Nov 20, 2014

5 Really Good Art Blogs

The internet's a big place. There's a lot to see and be inspired by (and a lot to run away from shielding your eyes!). Blogs specifically about art and education are no different, there is so much out there and so little time.

I imagine at least some of you are like me and keep returning to the same sources for inspiration, but sometimes I find it's good to find a fresh perspective. Below are five blogs that inspire me from around the world. There are a bunch more that inspire me, but keeping both our attention spans in mind... five is plenty for now! : )

I would love to hear about any art blogs you highly recommend - please comment away and share your personal favourites. Without further ado, and in no particular order, here are five really good art blogs:

Gretchen's Art Blog - Hailing from Wellington in New Zealand, Gretchen is prolific. Her lessons utilise a large variety of media and there is so much to soak in. See for yourself!

Creativity First - Gabriela's blog title perfectly surmises the strong philosophy that underpins her art lessons. Creativity is a precious commodity and too-often undervalued. Get a direct injection now!

Shine Brite Zamorano - Don highlights a lot of contemporary artists and succinctly teaches the real nuts and bolts of making art. I think I learn something new every time I visit his blog. Do yourself a favour!

A Faithful Attempt - "Miss" is another very experienced art teacher who also uses a lot of different media. The lessons are diverse and very clearly explained. Teach one this week!

Artescuola - Representing Europe and more specifically Italy, is Miriam and her eccellente blog! Featuring beautifully presented art from her middle school students, it's a feast of visual inspiration. Treat yourself!

Nov 1, 2014

Fantastic Fauvist Foxes

"Fantastic Fauvist Foxes" says it all really... This 3/4 composite class were mid way through Roald Dahl's classic Fantastic Mr Fox. We began by following a guided drawing lesson from Kathy at Art Projects For Kids. After starting in pencil we then traced in permanent marker. Taking inspiration from the bold and non realistic colours of Fauvism, students completed their foxes with water-colour paints.

Oct 21, 2014

Music With Mr Hall

Australian Playground is a compilation album from the Putumayo Kids record label. It features Loose Change, a song I wrote and recorded way back when. It was well before I was a parent, when there seemed to be many more hours in the day! The song celebrates being a kid and the small but important, and very memorable ways we occupy ourselves in those special years : )

A percentage of sales goes to the Australian Children's Music Foundation. So if some diverse Aussie children songs sounds like your thing, the physical album's available from Putumayo (depending where abouts you are in the world), otherwise it's on iTunes as a download, and it's probably at good record stores too — remember those places?!

Oct 6, 2014

Serape Fiesta

Preparation for this lesson is nice and easy with the only requirements being coloured pencils and regular A4 paper. These colourful designs inspired by Mexican serapes were created by a composite year 2 and 3 class. Each pattern begins from a line of symmetry in the centre. To read more about serapes pop over to my previous year 5 and 6 post.

Sep 28, 2014

The Good Ship Endeavour

The HMS Endeavour was sailed to Australia by Captain James Cook and his crew well over 200 years ago now. The ship and the intercontinental mode of transport in general were featured in these year 4 students’ studies. Together we embarked on the challenge of sketching this tall ship. I initially lead a guided drawing lesson which the students then completed themselves and later embellished with some simple watercolour ocean and sky.

Sep 21, 2014

Unruly Mondrians

Year 1 made these wavy Mondrian-inspired abstractions with black oil pastels and watercolour paints. It's a straightforward lesson but the students enjoyed it, which has to remain a priority — not a lot of learning happens when there's no joy! I've previously tried more regular, ruled Mondrians with year 2 and recoloured Mondrians with Year 5.

Aug 21, 2014

Geometric Sculpture

This isn't exactly an 'art' post... it's more the genesis of an idea inspired by an exercise I did with a year 6 maths class. We were working on 3D shapes, and made these suspended sculptures using rolled up sheets of newspaper and masking tape. If time and chance allow, this idea could be extended to become an art lesson in itself—I'll let you know if I find the opportunity! But for the moment, here are some 'accidental' art pieces—rectangular, hexagonal and triangular pyramids.

Aug 6, 2014

Manly Men

Men with facial hair, as illustrated by year one students with charcoal. Some of the technical terms in this very cultured art lesson included beard, goatee and moustache.

This is the first time I can recall ever using or having students use charcoal... Gasps of shock horror from the real art teachers out there - Who is this impostor?! I'm just a regular classroom teacher who likes making art in class, keen but naive : ) So any sagely words of wisdom, must dos and don'ts or other secret tips that you know about using charcoal please let me know in the comments below!

Jul 28, 2014

Symmetrical Silhouettes

Year 4 were working on these stylised trees for a short time at the end of each maths class. Unfortunately only a few were completed in the time I was with them — I hope to see more of them fully realised when I get a chance to visit their class again.

Using grid paper printed from this very handy site, I asked the students to make a stylised but symmetrical tree. Working from the bottom and centre, they began by drawing in pencil, then traced this with black markers before finishing with brightly coloured backgrounds of their choosing. 

Most students only seem to enjoy this type of detailed art for a short time, so just doing a little bit each day seemed to work well. As you can see, some of the trees are very stylised — I'm not sure how many were secretly drawing something else... but at least they were busy! 

Jul 17, 2014

The Geometric Blues

Year 6 painted these "Geometric Blues" after watching a documentary with footage of scientists SCUBA diving underneath the ice in Antarctica. The colours were amazing. These were obviously inspired in more of an abstract than representational way.

Using lead pencils, the students began by dividing their paper into three equal segments. Next, they chose to fill each section with the same repeating shape (either squares, rectangles and most popularly, triangles). Finally, we used blue with black and white to mix and paint the various tints and shades within each shape.

They looked great together on the class wall and the blues were especially relevant with their Antarctic theme at the time, but I'm hoping to repeat the lesson some time soon and have each student choose their own colour to make tints and shades with — I'll keep you posted!