Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Messy Fun & Foil Embossing with EGGS.....

 With Easter just around the corner, our theme this week was EGGS.....

This is an activity I have been wanting to try since I saw this pin on Pinterest.  Easter eggs seemed an easy design to try and coloured foil always make me think of Easter...

You will Need:
Heavy Duty Aluminium Foil
Permanent Markers
Hot Glue Gun (normal glue would work too yet I was time limited and needed something fast drying)

How To:
First the children drew a picture with pencil onto their piece of cardboard.  Then when they were decorating their hard boiled eggs (see info further down) I traced over their design with hot glue.  I then gave them a piece of foil that was pressed over their pictures.  They had to rub the foil with their fingers to reveal the picture underneath (the bits with the glue are raised so the rubbing makes these bits stand out).  When they had done this we folded the extra foil in behind (like wrapping a present) and they coloured in the pictures with the permanent markers.  It was a really sunny day when we did these and when they were finished they loved looking at them glistening in the sun.  I even stuck a bit of magnetic tape to the back of some and placed them on our fridge. I didn't capture photos of all of them (or the process) as it was the last class and they took them home and I was rather busy doing a million things at once..

Dying Hard Boiled Eggs brings back memories of childhood as we always did this with my Mum.  It was great fun doing it again and I can't believe we haven't made this an Easter tradition in our household earlier.
There are SO many ways to decorate an egg these days.  Pinterest seems to have millions of wonderful ideas and the Blog world is posting idea after idea.  I did a little research, was inspired by a whole bunch of creative parents, and then couldn't decide which ones to try.  We were limited on time (1 hour lesson), experience (5 year old had to be able to do it) and what supplies I had available.  In the end I offered 4 ways to decorate their eggs (yes I should have stuck to one for simplicity yet you know me I have to try everything..). I hard boiled the eggs (boil at least 10 mins) as I thought they would be less likely to break (we still had lots of breakages) and easier to prepare (I boiled over 30 eggs).

Here is how we decorated them.  Sorry there are not a lot of photos as we were too busy having fun to take photos during the process.  Actually it was more about the fun process than the actual results (which was lots of broken eggs that were a little muddy coloured after exploring different methods on top of each other).  Experimentation is what art is about sometimes too, as without it you will never try new things.  You also need to experiment in art to find your own art style.

1. Volcano Eggs
I was totally inspired by Housing a Forests Volcano Eggs post.  I just love mixing SCIENCE with ART!
I mixed some Bicarb of Soda (baking soda) with food colouring and a little water in some paint palettes.  I then asked the children to paint their eggs with this paste.  We then dropped the painted eggs into jars of vinegar and watched the fizzy reaction.  Oh what fun...the kids just kept repainting the eggs and dropping them in again until we were out of paint.  I wish I took photos of all the FIZZY fun yet it was all too busy.  I guess we will just have to do something similar again.

Volcano egg after being dipped in vinegar and fizzing..
2. Dyed Eggs with Stickers or Wax Resist
This was quite a traditional approach to dying eggs.  We stuck on stickers (stars or dots) and then rolled the eggs in the dye.  The egg was dried and stickers removed and the egg re-dipped to get a different colour onto the part where the sticker was. For a wax resist look you just draw on the eggs with white crayons and then dip them in the dye.  The areas with crayon resist the dye and remain white.  I just mixed warm water (I didn't want to use boiling since children were involved), food colouring and a bit of vinegar in containers and the children rolled their eggs in this.  The traditional approach of dunking the egg with an egg spoon in the boiling water would have produced more vibrant colours faster I expect.

3.  Permanent Markers Colouring
A simple way of decorating your eggs.  Just provide the children with some permanent markers and let them draw to their hearts content..

4. Scratch Eggs
I've been wanting to make scratch paper with the children (and we might still do this) yet thought it would be fun to do this on eggs, especially after seeing them on the Blog Me Mom blog.  We used oil pastels rather than crayons to colour in the eggs as they seemed to go on easier with brighter colour.  You just fill in patches of colour all over your egg.  Paint it with black acrylic paint and let it dry. Then when its dry you can scratch your patterns into the paint revealing the pretty oil pastel below.  We used wooden skewers to scratch off the paint.

