One of the great things about art is you can literally use anything to get creative! Today the Picassos painted an underwater ocean scene. But to add another dimension to our art we talked about the Buccoo Reef in Tobago and how much of our coral has been destroyed by a combination of pollution and mistreatment of the reef by tour operators. They looked at pictures and we got down to our art for the day.
I gave them very little direction. I simply put out some ocean colours in tempera and oil pastels and we talked for a few minutes about what we might see under the deep blue ocean. The only rule was not to paint any fish... we have a special plan for adding fish at the end.
When the underwater scene was done to their satisfaction I handed out styrofoam trays for them to draw a fish from a very simple one to that was as detailed as they cared to get. So they drew BIG fish, and tiny fish and I even got some eels!
When I started saving these trays I really didn't have a plan for them but lucky for us we have them today! My darling hubby has started asking "are we saving this?" before he throws any earthly thing away! LOL.. But I digress as usual... They cut the shapes out, painted them with black tempera and simply pressed them onto the ocean background, creating a school of fish silhouettes!
This was so much fun and the kiddos really took charge of their artwork.
"Creativity takes courage" Henri Matisse
This week the Picassos were introduced to artist Henri Matisse! Matisse was a French painter who produced works of art from the early 1900s right up until his death in the mid 50s. This means he was popular during the time of Picasso (their namesake) and they actually had a friendship and rivalry that kept them both on their toes!
Matisse is known as a master of colour and his style of painting was actually responsible for creating a whole new movement called Fauvism. When his work was first shown French critics shunned it and likened him to le fauve or wild beast... and well the name not only stuck but Matisse managed to turn that critique that was meant as an insult into something positive that influenced a whole new generation of artists! Now isn't that a great attitude to model!
The painting the Picassos recreated today was his Purple Robe and Anemones which you can see below :)
The beauty of this painting is not just his use of vibrant colours but also how he manages to make everything appear flat while at the same time maintaining a separation of each surface and dimension.
I got the children to draw using oil pastels instead of pencils today because I really want them to develop making purposeful lines. There is merit in erasing and fixing but when you remove the ability to do that what takes its place is mindfulness about where to go next because you know that it can't be easily changed. Tough love I guess lol... Check out the Picassos' version of this masterpiece! I think they did great especially considering we used the no pencils approach I described above.
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It's weird how my mind works but I'm guessing all the feathers and wings have got me stuck on birds! So the Picassos launched into using up some of our hefty supply of gorgeous painted papers to make a little art piece I'm calling "Birds on a Wire".
We've all seen them. Little birdies just hanging out on the electrical wires that have become a part of the landscape of modern day life. But have you seen them look quite like this? I think not!
These birds are bright, patterned and whimsical (thanks for the raw material Doodlebugs) but this piece also has some serious lessons on scale, perspective, balance and composition. Feast your eyes...
From the moment the Doodlebugs walked into the art room they realized something was different... for one there were a bunch of strange looking tools on the tables and I guess they could just feel it in the air lol...
When I explained that today we were going to make 'abstract art' in the form of painted papers my little ones were taken off guard and some of them were downright confused! Of course I saw this coming so I thought I would introduce them to the art of Jackson Pollock so they could see that art doesn't have to make 'sense' in the traditional way. As a matter of fact one of my kiddos commented during the process "miss how you going to explain that?!?" LOL needless to say I couldn't hold back the laughter.
So anyway... I'm getting ahead of myself. They looked at this little intro to Action Jackson as he is affectionately called...
This is one of the messiest things you can ask a child to do... smear paint all over a paper and use paint scrapers and rollers, fingers and marbles and a bunch of other curious looking things to create lines, patterns and texture... but boy is it fun!
As you will see some of my Doodlebugs started off a little apprehensive but they all soon got into it and using the tools, moving around the room from table to table to test out all the rollers!
While these pages are beautiful all on their own, we made them as the foundation for a ton of other projects to come. We're going to snip and cut them into shapes and images to be used in collage projects... so stay tuned for how we use our painted paper!
Last week the Doodblebugs drew and traced our amazing transforming fishy (see the first part here) and this week... you guessed it... they got down to the business of painting these fine fishes in any colour they liked! Afterwards I had them redraw their lines using black paint to make their fishes pop and I have to say these fishes are even more adorable in full colour :)
From the moment I first came across this little book I knew I had to read it to my Picassos and paint that silly (sorry Petunia) goose.
You see, Petunia has a bit of a hang up about being called a silly goose, so when she came across a book in the field, she decided to take it everywhere so people would think she was wise. The plan worked and the barnyard animals all looked to Petunia for advice because of her new wise personna... and well you can guess what happens. I just think this is such a neat little moral, especially at the start of the school term, and it's told in an engaging and funny way! Take a look at the video up above to see what I mean!
We painted the cover picture for this lovely little story by first sketching our goose and painting the background with the details first. Since the goose is mostly white, she was left blank and the details were put in at the very end with black paint. I also challenged some of my Picassos to add a few details to Petunia to bring out her personality in the picture.
Take a look at our results!
Thursday Picassos met Petunia today :) Take a look at some of our newly minted Picassos and some of our 'old hats' ;P
A bit of history in the art room this afternoon to commemorate Indian Arrival Day. This video is actually only the first part of a seven part series that I think was quite well done and an engaging way for the children to grasp some of our nation's important past.
After taking in this short clip they took a look at pictures of the Fatel Razak and started drawing it out. Then they painted using tempera paints :) They worked on getting the ocean to look extra 'treacherous'... I think they did a fabulous job!
What do you know about elephants? After today... quite a bit!
Before I started the video I handed out a sheet with a few quiz questions...
What is the average weight of an elephant?
What does an elephant eat?
The Picassos had to jot down the answers while they listened... this ensures everyone is paying attention!
After we shared what we knew about elephants and they saw just how cool these enormous animals really are we jumped into drawing our subject.
When the drawing was finished they were painted using tempera paints.
Thursday Picassos take on the Elephant Painting!
This was a fun project that focused on creating seamless colour gradations.
First the Picassos painted the gradations ,which really can be simple for some and not so simple for others. Next they sketched a city skyline on black construction paper to mimic a silhouette and cut it out. The black paper city was then stuck on the horizon line of the page. For this we looked at pictures of Port-of-Spain's waterfront and talked about the shapes of the buildings and they got down to sketching out their building silhouettes.
I also pointed out that we were using warm colours for the sky and cool colours for the sea!
Stunning results from my Picassos! Good job kiddos :)
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.
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 :)