Blindly Drawing Lines to Create an Abstract Masterpiece

….with their eyes closed my students started to draw lines randomly across their paper

I didn’t want students to have a preconceived idea of what they wanted to draw so I asked them to close their eyes, and start drawing one continuous line all over their paper. When they opened their eyes they were allowed to add some more line if there was a lot of untouched space or if some of the shapes that they created were very large.

They rotated their paper to see which way they wanted to orientate their design and then they chose a variety of pencil crayon colours. I encouraged them to start with one colour and fill in spaces in different  areas of the paper. Then they moved on to the next colour and then the next. When they had used all their colours they re-examined their work and decided where more colour was needed and determined if it was balanced.

After all the colour had been added I suggested to some that they go over some of the same areas again so that the shapes were fully covered. Once that was done they were allowed to take a black fine point Sharpie and start adding some line detail to their shapes. Some students found animal shapes and added eyes, noses and scales, while others made random lines and dashes.

I think they did an amazing job. These samples were done by my grade 1 and grade 2 classes.

Picasso Dogs From the Imaginations of Grade One Students

….thanks to Carla Sonheim’s free on-line kid’s art lessons for this idea

For my very first art lesson this year I introduced my grade one, two and three classes to Pablo Picasso. We looked at his traditional vs abstract paintings and explored some of his unusual portraits. Carla’s unique approach to drawing an abstract dog made the assignment fun and less intimidating than drawing a traditional human face.

After we practised drawing some dog features (snouts, eyes, ears, tails, paws) I gave each child a piece of watercolour paper and instructed them to draw an eye, turn the paper and draw a larger eye and continued like this until there were six or seven features on the paper. Then they had to turn the paper and find the layout they liked best and start joining the features to create a dog. They could change things around and add more features as they went along. This took up pretty much all the time we had in our first class. I collected the papers and stored them away for a week.

The following week we discussed what the primary colours are and I demonstrated how to hold a brush and apply paint to the paper. I returned their work from the week before and handed out the paints. For many in grade one it was a challenge to stay in the lines but for the most part they managed to keep the colours from blending into one another. We used tempera paint so it took a while to dry. I asked the homeroom teacher to give the students time to go over the pencil lines with a black Sharpie so that their dogs would reappear.

I loved their finished works of art. I’ve selected a few to share with you.

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Share Your World 2015 – Week 25

….. thanks Cee for four more thought provoking questions

What did you or did not like about the first apartment you ever rented?

Our first apartment was a basement apartment in uptown Toronto. We were close to the subway and great shopping and restaurants. I didn’t like being in the basement. Our windows faced the parking lot and driveway so we had to contend with cars rolling past our windows.

What kind of art is your favorite? Why?

My favourite art includes abstract paintings, watercolour or acrylic and collage and mixed media art. I don’t like things that are hyper realistic. I’d rather take a beautiful photograph.

A Ray Cattell painting.

A Ray Cattell painting.

How many siblings do you have? What’s your birth order?

I’m the oldest of three girls. When my son was born he was the first male born on my father’s side of the family in 50 years.

The three Winkler sisters.

The three Winkler sisters.

Complete this sentence: I’m dreaming of a white …. (and no you can’t use Christmas as your answer)

This one stumped me for a few minutes. In fact, I went for a walk and really thought about this question. I’ve already owned a white car and my husband has one now. It wasn’t by choice for either of us but at the time they were our only options. I’ve really learned to appreciate white flowers and one of my favourite bouquets this year was all white. IMG_4682 IMG_4868 IMG_5073

I’m not very fussy about white weddings or white clothes. I don’t like white food, unless it’s vanilla ice-cream or whipped cream and white walls leave me cold. I do, however, like bright white trim.  Therefore, I’m dreaming of painting all the trim in the house white. I also love crisp white sheets and big soft white towels.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for a wonderful weekend with the family. We did a double Father’s Day celebration. On Saturday my husband and I hosted a BBQ at our place and our girls and their significant others and two of our best friends joined us. My husband did most of the cooking because it’s what he loves to do. I did all the running around and picked up things that we needed. We also went across the street for a bit to congratulate our neighbour on her retirement.

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Our daughter and son-in-law couldn’t keep the gender of their baby secret any longer and they shared the news with us. Unfortunately I promised to keep it a secret for a little bit longer and not share it with the world right now.

