When I choose an art project for my students, I think about what new vocabulary and drawing skills they could learn, what new media they could try, and how they can connect to the subject. Sometimes I pull themes from literature or science. This "Llamas in Perspective" lesson, adapted from a Deep Space Sparkle lesson, had it all!
First we talked about the life and talents of the llama, particularly the Peruvian llama...how they are pack animals who help humans, how they spit when they are agitated and sit down stubbornly when they are overburdened. I told the kids I use llama poop on my plants because it's a great "unscented" fertilizer!
We practiced a llama drawing in their sketchbooks. I love that many of the students said they drew them all week long at home. We then talked about drawing and painting tricks that fool the eye into perceiving depth as we drew our scene together, step by step, and went over the lines with Sharpie. Students were free to add their own little details, decorations, and paint colors to individualize their work. We used tempera cakes, which are similar to watercolors, on heavy duty Bristol paper.
Finally, we "embellished" our mounted picture with handmade tassels. I told them that tassel-making is a "handicraft" that the Peruvians would do to decorate their llamas. The lesson took two 90-minute class periods. Check out the slideshows below.
Afterschool Art Club is something new I've added to the schedule this year, and it's been a blast! Twelve lively students gather on Thursday afternoons to create wonderful art, and for our first project, we created optical illusion "agamagraphs." Pioneered by the artist Yaacov Agam, this kinetic style art changes as the viewer moves. Two of Agam's pieces can be found in the Mayo Clinic art collection. I'm a big fan!
This project took 3 weeks of 75 minute classes to complete. Each student created a starburst name picture on and an optical illusion "wormie" picture, which they colored with sharpie and watercolor on 140 lb. watercolor paper. Then we cut both into 1 inch slices and mounted them alternately to an accordion folded page. The final effect is so cool! If you stand to the left, you see one image and when you move to the right it morphs to the other image. Check out the slideshow below!
I feel so very fortunate to have over 70 homeschooled students come to my studio each week, in 5 different classes, to create art and build friendships. These kids are respectful, eager learners who are endlessly creative and thoughtful. And as a 20+ year homeschooling veteran of 3 kids who have blossomed into creative, high quality humans, I can say, "I GET homeschoolers."
In the first 2 weeks of art classes, we have played with paint, practiced drawing skills, analyzed Leutz's "Washington Crosses the Delaware," played games, and created sketchbook covers. Here are some slideshows of our time together so far. I'll post photos from the intermediate class when we complete our sketchbook covers.
Elementary Splatter Sketchbook Covers:
Elementary "Llamas in Perspective" project:
Teaching watercolors to young, curious, enthusiastic minds is among my favorite things in the world! This week at camp, the kids learned all kinds of watercolor techniques as they explored their new supplies. New vocabulary like glazing, scumbling, masking, salting, lifting, and mopping were taught and tried out. The girls painted in the studio and outside in nature, and they completed many pieces by the end of the week, including transparent lotus flowers, a landscape & seascape, a bohemian owl, and more! Here is a slideshow of the week...
This is my 3rd summer of offering Crazy Art Camps, and all year long I am on the look-out for art projects that are going to WOW my campers! I think this year's projects were a hit. I had 16 talented, enthusiastic kids, ages 7-12, ready to try anything!
Projects 1, 2, & 3: When the kids arrived, they stained and beaded wooden name tags, which my husband and I designed and etched on our Glowforge. They also colored two big Crazy Art banners. Then we went into the studio and viewed a slideshow of the work of artist Peter Anton, who makes giant, hyper-realistic food art. We made pinch pot cupcakes with coiled frosting out of air-dry clay, then painted them a few days later and boxed them in adorable bakery cupcake boxes. I have a policy that I won't do for the kids what they can do for themselves, so I let them figure out on their own without instructions how to fold the origami-style boxes. Some of the kids loved the challenge and figured it out quickly and others had to persevere and get a little assistance from their neighbors. It's definitely a spacial skill.
The kids also enjoyed some outside play time in my WonderYard each day! Here is a slideshow of our first few projects...
Projects 4 & 5: We watched a slideshow of the Pop Art prints of Andy Warhol and then proceeded to make our own using gelli plates, texture items, and acrylic paints to pull our mono prints. The kids printed on black & white photos of themselves that I had snapped on Day 1, then put them all together on black paper to make them POP!
We also learned about artist Georgia O'Keefe, who is known for her giant, close-up flowers. The kids sketched their own designs, outlined them with India ink-filled bingo daubers, then painted them with acrylics. They even sawed a piece of trim with a miter saw to use as a stylish hanger. Here is the slideshow...
Projects 6-7: Friday was the BIG DAY! We blacked-out the studio, turned on the blacklights, and painted with fluorescent paints. There were lots of oohs and ahhh! The kids loved how my wall mural and their Crazy Art poster glowed under the blacklight. We designed and painted mad scientists in a cartoon style, with chalked bubbles in the background, and then I let them draw their own design and fill it in with glowing ice cream salt that I dyed with fluorescent paint. They also had a chance to paint their faces and made fluorescent balloon hats. Such a sensory experience for the kids! We invited families into the studio for a Glow Show at the end. Here is the slideshow...
Jill Pearson, owner & instructor at Riverwood Studio, Oronoco, Minnesota