Wednesday, December 18, 2013

O Christmas Tree...

Some of the first graders and Kindergartners created these fun Christmas trees this week for their last project before winter break. We drew a triangle at the bottom of the paper, and then continued to stack triangles up until the top of the tree. Then we added a star and a trunk. We traced these with black oil pastel, then colored with soft drawing chalk. They were messy, but fun. Each one turned out so different!

Elf Yourself at the North Pole!

Meet the newest elves in the North Pole: The second grade class! We started by drawing a picture of Santa's workshop and what we imagine the North Pole might look like. Then we used a digital picture of the students' heads, created new elf bodies, and then added these to our north pole scenes. Finally, some chalk was added to make a streak of northern lights across the night sky. Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Starry Night over Nebraska

Time for one of my FAVORITE projects in the 4th grade! Starry Night (in Nebraska)! We start this project by looking at the original VanGogh starry night. Then we compare this starry night to two similar paintings: Burning with Cosmic Rhythm by T. F. Chen, and The Dark Starry Night by James Hance. Students discuss the similarities and differences of the three paintings. We talk about how artists use famous works like Starry Night to learn how to paint in different ways and because they are recognizable by a lot of people. We even watched a video by an artist who created starry night out of dominoes!

We talked about how the "composition" of all three is the same. They all have tall objects on the left side, a moon on the right, and a smaller object and a city in the center. They all have the swirl of color in the sky as well. But each is a picture of a different location. We talked about what objects might become part of a "Nebraska" composition. Good tall objects were trees, flag poles, windmills, silos, Chimney Rock, our city water tower, etc. Then we talked about what small landmark could take the place of the center. After we drew our pictures, we painted in an impressionist style so you could see our brush strokes like the style of Vincent VanGogh!

 Top: A student's backyard with a tree and tomato towers in the garden.
Bottom: A flagpole and our school building.

Top: Nebraska State Capital building and Memorial stadium (home of the Huskers!).
Bottom: A windmill and barn with a silo on a farm.
Top: Chimney Rock and a covered wagon on the prarie.
Bottom: City water tower and the school building.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Winter Trees

The third grade students made these fantastic trees this week using some new painting techniques. Starting with a brush they created the snowy horizon line. They then used a piece of flat cardboard to stamp and drag the white paint to create a trunk and branches for their trees. A thumb print in the tree makes an owl body, and the corner of the cardboard can be used for snowflakes. After cleaning up the paint and washing hands, the rest of the details, including the shadows and mood, were made with color sticks.

Brrrrrr! Penguins!!

The first grade class created these fantastic penguins this week, just in time for the cold weather to hit. It is COLD outside, so we need to bundle up. I love these inspiration pieces from Mrs. Anderson's Art Blog. We started by creating arch shapes for the body and tummy of our penguins, and used the black and white scraps to make eyes. Add an orange beak and some cold weather accessories, and we're all set for a blustery December. The perfect final touch on these guys was to stamp some snowflakes with a q-tip, and sprinkle the wet paint with sparkly glitter.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Symmetrical Crayon "Batik"

The fourth grade students created these eye catching designs using regular wax crayons. The first step was to find all the lines of symmetry for their square and fold the paper along each line. They then drew a simple design in one of the eight "slices" of their square created by the folds. After the design was done, they folded it along ONE of the lines of symmetry, and rubbed the back of the paper with a hard object (we used the handle of our scissors) to transfer the wax to the facing slice of paper. We then repeated the tracing-folding-rubbing sequence until the whole square was full. The students chose 4-5 colors of crayons to color their design. Once finished, we crumpled up the paper to create cracks in the wax. They then brushed thin black paint over the design and wiped it clean with a damp paper towel. The result looks and even feels like fabric!

Midnight at the Pumpkin Patch loved this lesson from Fine Lines so much, I wanted to try out a simpler version for my second graders. We used pencil and eraser to draw pumpkins, using the sizes to show distance in our picture. We colored them with oil pastel and used value to make them look three-dimensional and round. The pumpkins look like they are glowing in the moonlight!

Spooky Spiders

I know, it's almost Thanksgiving. But these adorable spiders have been hanging in the hallway for a while, and it's time for them come down. The kindergarten students created these funny little creatures, starting with a line drawing to create a spider web. We then dipped a koosh ball in black paint and stamped it onto our web. Koosh balls are super fun painting supplies! I found ours in the dollar spot at Target, and we use them for lots of different things. They were just perfect for making a hairy spider body. We then cut strips of paper to make legs, making sure we counted to eight to make the right amount. The final touch was making eyes with a cotton swab and white paint. I love their personalities!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Something's Fishy in the Art Room

Why no October entries?? Well, for the last few weeks, the elementary students have been hard at work making "fishy" art work to decorate the lobby of our auditorium. The middle school put on the play "Little Mermaid Jr." and asked us to help decorate. Each class made a different project, and all were hung on the walls, windows, and doors of the lobby and down the halls. It's amazing how much space 400 pieces of art can take up!

These beautiful fish rainbow fish were created by each kindergarten class. After reading about author Marcus Pfister's "Rainbow Fish" had to share his shiny scales to make friends, each student made a scale from a paper plate and covered it in shiny glitter. We attached all the scales together to make a huge rainbow fish for each class!

The first grade students read the book "I am the Best Artist in the Ocean" about a very confident giant squid. Each student made their own squid, complete with long tentacles, and wrote a quote about what they are best at.

Second graders used liquid watercolors and white crayons to make these amazing underwater jellyfish scenes. We were inspired by this project I discovered on pinterest.

In third grade, we have been talking about unity and variety. To make these coral reef pictures, we used opposites: big and small, near and far, high and low, in front and behind, etc. The water effect was done with plastic garbage bags and liquid watercolor.

These beautiful fish were made by 4th grade students who first used glue to design their fish, and then colored with analagous and complementary colored chalk.

Finally, the 5th grade used watercolors to complete these colorful fish.

The display was hung by parent volunteers. What a great show of teamwork to show off our schools' talented artists, musicians, and actors!

Monday, November 4, 2013


Third grade learned about 1-point perspective this week with these great scarecrow pictures! The lesson was inspired by these great scarecrows from A Faithful Attempt. First, we drew a picture of a scarecrow, thinking about all the things we would need from around the house to make the heads, bodies, hands, feet, etc. Then we used 1-point perspective to make a field. We first had to add a horizon line, find a vanishing point, and then draw the lines of perspective to make the field look like it went on for miles. We used colored pencils to color the details, and finished off the background with washable markers and water.