Welcome teachers, parents and friends...

Welcome teachers, parents and friends...
Have a look around to see what's going on in art class at Bradfield!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Elephants in Underpants Part Two

As promised in an earlier post, here are some of the finished elephants in underpants.

These were done by first graders and are inspired by the artist Chinatsu Ban.

They are mixed-media. The kids used crayon, tempera paint, markers and black ink.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kindergarten Klimts

The Tree of Life

One of my favorite artists is Gustav Klimt and I love teaching about him and his artwork to my Kindergarten students.

Klimt was an animal lover and so that is a great way to begin introducing him to five year olds. There is a cute book called Klimt and His Cat, by Berenice Capatti, that I read to the kids.
In fact, I'm thinking about having the kids draw and paint a cat, "Klimt style" for next year.
I think that might be fun.

This year, the students worked with color, line and shape inspired by Klimt.

So, of course we use a lot of

...and SWIRLY lines...

We focus on ovals, circles, squares and rectangles.

We also talk about OVERLAPPING.

And then it is time for them to get started!

To begin, they used silver Sharpie markers to fill their gold paper with swirly lines.

Next, they cut and paste shapes from silver, black and white paper...

They finish by painting more swirls with gold paint.

Here are two finished artworks. The first one is very linear, almost symmetrical. The second one is very expressionistic.

You can see that kids think very differently from each other, even though I am teaching them the same concepts.

That is what makes teaching art so fun!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Speaking of Little Things...

...This little note was waiting for me at work this morning.
So sweet, it brought tears to my eyes.

I really do want to teach art forever and ever!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Little Things

Dot Dot, Not A Lot!

....or, If I had it my way, NOT AT ALL!

Well, not really, but I do have a few issues with adhesives lately.

Glue was never much of a concern when I taught the older kids, but with the little ones, it can be a really sticky situation.

That's right. STICKY and GOOEY and MESSY and CLOGGY!!! UGHHHH!!!

It seems that I am forever searching for the perfect bottle of glue. I've used the traditional bottles and glue sticks. I've even gone as far as doing away with the bottle completely and just pouring globs of glue on trays.

Glue sticks, forget it! I have ordered those in the past and they are gone before I can even get through one project. They are so small that the kids walk out with them, accidentally throw them away at clean up time, lose the caps...etc. I just can't keep up.

Traditional glue bottles (The ones with the little triangle caps) drive me crazy too. The caps break off and they get clogged up so they don't work any longer. Also, they are a real pain in the neck to refill.

So, this year I bought these:

I have had a few kids have MAJOR glue spills with them. The glue pours out pretty quickly and if the cap is not screwed on tightly, the whole thing will pop off and then you have a BIG mess.

Oh, that was a fun day.

Other than that messy problem, they make me pretty happy. They do not clog up and since the opening is so wide, they are much easier to refill. So, I think I will stick with these until something better comes along.

Does anyone out there have any good ideas for making the elementary art glue experience more pleasant for me? If so, please do tell!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


"Van Gogh is the MOST interesting artist of them all. I mean all the other artists are so boring. Like Picasso. He was just this guy who hung around and was like 'Hi. I'm Picasso. I paint. Woo-hoo.' Van Gogh cut off his ear and had so many problems. That is why his art is so great. All the other artists are so boring with their boring lives and boring art."

-anonymous 4th grader

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Animals Giacometti Style

Kids are always trying to get away with drawing stick figures in art class. Normally, I send them back to their drawing pads to add some fat to those bony figures; however, when It's time to learn about the artist Alberto Giacometti, they get to go stick figure crazy!

The novelty of foil makes this a fun project for second graders and it is fast too...we finish in one class.

First I show them these Giacometti sculptures of a cat and a dog:

Many of my students are lucky enough to have been to the Nasher Sculpture Center and some quickly recognize Giacometti's artwork. So, we usually spend some time talking about their personal experience with the work. I ask them why they think Giacometti made his sculptures so skinny. I get answers like "...because they balance better that way..." or "...because they are starving..." or "...because he was trying to be creative..." It's always interesting to me to hear their ideas.

Finally, after all of that talk the fun begins! I pass out the foil (after a quick demo on how to shape the head and body) and they get busy. I place images of animals on all of the tables for them to get ideas from. The most important thing is that they DO NOT tear the foil. It must stay in one piece for this to work. Usually, I pass out a little extra for them to use for legs.

...and here are some student examples:

a dog

foil animal stand off

Texas Longhorn

a cat

Friday, January 8, 2010

Elephant Underwear

When you are a kid, or an adult for that matter, there aren't too many things funnier than an elephant in underpants.

That is why Chinatsu Ban's elephant paintings and sculptures are perfect for teaching contemporary art to kids. I look forward to this lesson each year. I love hearing all of those six year old giggles and seeing them get so excited about contemporary art. Who knew serious art could be so hilarious?

For this project you will need:
  • some sort of heavy weight paper that is good for painting on
  • crayons or oil pastels
  • watercolor paint
  • glue
  • any collage items that you think will be fun to use (glitter, fabric, torn paper, etc. )

Below are some examples of beginning pencil drawings.
They drew a pattern on the underpants and colored them with crayons.

To draw the elephant, I get them started by demonstrating how to draw a big oval for the body and a circle for the head. Then I show them images of real elephants in books and then they come up with their own details.

We will be adding paint and collage next week.
I'll post more pictures as they progress.