Tag Archives: color

Martina Nehrling



For as long as I have been teaching art, I have been going to art shows, gallery openings, and museums as well as taking classes.  I think that if I want my students to be life long learners, I need to be one myself.


I love to look at gallery sites and find things that might inspire me or my students to create something fun. That is how I found this artist.


I came across an article about Martina Nehberg on the Markel Fine Arts blog.  Her art is colorful and fun and my students loved seeing her work and the pictures of her studio especially when it included her dogs.


We used scraps from our box of colorful paper strips. It was a great lesson for my 1-2 combo class to practice cutting and gluing skills while creating amazing works of art.



Monster Parade




The kindergarten students at one of my schools does an entire unit on Monsters.


For this lesson, I drew a bunch of monsters and then had a list of eyes, noses, face shapes, hairstyles, etc on the board.


The students could create their own monster portrait or copy one that they liked. The classroom teacher took it to a whole other level and had them write about them and do more portraits.


They did this in oil pastel.


Their classroom teacher took my white board scribbles and made her own monster parts menu and then the students drew more monsters and wrote information about them. So much fun to link art room and classroom lessons!

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Colonial Whirlygigs


Grade 5 learns about the Colonial Period and I like to link my art lessons to classroom curriculum when I can. This lesson brings together several areas of learning into one lesson. It is a great STEAM lesson as well because of the motion and the math of a measuring a circle.


In years past, I have used donated cardboard and we had parent helpers cut the discs.


This year, I had some funds in my Artsonia account and used those to purchase round cardboard from Amazon.


Students decorated both sides of the disc. Then punched 2 holes 1-2 finger widths apart in the center of the discs. I had them measure the center and we talked about how we measure circles which tied in to their recent math lesson where they measured the tether ball courts on the playground and learned about pi.


The hammer and nail punching was not necessary with this year’s soft corrugated cardboard but last year, we used donated ram board and that stuff is hard so hammer and nails were a necessity. The kids love trying new tools so this was a way to teach them about and to use a hammer and nails.


I showed them how to string a piece of thread through the discs and tie them off. Then I show them how to make them spin. The students had to do something colorful on one side and the other side could be their choice.


If you make these, be sure to leave time to play at the end of class. My students really enjoyed playing after creating.




Kindergarten Primary Shapes, Secondary Backgrounds


48719687My K students LOVE to paint. They like to paint paper, people, tables, you name it, they’d paint it. We do talk often about “we paint paper, not people” but you know there is always a couple of kids who paint their hands or their neighbor.



To get that out of their system,  I try to do a lot of paint projects with them. We only have 30 minutes together so it is a whirlwind especially when no one is there to help wrangle any of the 27 student classes. I can do it on my own and often do but Whew!






For this lesson, I demoed how to draw 4 basic shapes. We talked about the primary colors and they painted the shapes. We then talked about secondary colors and they painted the backgrounds.


Crazy Socks


48213821.jpgOur first lesson back is always an easy one and I try to do something fun with lines for my students. These were from my fourth graders.


A few months ago, I saw an image on an advertising postcard for Blessed Wedding Photography. It was of a bride and groom’s feet. The man had brown shoes, blue pants and funky socks. The bride had blue shoes. It was a cool image and I put it up on my bulletin board.


Fast forward to last week and me looking around to put a new spin on the same old line lessons…


Kind of a fun way to look at lines, by creating pictures of feet and shoes. I love how they all put their own spin on it.




Gees Bend Quilts


At the end of the year, I often have loads of scrap paper. All shapes and sizes. This project was a perfect way to use up the scrap and introduce my second graders to the Gees Bend Quilters.


We looked at several examples around the web of the Gees Bend quilts. Souls Grown Deep has some good information and images as does the the Smithsonian Museum36631973.jpg

There are a lot of books about quilts and great picture books. You can turn them into arty “mathterpieces” adding all those cool fractions like whole, half, and quarters, eights, etc. 36631977.jpg

Here we just talked about pattern, symmetry and color.

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We of  course talked about how these quilters used whatever fabrics were  available to them just as we were using the paper available.


So fun to see what creativity can be had when resources are limited. I let the kids just take this where ever they wanted to. 36495861.jpg




I love Mandalas, I think they are just stunning.


I was recently gifted a mandala coloring book and thought my grade 5’s could easily do some mandalas.


We looked at traditional mandala images, learned about radial design and talked about pattern and shape.


We thought about easy ways we could get everything to look the same. I had them trace a plate for their circle. They then folded the paper so that they had “lines” for each section. I had items they could trace like blocks, cut paper, cups, plastic lids, and various found objects.


Once they completed the design, they colored it and cut it out and mounted it on paper.


Terrific Transportation


A few weeks ago some friends returned from Thailand and we talked about the Tuk-Tuk and how other countries have some really unique modes of public transportation. I presented images of jeepneys, tuk-tuks, autos, and rickshaws to the first graders.


I asked them, “What kind of terrific transportation would you have?”


These are just a few vehicles that they came up with.


Illustrating a Paint Title


46563979.jpgAfter we painted my daughter’s room “marsh fern”, she and I talked about how it looked like many colors but not what one would think of as a marsh or a fern. It was a super bright green that was reminiscent of a granny smith apple.


We talked about how one might illustrate the names of paint colors. That is where the inspiration for this lesson came from.


Today, I took that idea to my third graders. I gave them titles of paints that I found at our local hardware store and brought in swatches. Their job was to create their own paint color and title.


Such a fun lesson. The kids were amazingly creative: Gloomy Grave, Magnificent Maui,  Jurassic Jungle, just to name a few.