zondag 29 november 2009

Ow ow ... owls!

Made by Elaine, 12 years old

You need:

  1. white drawing sheet A4 size
  2. black markers in different sizes
  3. yellow or orange marker
  4. liquid watercolour
  5. brushes
  6. black construction paper
  7. photographs of owls

Discuss with the children characteristics from owls and look at some photographs. Owls have large forward-facing eyes and ear-holes, a hawk-like beak, a flat face, and usually a conspicuous circle of feathers - a facial disc - around each eye. Although owls have binocluar vision, their large eyes are fixed in their sockets, as with other birds, and they must turn their entire head to change views.

Owls are far-sighted, and are unable to see anything clearly within a few inches of their eyes. Their far vision, particularly in low light, is exceptionally good. Owls cannot turn their heads completely backwards. They can turn their head 135 degrees in either direction; they can thus look behind their own shoulders, with a total 270 degree field of view.

Some owls have have ear-tufts on the sides of the head. Those ear-tufts are made of feathers and indicate the status: a grown-up, strong healthy owl with a large territory has large ear-tufts. Young, weak, sick or old owls have smaller ear-tufts. Most owls have a mixture of brown, black, white, and gray feathers. These colours provide camouflage, and so the owls can easily hide.

Made by Charmaine, 11 years old

Children sketch an owl on a branch with pencil, considering the characteristics from owls we talked about before. After this, patterns have to be made in the body parts of the owl, with different sizes of black markers. By making different patterns, those body parts must be recognized. Only the eyes and the beak may be coloured yellow or orange, the rest is black or white.

When finished, the background has to be painted with yellow liquid watercolour. Don't touch the black marker lines if you didn't use a waterproof one, because the black ink will run out then. Stay away about a half centimeter from your drawing. Finally paste the artwork on black construction paper.

Owls, made by children of grade 5

woensdag 25 november 2009

Blowing trees

You need:
  1. white drawing sheet A4 size
  2. watercolour paint
  3. tempera paint
  4. indian ink
  5. q-tips
  6. straws
  7. black construction paper
Practice blowing the ink droplets first on a scrap paper. Drip a drop of indian ink at about one third from the bottom of the sheet and blow through the straw to the top of the sheet and to the sides. Keep blowing to get smaller branches. Make three trees this way. Let your work dry. Paint a background with watercolour paint. You can paint over the trees carefully, the indian ink will not smudge if it's dry enough. Let the work dry again. Take tempera and a q-tip to paint autumn leaves on the branches, the ground and in the air. Near the tree many leaves, further less leaves. Paste your work on a black sheet.

maandag 23 november 2009

In the style of ... Christo

A wrapped globe

Christo Vladimirov Javacheff, Christo, is a famous artist. Christo works on large art projects. The artistic strategy of Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude (she died in november 2009) is to 'wrapp' large buildings or landscapes with fabrics. The wrapping of buildings or objects leads to the abstraction. Examples of his work are the wrapping of Pont Neuf in Paris (1985), the Reichstag in Berlin (1995) and The Gates in Central Park New York (2004). Christo wants his work to be seen by lots of people. The result is intended purely aesthetic. People will look at the environment "with new eyes". All work from Christo is to be seen on his website.

Wrapping like Christo

Tell the students some days before the lesson, to take an object from home that:

  1. is larger than a soda can;
  2. fits on a table;
  3. is not breakable;
  4. is not expensive;
  5. may stay in school for some days;
  6. has a particular form (not just a box)

Discuss with the children why people wrap things: to protect, to surprise (presents), to ship. Why has Christo wrapped things? What is the effect of the wrapped objects? Look at some Christo projects and discuss them.

A wrapped easel

You need:

  1. an object for each kid
  2. big fabrics, pieces of plastic, garbage bags, wrapping papier, toilet paper, aluminum foil and plastic wrap
  3. materials to tie, like rope, yarn, tape, wire, fishing line, painter tape and fabric strips
  4. materials to decorate, like feathers, paint, markers, coloured paper, textile markers, glitter glue, buttons etc.
The goal for today: wrap your object to hide details; tie it, to make the form visible again. When your ready earlier than others, you may decorate your artwork using different materials. When children go to work, walk around and stimulate them. Each kid wraps in his own way, nothing is wrong. Stay mentioning the goal: wrap to let disappear details, tie to recognize the form again. When everybody is ready and the classroom is tidy again, ask children to exhibit their work. Are the goals achieved? Finally children make some digital photo's of their own work.

