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.

harper2

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:

harper3 harper4 harper5

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

harper6

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.

harper1

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

How to Avoid Mistakes When Teaching Art to Kids

Today, I was a guest blogger on Harrington Harmonies. I have written a post about common mistakes in teaching art to kids. It is accompanied by arTree digital magazine give-away so if you are interested, click here to enter it (it ends 2/24/2014).

Here is the post:

How to Avoid Mistakes in Teaching Art | Harrington Harmonies

The basics?

Don’t copy the masters but use them as your inspiration.

Mistakes When Teaching  Art- Don't copy artisits, use learning about the m teach a skill. {Artree guest post and giveaway} | Harrington Harmonies't  

Don’t help your kids too much, let them make their mistakes on their own!

Be ok with making a mess and not always creating the best masterpiece possible

Be careful how you praise their work!

And most importantly: have fun!

Visit Harrington Harmonies to read more about it and to win the give-away!

100th Day of School with a Burger

Today, in our art docent program – we have celebrated 100th day of school with Kindergarteners! And what better way to do it than to take them all for a burger? Especially since they make it themselves and then can proudly hang it on the wall.

oldenburg_collage

We talked about Claes Oldenburg and his Store (gallery where everything was for sale, even the register). We have followed October issue of arTree and discussed how he created ordinary objects in a fun new way: dropped ice cream on top of a building, huge soft fabric cake, fuzzy Popsicles, plastic fries… and a BLT that you have to build every time you want to move it.

oldenburg1-b1d6320794105b4c86e5d7ae7e26f3843edbc2ee-s6-c30 376353091_b0789d1004  2_claes-oldenburgs-floor-cake pop31

2002.255a-s_oldenburg_imageprimacy_compressed_600 th

And then we went on creating our burgers. It is a great texture exercise as well! We used paper, streamers, foil, foam, plastic bags, cardboard and more. Don’t they all look delicious?

Paper Birds of Diana

February issue of arTree magazine is out! Do you want to learn all there is to learn about birds, including Diana’s amazing paper sculptures?

9951408065_cdbde26921_k 6924311775_d1d1fb8c95_o 6815884006_813eae9e36_k

7600499578_79304dcfdd_k 8705493251_1539b13623_k 8749570262_d7af7dd755_k

Why birds?

One day Diana was walking on the beach and for the first time in her life she saw a swan. It was fighting with a couple of ducks and its flight and expression was amazing. She was fascinated. As soon as she came home she picked up some paper and tried to capture it while it was fresh I her head. After that she just couldn’t stop.

Learn more about her amazing work and the inspiration behind it! Subscribe today: http://artreekids.com/

9377082224_a13777f5ba_o

See more of Diana’s work at her website!

Art Elements: Shape

Another art element the kids and I talked about was a shape. We discussed what it is and looked at the way different artists used geometric and organic shapes in their work. Kids especially liked Henri Matisse and his collages (even though most of them had a very hard time seeing the snail in The Snail).

Then we did a little creative exercise. I gave each child a page with 20 circles and told them to change them into whatever they want – in under 2 minutes. They could change one circle to a ball, eye, clock… or combine two of them together to make glasses. They loved this and most of them finished about 10 circles.

shape

For our main project we did a collage out of colorful circles and their fractions. We talked about the way we can cut them and then use them to design mandala-like images. Kids made halves, quarters, and eighths or circles and made beautiful collages. And I must say that the 2-inch circle puncher made my life a whole lot easier!

I always prepare a filler activity for the kids who finish early (especially the lower grades tend to do that) and I gave each child a sheet with 3 shapes and asked them to made a picture incorporating all of them. We got some creative (and quite different) results – from paint spills and space exploration to germs and family picnics.

3shapes shape_worksheet

Pieter Bruegel’s Landscapes

title_snow

January issue of arTree magazine is here! And art docents at many schools started teaching the kids about Pieter Bruegel and the atmospheric perspective in his landscapes.

