About this Site and Me

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Flower Mound, TX, United States
Hi, I am an artist, wife, mom, gamer and the Elementary Art Educator at Donald Elementary, a sweet and wonderful school in Flower Mound, TX (outside of Dallas). This is a great place to see how we are integrating studio habits with technology and interdisciplinary connections. I also love to share my "wisdom" (Re: Experiences. From mistakes.) about teaching Elementary Art. I love what I do, and I've been doing it for a long time. Creating and teaching Art is what I live for. Enjoy.

Friday, May 15, 2015

17 days left and we're painting. What. A. Week.

So we are down to the last few weeks of school, and somehow, 4 out of 6 grade levels are painting. I plan all my lessons a year out. I swear. This all looked good on paper. I did this to myself.

Oh, we're not using quick clean up watercolors, we're talking extra intensive, many, many steps acrylic painting projects. One after another. With the little guys. My sink had a temper tantrum.

5th grade does not count here: they're doing their Altered Books project: show us how you feel about moving on: leaving elementary school, moving to another school, another home, etc. And yes, these are amazing. The less I talk, the better they are. So this is easy. Do it.

Then in comes my 3rd grade: Oil Pastel Resist Ceramic Pots.

I have used oil pastels resist on ceramics in the past and did not like the results. See?
This was one of the best ones. So... meh. The kids were not impressed. 

So this year, (thanks FB Art Teachers!) I tried again. But this time, I used these:
YEEEEEES. These are pretty, cool and super creamy soft. And the kids loooooove them.

The kids covered their ceramic coiled pot with these gorgeous oil pastels, and used their fingers to blend if desired.

Any white areas will remain black.

The kids paint the whole thing black, except the bottom. I use acrylic, but lots of people use tempera. 

They line them up at the sink.... let the paint dry for a few minutes. Don't let them dry all the way. It is really hard to get the paint off once it's dried. Trust me. My hands and back are killing me. 

And I washed all the pots. It took about a half a minute per pot. You just gently rinse off the excess paint.
Please don't make fun of my denim on denim look. It was jeans day!

The final product. How gorgeous are these??? Third. Grade. 

Here's what happens when the kids don't use enough oil pastel or enough paint...

...Or too much black paint. The good news is they can go back and add more color once the pot is dry.

Ok. So that was fun, awesome and huge hot mess of a clean up. My cuticles are black. 

Now in comes 4th grade: Texas Beaches (integrated lesson with Social Studies). 4th graders are learning about Texas and are doing a PBL on different cities. Perfect time to introduce 1 point perspective (are you kidding me??????), seascapes, watercolor techniques! With T-minus 15 days of school left... *smacks head.

The good news: these guys will start next school year with 1-point perspective. So this is a nice baby step.

And now, my favorite end of the year Kinder project: Summer Dreams Mono-print. 
This is a super easy way to create depth, a simple mono-print, and the kids love creating the tree reflections. Takes two-three class rotations. 

This is their Dream Vacation. Maybe the kids are going somewhere cool, or they have gone somewhere, or they are spending their summer in day care. Doesn't matter, they are using their imaginations.

Step one: fold a square paper in half. Above the fold is sky, below the fold is water (Ocean? Lake? Pool?) and the line is the Horizon Line. 

Step two: use crayon resist with watercolors (don't forget white crayon!) to create dream vacation drawings in the sky, land and water. They can have a ton of fun with this. No trees, though. 

Once everything is dry, the kids paint trees (1-3) with acrylics/tempera and fold the paper to get a printed reflection. Easy peasy. 

Kids can add more details once the watercolor background is dry.

I have a painting station with 5-6 kids at a time. 

They need to work quickly so the paint doesn't dry too much...



Pull the print...


How sweet is this? What a great way to review for the end of the school year. I love these.

And then 1st grade, Plants and Flowers (integrated lesson with Science). I just kept the dried paint on my face, hair and hands and pulled out Gelli Plates. Because that is how we roll.

Gelli plates are for awesome mono-printing. I kept it simple, no textures, just brushes and some plastic sticks.  This is pretty much student led: they had a field trip to the Dallas Arboretum, so they needed to create a plate that represented plants and flowers. I just let them play.

I only have 6 Gelli plates, so I worked with 6 kids at a time. The rest of the class was given an alternative drawing: create a garden or field as if you were a worm or ladybug. So they were happy and engaged, and I was able to get 2 groups through printing.

This is one of those "the process is more important than the product" kind of projects. They had a blast.

Students applied acrylic paint to the Gellis using plastic palette knives.

These used brayers to roll out their color.
Students used brushes and plastic sticks to draw their creations.

Each child had a 3-4 pieces of paper ready for printing. It's pretty quick.

Every student is successful with a project like this!

But yeah...it's a hot mess.

Check this out--first grade.

Place the paper (I didn't bother with slip sheets under the plates)...

Pull the print....


Just so you know, that's a lot. 2 drying racks, and a cart of wet stuff.

Did I mention my back is killing me and my cuticles are black?? I love the wet blob of paper towel on the floor.
 It's like, who cares anymore?

End of the day: 2nd grade: Where Does the Giant Go on Summer Vacation? This is an awesome way to end the year and a great way to review perspective (background and foreground, sizing). Oh, NO PAINTING. Yeeeeeeeaaasssss.

Based on this 1922 painting by NC Wyeth:

Students also looked at many examples of forced perspective (Google it). So fun! Where does a giant go on summer vacation? What does he/she do there? Is it even human?

The key here is to fully understand foreground (objects are larger) and background (objects are smaller). If the giant and its surrounding are similar, the effect is lost.

Here are some beginning drawings:

They have lots of time to finish them next week :)

Ok peeps, it's Friday, 3:40 pm. My back aches, my hair is frazzled, my eyes are burning, my hands are witchy and the black paint will not come out of my cuticles. But what a great week! I am so proud of how hard these kids worked and the fun we all shared. 

15 days to go. Time for happy hour.