"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, Métis 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, February 22, 2013

Chinese New Year Inspired Spiral Swirly Snake

This is a somewhat late posting of a Chinese New Year art project I did with Grade 1 students. 
2013 is the Year of the Snake so I immediately thought of the classic spiral snake craft and thought it would be manageable for Gr.1 kids.

Start off by showing the kids some images from Chinese New Year celebrations: the dragon and lion dances, the red lanterns, fireworks, etc. I also told them about the traditional colours used- most notably RED, which is considered a lucky and prosperous colour. 
Other colours commonly seen during this time are yellow and orange.

To start the project, each kid was given a blank spiral snake template which was double sided with the snake pattern on both sides. There are loads of different templates on the internet; I tried out a bunch beforehand and really liked this one from from The Lunchbox Season website.

Next time I would photocopy these onto cardstock as they would just end up being sturdier. Nonetheless, basic copy paper does work. Students coloured theirs using markers, but you could also paint them, or whatever you want, really. We talked about patterns and different ways we could colour the snakes to make them look interesting.

Once one side is coloured, flip over the paper and colour the back side as well, as both sides will be visible once the snakes are hung up. Allow about two classes for this whole colouring process. Then students simply cut them out following the black line. Add googly eyes or draw them on with a marker.

Here are some finished ones:

For hanging, I started off by poking a hole in the tail, then threaded yarn through it and after about 5 minutes of tediousness (and realizing I had to do 25 of these) I figured I needed an easier and faster way!! lol
So I cut pipe cleaners in half and found they were much easier and faster to thread through a hole in the tail, twist and voila, you have a hanging hook/loop thingy.

Here's one hung up. If there's a slight breeze in the room, they twirl around really slowly 
and are quite relaxing to look at! 


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cave Art Paintings

Here is one of my favourite lessons: Cave Art. These were created by 6th grade students. 

 We looked at the famous Caves of Lascaux, in France and watched a Youtube video about them.
 These paintings are estimated to be 17,300 years old. They consist mostly of primitive images of large animals, most of which are known from fossil evidence to have lived 
in the area at the time. The images include bison, bulls, horses, mammoths, etc. 

The caves were discovered by chance in 1941 by French teenager Marcel Ravidat, and his three friends. They found a hole in the ground while exploring a forest and Marcel  climbed down into it- this tunnel led to the caves. The boys initially kept the caves a secret, but soon told their teacher about it, as they knew him to be interested in archaeology and prehistoric art. From then on, the caves became famous around the world.

The original caves are now closed to the public (due to deterioration of the paintings cause by too many visitors), but the French authorities have recreated the caves nearby which are supposedly very realistic. You can visit an excellent online version here:
(You get to take a virtual tour through the caves and listen to soothing music too! lol)

I hung up large cave art posters for the kids to refer to. They are called "Lascaux Cave Art Prints" which were ordered from the company Crystal Productions. It also comes with a DVD. What I find so fascinating about these caves is that you can see extinct animals such as the mammoth and animals not typical for the area today (hyenas, lions, panthers, woolly rhinoceroses, in France!)

Lascaux may be one of the more famous sites for cave art in the world, but of course, there are many others including the '"Cave of Swimmers" in the Sahara Desert and the Chauvet Cave in southern France. A documentary called "Cave of Forgotten Dreams", by Werner Herzog, was recently made about these caves. There's also the Cave of Altamira in Spain.

Here's an interesting video of the rock art found in the 'Cave of Swimmers' (made famous in the movie "The English Patient".) These painted caves in Egypt were 'discovered' (the local Bedouins already knew about them) by the Hungarian explorer László Almásy in October 1933. They are unusual in that they depict many human figures swimming, which shows that the Sahara Desert once had lakes and water.

To recreate cave walls, we used brown butcher paper and scrunched it up a bunch of times to make it nice and textural. We also added transparent washes of brown-ish tempera paint to give it even more depth. Then, using chalk pastels, we added more texture lines (cracks, irregularities on the cave walls) using dark brown and black chalk.  Blend, blend, blend.

Then students made a stylized stencil of an animal(s) out of cardstock. They freehand drew these and looked at the posters for inspiration. Then stencil (use a pouncing up-and-down motion with a round brush) these onto the background paper using natural colored tempera paint. Paleolithic artists have five main colors at their disposal: yellow, red, brown, black and white. White is more rare, but it is seen at Lascaux cave. The colours used were produced from ochre (reds and yellows), manganese dioxide (violet and black) and charcoal (black). These minerals were pulverized on stone palettes and mixed with animal fat to moisten them before they were applied with the fingers, bone spatulae or brushes. (source)

Here's an example of an animal stencil- just use scrap card or old file folders.

(My kids use paper palettes as they don't require cleaning afterwards!)

Nice variety of colours and use of overlapping....

Great sense of motion in this one!
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