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!


Jun 14, 2014

My Favourite Artists


I currently have two favourite artists. One has just celebrated his first birthday and the other will be three next week. You should see the way they can smear their breakfast across themselves, the table, the floor and anything else close at hand. And with such flair! In an effort to keep some gender balance, my third favourite artist is Katherine. She is slightly more restrained and tends to favour more traditional mediums : )

I've been finding it hard to post here very often this year. Here are some of Sam's "en plein air" print paintings from a warm Saturday in Autumn. I will endeavour to post some more art from school soon.



May 13, 2014

Kandinsky II


Some more pixel paintings inspired by Wassily Kandinsky's Farbstudie Quadrate from 1913. These are of course a collage of many students' work. The pieces immediately above and below are by year 5 and 6 students. Each student was responsible for six shapes. In the above collage, students made all their six shapes the same, whereas below each child used a selection of different shapes. Please click on the images to see the details more closely.



This second set was created by year one students. Each child was responsible for a single shape. The students featured above chose circular shapes like Kandinsky, while the children below used a variety of other shapes. For more information about the process and Mr Kandinsky, please see my previous post here.


Apr 23, 2014

Textured Landscapes


Year 6 sketched the bones of these stylised and vertically-orientated landscapes in pencil and then traced over these with black textas before adding different repeating patterns in each section. The students used a combination of coloured pens, textas and pencils to achieve the textured appearance. 

This is a lesson I copied verbatim from Miriam at artescuola.com - it's one of my favourite blogs! I showed the children the work of Miriam's students on the other side of the world, which really helped to capture their attention. Some students copied the scenes they saw there, others were inspired by examples I made on the board and some created their own altogether.


Apr 6, 2014

Choice Patterns


These patterns, made from complimentary colours plus black and white, were all made by Year 1 students.

Step one in the process: divide the paper in half with a single painted black line. Each child chose whether to halve their paper horizontally, vertically or diagonally.

Step two: paint intersecting straight lines on one half of the paper, and intersecting curved lines on the other side (as many lines as the students wanted, still in black).

Once these were dry...

Step three: choose a colourway from three given combinations (blue & orange, red & green, or purple & yellow). The combinations are all complimentary colours — those which are opposite each other on the colour wheel. Students then painted some (but not all) of the resulting shapes with these two colours.

As often as possible I try to plan for students to make some conscious decisions in their art making. Even though the time and resource constraints of the school setting mean that these options are not often left wide open, they still help to foster ownership and enthusiasm from the children and mean that there is more variety in the resulting art. Every child was asked to make two deliberate choices within this process (how to halve their paper, and which colour combination to use).

The first image above includes all of the students' work. Below are four that you can see a little closer (click on the image to see them bigger again). I know that simple graphic patterns won't be everyone's "cup of tea" — but I love them!