Daniel Maher’s Recycled Windows

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Did you know you can take old glasses and turn them into these stunning windows?

We were very excited when we found Daniel. He is the perfect match for our September issue of the magazine, dedicated to Marc Chagall and Dreams.

So who is he? Daniel is a unique stained-glass artist. He restores old windows and creates new ones. He also recycles old glass plates, bottles and bowls into amazing windows. He puts together everything he finds: pictures of grapes from serving plates and a glass from Mr. Peanut jars or ‘little pig went to a market’ plaque, corn serving plates and a corn mash. He uses objects with history to tell stories with his art. Some are more abstract (capturing emotions) and some more narrative (telling real stories) but all of them are quite fascinating.

And how does he do it? Here’s a little preview:

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Picasso’s Head

Ever since I heard about the wire + stocking sculpture, I wanted to try it – what what better way to introduce this unique medium than combining it with self-portrait lesson dedicated to Pablo Picasso. These statues are pretty simple to make (especially for grades 2 and up) but they take a long time to dry. I used acrylic paint and still needed several coats. I’d recommend doing this if you have enough time to let it dry for couple of days before decorating it. Other than that – super fun way to introduce form, discussion about face, proportions and Cubism!

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If you want to see more ideas about Cubism, Pablo Picasso and self-portraits, click here.

Matisse and Fish

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July issue of atTree was dedicated to Henri Matisse and Fish.

What could you find there? You could learn about Henri Matisse and his colorful and bold collages. You’d find out why he made them, what else he did, why he used such bold colors and more. You would paint, collage, draw and glue a lot of different fish! You’d make a 3D aquarium, musical fish and learn about mosaics. You’d have fun with tangrams and a lot more!

If you want to get this issue, you can subscribe to the magazine and you’ll get this one (and 11 others) instantly!

If you are putting together an art docent lesson dedicated to Matisse, I’d recommend the video where you can watch Matisse work in his studio: see it by clicking here.

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More art ideas? Click here to get started!

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Or you can have the kids play a Spot-the Difference game with Matisse’s art by clicking here.

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Fun in the Sun

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How was your summer? Did you enjoy enough sunshine and absorbed enough energy for the school year? I hope so. I didn’t post anything over the summer months but I stayed busy… this is one of our free summer projects at a local library: Art in the Sun!

We found our inspiration in the art of Pueblo people, this book and Mexican suns:

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We talked about warm and cold colors and designed our suns to have a warm and cool half. We used a pencil to sketch them, sharpie to make them stand out and soft pastels to add some color into them. Then we sprayed it with a hair spray to make sure it does not smudge much. Easy and summery! Makes me wish the fall waited a little bit longer to come… though I am looking forward to the pumpkins.

Claude Monet and his Garden

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With this month’s issue of arTree magazine you can visit Claude Monet’s garden and create a painting of his famous Japanese bridge or a giant water-lily to hang on your wall!

 

What is Impressionism?

Show kids several of Monet’s paintings and ask them to describe what they see. Are there any lines? Black? Are the paintings from inside/outside? What is the most important element used? Why do they think he painted the same scene over and over again?

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Then invite them to visit his garden in Giverny, France:

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Explain that he spent over 20 years designing, working and painting his garden and that he poured most of his money into it. Show the kids some photos from the garden and then take their focus to the bridge or the water lilies:

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Huge water lily pads: K-2
This is the link to the presentation: http://1drv.ms/1mD0PwM
Printable labels: http://1drv.ms/1mD0UAG

For the K (and 1), I would recommend making a template for the kids to trace the water lily pad (or you can predraw them on the black papers before you go into the classroom). When you use the watercolors to saturate the coffee filters, dilute the liquid watercolors a little to get softer colors and encourage kids to paint three of them, crumble them and put them on a side (leave them on a paper plate or just put them on a piece of a scrap paper with their name on it). You can paint the blossoms on the beginning of the lesson or you can set a table aside just for this purpose.

