Today the Doodlebugs painted a butterfly... but this is Arty Pants Studio, where smarty pants thrive and flourish. So to foster the inquisitive nature of our little ones I showed them this video on how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. All my Doodlebugs may not be able to remember the term exoskeleton at the end of this, but I think there's value in exposing them to the proper names for things and making them aware of processes so when they encounter them again and again, they will say... oh yeah, that sounds familiar until one day they just know :)
We talked about the parts of the butterfly and I had some pictures of butterflies printed out for inspiration.
And of course, any time you have a group of eager 5 and 6 year olds waiting for paint some strategy is required... so we played a little game I call The Smartest Artist.
Smartest Artist Questions for the day...
1) How many stages does it take for a caterpillar to turn into a butterfly?
2) What do butterflies eat?
3) How do butterflies taste food?
We also talked about symmetry, I SUGGESTED that the wings be the same on both sides, but who can blame a 5 year old for thinking this is just too boring and restrictive?
So they drew their butterflies, drew in patterns and painted them in using tiny brushes to help them stay in the lines.
This Brazilian artist creates such delightful art that his style just comes naturally to children! An easy breezy day in the art room today... showed them an inspiration piece, reiterated the concept of a pattern and away they went! Drawing the little cat, choosing their own patterns, colours and paints.
Thursday Picassos took their turn at imitating the style of Romero Britto :)
Last week the Doodlebugs made some adorbale baby turtles using Air Dry Clay. So naturally, this week our task is to make a home for our little turtles to live!
So we set to work creating a habitat diorama. These were so much fun to make and the children really got into the process. Of course they also painted their little turtles... today was a busy day!
We used old shoe boxes (my friends all now think I moonlight as a trash collector) and painted them out. I had cut outs of various types of fish , coral and other sea creatures that the children coloured in last week and we stuck them into the diaorama. For the final touch I spread some glue on the base and they sprinkled sand to represent the sea bed.
I realize I didn't get very many close-ups of their turtles... I hope you can see them in there.
My Picassos got to practice using some of the watercolour techniques they learnt last week and also got busy drawing radial designs of flowers in this simple but beautiful project. They were given an idea sheet with different flowers and instructed to choose three different flowers and draw them in pencil, trace them over using black sharpies and then paint them using watercolours.
Most of them got to paint in the background and applied the salt technique. They're not finished yet but they are already so beautiful!
Updated - 26th April - Picassos finished their flowers ;)
Thursday Picassos tackled the radial watercolour flowers today... masterful results :)
Our class today was inspired by one of my favourite children's books. I must have read this little story to my own children scores of times because I just love the rhythmic style of the writing and the illustrations are so beautifully done. So I read the story and showed the Doodlebugs my sample of the baby turtle.
We moulded our turtles all from one piece of clay and used toothpicks and straws to make the markings on his back and to put in eyes etc. I think they did a really stellar job :) Pulling the flippers and making the head and tail stick out into a recognizable form from a single blob of clay is no small feat for a child.
Modelling Clay needs to be throughly dry before it can be painted so the Doodlebugs will get to paint them in the next class.
I didn't get many action pics of our little ones today... well because we were just too busy, but you can see a bit of them in the process and admire our little turtles ;P
While this is not the first time my Picassos have used watercolours in class I didn't want to turn our foray into the wonderful world of watercolours into something too technical so I decided to save the formal experimentation with techniques until now.
We spent the entire class looking at the behaviour of watercolours when used in different ways and put with varying materials. I pre-drew sections on a piece of watercolour paper and labelled them with each of our test
subjects or techniques.
We went through 12 different techniques in turn...
Leonardo da Vinci was probably the most famous artist of all time, but the irony is if he were alive today, he would probably think the notion of labelling him as an artist is preposterous! da Vinci considered himself to be more of a scientist and inventor first and then after the fact someone that could also paint.
His talent and mastery of the Renaissance techniques though places him squarely and firmly at the top of the list of Renaissance artists. Believe it or not da Vinci is covered today on special request from my campers :)
So we undertook the challenge to recreate da Vinci's Mona Lisa... in our own style of course!
We looked at Leonardo's version, talked about the colours he used and looked at the composition of the piece. I called their attention to the 3/4 or side view of her face and how we are to treat the position of her shoulders to make the portrait look realistic.
Georgia O'Keeffe is well-known for her beautiful paintings of giant flowers. She painted as if she zoomed her lens onto just a part of the flower and the effect was both unique and familiar. Of course, the children looked at a presentation of the life and work of Georgia O'Keeffe and we delved into our project.
We looked at some of her paintings of flowers and then each child chose a flower out of some options they were presented with to draw and paint in the style of Georgia O'Keeffe.
Van Gogh is my favorite artist of all time so I could never spend a week exploring master artists without including him. His paintings are so expressive, so full of emotion and create such a sense of urgency that it is hard to imagine how anyone who looks at them can help but fall in love with them on sight!
Van Gogh also lived a hard life. He had many trials and took a relatively long time to find art as his calling. He was also a very sensitive and vulnerable person that tended to delve wholeheartedly into whatever he set out to do, so the fact that he only ever sold one painting out of the over 2000 paintings he did over his life is one of the many sad truths of his story.
But in our short time together this morning at Paint Like the Masters I wanted the children to picture him not as a man who battled with sadness, but as a boy growing up with siblings, who played outside, who grew up into a man who loved nature and would write and paint fanatically about the stars in the sky. A man of many wonders who used art to express himself but also who attempted to make others see things as he did. We see it Vincent, we see it :)
Today my little campers were transported back to the 1800s which was the time period in which Winslow Homer lived and painted. I wanted them to get a feel for what life was like back then and picture what could have influenced someone in those times and so influenced how the art at the time looked. I found this interesting video which does a lot better job that me chattering away ever could!
Then it was time to be introduced to the artist of the day!
Winslow Homer is recognized as one of the greatest American watercolour artists of all time, and while he painted on many different subjects, he is best known for his skill in portraying varying seascapes.
So it seems only fitting that we try to imitate his mastery in this area as well! We used the painting below as our inspiration and the children were directed on how to first lay out the drawing and then to layer on the watercolour to build up the scene and create a beautiful finished product reminiscent of Homer's The Water Fan.
This was the first time some of these children have used watercolour paints and of course many were at first intimated by the need to draw the man in the boat, but they all produced good results!
Be a fly on the wall in our art room! Take a look at what we do, how we do it and the smiles that I get to see week after week :)