Hunters in the Snow, Winter, Pieter Bruegel the Elder

In a shortcut: Pieter was a Flemish Renaissance landscape artist. He loved painting ordinary people at work. So, often he dressed up as a peasant and walked among them to observe and sketch them. He sometimes even went to a wedding nobody invited him to – just to be able to paint it authentically.

He also loved mountains and sketched many of them in Italy. When he got back to Netherlands he added them to many of his paintings. And it was at that time when painters started using atmospheric perspective in their work (scattering of light that makes mountains in the distance appear lighter/bluer).

That’s January’s main project in arTree magazine – and is being used by art docents at different schools in different grades. These are examples from one of WA schools: Kindergarten and 3rd grade. Mt. Rainer has never been so colorful!

K

Mount Rainier by Kindergarteners (above) and St. Mary’s Lake by 3rd graders (below).

3rd

If you would like to teach this lesson at your school, you can download and use the Power point Presentation here:

Atmospheric perspective for K-3 (Mount Rainer National Park): http://sdrv.ms/1j9wsLj

Atmospheric perspective for 3-6 (St. Mary’s Lake at Glacier National Park): http://sdrv.ms/KlUH9W

And if you would like to learn more, get all of the information and other examples, visit our website. Make your art docent program really stand out!

http://artreekids.com/

Art Elements with Kids: Line

line

In these 7 weeks, we will be discovering Art Elements: line, shape, texture, space, color, value and form.

The first one was Line. We have talked about the right definition and then looked for different kinds of lines: straight, wiggly, curly, thin, thick… then we did a little exercise: how many different kinds of lines can the kids create in under one minute? The record? 20! I was very much impressed.

We have also looked at famous artists and how they used line: Paul Klee, Pablo Picasso and Bridget Riley. The kids especially loved the light painting by Picasso and took a hundred guesses how he did it.

line

Then we used the different kinds of lines we talked about to create our crazy hair (or beard) people. Kids really got into it. Some of them spent over 30 minutes to make their hair perfect, others made 5 drawings in that time – but they were all excited!

When they were done, we did another short project: an op art bookmark. Over the holidays I scored these amazing scrapbook papers with lines on them (the 25 sheets were for 50 cents so I have a lot of them now) and I thought they would work great for this lesson, and they did. Just a little sample of what we did:

bookmarks

That was it. We hardly had any time left for cleanup. Next week: shape!

Australia in art

Australian Aboriginal art is very fun project for the kids of all ages.

image

We have talked about the dream-like qualities of the artworks, about the symbols and hidden meanings in them, the patterns and colors… and then every child picked one Australian animal and cut it out of black paper. They glued it onto an Earth-tone paper and used q-tips dipped in paint to fill the rest of the page with fluid shapes and patterns. It was a little challenging for the smaller kids (5-6) to fill the whole page but they all did it… and spent the rest of the time trying to make a paper boomerang that would fly.

Give the gift of ART!

arTree_ad

Give the gift of art this holiday season! Let your child’ creativity flourish in a completely new way!

For a limited time, arTree magazine now offers 50% off its subscription rates and even more on school subscriptions. Now your whole school can benefit from the program for only $90/year! Every child at school would get a subscription and art docents would receive additional support by using the lesson plans (we provide power point presentations, fundraising help, informative labels for the artworks, and much more)!

Click on artreekids.com to find out more!

Antarctica in art

The Art around the world course is slowly finishing up. This week we have visited the land of ice and snow: Antarctica.

1

It was a pretty ambitions project that I am very proud to say: we were able to finish in 50 minutes! Kids were playing around with watercolors. They used light and dark blue, lemon juice, salt, sponges, tissues, water and foil to create an interesting snowy effect for the background of their painting. Then we talked about the way to create a penguin, sketched it on a piece of watercolor paper, cut it out and decorated it with tempera paint. Kids loved adding sweater, mittens, hats and more fun stuff to keep their penguins warm and cozy.

6 2 3 4 5

Then we glued the penguins onto the watercolor paper and added some snow. Done. Hectic but totally worth it!