"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.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Self Portraits

Grade 1 students drew these charming self-portraits. I did a very basic demonstration on the whiteboard about facial proportion. First, I asked the kids what basic shape is a head, and, happily, the majority answered 'an oval!'  So I drew a big oval. Then I showed them how many people tend to draw the eyes on a head waaaay to far up, on the forehead. I drew them there and asked them if this was right. "NOOOOO!" they all happily shouted :)  So I had them look at each other carefully and tell me where the eyes should be. Many of them were able to guess the middle of the face. 

Then I showed the kids how to draw a very light line vertically down the centre of the face and then horizontally across the middle of the face. This horizontal line would be the rough guideline for the eyes. I felt as long as they had the eyes fairly well placed, that was a good start. Then the kids first practised their self portrait on scrap paper. For a reminder, I wrote on the board the features they needed to include:  eyes, eyelashes (optional), eyebrows (so many kids forget eyebrows!!), nose, mouth, ears, neck and finally hair. They could add any accessories (glasses, jewellery, etc.) they wanted. Once they finished, they brought it to me and I helped make suggestions if areas needed improvement.

Here are some practice sketches:

Very good placement on this one.

I helped this guy 'lessen' the size of his ears (though they are so adorable large!)

I love this one above because I could see right away that the student had erased his eyes 
that were too high ('forehead eyes') and lowered them. Great job!

Once they were happy with their rough copies, they drew them again on larger paper, then coloured them in- we used multicultural crayons for both the skin and hair.
For the last step, I had the kids pass over all their pencil lines (which had faded quite a bit
after the colouring) with a black coloured pencil.

Ta da!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Folk Art Oil Pastel Landscapes

This is a folk art landscape project using oil pastels and black ink. I have a soft spot for folk art landscapes; I find they are so charming and sweet and full of happiness and joy. Many 'folk' or 'naïve' artists were/are untrained and completely free in how they paint. Having gone to art school for four years, I was trained to do extensive rough sketches, thumbnails, practice, practice- get the perspective right, mix colours, blend, etc, etc, etc. So may rules and techniques- so now when I go to do my own art, I have all that 'information' in the back of my mind and it feels like I can't be completely free and uninhibited....

Anyway.... before this project, show students images from any folk artist you like- I chose the Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis. She's one of my favourite artists and I only chanced upon her work when I visited the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, in Halifax. I was in love. The gallery houses not only some of her paintings, but her famous tiny (one room) little painted house she lived in. Maud was crippled by childhood arthritis and lived in poverty most of her life, selling her paintings, at most, for between $5 - $15. Like many folk artists, she had never taken an art class and was self-taught.

"A View of Sandy Cove" by Maud Lewis (mid-1950's)           Source

Maud Lewis

Here's a short video from 1976, about Maud Lewis, from the National Film Board of Canada:

                          Here's another video, from 1964, showing Maud working
and discussing her art. Watch as a woman buys her famous 3 black cats painting for $5!!!!

 So for this project, students first drew a simple landscape onto white construction paper (9 x 12"). 
They were encouraged to include a background, middle ground and foreground. 
The landscapes could be fanciful and imaginative- stylized tree, plants, buildings, etc. or more 'realistic'. Whatever worked for the students. I had on hand lots of illustrated children's books with landscape pictures and calendar landscape photos for students to refer to as well.

Then, pass over all the pencil lines with a thick line of chalk. Use a light colour, like an off-white if possible. We only had yellow, and it tended to stain some of the white colours later on...

The, colour the picture with a thick layer of oil pastels. Don't colour over the chalk lines.
I encouraged students to colour in one direction and mix shades together.

Then, using a damp sponge, wipe off all the chalk lines. 
The paper will probably warp a bit but no worries.

Finally, using black watercolours or black ink (or even tempera watered down to an ink-like consistency), pass over all the black white lines with a soft round brush. 
If the pictures curl or warp, just flatten them overnight with a stack of heavy books.

Grade 3/4 artwork- ta da!!

Teacher sample below....

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