Geometric Fish

…’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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Norval Morrisseau’s Images Enchant Children

….it started as an art project with the kindergarteners

November was Aboriginal Month for our school board. I introduced my kindergarten class to Canadian First Nations artist Norval Morrisseau. He was sometimes referred to as the Picasso of the North. His art is characterized by the use of heavy black lines and bright vibrant colours.

I found a couple of images on the web that were reproducible and I drew a couple more free hand. I gave the children some bright acrylic paints and cotton swabs  and  taught them how to create dots with the Q-tips. Some of the children used the tool like a paint brush and didn’t really get the concept of creating dots but in the end they all cooked very nice.

I used the same sheets with my grade three students but it was suppose to be an extra project for the students who finished their other art project before the end of the class. In the end they all wanted to fill in one of the four images.

The first set were done by the kindergarten class.


This set was done by the grade 3s.

Mother’s Day Cards – Kindergarten Style

….there were plenty of gifts made for moms in the kindergarten classes last week

I wanted to come up with a nice piece of art to put on a card that the children would be excited to give to their moms. I decided to to teach the children how to draw simple hearts and flower line drawings using paint. When the paint dried they could add more interesting detail using black (or coloured) markers.

When the children were happy with their creation they could use the entire piece and glue it down onto a sheet of card stock or they could have their favourite section trimmed to fit onto a card. Some of them took it a step further and actually cut up their shapes and then glued them down individually.

We wrote a message on the board for the children to copy in their own hand to add to their cards to create their original Mother’s Day Card. What do you think? Of course I’m biased but I think they’re fabulous.


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.

Architects Do Design Cities and Curvy Buildings

…..the book, Young Frank, Architect, inspired our art lesson in Kindergarten

Two weeks ago I reminded my kindergarten class of the book we read in the library. The book was Young Frank, Architect by Frank Viva and published by MOMA.IMG_4605

The story is about a young boy named Frank and his grandfather, also named Frank. Both Franks are architects. Young Frank builds chairs, curvy buildings and models of entire cities. His grandfather tells him that architects don’t design chairs, buildings should be straight and architects design one building at a time and cities take a hundred years to develop. Young Frank is discouraged and he doesn’t want to be an architect any longer. Old Frank decides to take Young Frank to the museum, the MOMA, so that he can show his grandson the buildings that architects design. In the end it is Old Frank who learns that he was mistaken and he apologizes to Young Frank. The book ends with briefs bios about Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry.

The art lesson introduced the kindergarteners to collage and city landscapes. They were reminded  about foreground and background and were taught how to create a night sky with stars and a moon. Students were encouraged to cut out at least three high rise buildings and make windows and doors in different shapes. It was up to them whether they wanted to create straight or curvy ‘Frank’ buildings. The shapes of some of the buildings are delightful. It’s amazing how much their scissor skills have improved since last September. Enjoy!

Put a Beak on it!

…..another great art idea from Carla Sonheim that I introduced to my kindergarten art class

You may recall a post where I shared some art that I did with scraps of paper. By simply adding a beak, eyes and feet you can make fun bird shapes. I turned them into cards  and small framed gifts that I gave to friends and family.

A couple of weeks ago I introduced this concept to my kindergarten art class. They made a very simple tree shape with 5 to 6 branches and then on each branch they glued a scrap piece of paper and then drew on the details to create their birds. Here are some of their creations.

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Sticks and Stones

…..make wonderful art

Last week I was assigned a project that involved gathering up bits of nature to create a temporary work of art. After we finished creating we could photograph our masterpieces and then return the bits back to the environment or leave our creations somewhere outside where others could enjoy what we made. This idea came from Lynn Whipple who is one of the artists from Year of the Spark. This is a year long on-line art class brought to us by Carla Sonheim and Lynn. Every month they take turns coming up with wonderful and innovative assignments that bring out our inner spark. Every two weeks we get a new assignment.

I was really inspired by this project and came up with my own ‘Learning Stick’ and a composition of stones and dried foliage and grasses that I turned into a card. IMG_4249 IMG_4256

I’m hoping to make more but in the meantime I offered this assignment to my kindergarten class and they ate it up.

Before I arrived for our regular weekly art class, the children took a walk around the school yard and gathered up as many bits of nature that they could find. Between me and the ECE teacher and  what the children gathered we had a very nice collection of materials to work with.

I told the children that we weren’t gluing anything down and when their picture was done I would come around and photograph it and then we would take it apart and if they wanted they could make another picture. When we finished with the materials we would return them to nature.

I printed the photographs on my printer at home onto regular sized photocopy paper and then I made one 4 x 6 glossy print to mount onto a card. Here’s what mine looked like.


After we mounted all the photographs onto a black background they were put up outside the kindergarten class for all to enjoy. Today they were moved to a more central part of the school so that more people would see them. The cards that I made will be given to the parents as a special gift on Earth Day.

Happy Penguins

….tell kindergarteners that they can dress up their penguins and they instantly become ‘happy’ penguins

We started our project by painting our background with ribbons of watercolour. The only restriction was ‘no’ black or brown paint. While the paint was drying they drew and then cut out their penguin bodies, eyes, beaks and feet. This pretty much took up the entire first class.

In the second class I showed the class how to draw an ice flow so that it had some dimension and then I instructed the students on how to put everything together. When the penguin was glued into place with all parts intact the students then had the option of making hats, scarves and sweater from some scrapbook paper that I had.

The inspiration for this assignment came from Deep Space Sparkle.

More Kindergarten Art

….this JK/SK class is like a giant sponge

I love teaching art to my kindergarten class. For the most part everything I teach them is absorbed and acted on by these eager learners. Last week I taught them how to draw their bodies that didn’t use stick figures.

I found this chart on Rowdy in Room 300 and used it with the class. I started with a blank chart and filled it in one square at a time to demonstrate how to draw a body.

They were given the option to take it one step further and draw a second body of their best friend. They were encouraged to draw what they were wearing and use the colours that best represented their hair and eye colour. I think they did an amazing job.

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Monster ‘Friends’

….Mies Van Hout has illustrated and written a wonderful book called Friends

This week I read Mies Van Hout’s book Friends to many of my library classes. I shared the book with my kindergarten class and instructed them to create and draw their own monster. We started with a free hand blob, turned it around and decided which end was up. They then added eyes and any other features they wanted to make a unique monster. They were encouraged to add a lot of colour using oil pastels. Considering that these children are only 3 to 5 years old I think they did a fabulous job. Enjoy!

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