If you’ve never sprinkled salt in wet watercolor paint, this is a great project to try out the effect. Students use masking tape to tape off sections of the picture they want to keep white (trees and moon) and a white crayon or pastel for the snow.
Supplies: watercolor paper, watercolor paints (liquid watercolor paints are preferable), table salt, masking tape, Sharpies and white crayons or pastels.
Using masking tape, students taped off three or more trees. I encouraged students to make their trees different widths––using one to three strips of tape.
Next, students cut or ripped up smaller pieces of masking tape to create the branches.
A sticky dot can be used to make a moon.
Using a Sharpie (or black pastel), have student draw a line (not too straight) across the bottom of their page. It can go right over the masking tape as this will be pulled up.
Students can use either a white pastel or a white crayon to fill in the area below the Sharpie line. This is the snowy ground. TROUBLE SHOOTING: students who press too hard and fill it in completely won’t get the interesting affect of a little watercolor paint sinking through the pastel or crayon (the shadowy-snow affect), and student who don’t press hard enough, will end up with blue snow.
Now they’re ready to paint! Have students press the edges of their masking tape flat against the paper before you hand out the paint and salt.
Using all colors or a limited palette, student should paint a juicy layer of watercolor paint across background. They can paint right over their masking tape trees, but should be careful of puddles that might leak under the tape if left too long.
DO NOT have students paint the entire picture and then try and add salt. The watercolor paint will have dried and the salt will have no effect. Students must paint section by section, sprinkling salt over the wet paint as they go. The salt must be sprinkled over VERY wet paint!
Double check to make sure each student got paint right up to the edge of their trees and painted over the snow, before setting them aside to dry.
Pictures should be completely dry before peeling off the masking tape. I have students brush the salt off over a trash can.
Lastly, using Sharpies (or black pastels), students can outline their trees and moon, and add the lines and spots that make a birch tree look like a birch tree.
This project followed a close examination of Van Gogh's Sunflower paintings during my Let's Go, Van Gogh art camp at the Corbin Art Center.
Supplies: tagboard, pencils & erasers, sharpies, pastels, and tempera paint.
1. We talked about how different types of sunflowers have different types of petals and did a few practice drawings of sunflower petals in our art journals.
2. Students used pencils to draw their sunflowers. I have done this project both step-by-step with me drawing the sunflowers with them, and also with an actual bouquet of sunflowers on the table (so that each looks different according to their perspective). It works both ways.
3. I checked each individual drawing before allowing them to move onto sharpies. Students sharpied over their pencil lines and erased where necessary.
4. Once no pencil lines were visible, students were allowed to move onto pastels. This part was very open ended; each student could use the pastels in the way they saw fit. We have used pastels under tempera in the past, so they already knew the effect. Some outlined, others added lines and designs, and some colored in small spaces.
5. The last thing we did was paint. We used tempera paints and painted right over the top of our pastels. Students had damp rags on hand to wipe off excess paint where the pastels did not show through.
This project turned out amazing considering I was kind of winging it. In the past, I've had students choose between two or three mask shapes, trace, and cut. This time, we spent quite a bit of time looking at pictures of masks from all different tribes and identifying their shapes and features. I also made the masks a lot bigger than I have in the past, using a full page of large tagboard (18 x 24) for each mask. This is a 2-3 day project. Supplies: tacky glue, tagboard, pencils & erasers, tempera paint, scissors, hole-punch, and all or a few of the following: feathers, popsicle sticks, yarn, raffia, corn husks, string, whatever!
1. First, I had students sketch out their idea for the mask. My only two requirements at this point were: one, the mask was symmetrical in design, and two, it included geometric shapes. 2. One-on-one, I went around the room and helped each student sketch their chosen shape onto a large folded piece of tagboard. I left them to cut it out (but asked that they save the scraps). 3. Next, students "broke up the space" on their masks by creating symmetrical designs and geometric patterns using a pencil and a ruler. (Important: no noses, eyes, or mouths should be added or drawn on yet). 4. Students painted in the shapes between their pencil lines. My only rule: No black! 5. While these dried, I had students sketch out noses, eyes, a mouth, and ears on the left over scraps (some will not have enough, and need extra tagboard). 6. After I checked each student's facial pieces (quite a few were too small and had to be re-drawn), they were allowed to paint them. 7. While the facial features dried, I had students get their masks back out and (using a small brush) paint over all their pencil lines with black paint. 8. Students also outlined their facial features with black paint. 9. Finally, they cut out their facial features and we glued it all together!
10. Lastly (once the masks were completely dry), we added: feathers, yarn, popsicle sticks, corn husks, or raffia. My rule: every mask needed at least two of these "extra elements."
Yarn was added by hole punching the bottom and tying the yarn or raffia through the holes. Some chose to braid their yarn strings. Feathers, popsicle sticks, and corn husks were glued on the back using tacky glue. Some students chose to add horns as well. This was one of my more popular projects this summer, and overall, students were exceptionally pleased with the finished product.
