I love taking my elementary students on an exploration of different media, subjects, and ideas. These first 6 weeks have seen us blowing around blobs of paint with straws, drawing llamas, making yarn tassels, coloring foxes, embossing metal, and creating glowing night landscapes! I often share a personal story or read a story to whet their imaginations, and we often warm up with a guided drawing in our sketchbooks.
My favorite project so far has been these fabulous foxes. The kids used oil pastels to build up the layers of fur, then they smudged chalk pastels to make a magical background. Instead of guiding them step by step as I sometimes do, I gave them a photograph of a fox and let them translate that into their own art. I love each of their interpretations!
My classes always seem to enjoy foil embossing, and this year we explored a seasonal theme. My Tuesday class made 4 small squares representing each season and mounted on a long panel. My Wednesday classes did one large fall scene based on their idea of a perfect fall day. Students draw their designs on paper first, then tape the paper to the back side of the foil and press the design into the foil. I teach them several ways to create interesting texture.
For Halloween week, we enjoyed glow parties in all the classes. I dropped the blackout shades, turned on the black lights, and put on my glowiest costume...a "glow troll." We used black and fluorescent paints to create these beautiful, VanGogh inspired landscapes. Some of the kids wore costumes and we ended the class with a bowl of popcorn and candies. Enjoy our slideshow!
I LOVE working with my teen students in homeschool intermediate art! They run the gamut of lively to shy to serious to lighthearted, and their personalities come out in their art. We have started the year with skill building exercises, focusing on drawing from observation with the "right side of the brain," and improving our shading techniques using ink, graphite, charcoal, and pastel. Our first project was to decorate their sketchbook covers with "expressive hands" and then we moved into still life contour drawings and still life value (shading) pieces. Next up are graphite dragon eyes!
In addition to our creative endeavors, we spend 10 minutes of most classes discussing an artist or painting. So far we have discussed the work of Imanuel Leutz, Thomas Cole, and Otto Dix. All of the art we study this year will be on exhibit at the Marine Art Museum of MN in Winona, where we will visit in May.
I will soon let them loose to play with color, but for now, we're in the black and white phase, and next up are "Dragon Eyes!" Here is a slideshow of their work so far:
Here are their sketchbook covers, based on the lesson "Expressive Hands." The students were asked to create hands that somehow illustrated their interests and personalities. I found the final pieces fascinating, especially when they explained the symbolism to me. It helped me get to know them a bit more.
We did play around with some colors when we had our Halloween Week Glow Parties under black lights. We used black and fluorescent acrylics, and taped the edges down so we would have a nice, crisp frame when the tape was removed. So fun!
The students did a great job on their "finish the picture" homework assignment. I was delighted with their work! Some of them put hours of work in at home each week to create incredible work.
Jill Pearson, owner & instructor at Riverwood Studio, Oronoco, Minnesota