Wednesday, October 5, 2011

First Six Weeks, drip paintings and more

For one of our first projects I decided to do drip paintings. Second through Forth grade studied and learned about the works of Jackson Pollack, an Abstract Expressionist artist.  We used the marble technique to roll different layers of colors onto the paper.  These were a lot of fun and the kids were excited about doing this.  

Fifth Graders enjoyed their sculptural drip paintings modeled after the works of Holton Rower.
This was a fun line study, where students could see the lines in motion.  Once they finished this project they were asked to write a paragraph on the process or their opinion of the artwork.  This is a new procedure I am currently asking 5th grade to do after each project.  Soon 4th and 3rd will be asked to make their artist statements for their artwork as well.                      
I introduced radial balance to 2nd and 3rd graders for this project. This is a watercolor project with black sharpie on top. Students were asked to use the six basic lines and some simple shapes to create their balanced piece.  I think for an introduction they did really well.

Kinder and 1st graders really enjoyed listening to classical selections and drawing the lines that evoked emotion. We talked about lines in artwork, just like music, can make you feel happy, scared, excited, relaxed, etc.  So as the music played they were able to illustrate those feelings through line and color.
As a kinder and 1st project we read the book The Dot.  A cute story about a little girl who discovers art  through a simple series of dot paintings.  The students were able to paint their own dot, or not-a-dot, with watercolors.  This was a nice simple opportunity for students to use paints and learn the expectations for using watercolors.  Ask them why brushes don't like bad hair days!  
This is also a Kinder and 1st grade project, and I'll be honest, I skipped a little ahead of myself.   After days and days and days of 100+ degree weather, part of me wanted to feel like fall was on its way.  So we did a little one day project talking about warm colors.  We discussed  the difference between evergreen trees and deciduous trees.  And,  we also talked about the reasons these trees lose their leaves, which is to conserve water and better survive the winter months.  Sort of a tree hibernation period.  The kids loved getting messy and doing the layers of paint.

Forth and Fifth graders have spent the last 3 weeks and we just started the 4th week of working on their horse portraits.  These are some of the first ones to be almost done!  They have worked really hard on these and while you can't see the size, these are 18 by 24".  I used this as a line study piece.  We started on small pieces of paper to decide which horse to draw, then once that was decided we practiced and practiced getting larger and filling space.  We also really worked on drawing those light lines that can be easily erased, that doesn't sound hard, but may have been the hardest part of drawing these portraits.  Once they finish the final size they use charcoal to add value and chalk pastel for that pop of color.  They are coming along really nicely!


  1. Wow! I love the art pieces inspired by Holton Rower. I was not familiar with him. I am not an art teacher, so could you elaborate on how your students produced these pieces - especially, how to get that paint effect. I would think the colors would mix and mud up if the paint was just poured.

  2. Sure, this is a great recycle project, both with cardboard and paints that are getting old and need to be used up. First I precut the cardboard in squares in about five different sizes. The kids then glued them together largest to smallest. They poured the paint onto the smallest square on top, let the paint run over the edge a bit and start the next color, I tried to encourage contrasting colors for more impact. If a paint is past it's prime and really thick it won't work as well, same as watered down paints. The kids were allowed to pick up the sculptures and tilt as needed to guide the paint. All the kids really liked this project.

  3. What type of paint did you use for this project? Does tempera have the consistency to flow as in your students' works? They look awesome!!

  4. I don't use a lot of tempera paint in my classroom, so I don't know what the tempera paint will do. I used the small bottles of acrylic paint. They seem to have a nice consistency and flow, as long as the paint isn't past its prime. I asked for donations from parents and other teachers. I got a lot this way. I would recommend pacing the kids. The first group I did this with poured their paint so fast it didn't have time to spread. So for the first 3-4 colors, I had them pour one, let it drip off the first tier, then pour the second, and so on. They looked much better once I had the kids slow down a little. THe kids loved this project!

  5. Shelly,

    Can you share some information for The Dot project and radial balance project? They look great!

  6. Sure, once we read The Dot, as a class, the kids traced a circle with an empty can for their shape. I gave them the option of painting inside the circle or outside. We used Prang glitter watercolors for a nice shimmer. This was a great one day project! The radial balance piece was done on watercolor paper with crayola watercolors. They were aloud to create an abstract picture with all colors except brown and black. I had the kids fold their paper with a slight crease to mark the middle and the 4 sections of the paper. These would serve as markers to make the balance more even. I encouraged lines and shapes. Students were asked to begin in the center and create from that point outward. I would stop them occasional to analyze and see if things were balanced well. We were brave on this one, we did not do pencil first we just went straight for the sharpie!!

  7. Love The Dot project going to do this with my 2 classes for co-op. Thanks!!

    1. Awesome! Have fun, it's a great book and life lesson!

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