Northern Lights Art Project

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This is now officially one of my favorite winter lessons. I created these pictures with first-graders in about 60 minutes and it went really well. We started talking about Ernst Kirchner and Expressionism. We noticed that he uses warm and cool colors and created a bold contrast in his work. So, we looked for warm and cool colors in other artists’ paintings, talked about how the colors make us feel, and what do they make us think of.

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Then, I showed them pictures of the Northern Lights and we talked about how we could paint them like Expressionists – focus on our emotion rather than reality and to exaggerate the colors and sharp lines:

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And of course, we had to add some animals that could see the Northern Lights (the first-graders are now talking about animals, habitats and are starting to explore the world on maps… so it tied nicely to their science lessons). We got everything: from polar bears and arctic hares to musk ox and a high-jumping killer whale.

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January Issue: Kirchner and Winter Landscapes

January issue of arTree magazine is here! Have you checked it out yet? I will share some preview with you this week, for now here is a little sample of the projects:

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Don’t stay inside this winter! Explore snowy landscapes with Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and German Expressionism. Play around with cool and warm colors to create dramatic contrast and make your landscape scenes like none other. Discover the art of Josef Kote and decorate your mountains with patterns out of lines and shapes. Fill your skies with colors that will make the Northern Lights fade with envy.

Visit the polar bears and the penguins. Learn why they can never meet each other and what they do to stay warm in such cold places. Research the polar bears with us to create your very own infographic poster. Then paint your polar bear under the stunning Aurora sky.

Dress up your penguin in a warm and cozy sweater and paint him on the South Pole–using several easy and fun watercolor secrets that we will share with you. Play games, learn facts and explore the great snowy outdoors.  

Warm & Cold landscapes with Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

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

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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.

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Then we looked at pictures of different landscapes for inspiration.

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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?