A wrapped Christmas decoration

Lesson and photo's received from Linda Vroemisse

zondag 22 november 2009

Dutch December skyline

The Dutch website juf Lisette has a lesson we do every year: the December skyline! 5 December is the day Sinterklaas visits all Dutch children to give them presents. You can read more about Sinterklaas and his Black Petes in the category Dutch folklore.

You need:

  1. construction paper A4 size in dark blue, yellow and black
  2. paperclips
  3. scissors
  4. knives
  5. cutting blade
  6. glue

Draw the skyline of a street on the black paper. Add a tree if you want to, or draw a black pete near the chimney.

Put the black sheet on the yellow one and attach them to each other with four paperclips. Cut out the skyline; you'll cut two sheets at the same time. When ready, remove the paperclips and cut some windows out of the black sheet.

Cut a moon out of the rest of the yellow sheet. Stick the black and yellow skyline together and shift the black sheet one millimeter to emerge the yellow one. Look carefully to the position of the moon: you'll see the yellow edges there were the moon shines. Glue the moon on the blue sheet and glue the skyline below. Your December skyline is finished!

dinsdag 17 november 2009

Owl in moonlight

You need:

  1. white drawing paper A4 size
  2. oil pastel
  3. blue ink
  4. brush
  5. dish with water
  6. scouring pad

See the moon shining through the trees... and in the moonlight everything looks blue.

Children scetch a winter tree, so there will be no leaves. Show them that the branches at the end always be thinner. Scetch a moon between the branches. Draw a cat or an owl on one of those branches.

The tree has to be coloured with blue oil pastel. Color difference can be made by pressing harder or softer, or by using a little black or white through that blue for the feathers. Colour the owl or cat blue too. Use black to draw eyes, ears and beak. The moon is white-yellow and becomes darker yellow to the outside.

When colouring is ready, everything has to be outlined with white oil pastel; even the smallest branches have to be outlined. This is a difficult chore, because you barely see the white and you run the risk that the white crayon will get blue (scrape it then!).

The background will be painted with ink, water and a scouring pad (watch your clothes!). The white lines will resist the ink. Put undiluted blue ink on a dish and dip the soft side of the scouring pad in it. Stamp with the pad along the outer edges of the drawing. Add water to the ink when you're nearer at the moon. The blue will be lighter then. Make a great light blue circle around the moon.

dinsdag 10 november 2009

Explosion at the bottle factory

This lesson is designed to help explain the idea of Abstract art. It is from an Arts and Activities magazine.
Paintings of trees by the Dutch painter Piet Mondriaan show the development of realistic painting to abstract painting clearly. The red tree (1908) is a realistic painting, Mondriaan painted what he saw.

The grey tree (1911) is more abstract, but the shape of the tree can still be seen.

The apple tree (1912) doesn't look like a tree anymore, unless you see this one together with the former paintings.

You need:
  1. black construction paper
  2. scissors and glue
  3. coloured paper
  4. ruler and pencil
After showing the paintings of Mondriaan, kids have to make their own abstract artwork out of a realistic one. Children draw a line halfway their black sheet. Then they have to cut three or four double bottles out of coloured paper. Glue the bottles on the top piece of the black sheet. Cut the remaining bottles into pieces and glue them on the bottom of the sheet.

maandag 9 november 2009

The longest line

You need:
  1. white drawing sheet 15 by 15 cm
  2. black fineliner
  3. markers

I found this lesson on Artsonia. Start in a corner and draw ONE line, the longest line: curved, straight, zigzag, with angles etc. The line has to fill the whole sheet and you may not pick up your marker from the sheet! The line may not hit or cross itself. And, the most important: the line has to end at the point it started. So be sure you're back in the beginning in time!