When kids use the oil pastels, remind them to hold the pastels low and press down hard. If they do not press enough, the colors are not going to be vivid and if they do press a lot and hold the pastels too high, they will break.

Encourage the kids to cover the whole surface of the water lily pad and then ask them to cut it out. You may need to glue on the blossoms later on, they will need 1-2 hours to dry (you can use just regular glue).

Reflection Symmetry: 3-5

This is the link to the presentation: http://1drv.ms/1mD12jv
Printable labels: http://1drv.ms/1mD1a2q

Give the kids a little bit of time to think about the garden they want to paint.
You can share some poetry with them to inspire them: http://www.blackcatpoems.com/h/a_daffodil_day.html
Or let them look at some beautiful gardens: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=garden

Let the kids paint the garden and then write a little poetry (or a short lyrical text) about it. How does the garden make them feel? Why do they think so?

Start the project with folding the paper and make sure kids shade only one half of the painting with their blue pencil/crayon. Then they can start working on their own. Remember to encourage them to fold the painting frequently, so that the paint does not have a chance to dry. When they are done, they can add water lilies to their pond with green construction paper, paint, crumbled tissue paper, potato stamps, finger painting, model magic or anything else you may like to try.

 

Do you want to bring this art program (along with the magazine, more projects and ideas) to your school?

We are running an end-of-the-year promotion: 50% off if you sign up by 5/25! That’s only $125 for the whole school year! Ask us about details: info@arTreeKids.com

Rothko and Color

This art lesson is dedicated to Mark Rothko and warm & cold colors.

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Mark Rothko was an Abstract Expressionist painter. He was looking for ways to capture emotions in the purest forms. From people and mythological stories to organic shapes and then finally: only color.

You can follow links below to download presentations to use with your kids (and your students), showing the different paintings he made before he decided to embrace total abstraction.

Ask the kids what are the cold and warm colors? What emotions tie in with them? Hoe do these colors make them feel?

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Then you can create a project inspired by Mark Rothko.

You can make your own canvas and paint it with watercolors or capture your emotions with color and basic symbols with oil pastels.

K to 2 presentation (make your own canvas): http://1drv.ms/1g3DteD

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This is a really fun project that needs some prep time. You can either cut small pieces of cardboard and the sheets and bring those to the class (one per child) or you can make bigger ones and let them work in groups (easier prep, just make sure you help them stretch the fabric over the cardboard and use a little bit of the glue underneath it). Just cut a piece of cardboard, a piece of sheet and let the kids glue it on. Then use liquid watercolors (and ADD WATER to them – at least 50/50) and paint them with wither warm or cold colors. Why do you need to add water? The canvas is not primed and it will ‘drink’ a lot of the water. You can use paint as well (or instead of the watercolors).

If you want to make the small canvases, you will need approx. 1 large box and 1 crib sheet for 25 kids. I would also recommend to bring several large ‘canvases’ for kids to work on together once they are finished, or watercolor paper so that they can create more artworks (and try both warm and cold colors).

 

3 to 5 presentation (capture your emotions): http://1drv.ms/1efFYMt

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This project is also very easy and there is no prep time needed. Just follow the presentation and ask the kids about emotions they want to capture. Discuss how they can do that (happiness: bouncing ball, sunshine, flowers, rainbow) and give them watercolor paper and oil pastels (in either warm or cold colors). Either divide a classroom into 2 parts (warm vs cold) or let each of them choose (doing it by tables is going to be easier.) Let the kids draw the thing that they associate with the emotion (keeping it more abstract as the grades get higher, older ones can sketch first). Then give them watercolors to paint over the pictures.

In any case, remind the kids to not mix warm and cold colors. Also, do not use much white or black. Wash brushed before changing colors with the watercolors. And most importantly: have fun!

