Thursday, February 23, 2012


One of the standards that we teach in the state of Georgia requires us to teach a Georgia artist to all students every year. It was different at first but now that we are in the 2nd year of our Georgia Performance Standards for Visual Arts I think I am beginning to really enjoy finding new artists to teach to my students!

In 3rd grade art we were beginning our unit on depth which includes foreground, middleground, background, and horizon line. I chose a Georgia artist whose work I really love! His name is Paul K. Hill and he lives and paints in Georgia. The last couple of years he has been doing a series of seascape paintings while traveling with a group of other artists. They are called the Ossabaw Artists' Collective and I think the work they are doing is very interesting.  My students were inspired by Hill's seascapes to create their own

Rousseau Inspired Mixed Media

My second grade art students had a great time learning about Henri Rousseau. We learned about his life and asked the question - "How do artists surroundigs effect their art work?"  What they thought at the beginning of the lesson was very different than the ideas we ended up with!  Rousseau never saw a jungle in real life. He lived as a customs inspector in France and didn't even start painting until he was 40 years old!  Rousseau used pictures and plants that he could find to help him get inspiration for his art.

How do we find our inspiration today? Well....I would say Pinterest right now since that is where the idea for this lesson came from. Technology can take us right to the jungle even without leaving our classroom. We used Google earth to travel from Atlanta, Georgia to Africa where we could explore more in depth what a jungle might look like.  We used photographs of animals and their habitats on our interactive white board and spent some time discovering what basic shapes we could use to draw our own animals.

When the initial drawings were finished students painted their animals using realistic colors. We went back in with crayon and tissue paper to create our animal habitats. Just like Rousseau we tried to have our art filled with jungle!

I was thrilled that the students had such great success drawing the different kinds of animals. There was no limitation to what they could choose and the variety was excellent. Using the basic shapes to begin our drawings helped my students feel confident that they could draw the animal realistically without every student having to make the same animal.  I love seeing them so proud of their work!

Want to add a little more technology fun to this lesson? Check out the National Gallery of Art and create your own exotic jungle online!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

African Mudcloth

In celebration of Black History Month the kindergarten artists studied some traditional African craft making techniques. We looked at the steps for creating mudcloth from this great site put out by the Smithsonian. Students were then able to look at an original piece of mudcloth that a dear friend brought me from Africa.

Printmaking was first as students stamped out their patterns and symbols using found objects. (Not sure why this student is printing on already woven strips - maybe he/she was absent).

When the printmaking was done students used their printed strips of paper and wove them together. Just like real mudcloth!

When they were done weaving they glued all the pieces down to a background color of their choice.

By far - one of my favorite things about being an elementary art teacher - is seeing small hands like these making something they are proud of.

Seeing little hands reminds me of my all time favorite e.e. cummings poem....

"(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

Picasso Collage

You can tell by my lack of blog posts that I have been busy teaching my clay units over here the last several weeks. Clay is not my strength and I have not been overly inspired to share!

Here are some of our Picasso inspired collages that we have done recently. Second grade art students focussed on neutral colors, positive and negative space, and overlapping. They drew from a guitar still life and had some great drawing practice by observe what was really in front of them.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chihuly Chip!

Do you see what I see? Art inspiration is everywhere! Here is the "Chihuly Chip" found by a student while enjoying a lovely plate of nachos this weekend. Tee hee.

Field Trip Fun!

I was thrilled to be able to accompany my 3rd grade art students on a field trip to the High Museum of Art to see the Picasso to Warhol exhibit. Before we left we got a special treat and our tour was extended to include the newly installed Anish Kapoor sculptures. One of my student's was so inspired they went home and recreated their own Kapoor!