When ready, draw with a pencil three or four geometric shapes on your sheet. Choose three colours marker per shape and colour them. Outline your shapes with the black fineliner.

dinsdag 3 november 2009

Greetings from ... Holland!

And this is Holland too ....
You need:
  1. white drawing sheet from 20 by 10 cm
  2. markers
  3. fineliner
  4. ruler
  5. pencil
Draw a horizon line about 2 cm from the upper edge. Put a dot in the middle of this line, the vanishing point. Draw lines from the bottom and sides towards that vanishing point. Make six lanes or more - this is the highway. Colour the highway with gray marker, leaving out the white stripes. Colour agriculturul fields besides the highway. Colour the sky. Draw a cityscape with high buildings and houses on the horizon and colour them with black and grey markers. Together with the lesson about the bulb fields, we have a nice postcard! Greetings from Holland!

zondag 1 november 2009

Find it!

Waterpaint with finepointed marker
You need:
  1. white drawing paper A4 size
  2. watercolour paint or tempera
  3. marker or fineliner
Paint organic shapes on you sheet with different colours. Make sure the whole sheet is full. After drying, take a black fineliner or marker and search for faces, animals or objects in your shapes. Outline them and add details to recognize your object or face!

Tempera with marker

zaterdag 31 oktober 2009

Birthday cake

Birthday cake, made by Kindergartners
You need:
  1. salt dough
  2. brushes
  3. paint
  4. birthday candles


  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 1 cup of table salt
  • 1 cup of water
Mix table salt and flour in a large bowl. Gradually add 1/2 cup of water and mix to desired consistency. Knead the dough on a flat surface, adding a few more drops of water as needed (but not making it too moist). If possible it is best to let the dough stand for approximately twenty minutes before beginning a project. Unused dough can be stored in the fridge, in an airtight container or cling film, for up to a week. Instead of allowing the dough shapes to air dry, you can bake them in the oven at 100 degrees C / 200 degrees F until hard. Baking times varies depending on oven and dough thickness. Make sure the dough is completely baked. You can cover the dough with aluminum foil if it starts to darken before completely baked through. What does a birthday cake look like? What form do we get, when we cut a round cake into pieces? Each child makes his own piece of a birthday cake out of salt dough. Make a little hole on top of the cake before baking; this is for the candle. After baking the top and backside of the cake pieces have to be painted. Put the candles in the pieces and lay all pieces together on a pie shell.

vrijdag 30 oktober 2009

Leaves pattern

You need:

  1. white drawing sheet 21 by 25 cm
  2. markers
Draw lines around your sheet a half centimeter from the edges. Divide the remaining square in 16 compartments from 5 cm by 6 cm. Draw a leave on construction paper and cut it out. Trace the leave in the 16 rectangles. Draw patterns in the leaves: take a pair for each pattern. Colour them alternately with two colours. Outline all leaves with a black fineliner. Draw a square in two colours around your work.

donderdag 29 oktober 2009

Neon advertising

You need:
  1. Black paper
  2. White pencil
  3. Coloured chalk

Neon light tubes form coloured lines with which a text can be written or a picture drawn, including various decorations. Neon is often used in advertising and commercial signage. Show some neon advertising or ask children if they know some. Discuss the features of neon light and the restrictions you have to deal with when you use neon lights.

Draw a picture onto a dark paper using a white pencil. Do it lightly and with not too much detail. Keep it simple, big and bold. Pick a colour and carefully go over all of the lines in your picture. Make nice thick lines that follow the original. Then carefully go over all the lines with your finger. Just follow the direction of the lines rubbing backwards and forwards. Try not to smudge the lines outwards! Now to turn the neon lights on: take a white chalk and go over all the lines again with the sharp edge. Use the sharp edge just to create a thin bright white line down the middle of the existing lines. You could even leave little gaps between the white lines to make them look even more like an electric neon striplight. Lettering looks good too, especially if you do it in a different colour. When you've finished, you'll have a brilliant electric neon drawing.

