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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Andy Warhol's Cats and Soup Can Ink Blot Prints

Andy Warhol is not only famous for screenprinting in a repetative manner, but also for his illustrations and advertisements early in his career. He discovered a blotted line technique where he would draw with wet ink and before it dried, lay a piece of paper on top of the wet print and pulling a textured line print. He enjoyed how it wasn't perfectly uniform and produced a unique result.

I first drew a reproduction of Andy's cat and soup can that was very simplified. Then made copies. The key to pulling these prints is having watered down ink/paint, working quickly, and using just the tip of the bristles of a plastic bristled brush. Work fast or it might dry on you. We talked about this and what to do if it does. Put a plexi glass plate on the top of the photocopy. Have a piece of construction paper or white drawing paper with your name on the back handy. After tracing over with wet ink, quickly lay the paper on top. Rub the back then pull away from the plate to pull your print. After pulling the print, I told students they could look at Andy's prints for inspiration or simply create a new design!

Art Careers Exploration!: Artists Talk About their Professions & Requirements in the 21st Century

What an excited, eventful day we had in the art room! I surprised my 4th graders with celebrities! Real, successful, and unique artists from Des Moines! I asked Kristian Day and Jon Baldwin from the Des Moines, Iowa area to come and talk to my students about how amazing their jobs are, but also talk about what it really takes to be a successful part of the art world in the 21st century (especially with it's challenges and competition).

Kristian showing the students his Super 8 camera a vintage model that he loves to use and explains how it works. You might have heard of the Steven Spielburg 's movie, "Super 8" which is named after this type of camera.

Kristian Day is a successful independent film maker who has made some very successful documentaries. They have taken the Des Moines area by storm and sweeping across the nation! I attended a screening of one of his documentaries at the Des Moines Art Festival this past summer called "Hybrid Pioneer". It follows the life and eye into the unique style and life of the area artist Brent Housenga (more about Brent:  and clips of Kristian's documentary). Kristian not only films but he does all the sound and editing. He is a composer and likes to take clips from his film and others and compose music to produce an artistic installation like experience. Absolutely amazing.

Most recently his documentary called "Capone's Whiskey: The Story of Templeton Rye" which is the history of  Iowa's role in the illegal moonshine production and creation of the famous brand Templeton Rye during the rich history of prohibition. Kristian actually got people, from over generations of staying quiet, to reveal their most intimate stories of famous history that had never been uncovered till now! You might have heard PBS having a documentary film series called "Prohibition". PBS aired Kristian's documentary right after it!!!! I watched it on PBS the first time. Then Kristian invited us to his documentary's premire at the Fleur Cinema and Cafe where many of the people interviewed were also attending to see it on the big screen. 

Kristian explained how filming works and how sound is recorded. He also passed around mini posters of his new film he's working on with a friend and film maker called "Kung Fu Graffiti"  ( and mentioned he would love to do a screening here in Grinnell! He travels all around the world to film festivals to showcase and share his films.

Jon Baldwin is a successful visual artist in Des Moines. We works in all different kinds of media from drawing to painting to printing. He's very versatile. He shows in galleries whenever possible and has a thriving buisness of selling his visual productions. Jon also does commissions for buyers. Jon really did a great job of expressing how important passion is in your art and staying true to yourself. Don't be hurt by others when they say when they don't like your art. Take it in and take something away from it to learn about what you do. However, sometimes you have to cooperate and make changes within the way you make your art for a customer to make them happy. It is a business and you sometimes have to sacrifice your personal ideas to make your customer happy to create a good reputation. However, don't loose yourself and change to conform to everyone's liking. Jon explained you don't have to have the highest quality of art supplies to make successful art. He mentioned he uses all kinds of media including the same brands that we use in our art classroom!

Jon knew we had been studying amazing artists like Vincent Van Gogh and wanted
to point out his striking resemblance along with how he's inspired by other artists' styles

students looking at Jon's art that was inspired by childhood interests
Both artists explained how important is to keep learning, asking, inquiring, exploring, and discovering in their field. They are lifelong learners. As soon as you stop wanting to learn and grow, you loose out on opportunities to be successful and overcome the competition. Artists are hardworking who don't ever stop wanting to be successful. Passion is their main drive to work through obsticles and creativity is what helps them overcome these obstacles. What inspired my students was the fact both artists said their career decision was made and inspired by art during their elementary years of childhood! Most of their art comes from concepts they discovered and loved as a child. I agreed with both artists when they said "Artists are really just kids at heart. We love to have fun through creating and sharing our ideas with others. Art is the way we communicate."

students asked Jon and Kristian for autographs after holding discussion with the class
What was more amazing than anything was the fact that my students held great discussion and questions with our artists. They asked thought provoking questions about their jobs and it was so great to see the critical thinking skills and inquiring ways of my students. I would jump in and ask my students questions back and also ask questions in relation with 21st century skills. Here's more information about Kristian.

Wolf Kahn Chalk Pastel Trees with Kinders!

I have another previous post about this, but it's much easier than you think! I tell my kinders to write their name on the back of a big 12x18 piece of drawing paper at their tables. I count them down to encourage them to focus on getting their name on the back. Raise your hand if you're ready for directions! Everyone's hand is in the air, next step is to pick out 6 colors. Your magic number is 6. Pick out 6 chalk pastel from your container. I'll count ya down, you pick out 6 and have them ready. I start from 15. 15, raise your hand if you have your pastels, 14, have them out and read, 13 pick out your colors, 12, 11, 10......and I continue to count down until all hands are in the air.

