Friday, December 31, 2010

Collaborative Murals

We often make group murals for assemblies, holidays and other special events. Sometimes the kids paint giant backdrops for their individual artwork and sometimes we'll cut their painted paper and work together to reassemble it.

For the annual First Grade Thanksgiving assembly, the students paint huge sheets of paper and we work collaboratively to create big murals for the stage backdrop. I usually borrow one or two to decorate my house for my extended family Thanksgiving. Then, throughout the year I make use of the painted paper for other murals and signs.

With the 6th graders, we worked on primed canvas with acrylic paints of a limited palette to create a big banner. The students chose one shape and painted a pattern inside. The edge of the banner has the students' hand-prints.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

More Calder

The third graders love the whimsical attitude of the Art of Alexander Calder. We start the unit looking at Calder's constellation sculptures in conjunction with their in-class space study. The students used a card-stock circle base and paper lines to bend, curl, fold and fringe creating out of this world results.

The children also admired Calder's simple cartoon drawing style and his limited color palette so they took off with black marker creating abstract circus drawings with primary colors. Later they created wire figures inspired by Calder's circus. (see Posting-Calder Wire Sculptures).

Fall Still Lifes, many styles, different grades

In the Fall I set up a still life in the middle of the art room with apples, gourds and pumpkins which I use for Second through Sixth graders to create a still life in an age appropriate style or technique. The Sixth graders were inspired by cubist artists like Picasso and Braque. They drew a simple line drawing from life, fragmented it with black marker and then filled each section with one color "family" of colored pencil. The Fourth graders were limited to a colored paper and black, white and the complementary color craypas for their still lifes while the Fifth graders could only tear construction paper. The Second graders looked at Cezanne's fruit paintings and created mixed media still lifes practicing drawing fruit, decoupage, wallpaper patterns and more.

Monday, December 20, 2010


These collages, made in Art Class, were inspired by the work of Dutch artist, Piet Mondrian. The first graders were asked to use only primary colors and black, vertical and horizontal lines, squares and rectangles in their compositions, as Mondrian did in his late work. We were able to review many concepts including use of perpendicular and parallel lines.

4th Grade Cave Painting

The Fourth graders studied the Caves of Lascaux famous for cave paintings made 18,000 years ago containing some of the most well known Upper Paleolithic art. They primarily consist of realistic images of large animals, most of which are known from fossil evidence to have lived in the area at the time. The children were faced with the challenge of drawing a prehistoric animal on crumpled paper. Although not as dark and hard to reach as cave walls, this was not always an easy task. The students limited their color choices to earth tones since that was the palette found in nature and therefore in the art materials of the time.