Art education, inspiration and encouragement for children and parents in Arlington, VA
PThis is a lesson that has been enjoyed by all elementary students.
I don't mind repeating the lesson as it's very rich with content.
Arrange and rearrange
First we look at large calendar flowers (from a calendar) We're able to get up close with these flowers and use a crop finder to zoom in. We try our hand at a variety of small drawing compositions including:
2. placement o the side
3. going off the paper
4. zooming in super close.
Draw it LARGE!
After choosing our favorite composition we outline it much larger on our drawing paper. Sometimes it takes practice and help to know just how large we can draw. Touch the edges of the paper with our drawing is how we know we are as large as can be.
Paint with Pastels
Using oil pastels we cover the large areas with the side and tip of our pasels making the color rich. With other colors we blend the colors to make it appear as a painting.
Our final details are made at the very end.
Things to consider before finishing:
1. Did we make our edges clear or are they fuzzy?
2. What other details might make it interesting?
3. Did we try blending colors anywhere?
4. Sign it! on the bottom, right - like an artist.
Skills we used:
What we did in art this week
Our background of wet-on-wet painting last week was completed this week. The drawing of our flowers now needed to be filled with color. Last week we used cool colors in the background. This week we used warm colors in our flower drawing to make it pop. out from the cool blue soft backgrounds.
With our watercolor papers we all played after completing a lesson. Several techniques includes stamping flower shapes with the end of paint brushes,, making a wet-on-wet background (to paint on later) and making a sky-scape..
For mom, dad and the whole family
Cloud-scapes and salt water is fun for everyone.
Cut a sheet of watercolor paper in half and in half again so you have a piece about 4" x 6" or four smaller papers from one watercolor sheet.
On watercolor paper leave the bottom inch or two dry. Wet the upper half with water except for some irregular shapes that will be clouds. When wetting the paper make sure it is wet enough to see it glisten and reflect light. While the paper is this wet, add some blue or any sky color you want and let it spread. It will spread every where except where it's dry.
Clouds appear smaller near the horizon and larger near the top of the paper.
Salt Water - literally!
Let the sky dry completely. Next, wet the bottom half of the paper with water so it's nice and wet. Add some blues for water and let it spread.. While the watercolor is still very wet put some salt on the wet color. Don't use too much salt or it will just not work. Enjoy making more than one until you get your clouds and salt water just right.
Salt absorbs the color of the paint and as it pulls the color out of the paper it leaves a star like, crystal shape..
You will all have a lot of fun with this. I suggest making more than one at a time. While one sky is drying start another. What can you to with these? Glue it on a gift bag so you are ready with a bag that is also a gift.
What we did in art
In our art class last week we practiced a technique called wet-on-wet. With our water we used brushes to wet the watercolor paper. We were careful not to wet the paper on the drawing we made, just around it..
When color is added to wet paper the color spreads easily on the wet paper. Where the paper is left dry the color does not go.
We used cool colors for the background of our wet-on-wet painting.
Next week we are doing to finish these paintings using both wet-on-wet and dry-on-wet techniques. We will have extra time in class to explore more techniques with watercolor..
Our artist inspirations were Vincent Van Gogh, a fine and expressive artist. We revisited Mary Vaux Walcott's botanical illustrations.
Art Tools and Materials
In art we brought out all our supplies and put our names on everything. Even if mom put our name on our supplies we double checked.
Next class we'll work on being sure we have all our supplies in our bag before going home.. We're going to take a little extra time to clean up and do a "responsibility check". It's all fun and part of being a good artist.
I have the best job. I get to see art, really wonderful art in the making. It scares me to think that these buds of creativity may "grow up" and someday think they "can't".
At the end of this blog I'm going to leave you with a challenge to ensure we never grow up "that much!".
See What's Going On in front of you
We talked about the difference between expressive art and art as illustration. Botanical art is very exacting. The artist notices the details of things on plants such as how leaves grow from the stem, in what direction and their shape. Did you know there are hundreds of shapes for leaves?
As we attended to these details we let our eyes be our guide for what to draw. We used black sharpie markers so there was no erasing and we made bold lines.
Behind, over and under and in-between
After filling our paper we noticed there was no more room. That's when we figured out how to make something go behind another thing.
The Artists who inspire
We looked at Mary Vaux Walcott. Walcott was born in 1860 and accomplished many things in her life. In 1925 the Smithsonian published her plant illustrations in North American Wild Flowers. .
Locally we are graced botanist Mary Page Hickey living in Alexandria, VA. Hickey does very accurate watercolor illustrations. Unfortunately I can't post the copy-right images here but you can take a moment to view the artists work in the links provided.
Purchase a small sketchbook (spiral bound would be best) approximately 5" x 7". The Drawing paper should be about 80 lb to hold a marker drawing.
Five short drawings a week
Do one drawing a day or approximately five drawings a week. Each drawing should take about 10 minutes. By the end of our spring semester the goal is to have most of the sketchbook filled with drawings from observation in one subject.
I suggest plants as subject because there are so many in our area available and interesting to look at. Any observable object can be used: fruit, cars, animals. But choose just one subject for all drawings in the sketchbook challenge.
Thought you could get away without making art? Why not buy two sketchbooks and if you feel you "can't" draw, learn from your child. Some of the best inspiration will come from those in our families.. Drawings do not need to be complicated. Simple, easy, fun and yes, a whole sketchbook full. About 50 or more simple drawings. You'll feel so good about your own little art book.
Use a black sharpie marker so that more care is taken in the first place before drawing. Without erasing we are forced to consider our mistakes as opportunities and accept them.
A piece of paper should be placed under the page in which the drawing is being made so as to catch any bleed through.
Enjoy this challenge. Use it as an excuse to go for walks in gardens with your children or to buy flowers at the store. Once you form a habit of drawing, you'll feel it's much more of a natural thing than you had imagined.
Please look forward to visiting this blog each week with updates on what we are doing in class. I'll send you an email reminder to visit pictures and information about your child's art class.
Interested in registering for an art class at the Art League? Visit the website and look at all the many options available to you and your children.
Jean Frank Stark
I make art and have taught to children for over 20 years.