A lesson from Art Attack.

woensdag 28 oktober 2009

In the style of René Magritte

Made by Nikki, 11 years old

Rene Magritte is born in 1898 in Belgium. When Magritte is 13 years old, his mother commits suicide. She jumps in the river Samber and is found with her dress covering her face. This image has been suggested as the source of several paintings from Magritte: people hiding their faces with several objects.

In 1924 Magritte became friends with members of a surrealism group in Brussels: André Breton, Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí. These artists influence Magritte's work. In the end Magritte became famous with surrealistic paintings.

Magritte gave his paintings a realistic effect of surrealism. He painted simple objects, like a shoe, an apple, a pipe or a tree. Magritte took these things out of their ordinary environment and placed them in a special surrounding.

One of Magritte's most famous works is "La Trahison des Images" (The Treachery of Images). This is a very realistic painting from a pipe, with the text: Ceci n'est pas une pipe (This is not a pipe). The painting is not a pipe, but rather an image of a pipe. As Magritte himself commented: "The famous pipe. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it's just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture 'This is a pipe,' I'd have been lying!"

By putting us constantly on the wrong track, Magritte forces us to think about art. Magritte thought it the task of an artist to place reality in a different context.

Nikki working on her version of Magritte

You need:
  1. drawing sheets A3 size
  2. brushes and water containers
  3. old newspapers
  4. tempera paint
  5. (black markers)
Show Magritte's work and talk about surrealism. Ask children to tell what they see in those surrealistic paintings. Talk about realism and show realistic paintings. What are the differences between these two styles? How do you recognize surrealistic art? Show the painting The son of man and tell about the covered faces we'll see in a lot of Magritte's paintings.

Made by Kiki, 11 years old

Children sketch a portrait, just like Magritte did. It doesn't have to be someone special, just a person. Instead of an apple, they choose a present-day object to cover the face. This object has to be about as large as a face, so a piano or a coin can't be used! Options: an Ipod, cell phone, candy or something. When sketching is finished, the drawing has to be painted. When necessary, students can outline the covering object with a fineliner.

Made by Jetse, 12 years old

Happy Halloween

You need:
  1. orange construction paper
  2. black construction paper
  3. black fineliner
  4. black marker
  5. correction fluid
  6. scissors and glue
Children are drawing a Halloween party at night. They work with black marker on orange paper. Brainstorm what things make you think of Halloween: spiders, skeletons, witchas, bats, black cats, dark, cemetary, pumpkins etc. Vandaag worden alleen contouren getekend. Wat zijn contouren en hoe teken je die? Every child gets an orange construction paper. Draw the width of a ruler on the top and bottom of the sheet. Draw a halloween party, using markers in various sizes. Use correction fluid to make eyes. Glue a strip of black construction paper on top and bottom of your drawing.

zaterdag 24 oktober 2009

Puzzle trees

You need:
  1. black paper A4 size
  2. black paper 23 by 32 cm
  3. oilpastel crayons
  4. scissors and glue
Students draw with a pencil on a black A4 sheet a simple mountain landscape under the moon. Colour it with oilpastel crayons and outline the mountains and moon with black crayon. Show the students that the colour of the air around the moon is lighter. Use white and yellow to brighten up blue colours, or black to darken them. Make sure your colours in the air will blend.
When colouring is finished, turn around the sheet. Draw a tree on the back, with five branches: one tho the right, one to the right edge of the paper, one to the middle above, one to the left edge of the sheet and one to the left. Branches have to be small at the end and wide near to the trunk. You've got six puzzlepieces now. Cut them out and place them on the larger black sheet. Use the cut tree to check if your pieces lie well. Pate all parts on the black sheet, exept the tree of course. Maybe you can do something fun with it?

woensdag 21 oktober 2009

Spider web

You need:

  1. white drawing paper from 20 by 20 cm
  2. oil pastel crayons
  3. black paint
  4. brushes
  5. toothpicks
  6. coloured construction paper
In fall you will find beautiful spider webs in the garden and around the school. Especially when the morning dew is glistening on the wires in the sun, a web seems a work of art. In this lesson the students scretch a spider web with a spider, after they first have looked carefully at those webs. How is the web built? How many basic threads do you see? What does a spider look like? How many legs has he? How do they look? Colour a drawing sheet with oilpastels. Choose autumn colours, like orange, yellow and brown. Paint the entire sheet black and let it dry.

