"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.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Spring Themed Styrofoam Prints

I finally managed to get around to doing a printmaking lesson this year. I admit, it's not my favourite medium/techniques and I remember vividly it was my least favourite course in Art school (lithography and intaglio- *shudder*). Too many steps, so many materials- not my cup of tea!

But since I discovered marker styro printing, I enjoy teaching it (compared to using a brayer and ink).

For this project, each student got a small piece of styrofoam (about 4 x 6"). They traced the shape onto copy paper and drew their spring themed design on the paper. Then they cut out the paper and taped it to the Styrofoam. They traced over all the lines using a ball point pen. They remove the paper and then re-traced the incised lines to make them even deeper.

Then they coloured the piece using Crayola markers. 
They use a damp sponge and wet their printing paper (regular copy paper worked the best for us), then place their styrofoam on top and massage it really well. This will transfer the marker print. This process is trail and error, especially for Grade 4 students. You need the paper just the right dampness so it definitely takes practice.

We watched THIS tutorial in class and it was super helpful!!

Some finished Grade 4 - 6 prints:


Monday, May 17, 2021

Norval Morrisseau Style X-Ray Paintings

Norval Morrisseau, (1932 – 2007), also known as Copper Thunderbird, was an Indigenous Canadian artist from the Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek First Nation. Known as the "Picasso of the North", Morrisseau created works depicting the legends of his people, the cultural and political tensions between native Canadian and European traditions, his existential struggles, and his deep spirituality and mysticism. His style is characterized by thick black outlines and bright colors. He founded the Woodlands School of Canadian art and was a prominent member of the “Indian Group of Seven”.

Here are a couple of videos I show my students. 
I love the confident and fearless way Morrisseau worked!


Morrisseau “reveals” the souls of humans and animals through his unique “x-ray” style of imaging: Sinewy black “spirit” lines emanate, surround, and link the figures. Skeletal elements and internal organs are visible within the figures’ delineated segments.

I start off this lesson by showing Grade 6 students examples of his artwork. We discuss the subject matter, use of colour and line. We then discuss the symbolism used. 

Some examples of symbols in Morrisseau's work:
Circle - The circles in Morrisseau's work tell us about the life cycle, the sun, the moon and directions (North, South, East, West). 
Energy Lines - You can see them extending from the hand or the body of a figure. Sometimes they are connected ... sometimes they are alone or isolated.
Eyes - Large eyes that see all can be found in Morrisseau's work. These eyes are a symbol of a shaman or medicine man.
X-Ray - This is a style attributed to Morrisseau. The X-Ray technique shows the interior as well as the exterior of a figure. The various parts of a body for example are expressed with different colors and lines. 

 Have your students choose a subject for their painting - a fish, a bird, a turtle, etc. You could have them choose animals native to your local region. Students then sketch the outline of their subject on their paper. Next, students should think about the interior of their subject - the energy and emotion inside. Students can then draw lines (using ink, crayons, oil sticks, oil pastels etc), colors (using paint, oil pastels, cut up paper etc.) and shapes inside the subject ... the more the better. Let imagination take over as the paper is filled with paint. 

*You can also try this lesson using crayons, markers or pencil crayons instead of paint.

"Family of Birds", Norval Morrisseau  

Because of time constraints, we made our versions using dark brown tempera paint. Morriseau did some black and white paintings, so I showed these as well. 
Next year I will try full on colour versions. 


Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Torn Paper Cardinal Collage

This is a pretty and textural project using torn construction paper. We did cardinals but next year I will try a variety of birds. You could do birds from your own province or region or your provincial/state bird, etc. 

You can see my previous post on this project HERE

Materials: construction paper (lots of red, a bit of black and orange), glue sticks or white glue, scissors.

Grade 4-6 students started by sketching out a large cardinal shape to fill a large sheet of red construction paper. They cut this shape out- use the scraps and tear them into long horizontal strips. Starting at the top or bottom, start gluing down and overlapping the stirps of torn paper. You can use different shades of red for the winds and tail. Fill everything and then collage on the face using black (we use scissors to cut this part out. Add an orange beak and paper eyes and voila!

Grade 4 - 6 results:


Monday, May 3, 2021

Floral Foam Sculptures


This is the second time I've tried this floral foam sculpture project and I love the results everytime!

I posted the steps previously HERE.

I buy all my floral foam at Dollarama. In Canada, where I live, you can only buy it in the Spring and Summer. I tried doing this in the winter once and couldn't find any floral foam in the stores. 

I save box lids from the office where all our photocopy paper comes in. Students do all their carving in the box lids and dump out the scraps in the garbage periodically. I have scrap foam for them to practice on first. They use plastic utensils, chopsticks, bamboo sticks and anything else they can think of to carve their sculpture. They are fragile and soft so they need to be careful with the carving process.

Once it's finished, prime them with white acrylic paint.

Once primed and dry, they can be painted with acrylic. I have metallic acrylic available also.

I have scrap wood available to use as bases. 
Students can stain them or paint them to match their sculpture.

Some Grade 10 - 12 results:

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