An Unexpected Collection of Birdhouses

….on our walk this past week we came across this colourful collection hanging from the trees along the edge of the creek

Early into our walk I notice a flash of colour up ahead and as we got closer we noticed dozens of brightly painted birdhouses hanging from some of the smaller trees next to the creek. You could tell that a few were done by adults but the majority had to be done by children. I figured that some enterprising class from one of the neighbourhood schools did this as a spring project to beautify the neighbourhood and provide nesting areas for some of the smaller birds.

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I was so impressed with these tiny feeders and birdhouses that I promptly went to the dollar store to buy some for my granddaughter. I also bought some small clear containers which I filled with craft paint and a variety of paint brushes. At home I put a prime coat of white paint on two of the houses and then packed everything into a gift bag. On Saturday we did a drive by visit in Hamilton to drop off our Easter candy and this special bag. Winnie was so excited that she wanted to start painting right away. When we got home her mom sent us photos of the ‘finished’ projects. I’m not sure if she’s going to add more detail but she’s pretty pleased with the way they’ve turned out.

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Art With a Toddler – Day 74

….365 Days of Art

Today I travelled to Hamilton to spend a few hours with my granddaughter and her mom and dad. I packed up a box of circles from my collection, some stamps, Washi tape, a glue stick and clear ‘cow’ tape. I also brought along a small book with blank sheets inside so that Winnie could have her own sketch book.

We sat together at the kitchen island and I opened my sketch book and we worked side by side so that I could demonstrate how to make a simple collage using bits of paper and tape. She need a bit of help with cutting the tape and using the letter stamps was a bit of a challenge but she got right into it and she added some detail to my example as well.

Here is my piece:

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Here is my two year old granddaughter’s art work:

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March Square – Gift from a Student

…..thanks to Becky B for hosting March Square

Only one more day of March Squares. I’ve loved this challenge and don’t know what I’ll do in April. Maybe more art projects? Every day when I wake up I’m greeted with this lovely piece of art that was made by one of my grade three students and gifted to me on my retirement. Thank you Alex.

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Making Funny Faces

…..what to do with the kindergarten class for art in June?

I’m always pondering on what to teach to my art classes, especially the kindergarten classes. I get inspiration from numerous sources, i.e., books, on-line classes, Pinterest, other teachers and Facebook.

Recently, two artists that I follow on Facebook were posting great portraits that they had made from crayons, markers, pencil and collaged papers. They were intended to be fun and somewhat abstract. I really thought that my kindergarten class could handle a similar assignment. I quickly made up a sample and drew some basic shapes that I used to show them how to put together a face. Here is my sample:IMG_2328

As usual the kids ate it up and created some fantastic faces. Unfortunately I didn’t bring my camera to the class so I don’t have any photos to share of their work but I did repeat the lesson with my grade 3s. I added one extra element to their lesson and that was adding watercolour as one of the mediums that they could use.

Here are some of the finished pieces. I love them all.

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Thank you Stefanie von Hoesslin and Jill Kuhn for inspiring me.

Ballerinas

…..a few weeks ago The National Ballet Co. came to our school and demonstrated the fundamentals of ballet and the preparation that takes place before a show

Our entire school population, from kindergarten to grade 5, were lucky enough to see the show and ask questions of the dancers. As a follow-up I did an art lesson with my kindergarten classes and used a picture book about Degas and the little ballerina, Marie to demonstrate some ballet poses and highlight some of the work that Degas created.

I showed the classes how to draw a simple ballerina, using chalk pastels. Some of the boys asked if they could draw male dancers and I was interested to see how they would do that since I spent so much time showing them how to draw a tutu.

As always, I was blown away with their creations. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

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Geometric Fish

…..it’s easy to draw fish using geometric shapes like rectangles, squares and triangles

For a recent kindergarten art class I read a counting book that was illustrated with funny little fish that came in all shapes and sizes. The illustrator created simple fish shapes with ovals, triangles and square shapes. I demonstrated how to draw a fish using a combination of these shapes. A square, turned to look like a kite, for the body, triangles for the fins and tail and circles for the eyes.

Each student was give a sheet of watercolour paper and a variety of crayon colours and they were instructed to draw at least three fish and some seaweed. I also taught them the trick of making circles with white crayons that would appear magically when they added their watercolour paint.

On my second visit to the class I taught them how to water down the paint and do a wash across their picture. We also talked about using colours that would blend nicely if they wanted to use more than one colour for their background. Again they did a wonderful job. I’m always amazed at how uninhibited young children can be with a little instruction and encouragement from their instructor and peers.

In this class we learned about contour drawings using simple shapes, crayon resist using watercolours, blending colours and using space effectively.

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Inspired by Van Gogh’s Sunflowers

…..the kindergarten classes that I teach art to created a garden of Van Gogh inspired sunflowers

Recently I read the book The Artist and Me by Shane Peacock to the entire school. The book is one of the Blue Spruce nominees for 2017. the-artist-and-me-by-shane-peacock

I liked this book for two reasons. Firstly, because it is written for young children and highlights how the famous artist Vincent Van Gogh was bullied by children and adults alike. It points out that even adults are bullied when they appear different or do things differently. In Van Gogh’s case he suffered from depression and his art was different from the classics that people had come to expect from artists. The students were surprised that such a famous artist was treated so badly. I explained to them that Van Gogh was one of several new artists that had grown tired of traditional painting and wanted to experiment with texture, colour and paint strokes. People had a hard time excepting this new way of painting and in his lifetime Van Gogh only sold one painting.

Secondly, I liked this book because the illustrator tried to use similar colours that Van Gogh used and he reproduced parts of Van Gogh’s work in his illustrations. For example there are a few illustrations of Van Gogh’s famous bedroom and an illustration of the wheat fields that he liked to paint.

I had other books that showed some of Van Gogh’s many paintings. I showed my kindergarten classes the sunflowers that Van Gogh became famous for after he died. In our art period I demonstrated how to paint simple sunflowers using round stamps. Some of the students used paintbrushes to create the petals of the sunflowers. We talked about the different varieties and colours of sunflowers and I gave them yellow, red, orange and white paint that they could mix if they wanted.

On the first day the students painted the centres and the petals of the flowers. On day two they added green leaves and stems. I also gave them the option of adding a blue sky in the background and I showed them how to paint around their flowers. Some of the students also added some ladybugs and other little critters.

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Creating Ginger Root Creatures

…..a grade 2/3 art project

For one of my assignments with Carla Sonheim’s 2017 Year Long Class: 365 we were instructed to take a piece of ginger root and draw the shape onto a piece of paper. Then were to take three colours and add detail to the shape to create some kind of fantastic creature. This was so much fun that I gave the same assignment to my grade 2 and grade 3 students. I bought a few pieces of ginger root and photo copied some photos of ginger root that I found on the internet. Here are the samples that I made to demonstrate the procedure to my classes.

The children chose the ginger root shape that they wanted to copy and they were encouraged to put their creature in a setting and give them a name. Here is a sampling of their creations:

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