If you would like to get more projects about Rothko and Color, you can purchase the magazine subscription and receive this issue within 24 hours! This week, it is on sale for $4.99 for 12 issues on Plum District.

You can also ask us about the school subscription with support, online art docent trainings and magazine for ALL kids at your school!

Happy Earth Day!

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Happy Earth Day, everybody!

Sometimes the simplest things are the best, like these toilet paper rolls by my Little Artists (inspired by Wassily Kandinsky).

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I gave the 3-year-olds some paint (primary colors and black), watercolor paper, paper rolls and 20 minutes. The amazing pictures above are the results. I love how different they are. Some kids kept it very neat and clean, others made a messy, overlapping art and one boy even used the paper roll to color all of the circles.

And the best part? Sometimes the tempera paint made a huge bubble and it popped on the artwork. The kids love that! I mean, who wouldn’t, right?!

Seurat, pointillism, boats and secondary colors

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Secondary colors and George Seurat go together more then well! That’s why I like to combine this concept and this artist whenever possible.

First, I talk to kids about mixing primary colors to get secondary ones:

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And then we talk about optical color mixing: meaning, some artists did not mix their paint on the palette but rather let the viewer (his eyes and his brain) to do the mixing. Seurat, for example, used small dots of paint close to each other to create the illusion on mixing colors. We talked about similarities of pointillism and mosaics and digital photography as well.

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Of course, we also looked at a lot of his work and since we noticed, a lot of his paintings captured the ocean and boats, that was our focus as well.

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We sketched the scene, talked about composition and colors… and then used q-tips and tempera paint to fill the whole page with tiny little overlapping dots. It took the kids a little over an hour to fill the whole page (letter size). When they did, they  were very pleasantly surprised by the results.

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Mondrian Animals in primary colors

Primary colors are the most important colors of them all – yellow, red and blue. They cannot be created by combination of any other colors. They are the most basic ones.

And what better artists to introduce to the kids when talking about primary colors than Piet Mondrian?!

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Piet Mondrian was born towards the end of the 19th century in Netherlands. During his life he worked towards a not-so-simple goal: painting only the most important truth:
the real essence of all things, as he called it. He kept simplifying his work until all that remained were horizontal and vertical lines, primary colors and black and white. The style was called: De Stijl (Dutch for ‘The Style’) and it is a great example of complete abstraction.

Like these busy streets of NYC:

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Our project, though, was a little bit less abstract. We created Mondrian animals.

We used pencil to sketch the animal, traced the outline with a sharpie and divided it into several parts with horizontal and vertical lines. Then we colored the animal with primary colors, cut it out, glued it onto a black piece of paper and created a border out of colored papers. It took us about an hour and the kids were 5-10 years old.

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Joan Miro and self-portraits (for kids)

Are you an art docent?

Teach kids about Joan Miro this month! This project introduces Joan Miro & self-portraits and it is recommended for kids in K-2 grades.

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Silly Self portrait

Start with a  presentation.

When you introduced Joan Miro and his work to the kids, ask them to sketch a head (with a sharpie). Show kids that they can do whatever shape they want (you may even sketch those on a blackboard – oval, square, heart…) and then show them how to make the eyes and the U-shape nose.

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Then the kids can create whatever body shape they want. Just remind them to keep it simple and when they are done to ‘divide’ it or ‘visually cut’ it into several segments (they are going to be coloring each of them differently so they want to have several of them).

When they are done, give them the oil pastels (yellow, red, blue, green, black and white) and ask them to color the picture (not the background). The ones that finish early can add their favorite animal or something they like to do (soccer ball, books, etc.).

In the end, ask the kids to bring the picture over and spray it (with them) with the watercolor spray (just some watercolors in a spray bottle). For this part, make sure you have something covering the surrounding area (newsprint, mat, shower curtain or old plastic tablecloth). And be careful when you lift the picture – the watercolor may drip a little.

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DONE!

Here are the labels to print out for this project and attach them to kids’ artworks.