One of my favorite things about this project is that half of it is completely open-ended. Students get to cover large pieces of paper with paint in any way they want: brushes, sponges, blot-art, rollers, etc. Once dry, the pieces are ripped up to form the waves or cut up to create a sun, moon, clouds, etc.
Here's how we did it:
1. Students spend part of one crazy day making their collage paper (as mentioned above). Supplies: tempera paint and whatever tools you would like them to use: brushes, rollers, sponges, etc. I asked that they create at least one page blending only WARM colors and one page blending COOL colors.
2. The following day, students drew their sailboats with pencil on small squares of colored paper (each a different size, as part of this project is to teach PERSPECTIVE). I used this how to draw:
They did the first one with me step-by-step and the next two on their own. Next, they colored them in with pastels (Sharpies would have been even easier as some details were lost in the transition) and cut them out.
3. Students used the side of a crayon or pastel to color in their sky, but I think paint or construction paper would look fine too.
4. Next, students ripped and pasted their COOL colors down to make waves, while leaving space to slide their boats into the waves. Biggest boat - closest to the front; smallest - furthest way.
5. They cut out suns, clouds, and anything else they wanted in their sky and glued them on. I put out black pastels for adding birds and any last minute details (again, Sharpies would have been easier).
If you can, use paper that is the exact same size for painting and ripping up as the piece you are going to glue down on. That way, students can rip the pieces from side to side (not up and down) and get an exact fit.
If you want a straight horizon line, students will need to use the straight side (top or bottom) of the paper after their first rip, and glue it down to the middle of the page. (They can also use the other end as their last piece for an exact fit on the bottom edge.) Difference shown below:
1. I had students follow along while I demo-ed this how to draw a fish on the board. 2. Students sharpied over their pencil lines and erased any extra lines.
3. Next, they colored in the fish with at least two yellows, gold, or orange using crayons.
4. Next, they used white crayon to make lines through the background (we talked about what water looked like in the swimming pool). 5. We used tempera paint in shades of blue to paint over the entire picture, but watercolor would work just as well––if not better. Students had paper towels on hand to wipe off excess paint (If they put it on too thick, their crayon and sharpie lines didn't show through).
I love black-glue. It is such a mess, but oh so fun. Black-glue works great with both chalk pastels, oil pastels, and watercolors. For my Van Gogh class we did these watercolor black-glue landscapes. Supplies: black-glue (Just add black paint to a regular Elmer's white glue bottle & shake), watercolor paper cut into long rectangular strips, liquid watercolors, salt, rice, & plastic wrap.
1. Students sketched out a landscape in pencil. 2. Went over their pencil lines with black-glue (set aside to dry - overnight works best). 3. Painted in sections with liquid watercolors, and while still wet (really wet– puddling) added salt, rice, or plastic wrap to each section. (Please note: we used some rice that had been dyed with food coloring for a previous project; this created a colored dimpling effect). 4. Set aside to dry. 5. After about an hour, we held the paintings over trash cans while peeling off the plastic wrap and brushing off the rice and salt and … Ta-Daa! Texture galore.
All my students seemed really pleased with the outcome, and were especially excited to peel off the plastic wrap. Below you can see how the project turns out if you use chalk pastels instead of watercolor paints.
We did these owls for my Art Explosion camp following an afternoon of bubble painting, water balloon painting, blow art, and every other kind of messy painting technique you can think of. This is a great project for using up paper from other projects or experiments.
1. I made templates for students to trace out the parts of the owl (wings, feet, beak, ears, and three different sized circles for the eyes.) 2. After tracing and cutting, students put their owls together like a puzzle to make sure they had all the parts. 3. The most difficult part of this project was glueing the parts down in the right order. For the best results, wings, beaks, and ears needed to go down before the eyes (You can see what happens when the ears go down last). 4. We used our "messy" paper for everything except the eyes and the background color. 5. Lastly, we drew feathers on the owls bellies with pastels and added "shine marks" to the eyes.
For being such a simple project, I thought they turned out pretty cute!
These chalk pastel sailboats are super easy and turn out wonderful!
Supplies: black construction paper, rulers, pencils, chalk pastels, and a matte fixative. 1. We followed this how to draw a sailboat all together using pencils on black paper. 2. I encouraged students to outline their pictures before they colored them in. Some did and some didn't. 3. Colored in with chalk pastels. 4. Sprayed with matte fixative.
This crazy giraffe project was inspired by the artist Jennifer Mercedes. The supplies needed are: tagboard, pencils, sharpies, pastels, crayons, and tempera paint. 1. I demo-ed this how to draw a giraffe in front of the class. Students drew with me on long pieces of tagboard using pencils. 2. After erasing any mistakes, I had them Sharpie over their pencil lines. 3. We used colored Sharpies to make the crazy patterns in the giraffe spots. 4. This was a two day project and on the second day we used Sharpies and rulers to break up the space behind the giraffes. Then, colored the spaces in with oil pastels. 5. For the giraffes head and neck we used the side of a white crayon but some students opted to go for crazy colors for the giraffe's ears and muzzle. (The next time I do this project I'll ask students not to color the ears crazy colors because they blend in too much with the background.) 6. Lastly, I had them use bright colors of tempera paint mixed with a little corn syrup to paint over and then rub back off with a rag or paper towel. The students that used the most colors and painted them on in patches, had the best results.