I have then on the white board where everyone can see, a piece of 12x18 white paper taped. I have my 6 pastels ready. Okay, pick out your first color and hold it in the air. 5, 4, have it ready, 3, 2, and 1: Watch what I do: (I demonstrate how there's 2 ways of using the chalk pastel. The tip and the side. I tell them we're going to use the side of the pastel for a lot of the project. I show them and count them down from 15. 15, move side to side, 14, side to side, 13 side to side, ........ After we get a new color for each section, it's time for the fun part! Now it's time to smooth side to side, use the tips of your fingers on 1 hand. 15 smooth side to side, 14, smooth side to side, 13, side to side, moving up slowly, smoothing side to we're going to get ready with a new color and then hold it in the air in 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1. This time using the tip watch to see what I do to make the trunks: *do the downward motion strokes for trunks* Fast! Fast!Fast! Say it out loud! *kids fast, fast, fast* as they make the marks on their paper. Okay done in 5, 4, 3, 2, hold your color in the air. Okay, get your last color and hold it in the air in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, watch. Using the side *demonstrate* we're going to make the tops of the trees to finish our Wolf Kahn pastel. Watch how I do it to fill the top area. *Demonstrate* Finish up from 15, 14, 13....... put your pastel down and your hand in the air, and the other in the, wave'em around like you just don't care, heeeeey hooooo.( I like to make it fun to listen:) ) I will call tables to wash hands, then dry and the table captain will wash your table and dry. Put your drawing on your chair and point to places where your table captain needs to wash and dry.

Try this with your kinders! It works great! (more pics to come!)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Congrats to those accepted into the Elementary Art Show!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Jellyfish with Kinders!

So I have been using Pinterest and it's fun to see those of you who enjoy lessons from my blog! I keep seeing my photos popping up when I'm exploring different art lessons! I like to look on Pinterest for inspiration and then figure it out myself or use an idea then make it my own by putting my own twist on it.

Here's how I did the jellyfish: I first showed them my example and talked about jellyfish and it's tentacles.  We also looked at a photo of a jellyfish to understand it's colors. I think I'll show a video clip of different kinds and how they move in the water when we're finishing next time.  There was a lot of prep for this art lesson: cutting tissue paper into small squares enough for alllll my classes, getting the modge podge mixed with water in styrofoam bowls (easy throw away), cutting up of the white strips of paper, wrapping all the styrofoam bowls with Seran wrap/plastic wrap, and cutting all the strips of different colors for the tentacles. 

After you get that done here's the different steps: I have the students go to their seats first, write their name and class code on a sticker. The student peels off the sticker, walks up to the table to get their plastic wrapped bowl, sticks the sticker on the underside of the bowl. I showed students how to 'paint' on the stinky modge podge on one side of the paper, place it on the top of the bowl, paint on the top of the strip, and smooth it down with your hands. Get messy. Keep placing the white strips in a radial design covering the plastic wrap. Make sure to paint modge podge on top and smooth down. Then get around 6 or so different colored squares of tissue paper. Lay on top of the white strips and paint Modge Podge to seal and smooth down.

When it's dry, pull plastic wrap carefully away from jellyfish. Throw away plastic wrap. Keep bowls for another use. Poke two holes in the top for fishing wire/string to hang. Attach tentacles with dots of Elmer's glue to the underside. Crumple the tentacles for added texture.

Centers with Kinders: "Seen Art?" creating a personal masterpiece!

I decided to try out this center based learning. For art I felt it was an exploratory station based art lesson. Centers are said to provide individual/independent based learning where students use their own problem solving skills to acheive high levels of Bloom's Taxonomy. For kinders, I read the book "Seen Art?" which is a book all about a boy who's trying to find his friend named "Art" and wonders upon the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York City. He keeps trying to tell the people from the museum that he's looking for "Art" and they think he's talking about art in the art museum, not his friend! The illustrations (by the famous Jon Scieszka) incorporate real photos of all kinds of famous masterpiece art works from famous sculpture, to famous paintings, prints and even examples of famous historical artistic film.

For our art lesson, I told kinders to design a masterpiece of their own exploring different types of materials. How are you going to use these materials? I made copies of a "masterpiece" frame I drew and then at the top I typed "We read the book "Seen Art?" by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith. We looked at famous masterpieces from the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). We then went to different stations/centers to create our masterpiece." I designed different 'centers' stations that had different and unique types of materials. It was up to the student to decide how they wanted to use this material and how to incorporate it into their masterpiece.

Yes this student did his work upside down but he came up with the concept
of making his own "Starry Night" using these materials!

perhaps a self portrait
 Here are the different types of 'centers' I did. Markers and color changing markers, liquid watercolor in spray/spritz bottles, crazy cut scissors with scrap construction/painted paper and glue, scissors with tissue paper box with glue, crayons/glitter crayons, and colored pencils/metallic colored pencils. I instructed students to use whatever they wanted however they wanted to create their masterpiece. Listen for the timer, 3 minutes at each center and follow the numbers of tables. We rotated from station to station and when we were done we kept them out and looked at everyone's.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Who's coming to our Artist Dinner Party?

I love this art lesson and so easy to do, fairly inexpensive, and goes with our Claes Oldenburg clay food! It does take a bit of patience and prep tacking the plastic silverware and plate down to a sheet of 12x18 drawing paper. I don't glue the fork's handle down, just the prong part, so that the students can sneak the folded paper napkin square under the fork and glue it with Elmers glue to the paper! This is a great lesson for the end of year to review famous art and artists. I put up visuals using my projector and students got to pick which masterpiece and artist they wanted to have at our artist dinner party! I put up about 6 different artists and kept other posters out as well- but nothing way too complex to try to make your own. I told students to write the artist's name in the bottom corner so they would 'know where to sit'!
Our Claes Oldenburg food on our famous artists' place setting for our Artist Dinner Party!