lives, especially those of her two children, and strives to have people understand that everyone can be creative." I couldn't agree with her more!

Want a copy? Well, I have one right here for you! I'm giving away a FREE copy of the book "500 Kids Art Ideas" by Gavin Andrews published by Quarry Books in my first-eva giveaway! Here are the details:

If you would like to be entered in the drawing to receive a copy of the book, leave a comment below with your name, email address and let me know what book YOU can't live without in your classroom or one that you've read that inspired you. 

I will choose a winner at random on August 31st, 2015. Sorry, only those in the continental United States are eligible for this giveaway.

So, get to writing that comment below to enter! Good luck!
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