This project could easily be done on watercolor paper with watercolors instead of tempera and there would be no need to wipe off excess paint.
We've been working on perspective this week in my Artist's Studio class, and one of the projects I thought turned out really well was this bottle still life. First, I set a bunch of pop bottles down the center of the table and we did a practice run in our drawing journals. I talked about and demonstrated: elliptical shapes, shading, and shadow. This project was more fun then when I've done it in the past because the students got to use more supplies: pencils, sharpies, pastels, & tempera paint. 1. I gave each student a piece of large tagboard and asked that they sketch at least two bottles from the table. One close to them and one further away. 2. When finished, I checked for lines running through each other (even though some students insisted on leaving these lines because the bottles were clear), elliptical shapes on the tops, and rounded bottoms. As soon as all major mistakes were erased, I gave them a Sharpie to go over their lines. 3. Then I gave out packs of pastels and the students used the pastels to shade the bottles and add shadows (the lights in our room are directly above so we faked this part). I let them choose any colors they wanted to use. 4. Lastly we painted. We used tempera paints, but some students needed a rag or paper towel on hand to wipe off excess paint. If the paint goes on too thick, you can't see the pastel beneath it (another way to avoid this is to make your paint a bit more translucent by adding corn syrup).
If you are wondering why they all used so much pink and blue, it's because I made them use up the left over paint from another project so it wouldn't be wasted. No one complained too much : )
We've been learning about Claude Monet and the impressionist in my Artist Studio class this week, and I was super impressed with my student's sunset paintings. As you can see, we are trying to use the impressionist "dab" style of painting. Prior to this project we talked about how the impressionists were obsessed with the affects of light, colors, and water.
All week I have been emphasizing avoiding "flat" colors andexplained that Claude Monet never used black, but instead used purple, dark blues, or mixed contrasting colors to show shadow and dark spaces.
The process was very simple:
Prior to start, I mixed up a lot of paints to get a variety tins and hues. Students were asked to have only one color at their seat at a time, then bring it up and trade it for new color.
I had students draw a horizon line using a ruler. Then add the sun. Some of the younger students decided to trace round objects from the classroom to avoid “lumpy” suns.
I demonstrated the “dab” style of painting and emphasized hiding our pencil lines with thick paint.
I also emphasized layering colors on top of colors until all (or at least most) of the white was gone.
This project was done with tempera paints on tag board. I would love to do this project with an acrylic or heavier paint. As you can see below (in the sun) pencil lines kept popping though.
Like I said in my last post, if you’re just getting started in mixed media, I suggest purchasing a gel medium first. My second favorite texture medium would be crackle paste (#6).
4)This texture was created by laying tissue paper down using acrylic paint, dragging pastels over the lines; and lastly, adding the messy dots with watercolors and a stamp. You must allow plenty of dry time between each layer.
5)The cross hatching in the corner is another example of gel medium with acrylic and pearl medium overtop. Lastly, I dry brushed over the lines with black acrylic paint to make the texture stand out.
6)This is crackle the paste (DecoArt brand) painted over with blue watercolor. The right side is more gel medium.
Crackle paste is so easy to use; just spread it out with a palette knife (thick for big cracks, thinner for small "spiderweb" cracks), let it dry and paint over the top with acrylic or watercolors.
Don't confuse crackle paste with distress crackle or crackle medium, which goes over the top of your paint to make it crack.
If you’re just getting started with mixed media, and don’t know where to begin when it comes to picking out supplies. I suggest purchasing a gel medium first (especially if you’re working with acrylics).
Gel medium works both as an adhesive and a texture medium (you can create impasto, relief, and sculptural effects). And in comes thick or thin, in gloss or matte. Gel medium is not porous. One dry it is a flexible surface that feels a lot like plastic.
Here's a quick look at some of my favorite textures done (mostly) with Gel medium.
1)This texture is gel medium and tissue paper painted over with acrylic paint and pearl medium (to make it shiny). The big circles are done by spreading gel medium through a stencil, as are the smaller dots beneath the tissue paper.
2)This one is tinfoil and gel medium. The tin foil is crushed folded against the canvas using the gel medium as an adhesive. The curving lines on the right were created by dragging a fork through a thin layer of gel medium. After painting over it with multiple layers of acrylic paint, I used pastels to bring out the lines.
3)This is just straight gel medium spread onto canvas with a palate knife and then drawn into with a fork and the end of my paintbrush. I painted over it with acrylics and pearl medium and used the side of a white pastel to bring out the lines.
You can also use gel medium to lay paper, attach small objects, and increase the volume of your paint. It can even be used for image transfers and decoupage!