Tag Archives: tempera paint

Another lesson with Sonia Delaunay



I had an opportunity to see some of Delaunay’s work both in Paris and in Bilbao. I love her bright colors and simple geometric shapes. Students looked at Delaunay’s art and textiles in a PowerPoint and they created these images in tempera paint.


I had the students look at her work and we discussed the way color and shape interact.


We also discussed her work as a textile designer and how she and her husband Robert were the initiators of the Orphism or Orphic Cubist Art movement.


They could copy elements of her work or create their own version.



Year of the Dog Grade 2



I always like to teach my students about other cultures and celebrations. I think learning about other cultures helps us to create better relationships and allows us to understand others better.


At my school, we have a yearly Heritage Night and last year, we had a great Chinese New Year celebration. This year, is the Year of the Dog.


I showed the students images of dogs and we talked about how all breeds look pretty similar with their snout, their eyes and their nose. We also talked about their differences-coat textures, colors, size, and breed.61173484.jpg

I showed students how to make a basic dog face and then left them to create their own dog their own way. Amazing what they came up with!





I have a wonderful opportunity to teach weekly art to a group of students. These ponds were done at the request of a teacher to go with their grade levels pond unit.

These students get art with me for about 30 minutes each week. I started by telling the kindergartners about Monet and his water lily paintings. They created theirs using oil pastel and water soluble markers which they painted with water.


The next week, we made the green backgrounds. We talked about texture. I gave them green, yellow, and blue paint, forks, and my infamous paint daubers (sponges clipped to a clothespin).

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The week after that, they cut the ponds into a “pond shape” and glued them on the background and added cattails and dragonflies.

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The last week, we added butterflies and frogs. I think they came out just stunning and will be great for their open house celebration.

Sail Boat Collage



My K/1 Combo class did this lesson. They painted the background first doing the sky white then adding blue, they then painted the ocean with blue, green, and white. We did not rinse between colors so that was one less clean up step. I had them wipe their brushes on scrap paper or their placemats.


While that was drying, I showed them our “magic square” trick. A square can be cut into 2 triangles or 2 rectangles.


They then made boats with the squares of painted paper. I often use my old demo lessons chopped up for things like this. I also have some art room helpers who will take the paint leftovers from a paint day and paint on “oops” papers.


That paper is made by my upper grade student helpers. While I am pretty conservative in pouring paint, there is always a bit of leftover paint on the supply plates and it is a good way to use that up. (Reduce, reuse recycle: it’s good for the budget)


They then cut and assembled the boats however they wanted to.


Apple Still Life



I did these apples with my K/1 combo class.


I showed them how to draw apples in a bowl, on a table, in a footed bowl and they could do them however they chose to.


We drew them with black crayon and filled in with paint.


One mom told me her child loved it so much he kept drawing apples in bowls.


I think they are a lot of fun.



Clouds and Black Mountain


Fifth graders study clouds and I thought it would be fun for them to paint them. As the students walked in, the teacher asked what we were doing, I said clouds and Black Mountain. He said we just learned yesterday about Lenticular clouds.  The timing was so perfect.


We have a local mountain that can be seen from many of the upstairs windows and the school parking lot.20161206_160453.jpg

It is called Black Mountain.It is 1,500 feet.


The top is covered with various radio and other antennae. It is covered in scrub brush and has dusty trails and loads of rocks but people love it for local hiking and mountain biking.


I thought we could put the two together: the mountain in our backyard and the study of clouds. We talked about all kinds of clouds and looked at pictures of clouds. We talked about clouds in art and looked at work by Beirstadt and O’Keeffe among others


As always, I did the demo, told them my thoughts about it and let them have a latitude of choices. I suggested Black Mountain but the kids could choose any landscape they desired.


Some kids chose Whistler or Half Dome- yes, this artist made sure I knew that Half Dome is NOT a mountain. I even had some choose to create beaches.


My only real requirement was that they had to paint some clouds.


A Day of Remembrance, Veteran’s Day



For my 5th graders, I usually do a Jasper Johns flag lesson around Veteran’s Day. This year I changed it up a little. We discussed the history of Veteran’s Day.

We looked at the work of Jasper Johns. Then we discussed what kinds of images related to Remembrance Day and Veteran’s Day.

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They created these images in tempera paint.


Lines and Color



This is a simple lesson that I like to do at the beginning of the year. I usually do it with First Grade but it can be done with any grade. We discuss lines and shapes and look for examples in the classroom.


Then the students follow a set of directions and draw using permanent marker. For example: draw three straight lines anywhere on your paper. Two lines must go off the page. Then  maybe the next step is to draw three empty circles, any size. The next step might be to draw a curved line that starts on a circle and goes off the page.


I usually give 5-6 drawing steps and then we talk about painting. I spend most of this lesson talking about how to use the paint brushes: big brushes for big jobs, little brushes for little jobs. How to take care of our paint supplies: be gentle with the brush, don’t scrub!. Clean brushes between colors to avoid making mud colors. We also spend a fair amount of time on clean-up.


Because it is just me with 25-30+ students, it is critical that we have a smooth system to make art making and clean-up run efficiently. Because kids love paint, I like to do a lot of paint projects. Taking extra time to clearly explain everything early on saves time and frustration later.