I’ve teamed up with dance instructor Wendy Grin to host a few Dance and Draw art workshops in which we investigate movement through different visual and performing arts. The first workshop was inspired by Matisse, the second by Giacometti. Each class we divided the kids up into two groups. One would stop dance while the other group quickly captured their movement through “gesture drawing”. After each group had a go, they all worked to convert their gesture drawings into collage to the like of Matisse, and with Giacometti they transformed their designs into 3d sculptures. All followed up with lots of fun movement games.
In 2008, before I ever even worked as a high school art teacher, I prepared an art lesson for my dad’s 5th grade class to share a bit about my life in Amsterdam. In my five years at ISH and still to this day, it is one of my favorite projects, and I am asked back each year by ISH to come and do the lesson with the 6th grade class in connection with their WW2 history lesson and Amsterdam excursion. The project consists of a brief history of Dutch architecture- Canal houses to be specific, explaining why the buildings are so tall, narrow and wobbly. (In a nutshell- people were taxed on the width of their house- so people built up not out. And they’re wobbly because 1. A leaning front facade was made to give the illusion of grandeur and 2. They are built on sand, so they sink every which way.) The kids are told about three basic types of gables (Step, Neck and Bell). Then they draw their canal house with stick and ink (no pre-drawing- they are told it’s ok for their houses to be wobbly since that’s how they are in real life!) Then they color in their houses with chalk pastel. Once sprayed with fixative, they cut their houses out and we line them up along the wall against a colored backdrop. Here are pictures from some of the workshops over the years:
(Scroll down for the powerpoint presentation that I use for this Art lesson)
Here is the very first project I did with my dads 5th grade class. 10 year olds.
Here is the project done with 7 year olds. Black background probably wouldve been better.
And some detail shots from the 6th grade class. 10-11 year olds.
On a recent rainy-day playdate, my 7 year old chose to do a painting workshop with her friend (also 6/7 years old) at the art studio. For this special little class, I printed off pictures of flowers (working with what I had) and drew three examples of vases to give them some ideas. Then they chose their palette and painted the underpainting. Once dried, they drew their chosen flower in chalk pastel, then painted in their flower and vase, ensuring there was a table for it to sit on. Just before all attention was lost, they added final details like highlight and shadow. …Then they were off to play in the rain.
The girls described what they saw in the flower images, and we talked about form vs. shape when making the vase, etc.
In the end, they made all their own creative decisions and created lovely little still life paintings. This would be a great project for a small birthday party.
Last week, I asked my daughter what she wanted to do over the ‘Herfstvakantie’, or autumn break, and the only thing she said was that she wanted to make a painting with me. Brilliant. So after an inspiring weekend away at a 17th century chateau in Champagne, France with an amazing group of people…she knew she wanted to paint ‘herself playing with her friends in France’. However, I couldn’t find a photo of all of them together- so had to do a bit of photoshopping… and we set to work.
She learned the concept of underpainting. She chose the color gray because that’s the dominant color in the background, and was diligent in ‘leaving no white!’
She then used chalk pastel to block out shapes and some basic proportions. This was my demo:
We discussed value changes (shadows) as well as how to mix changes in skin tones and hair color.
She decided to reincorporate chalk pastel and pencil for some details. I am always into a little mixed media… 🙂 The only final detail I insisted upon, before completely losing her attention, was to put the small white reflective dot in their eyes. I told her that her aunt Bobbi
(a portrait artist) would be very proud of this finishing touch.
And Viola! Here is her finished artwork:
This was a good workshop that we did in less than three hours. I just love the orange and blue in the background. This lesson can be adjusted by age and applied into additional painting workshops for kids. See the still life painting workshop
we did later with a friend.