Thursday, April 28, 2011


I actually made a button for my blog. I followed the tutorial on this site and figured it out. I am so stinkin' proud. *smile*

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Monet Gardens

These beautiful garden paintings were created by my first graders. Everyone had great success, simply by following along, step by step, while adding their own touches. This project also combines several painting techniques, so students get an introduction to various painting media and experiences.

12" X 18" white construction paper (I also like to cut the paper to 10" X 16" so I can mount them to a colored background), pencils, tempera paint in the following colors: yellow, green, blue, red, orange, yellow, pink, violet, brown, and white, acrylic paint in the following colors: blue, white, greens, white, pink, and yellow, blue watercolor, tempera and watercolor brushes, small sponge pieces

Art History:
Show the students various visuals, posters, and books about the artist Claude Monet. Here is a good site that shows his gardens: Monet's Garden at Giverny

I also show them this video:

They LOVE this video and I highly recommend it! It tells the story of a little girl who travels to Monet's gardens. It is animated with shots of the real gardens interspersed. There is a book version, but the video is so much better!

Studio Activity:

Step 1: Blogger is messing with my photos tonight. Erg! I will fix them ASAP

Hand out white paper and pencils. Have students Draw a horizon line across the paper and part of a pond. I explain that we are only drawing a very small portion of the pond- maybe just the corner.

Step 2:

Put some yellow tempera in a tray and have students "hop" their sponge pieces across the horizon line and fill in the grass area. I remind them that they do NOT want the entire area solid. Some white showing through is fine. Also, remind them not to use the sponge as a brush, swiping it across the paper.

Step 3:

Add some green paint to the tray and have the students repeat step 2.

Step 4:

Add some bushes above the horizon line, using the sponge. I have the students leave an open area for a path. Make sure that they don't leave this open space above the pond or their path will go into it! You can also have the students add an arbor or arch over the opening.

Step 5:

Add some blue tempera to the tray and have students hop their sponge in the paint to mix the blue in. Use this color to hop the sponge across the horizon line to add a shadow. Also, have students add some of this color on one side of each bush to create a shadow on each.

Step 6:

Put some blue and white acrylic in a bowl, side by side. I tell the kids NOT to mix the colors. Rather, they pick up a little of each color to paint the pond. I have them make "waves" in their pond by making small brush strokes. By not mixing the blue & white, they get the effect of the light hitting the water.

Step 7:

While the pond dries, I show the kids examples (photos) of lily pads and water lilies. We also discuss that we are seeing the side of the lily pad rather than the top, so the shapes will be a flattened circle, or ellipse.

They then add about 3-5 lily pads to their ponds using two colors of acrylic paint.

They also add some small flowers to their gardens by dipping the WRONG end of their paintbrushes in various colors of tempera and then dabbing them on the paper.

Step 8:

I place some yellow, pink, and white acrylic paint in a cup and demonstrate how to make the water lilies. Have the students dip their brushes in all three colors (without mixing them all together) and then make four brushstrokes as drawn in the diagram, making sure that the strokes connect at the bottom to form the flower petals.

Step 9:

Add a cobblestone path leading in to the garden. Using the sponge again, dip in to some brown and white tempera, making sure that the colors are not completely mixed together. Have the students use the CORNER of the sponge to make "stones" in the pathway leading in from the arbor.

Step 10: Adding the fence- 2 variations.

I have had students use two different methods for adding a fence. In the first method, students mask off the area of the fence by tape rolling strips of paper to their white paper in the shape of a fence. Then, complete steps 1-9 before removing the paper strips. The white fence shows through.

I have had a few issues with this method; the kids have a hard time rolling the tape, the tape can stick out the edges, and sometimes, the paper falls off. But, if done correctly, the fence turns out wonderful, as shown below.

The second method is just to have the students paint it on with acrylic after the rest of the painting is done. I have used this method more recently. The fence doesn't turn out as crisp, but the kids seem to have an easier time with it. I have them paint the vertical fence posts first before adding the horizontal cross bars. (What is the correct term for those??)

Enjoy some of our gorgeous gardens. Monet would be proud!
(Note: we will be adding our digital photos to these next week. See instructions below.)

A techy twist: take digital photos of the students in front of a green screen, print them, and then cut them out and glue to the painting. Or, add them digitally. I had the kids pretend they were picking flowers or standing with their hats on holding flowers.

