Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sculpted Fossils and Stencil Flags

Fossil made with oil clay and plaster in a Styrofoam lunch tray

Stencil Flags made with freezer paper stencils ironed on muslin flags and painted with tempera

The first step in making the flags is drawing the stencil, cutting it out and ironing it onto the material.

Watercolor butterflies for fast finishers
This past week we made oil clay fossils stuck on a Styrofoam tray and then I poured plaster over each one. The lip of the tray held the plaster in as it hardened and then the students will pop their molds out next class time and we'll add some watercolor to the plaster to make it look like a rock around the fossil. This lesson was geared for fourth graders and we used the Utah raptor as our fossil dinosaur.

The fifth graders were learning about heredity animal variations, ex; tadpoles, frogs, caterpillars, butterflies. I had them trace a simple animal form on the non shiny side of freezer paper. I then had them come up to a table and I ironed their stencils onto the muslin rectangle. Next they went back to their tables and blotted paint all over their flag and around their stencils carefully. Next week we'll peel the freezer paper off and reveal the stencil art and then cut the bottom edge of the muslin to look like a flag, add a piece of yarn at the top  and hang them along the hallways in our school!

"Tickling" The Water Color Paints

 This past week spring has arrived in our part of the country and kinders through second grade are learning about spring and plants. To go with this part of their science curriculum I taught them how to use their watercolor paints properly.
First, I showed them how to have a wet paintbrush and to wipe it once on the side of the water bowl so it won't drip. We talk about what makes a 'happy' brush (all bristles pointing in the same direction and how not to have a 'sad' brush (having a bad hair day)!
Next, I model how to 'tickle' the watercolor paint. This simple metaphor works wonders and the students know to use a gentle hand. This keeps them from digging in the pot of paint and from stirring the paints. After teaching art for nearly ten years, I used this language this year for the first time and it conveys the message clearly and is so effective. A definite keeper!
As the students get used to their wet brushes and tickling of their paints, I show them how to wash the blue and make a very wet sky leaving room for the sun. We wash a beautiful green meadow, talking about half of our paper is green and half is blue. Finally, we put our paints away with rinsed brushes and then I gave the students Q-tips and tempera paints to dot their flowers all over the meadow. The wet meadow makes the tempera spread a bit, giving it a more blended look. This was a fun project full of watercolor techniques and care for the younger students!