Jul 18, 2015

Newspaper Sculpture



Newspaper sculptures courtesy of year 5 in the final week of school last year. Inspired by my previous Geometric Sculpture post. I might have art directed the bottom left one a little more than the others... They all looked great and were a really effective collaborative task.

May 11, 2015

Manly Pop


Year 5 sketched their “manly” men (beards, goatees, moustaches etc!) in lead pencil and then charcoal. We used watercolour paint to add the “pop” by finishing with a single-colour background and another t-shirt colour. The effect is reminiscent of one of Warhol’s Marilyn prints, but obviously a lot more manly : ) 

I really like these, and they looked pretty rad on the back wall. You can see my previous Manly Men post courtesy of Year 1 here (sans the pop background).






Apr 10, 2015

Recoloured Mondrians II


Reimagining the original. Year 1 drew their vertical and horizontal (ish) lines freehand with black oil pastels, and then used watercolour paints to fill the resulting spaces with any three colours plus white. I've tried this lesson previously with year 5, except they used rulers. You can see their versions here.


Mar 13, 2015

Painted Light



In a dimly lit classroom, year 5 created these light paintings in small groups while I took long exposure photographs. The brightly coloured lights are a combination of small torches and mobile phones with coloured cellophane attached. I've tried this lesson once previously, you can read a little more about the process and see the results here.

Since undertaking this lesson I've come across a 1949 collaboration between Gjon Mili and Pablo Picasso using this same technique. One of their resulting photographs is at the bottom of the post. This and some other photos from the same series ran in LIFE magazine in 1949 and then also featured in a show at New York's Museum of Modern Art in 1950.






Jan 28, 2015

Ming Vases


Year 5 made these Ming Vase arrangements by closely following Miriam Paternoster's fantastic art lesson found here – I had been waiting for ages to try this project with a class! The only change worth mentioning is that I gave the students a variety of vase outlines to trace instead of drawing their own. This saved some time as it's a relatively time consuming, but engrossing project : )


Jan 10, 2015

Drummers Drumming


Year 1 were very proud of their drummers, and rightly so! We began with a guided drawing lesson in lead pencil, traced the lines in oil pastel and then painted. We also retraced the black outlines after painting. My guided drawing was inspired by some CD cover art by Paula Cox, you can view it here on a previous post.


Dec 1, 2014

Australian Icons


When I ran this lesson with year 3 and 4 students, they were in the middle of an Australian theme —including a focus on Aboriginal Australia (I was lucky enough to be with the class on an excursion featuring a guided and very inspirational tour through the bush, where we were taught about the many types of bush tucker and medicine surrounding us). Another focus was Australia’s natural and man-made landmarks, so this art lesson was a way of bringing these two aspects together. 

First, we talked about things that were widely recognised as being Australian cultural icons. Together we made a list (some will be obvious to readers far from Australia, and others may not), which I trimmed down to those that could be easily drawn and identified in a simple silhouette. 

We also spent some time appreciating the work of Indigenous artist Bronwyn Bancroft. Looking at her children’s book Why I Love Australia, we especially noted the bright and often non-traditional colours she uses. 


Then, the children chose their icon and drew it with lead pencil. Next, they painted it and the background in a different single colour. The children then used cotton buds to finish their icons with repeated dot patterns as used by many Aboriginal artists, but also using bright colours inspired by Bronywn’s art. It was quite a process from start to finish, but the children did a great job and the results are stunning.

The most popular icon turned out to be Ned Kelly, as inspired by Sidney Nolan’s famous paintings of him. For those further afield, Ned is our most infamous bushranger. Probably his most lasting legacy is the home-made helmet and armour that he sported, although as it transpired, without much success. He’s a controversial figure in our history — loved and loathed in equal measure. He was convicted of three murders, and hung in 1880 at the ripe old age of 25. Our other, less controversial icons featured here include an emu, a kangaroo, the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Uluru and the Three Sisters. 

As well as enjoying the fine efforts of these students, I hope I may have captured the imagination of any of you viewing from abroad, and you're planning a trip here soon!

Nov 27, 2014

50/50 Silhouettes II


These 50/50 silhouettes from year 5 are more graphic than fine art. I think a lot of graphic art often appears deceptively simple. I showed these students the same lesson as undertaken by a previous class who I first tried this lesson with (it's over here). Quite a few of these students took direct inspiration from my previous class, while others found their own ideas.

We drew in pencil and then painted all the black parts in acrylic. Once dry, I decided to add a step this time and paint the white/negative space a single colour of their choosing. We used watercolour paint for that final step – much quicker to work with and far easier to clean up : )


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.