On Sunday, we drove to my Dad’s place in Oshawa and celebrated Father’s Day with him. My sister took the train in from Chatham and we all shared a meal at their new apartment. I brought a salad made from the lettuce in our garden and Dad picked up his special treat, KFC.

One other thing that I’m grateful for was a very enjoyable Tea that my friend L and I hosted for four students from school. It really was fun and the kids learned a lot about ‘tea etiquette’ and a little bit more about their teachers.

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This week I’m looking forward to the staff party and to the last day of school and the start of our summer break.

Kindergarteners Rock When Painting to Music

….painting to music is energizing and allows you to be loose and free with your lines and application of paint

Last week’s assignment for the was presented by Lynn Whipple. We were instructed to draw and paint a floral arrangement using a variety of pens, pencils, markers and watercolour paints while listening to music. Here is my finished piece after listening to Astor Piazzola’s El Tango.


I decided to try and re-created this assignment for my kindergarten class. I chose five varied pieces of music and did up a quick sample before heading to the kindergarten class. I had a stuffed rabbit in the library so I did a quick drawing to music and left some of the painting to do later with the children. Here is my finished sample:

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In class I reminded the children how colour can affect our moods and that music does the same. I demonstrated how music can affect how you draw and make marks on paper. I told them that they could draw anything that they wanted (there were flowers in the centre of each table) or they could simply make marks and shapes to the music they heard. They were given pencils, coloured pencils, crayons, chalk pastels and markers.

They each chose one tool and when the music started they began drawing. After one minute I changed the music and told them to change their tool. We did this for five different pieces of music. When they were happy with their drawing we added watercolour to the mix. Some of the children saw shapes and animals in their pictures and added colour accordingly. I put on a quieter piece of music for this last part. It was fascinating to watch them. Some children clearly picked up on the concept and moved their brushes to the beat of the music and some actually stopped when there was a pause in the music and continued when the music started again.

There was so much joy in the room. Not one student wanted to stop early and many of them wanted to experiment with the dripping paint. I love these pieces so much that I am going to frame them and put them up in the main foyer of the school. Here is a sizeable sample of work done by four and five year olds.

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I sincerely hope that some of the parents will mat and frame these pieces of art. If any piece of art work is worthy of saving this is it.

Picasso Portraits as Seen Through the Eyes of Children

….my kindergarten class just finished their Picasso portraits

After discussing faces and the different parts and how to draw them I introduced Pablo Picasso to my kindergarten class. We talked about the difference between reality painting and abstract painting and how Picasso could do both. I had photographs of some of Picasso’s abstract portrait paintings and then I drew an oval shape and divided it with a vertical line down the centre. I encouraged the children to use curvy or zigzag lines and to add more than one.

The next part was the fun part. They could draw as many eyes, noses and mouths as they wanted. They could use any colour for skin and hair. Each child was given a black Sharpie to draw a shape for the face, the lines within the shape and then all the facial features that they wanted to add. When they were done with that they took crayons and coloured in their Picasso faces and some of them coloured the background as well. I was amazed at the detail that they added. They really took the time to examine some of Picasso’s portraits and you could see how they tried to incorporate some of his design details in their own work. I think they’re fabulous. You be the judge.

Update on the Paintings for the Silent Auction

… is almost finished and the other is just started

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. Assemblies, trips to feeder schools, soccer tournaments, field trips and a school council meeting. The grade 3s abstract painting is undergoing a second coat and will be finished by the end of the week. The grade 5 project has been delayed because the class missed art one week and this week I was at the soccer tournament with the grade 4/5 girls (we won by the way) when the same class had art. When I saw the class in their library period last week I told them I was taking inspiration from previous projects they had done and applying some of their designs onto our massive set of canvases.

Today some of the students asked if they could help start the project after school. I had painted up a rough copy of what the project might look like and most of the class liked what they saw. We agreed to keep the background one colour and I’ll conference with a small group to decide on the other colours. One of the girls from the class was able to stay for quite awhile and together we drew the design onto the canvases and I started painting the background.

Hopefully I’ll be able to take a small group at a time out of class to work on the project. Ideally I’d like every student to paint a portion of the project. If you can’t tell from the photo the entire piece is quite large. There are four canvases measuring about six feet in length.



I also introduced a new project to my grade 3 art classes today. Carla Sonheim gives a free tutorial on how to paint crazy flowers using watercolours, gesso and pencil. It’s a fun project and very textural.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 photo 1-151