"A Faithful Attempt" is designed to showcase a variety of K-12 art lessons, the work of my art students, as well as other art-related topics. Projects shown are my take on other art teacher's lessons, lessons found in books or else designed by myself.
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LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I acknowledge, with deep respect, that I am gathered on Treaty 7 territory. I acknowledge the many First Nations, M├ętis and Inuit whose footsteps have marked these lands for generations. I respect the histories, languages and cultures all the Indigenous peoples of Canada, whose presence continues to enrich our community.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Autumn Birch Trees

As the leaves are quickly changing colour where I live, I though I'd better post this fall landscape project.  It's a 'autumnal' take on the infamous 'winter birch tree' project. It uses masking tape to create the trees and all students can be successful with this type of project. For pretty much all of my projects, I do an initial demonstration to teach new techniques, discuss the materials, introduce new artists, etc, but then let the students interpret the project in their own way. This way, the more tentative students are given ideas as a starting point and the more creative ones can experiment more.

To start off with, Grade 8 students looked at the painting "Forest of Birch Trees", (1902) by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt. Discuss the range of fall colours and the textures created by the fallen leaves
and the birch bark.

Forest of Birch Trees, 1902, Gustav Klimt

Have a variety of sizes of masking tape available, or at least a thin one.

Students cut off a variety of different lengths of tape and put it onto a piece of their clothing beforehand to gather some lint on it and take away alot of the stickiness. This way it won't rip the paper when we take it off at the end. Draw a horizon line on a sheet of heavy white paper and begin placing the 'tape trees'. Thicker tape goes in the foreground and thinner tape in the background. This will help create an illusion of depth. Some students chose to cut their tape along the edges to create 'less straight' trees. The tape works really well as birch trees are naturally quite straight and smooth.

Press down the edges of the tape to make sure it's on securely.

Paint the sky, with watercolours or tempera discs, then give the ground an overall wash of an ochre colour. Encourage colour mixing of Autumn colours such as yellows, oranges, browns.

Using an old round bristle brush, start stippling fall colours on. Pounce the paint onto the paper in an up-and-down stippling motion. This gives the illusion of leaves and texture. I tend to start with the lightest and work my way up to darker colours: yellow, oranges, ochres, browns, touches of green. Let dry.

The next class, students can slowly peel off the tape to reveal the white trees. Don't worry if some paint has seeped through; it will get obscured by the shadows and birch bark markings.

Now to add some shading to these to make them look like they're in a dark forest. Paint them in washes of grey. Add a darker shade of grey along one side of each tree. Let dry a bit.

Finally, using a thin brush, paint grey/black markings along the bark.
The final paintings look very nice mounted onto blue paper.

Grade 8 results: Ta da!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cardboard Tube Creatures: Vampire, Bat and Cat

Here's another tutorial for more cardboard tube Halloween creatures. See my original post here.
In the classroom, I would demo how to make all of these and then let student choose what they want to make.  Of course some might come up with new ideas or different ways of doing this- even better!

So for the vampire, start off with a toilet tube and push down each side of one end to form the vampires pointy ears (they have pointy ears, right?)

Then draw on a simple face and and cape/shirt.  Paint the whole vamp with acrylics or tempera.  Let dry.

Once dry, you can add smaller details with a marker. 

The bat is similar but a bit easier, so more suited to younger students.

Follow the steps above to create the ears. Paint black and let dry.

I made my wings out of scrap corrugated cardboard- but use any heavy paper you have, fun foam, etc.
I made a template first on scrap paper to made sure it fit my bat then I cut it out and painted it black.

Have students sketch out ideas for the face.

Cut out face features from coloured paper scarps and glue on. Then hot glue on the wings. Done.

Now for the cat.

Create ears and paint black.

Cut out facial features and accessoried from scrap coloured paper. Cut tail shape from scrap card. Paint.

Glue it all together. Easy!

Make them all and you'll have some fun and inexpensive Halloween decorations for your classroom!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Owls from Cardboard Tubes

This is a cute and relatively easy owl craft that would be perfect for Halloween.  Have your students each make one and you'll have some lovely classroom decorations for October. This is a paint and collage project and I was inspired by the post here on the Matsutake blog.

In the upcoming weeks I'll be posting other Halloween versions of this craft
including a cat, vampire, and a bat. Update: project link for these here.

I think this project would suit Grades 3 and up.

So start off with a toilet tube, paper towel tube or any thin cardboard tube you have. I don't know about you, but as an Art teacher I get TONS of donations of toilet tubes, and rarely know what to do with them as I want a project that's going to look effective and not 'toilet tube-y'.  This one fits the bill in my opinion.

Paint your tube any colour you want your owl. Let dry.

Push and/or fold down one half of the top, then the other half.  This will create pointy ears.

For the collage feather part, I just used old magazines- use any type of paper you have (scrap, construction, scrap paper, etc) I used the same tones and the body colour, but you could use any colours or patterns you want. Medium to heavier paper works best, I found.

We're going to be cutting out a bunch of circles for the feathers, so in order to save time, I always show students how to fold the paper a bunch of times and to create many circles at once.

Freehand draw an appropriate sized circle for the feather size you want or use a lid to trace. 
I found a large glue stick lid was the perfect size. Trace and cut out.

I found I needed about 12 circles.

So work from the bottom up. Add a thin line of white glue along the bottom of the tube. Layer on four or so circles. Continue going up, making sure to layer and stagger your circles to create a stylized feather pattern. You'll need to hold the feathers in place for a bit for them to really stick to the round form. 
Older kids could use a hot glue gun to speed up the process.

So here's the owl's feathers in place.

Draw and cut out two wings. Go as fancy or realistic as you want. I went with simple teardrop shapes. Glue these on the side of the body.

I layered different sizes and colours for my eyes. I wanted really spooky Halloween-type realistic yellow owl's eyes. I just freehand drew but you could also trace circles. You could also use googly eyes for the younger kids. Glue these on. Then add a triangle for a beak.

Ta da!

They're nice because they stand on their own. 
Have your class make a bunch and you'll have a parliament of owls!

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