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!

pablo

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

Matisse and Fish

facebook_matisse

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.

matisse

More art ideas? Click here to get started!

matisse_pin

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

difference

Claude Monet and his Garden

waterlily

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?

monet1

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

monet2

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:

monet3

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

arTree story: how art docents found their art

WP_20131004_002

Kids are natural artists. They love to paint and draw, they love to explore and experiment with all the colors and textures… basically, they love to create art. And yet, art programs are being cut at most public schools all the time.

I would like to change that. I would love to bring some of the art back to the schools, where it belongs.

Last year I started publishing a digital art magazine for kids. It is called arTree and it combines art history with art education. It teaches kids about perspective, color theory, shading, blending and much more. It introduces current artists in special interviews and connects art with Math, science, physical activities and storytelling. It is a digital magazine that comes out every month with 14 – 18 pages of art.

I started publishing the magazine because I thought it was missing on the market. There are magazines about animals, pop culture and some magazines just for girls but I could not find a magazine about art. And my son loves art. He doesn’t just like it, he loves it. When he was three years old he would spend hours drawing pictures for his friends. And I would spend hours and hours on Pinterest preparing some fun projects and activities for him to keep him challenged and busy. It was exhausting, but really fun.

7

In the fall my son started attending Woodside Elementary. The school seemed like a wonderful place for him with one little problem – there was almost no art. There were a couple of dedicated moms who brought their own ideas and supplies to the classrooms but they could not more than a couple of classrooms. I decided to change that. Some of those wonderful PTA moms and I decided to take arTree and use it as our lesson plans for the following year. Today, couple of months later, there are over 700 kids involved in the art docent program at Woodside. They all have free access to the magazine and they all make one or two of the arTree projects during their art docent lessons each month.

In the first months some of the teachers were reluctant to share the valuable time with the parents, but now, they all have spots for their art docents in the schedules. Even the principal, Dr. Betty Cobbs, called it the best running art docent program she ever had in any of her schools. And of course the kids have learned a lot. They have learned about one-point and atmospheric perspective, they have made collages and drew with oil pastels, they designed their dream houses with watercolors and learned about minimal realism with potato stamps.

The art docents have a wonderful time as well. Every month we do an art docent training. Basically, it is a time when all of the moms meet, learn about the new project and make some wonderful art together. Everybody loves it! It’s like a ‘sip and paint’ – without the wine.

In the last couple of months I have started developing more and more art projects and presentations for the art docents to use. And now, I am adding a whole new visual arts program to the arTree magazine and I am starting to look for more schools that would like to adopt the program.

Getting art to kids is my primary goal so I am keeping the program in the digital format. It allows me to keep the price down and get the magazine to all kids at the school for free. Some of the competitors sell their lesson plans for $200 per class which I think is very steep for some of the schools in the area. I provide the lessons for the whole year, the magazine and a list of materials for $250 per year – for the whole school. The program aligns with WA Arts K 1-12 learning standards and it makes it super easy for parents who have not painted since they were kids to get involved in the program. Plus, I help schools raise money for the supplies. I give them all two lesson plans for after-school art classes that they can run themselves to get all the art-docent-supply money they need.

I love art. I love teaching it and I would love to share that experience with others. It is very rewarding when you walk around the school and the kids greet you excitedly with: “do we do art today?” Art docent program is a wonderful thing and arTree makes it easy for everyone to get involved. You do not have to be an artist to teach a lesson. You just need to be passionate and love what you do. The kids will do the rest.

Do you want to bring this program to your school? If you contact me (info@artreekids.com) by 5/25 and mention the code: artDocent514 you will be able to bring the whole program to your school for only $125/year!

Rothko and Color

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

rothko04 rothko01 rothko03

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?

about_colors

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

canvas

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

canvas2

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!

50% off subscription!

plum_small

This week only: buy arTree subscription for only $4.99!

Visit Plum District and discover amazing deals, including arTree printable art magazine for kids (5-12)! This week only, get 12 issues of arTree for $4.99! That is over 20 artists, 50 art projects and 30 activities for you and your child.

Walk through Monet’s garden, make your self-portrait with Picasso and follow your dreams with Marc Chagall. There is a lot to be found!

Click here to get started!

plum04

Warm & Cold landscapes with Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

landscapes

When we were talking about warm and cold colors last week, we visited one of my favorite German expressionist painters: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.

ernst1

We have learned about German expressionism: about the way the artists painted emotions rather than reality, how they distorted or exaggerated objects and used vivid and shocking colors. We talked about all the emotions they were trying to capture, from anxiety and fear to peacefulness. We even mentioned Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (click here to watch this 1920s marvel)!

We explored Kirchner’s landscapes and looked how he used warm and cold colors to express his emotions.

ernst2

Then we looked at pictures of different landscapes for inspiration.

ernst3

Then kids got a big black paper and used white chalk pastel to sketch their landscape. Then they divided it into segments and started coloring them in. They used only warm colors for the land, cold for the sky – or vise versa – but did not combine them. When they were done (it took them a little bit over an hour) I sprayed it with a hair spray to help the chalk pastels stick to the paper. Stunning results, don’t you think?

Seurat, pointillism, boats and secondary colors

secondary02

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:

secondary01

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.

secondary03

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.

secondary04

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.

pointillism

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.

111 113 115

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.

miro 116 15 17

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.

16 label

DONE!

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

Quill and ink birds

harper_quill

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?!