Thursday, January 24, 2013

Three Part Landscapes With Watercolor Techniques

Dabbing (paper toweling) for the sky, and salt on the mountains.

Tape, students could tear and put it anywhere. Some cut it into strips and made fences like the one above (amazing creativity).

Wet-on-wet (the students above was in the process of adding more colors to the wet area under the mountains.

Last technique was wax resist using crayon. The students could pick whatever technique they wanted to finish the remaining sections after finishing the required sections.

I did a lesson teaching watercolor techniques to high school students when I was student teaching. The students enjoyed painting with different materials than just a brush, water, and paint. As an elementary teacher, I am not teaching high school aged students obviously. I do believe that no matter the age, watercolor techniques can be taught to any age. 
Over the summer, I saw a painting on Pintrest painted by a fellow art teacher and blogger ArtwithmrE ( The painting down below is the image I pinned and was inspired by for this lesson.

To start the project, we started by talking about a three part landscape with a foreground, middle ground, and background. As a class, we drew our own three part landscape. When we got to the background I allowed the students to pick what type of climate they wished to be in. Some drew large sand dunes for a dessert scene, others drew large pointy and jagged icebergs for an arctic climate, and the rest drew large mountains in the background. Who wouldn't want large mountains in the background of a landscape if you were a student who lived in the great plains. The students added shrubs or trees that went with their climate.
The next class, we started with the watercolor techniques. The sky was an example of dabbing or removing paint when wet with paper towel or cloth. The background region was done using the SALT technique (sea salt worked much better than table salt). The large salt crystals were a big hit with the students. After the salt, I taught the students wet-on-wet and tape-off. I showed them how artist use tape to keep paint off of areas that the artist want to keep white (example birch trees). The students love the wet-on-wet and how the colors spread across the wet paper. Lots of students did the wet-on-wet technique under the background / mountains because of the two hills, which allowed them to do the hills different colors. The last technique was wax resist with crayons. The students experimented with words, symbols, and patterns. Every students final product is different and unique from one another's ... love it!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Stained Glass Tinted Chalk Lesson

TINT and CHALK... Why not! My 3rd graders learned more about stained glass than they probably ever thought they would. We talked about symmetry and the use of color or lack of in classic and new modern stained glass. 
The next class, we talked about tint and the differences between tint and shade. The students started to draw their stained glass design using a ruler for measurement and a straight edge. When the students finished their lines, they went over the lines with glue. I went over my glue rules once again: ONE HAND ON THE GLUE BOTTLE, TILT THE BOTTLE, TOUCH ORANGE TIP TO THE PAPER, LIGHTLY SQUEEZE. 

Before the students started on the stained glass paper they did a value test sheet. One side of the value sheet was just white chalk, the other was pure color. The middle four squares were then added using both white and color adjusted to the level needed to make the value sheet go from light to dark. The students got the hang of blending or mixing the colors during this process. After the test sheet, the students attacked the stained glass sheet and the results are amazing. 

As of now I only have three students done, but I was excited to show them off. More pictures to come!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Printing... Mittens.... Snowflake Bentley!!!!

Student applying the glue and adding the string to the paper. 

Yay, prints are done! So over a month ago I had this great idea to make "printed mittens" using patterns and line. The students had no idea what they were creating, but they were excited and surprised ever inch of the way. 
So many people are surprised by the fact that I teach 1st GRADERS printing. They are old enough to hold a brayer and go back and forth on the ink. They can roll the ink on the printing plate (mitten), and they can rub the back of the paper ... why can't they print? They love the process, and as long as I am young and have the patience, I am printing with first grade!
We started out by tracing a mitten tracer on a piece of paper. The students filled the mittens with lines and patterns, The paper was transferred to a piece of styrofoam and traced. The students went over their lines on the foam with pen and then printed individually with me at the back table. As the students printed individually with me, the rest of the students worked on a sketchbook assignment at their seats (look at cereal sketchbooks label).
After the students printed their mitten with white ink on black paper ... we looked at Snowflake Bentley and made snowflakes in our sketchbooks. The next class, I hot glued the styrofoam mitten (printing plate) next to the printed mitten.  The students put four or five of their snowflakes above the mitten with white oil pastels, and glued the white string above the mittens. 
Each mitten differs in design, and showcases each students personality and skill level... loved this assignment even though it took a month longer than I wished!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Contour Lines and Snowflake Bentley!

My kindergarten students learned about Contour Lines and Snowflake Bentley in this winter inspired lesson. We started out by tracing two different sized mittens and one of our hands out of cool colored paper. The students cut each out with scissors and glued them onto a blue sheet of paper.

Last year, I did a lesson on contour lines with my kindergarten students that flopped. I loved the idea of making lines that forced them to be aware of lines and shapes around them, but wash't sure the right way to teach it. This year, I decided to shrink the area the students had to work on. Instead of making the contour lines on the background... I had the students fill the inside of each of the mittens or hands with contour lines. By doing the contour lines in the inside of the mittens and hands, I am able to teach the students about snowflakes and Wilson Bentley. Love the cool colored / winter feel!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

MUDROOM Finished

Finished Product!

The project starts...

Frame is built... bring on the paint!

Built-in storage for hats and mittens for the cold Wisconsin winters.

My lovely girlfriend Maggie, found the three wire pieces up above at Goodwill for under 10 dollars. I bought some red spray paint and transformed rusty and dirty into red and shiny accents. 

We still have to finish the trim and find a light fixture, but two weekends worth of work and we have a nice and cozy mudroom! The walls could use some ARTWORK don't you think?