You can see more of our Monet Gardens on Artsonia.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Make Your Own Liquid Watercolors

Can you guess what is going on in the photo above? I am recycling old dried out markers to make liquid watercolor! And look how gorgeous it turns out:

To do this, all you have to do is soak your old markers, head down, in a cup of water. I left these over the weekend and they are nice and bright. I had some old gel markers and they worked really well. I especially liked the white gel markers mixed with the purple and blue to make a cornflower blue. Have fun, experiment, save money, and recycle all at the same time!

The original idea for this came from this website: Artapotamus

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Egg Day!

Ok, so what do you do with Young Fives students the day before Easter Break when your class has been shortened to 20 minutes? Crayon resist eggs! I hope you all have a wonderful Easter!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Shaving Cream Marbled Starry Nights

These awesome scenes were created by my second grade students after studying the art of Vincent VanGogh and, in particular, his painting "Starry Night."

(I have linked resources for your convenience.)


VanGogh resources (videos, prints, books, etc.), white paper 10" X 16" (I like to mount them to 12" X 18" paper when finished), shaving cream, liquid watercolor in warm & cool colors, scraper, large tray, pencil, stamps (swirls & stars), metallic tempera for stamping, black paper 6" X 16" for silhouettes, scissors, silver Sharpie, glue, colored paper for mounting


Step 1:

Discuss Vincent VanGogh and his art work, especially Starry Night. (I have linked several resources above.)

Step 2: Discuss warm and cool colors. I have my students play a sorting game where they separate colored rectangles in to warm (like fire) and cool (like water) piles. They will choose either a warm or cool color scheme for their skies, as seen below.

Step 3: Marbling

Squirt the shaving cream in to the tray, making sure it is large enough to cover the white paper.

Step 4:

Spread out the shaving cream using the large scraper. It's like frosting a cake!

Step 5:

Students will choose either warm or cool liquid watercolors for their skies.

Step 6:

Students drip the watercolor on to the shaving cream, making sure not to puddle the colors. I have found that the bottle don't generally need to be squeezed, but merely held over the tray and slightly shaken.

Step 7:

I have students use a hair pick to marble their colors. I have tried several tools, including actual marbling combs, and the picks work the best. Have the students hold the pick between their fingers very lightly- almost to the point of having it fall out of their hand.

Step 8:

Making sure to "float" the pick on top of the shaving cream, students comb the colors back and forth. I remind the students that they are NOT plowing a field!

Step 9:

Making sure to "float" the pick on top of the shaving cream, students comb the colors up and down.

Step 10:

Making sure to "float" the pick on top of the shaving cream, students make swirls.

At this point, the saving cream should look something like this.

Step 11:

Have the students write their names on the back of their white papers BEFORE doing this step. Place the white paper face down on to the shaving cream and rub until the paper is coated.

Step 12:

Peel the paper back slowly. If any spots were missed, lay the paper back down and rub again.

At this point, it will look like a big blob of nothing.

The magic happens during the next step!

Step 13:

Use the large scraper to remove the excess shaving cream. We scoop it right back in to the tray to be used again. The kids love the reveal!

Step 14:

Spread the shaving cream back out for the next student to use. You can reuse the cream until it gets too runny.

Step 15: Stamping

Use star and swirl rubber stamps dipped in metallic paint to add to the starry night feel of the painting. Sorry, no pics!

Step 16: Making the Silhouette

Hand out a black paper to each student and have them place it in front of them horizontally. Then, they draw a horizon line about half way up. All of their landscape items will sit on this line.

Step 17:

Have students draw houses, trees, mountains, or any land form they choose. Details aren't needed, but may help students in their drawing. They will not show in the final design.

Step 18:

Either the student or the teacher can do this step. Using a silver Sharpie, outline only the TOP EDGE of the landscape. This will give the students a clear line to follow when cutting.

Step 19:

Students cut out their landscape silhouettes, following the silver line.

Step 20:

The silhouettes are glued on, lining up the bottom edges. Make sure that students put glue on the side with the silver lines so that the silhouette will be perfectly black in the final design.

Optional: glue finished projects to colored construction paper to mount.

More Awesome Starry Nights

My lesson plan on the Discount School Supply website. I received $100 in supplies for this lesson!