Scratch a spider web with a toothpick. Of course you may add the spider! Paste the artwork on a coloured background.

dinsdag 20 oktober 2009

Haunted houses

You need:
  1. white drawing paper A4 size
  2. tissue paper in two colours
  3. brush and water
  4. black markers
  5. white chalk pastel
  6. hairspray
  7. black construction paper for background
Haunted houses…. there are many exciting stories in the internet to start this lesson! Discuss the characteristics of a haunted house: partly collapsed, on a quiet place, spider webs, torture tools, graves, bats, black cats, ghosts etc. The background is made with tissuepaper. Kids have to wet their white drawing sheet with a brush and water. Strips of torn tissue paper are put on this - the torn edges must be on the paper, not the straight ones. Make sure the tissue papers overlap a little, so no white paper is to be seen. When ready, wet the whole sheet again. Take a look under one of the tissue strips to see if the bleeding is ready. If so, take of the strips. Then wait till the sheet is completely dry. With a pencil, kids sketch a haunted house on their coloured sheet. They have to thing about the fact that everything has to be coloured in black, so they have to draw just contours. When sketching is ready, the drawing has to be traced with a black fineliner. Then everything has to be coloured with a black marker. Ghosts are drawn in and around the house using white chalk pastel. Fix the ghosts with hairspray and glue the artwork on a black background.

Made by students of 10-11 years old

maandag 19 oktober 2009

Wacky witches

You need:
  1. charcoal
  2. chalk pastels
  3. white drawing paper A4 size
  4. black construction paper for background
  5. hairspray

How do you recognize a withc? What animals or things do you associate with a witch? What does an angry witch look like? Think of characteristis like mouth, eyes and eyebrows.

Tell children to practice first in drawing with charcoal. Explain how differences in colours have to be made. Tell them to use an eraser to erase the charcoal lines, and a tissue or your fingers to sweep out the colour.

The instruction is: draw an angry witch with charcoal and use a cold colour for the face. Draw the contours of the face first with charcoal. Then colour the face with chalk pastel. After this mouth, eyes and nose can be drawn with charcoal. Finish the drawing with charcoal. Make sure you add some typical witchy things like a cat, a bat, a spiderweb etc.

woensdag 14 oktober 2009

Take a walk with a line

You need:

  1. white drawing sheet A4 size
  2. markers
  3. fineliner

Start with a thick black marker and draw an interesting line horizontally across the paper. Repeat your line with rainbow colors to show emphasis and repetition. Fill your paper up with interesting line patterns in the background. Use a black fineliner. When ready it seems the coloured line looks like jumping off the page. This could also be a nice group project. Children have to discuss with eachother about the places their lines will come together and continuing the patterns.

dinsdag 13 oktober 2009

Autumn prints

You need:
  1. pieces of linoleum from 15 x 15 cm
  2. lino knife
  3. mat
  4. block printing ink
  5. flat piece of plexiglass
  6. linoleum roller
  7. construction paper
  8. lino press
After searching autumn leaves and taking them in the classroom, we take a careful look. What can you tell about the form, the veins, the colour etc.
Draw a leave or mushroom on your linoleum. Remember what you cut away will not print. It is not important to carve deeply into linoleum, just enough so that carved area is lower than the linoleum surface. Always carve away from your hand, always keep your hand behind the back edge of linoleum. When you want to check your printing block, place a piece of paper on the linoleum and rub over the paper with a crayon. This will create a “rubbing” and will give you an idea of what the final print will look like. Squeeze out “toothpaste” amount of ink on plexiglass. Roll ink out. Ink is ready when lines appear. Ink should look wet. If ink starts to look velvety/dry, sprinkle a little bit of water over the ink and add more ink. Put your linoleum block on a newspaper. Roll ink onto linoleum printing block, working quickly to cover all areas. Lay the block on a sheet in the printing press and press. Take away the block and your print is ready.
To make a group work, all kids have to cut out their prints. Ask some students to make a collage of all autumn leaves.