Tag Archives: watercolor

Career Placemat Project

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In Fall of 2018, I was working at a very large suburban school. I was asked by their District Office if I thought my students could create 100 placemats with student art for their State of the District Luncheon.  Because of the large size of the school, this was only about 10% of our students so I knew I could do it.

I organized six after school workshops for all grade levels Kindergarten through Fifth grade. I even had a couple of preschool and TK students who came with an adult or older sibling.

The workshops were all done by me with occasional help from a parent. I had small groups of about 20 students. For the workshops, I had some idea lists for different careers that I thought they might want but I also told the students to come up with two to three career choices of their own so that we could have a lot of diversity. Because they knew these would not be returned, I allowed students to make two if they wanted to.

Each student sketched their work on a small paper then did a larger drawing in pencil then went over that in black marker. We then painted with watercolor paint. I was so impressed with all the different jobs they came up with from gardening to scientists to dancers to race car drivers and everything in between. It was really one of the most rewarding projects we did that year.

After they were dry, I labeled each artwork on the back with the student’s name, grade and their career title. It was a huge job and when they were delivered to the district office, the staff decided they were too pretty to use as placemats and instead put them up all around the meeting room. After the luncheon, they were returned to the school and went on display on the gallery wall in the lobby.

Kimonos

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Based on the work of Itchiku Kubota (1917-2003)

The San Diego Museum of art and the Timken had a fabulous exhibition of kimonos created by artist Itchiku Kubota in 2008-2009. You can see the Kubota kimono collection at https://thekubotacollection.com

For this lesson, I first taught in 2015. I taught my students how to make a basic kimono shape and they added different elements such as flowers and patterns in black permanent marker and/or oil pastel. When they were finished, they could add watercolor on top.

I went to the educator’s open house at San Diego Museum of Art and loved the exhibition so much that I went back multiple times to see the kimonos. The museum had a collage lesson that had been created by artist Jane LaFazio. It was beautiful but far too complex with too many steps for our 45 minute lessons.

We displayed these next to koinobori fish that had been done by third grade and cherry blossoms that had been done by the K/1 students.

Pots and Plants

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Ever since my trek to the NAEA conference, I have been thinking a lot about how we have students create art. In a couple of the workshops I went to, there was a lot of discussion about how most students create teacher directed art lessons. When every child makes the exact same thing as their peers, many people considered that a successful art project.  I have always enjoyed allowing my students freedom to create while having their projects be cohesive enough that they can be hung together in a grouping.

When one of the third grade teachers came to me and asked me for art that she could take over to our local Trader Joe’s for display., I again was thinking about my time at NAEA.

For this lesson, I gave my students the direction that we needed to create pieces that looked like they were part of a collection. We talked about what types of things Trader Joe’s sells and what would look nice on display and landed on plants and flowers.

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They all drew a plant in sharpie, put it in a container, painted it with watercolor, leaving white space around it. They were free to draw any type of plant that they wanted to and put it in a container of their choosing. I pulled up reference pictures and projected them onto our screen for them to look at.

After School Art

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Students and families have been asking me for a couple of years to bring back after school art. This year with permission of and encouragement from our new principal as well as our PTA and Foundation, I agreed. It has been really fun to allow the students to spend time in the art room and use my personal materials such as watercolor pencils, pencils in different hardnesses, textiles, beads, and even my treasured gelato oil pastels to create fun art pieces.

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Watercolor Pencils

The class is very loosely structured. I give them project ideas, teach them how to use the tools and elements of art and off they go. It is not necessarily a step by step drawing or painting type of class but we have done a bit of that. The students choose what they want to learn about and we create things they are interested in.

We made beaded bracelets and kumihimo weaving. bead-bracelets.jpg

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One boy wanted to know how to draw things more realistically so I taught him the basics of gridding as well as creating and using a viewfinder.gridding

We created marionette puppets similar to the one I made at the Basil Twist workshop I attended last fall. They also made stick puppets.

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We made CD spinners and talked about color and pattern and what would happen when the patterns and colors spun together.

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We made LED Origami balloons and talked about positive and negative connections as well as how folding and following directions in origami can be hard sometimes.

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We talked about shadow and highlight and they create a picture of oranges. We also talked about and created gesture drawings of people.

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They made their own sketchbooks

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They created sculptures using chenille stems, cardboard, buttons, feathers, and washi tape.

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Most recently, students looked at Katsushika Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa. We talked about how it was made, what it represented, how the artist used color and how could we deconstruct it to reconstruct it using the art tools of our own choice.

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The last 6 weeks have been a lot of fun having an open art forum and allowing students to play with art materials and be creative while learning. My favorite part is how my students are able to look at something, discuss it, figure out how it was made and then they create their own version.

Oil Pastel Flowers

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My Grade Two classes did these. They have a play that they do every year called “Going Buggy” This seemed like a good lesson to add to the bug lessons we have done in the past-bugs like plants after all.

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I take out all the black pans from our watercolors to keep kids from painting every thing black because I do that, I try to find fun projects to do to use up the black paint.

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Students were instructed to create either warm or cool colored flowers and then the centers were to be the opposite.

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When finished, they painted black around the flowers.

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Sailboat Silhouette

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My students and parents LOVE this lesson. I do this one with First Grade. This year, I did the lesson with Grade 1 and the Grade 1 and Grade 2 Combo classes.

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I think it always turns out great. The nice thing about this is if they make a mark they do not like, they can just color over it and it becomes a bigger boat or another sail. It also reinforces how to draw basic shapes.

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This year, I had extra wide sharpies which made it easier for my students to color in large sails or large boats.

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I think one key to success is to make sure the students go slowly around the outside and then they can move quickly when they are in the middle of the image.

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Peter Diem Cows

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Everyone seems to do a Peter Diem Cow lesson!

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They are so colorful and perfect for young ones.

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I had my K/1 class, do a guided drawing of a cow. Some wanted 4 legs, udders, and tails so they did. Others copied Peter Diem.

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They colored with oil pastel then used markers and water for a blended background.

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More Beatrix Potter

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I teach a total of five classrooms of grade three students. As I continued to teach Beatrix this week to the rest of our third graders, more students chose her other characters. So much fun to teach students about this wonderful artist, author, and business woman.

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Jemima Puddleduck

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Tale of Two Bad Mice

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Squirrel Nutkin

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Kitty in Boots

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The Tailor of Gloucester

 

Beatrix Potter

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Because March is Women’s History month my classes all were introduced to a different woman artist.

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Grade three learned about Beatrix Potter and her water color illustrations of animals. They learned that she was also a sheep farmer, preservationist and business woman.

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They could use watercolor, colored pencils, sharpie or any combination of those and could choose to do any of her animas or one of their own anthropomorphic animals.

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They all chose Peter Rabbit. Probably because it is spring time.

Bugs in Boxes

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Second grade usually does an insect unit. They learn about insects and their body parts. Every year, I do something a little different, it seems.

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This year, the students drew about five boxes. They then put different bugs in each box.

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The bugs could be real or imaginary.

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I have a bunch of plastic insects from my children that I bring in for them to look at if they want to.

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They could color the bugs with marker, pencil, or oil pastel.

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When finished, they painted the space in between the boxes with brown paint to look a bit like wood.