Quill and ink birds

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Handmade quills dipped in ink. There beautiful birds were made by students from Lake Stevens and inspired by arTree’s February issue dedicated to Charley Harper and birds. The kids looked for simple ways to capture the birds – the least amount of elements that still made the bird recognizable: minimal realism. Aren’t they beautiful?!

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Charley and potato birds

Charley Harper was an illustrator and a graphic designer. He grew up on a farm and though he didn’t like working there, he loved walking through the woods and looking for birds and other animals he could draw. And he drew, sketched and painted a lot of them and in quite a different way than anybody before him.

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His style is called minimal realism. It is what happens when you simplify the birds (or other objects) as much as you can BUT people are still able to recognize what kind of a bird it is. Harper always said that he did not ‘count the feathers, only the wings.’ And you can clearly see it here:

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And how did Charley draw his birds? What technique did he use? A serigraph (or screen printing or silkscreen). What is it?

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The result of this technique is a print made using a stencil, woven mesh and paint. It works like this: you use a mesh and a stencil to create your print. You keep adding layers, one stencil and one color at a time until you are done.

The project inspired by Charley is simple: we are printing birds and simplifying them even more. We use potato and carrot stamps to create the birds and a toilet-paper roll to make the tree. Just cut the potatoes in halves, quarters and eighths, use a brush to apply paint to them and stamp them to create your unique birds.

Here is an example of the project. As always, you can find more details, variations and ideas in February’s issue of arTree.

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If you want to teach this lesson, you can download the power point presentation here: http://1drv.ms/1ghHGsz

Little Artists and Shapes

Shape and preschoolers – one of the easy lessons that are fun for everybody!

We have started talking about the difference between organic and geometric shapes and looked at a way some famous artists used them in their work. From Matisse (organic) to Herbin (geometric):

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We have also played a shape scavenger hunt in the classroom and did some physical movement exercise while we sorted objects based on their shapes.

For the art projects, we made two of them.

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We guessed what shape would a thumbprint make and then talked about ways we can change it into a dog, cat, flower, person, bug, tree, etc.

For the main project, we used colorful circles to create a collage. We practiced cutting and gluing, talked about composition and colors. We also introduced fractions a little bit – talking about different ways you can cut the circle and how many pieces it will make. Some kids cut the circles in halves or quarters others cut it into a million small pieces. Fun all around!