We didn't have an artist of the week this week as it was only the Tuesday Class.  This was the last lesson of the term and we are away for the holidays so I hope everyone has a lovely holiday break.  I will be back posting next term.  Thanks to everyone for the wonderful feedback on the classes and the blog.  It's been a great term and I have loved every moment.  I am so inspired to CREATE,  I hope your children and you are too!


Sunday, 24 March 2013

Laurel Burch Cats in Chalk Pastels

Laurel Burch Cat by a 5 year old in chalk pastels

The girls have been asking for more female "artists of the week" and when I came across the work of Laurel Burch she seemed the perfect artist to present to them.  Her work is colourful, cheerful and features wonderful creatures (mainly cats yet also underwater creatures, horses, and mythical creatures).  I was correct the children loved her style and oohed and ahhed at the pictures I showed them.  I decided to work in Chalk pastels this week as firstly it is one of my favourite mediums to work with, secondly its nice and messy (and most of the children in my class like mess) and finally we haven't worked with chalk pastels yet and my aim for this term was to expose the children to as many mediums as possible.  See my previous post on Mosaic Glass Suncatchers to read about the first half of this weeks class.

You will need:
Black paper
Chalk Pastels
Black Oil Pastel
Examples of Laurel Burch work
Fixative (optional)

I like to offer the children the choice of doing their own drawing or following a guided drawing example.  This gives the children who don't really know where to start something to follow and it allows the ones that do the freedom to go ahead in their own creative style.  I handed out some simple steps on how to draw a cat that I found at the Rainbow Skies and Dragonflies website and then proceeded with a guided drawing example on the easel (I still need to purchase a whiteboard).  We drew the cats with black oil pastel and then coloured in with chalk pastels.  When the picture was finished we went over the black oil pastel a second time.  I sprayed the final pieces with fixative (mainly just because I had some) yet its not totally necessary.

Since it was our last class some of the children took their pictures home and some didn't finish since we also had a mosaic activity to start with (see my last post) so this is a small example of what they produced.  All the artwork below is produced by children who are 5-7 years old.

Here is our "Artist of the week" picture.


Mosaic Glass Suncatchers

Mosaic Glass Suncatcher
We had two themes this week SUNCATCHERS and CATS which don't really go together so I am posting them separately.  I love a busy class!  Read all about our Laurel Burch cats artwork in the next post....

I love putting artwork on our windows.  It brightens up the room, especially with the sun shining in and it gives me even more space to put artwork since most of my walls are FULL!  My children and I have made various window art over the years.  Check out some of my favourites at the bottom of this post.

Mosaic Glass Suncatchers
I love mosaic and have produced quite a few over of the years.  We have some large panels attached to the back of our house and the children love looking at them when we have our afternoon tea prior to class.  There have been quite a few requests to make one.  Mosaic does take time though and my aim this term was to introduce the children to as many mediums as I could.  I therefore didn't want to take up a large chunk of my lessons with a single project.

My children and I made some simple glass suncatchers a few years ago on single panes of glass which we then hung in the garden from a tree.  Whilst they looked stunning at first the glass started falling off after a few months and eventually all that was hanging was the panes of glass.  I decided to change the project this time and make them for indoors only and keep the frame around the glass so I could attach a suction cap / hook for hanging in a window.  The children are also quite a bit older so I allowed them to create a more realistic mosaic look using glass fragments (we just used various glass beads last time, which turns this into a great toddler craft if you are looking for one..)

What you need:
  • Cheap frames (I got mine at Kmart. Note they need to have actual glass in them so most Ikea frames won't work.  You may even be able to find a nice old frame at an op shop)
  • Glass Fragments (some of these were a little sharp as I broke up some lovely old stained glass I had.  I did all the cutting.  The children were asked to be very careful with the fragments and thankfully there were no cut fingers), plastic beads, glass pebbles, seaglass, small glass mosaic tiles
  • Weldbond Glue (I didn't want to use mosaic glue as its toxic with strong fumes.  Since we were doing this in an enclosed space with children I used a no fume / non toxic glue).
  • Suction hook (purchased from Bunnings)
Glass Fragments and glass drops to stick onto mosaic

How toFirst remove the backing board from the frame and then glue in the glass with some glue.  Leave to dry overnight.  Drill a hole in the top of the frame and attach the suction hook (this could be removed and replaced with a normal hook if the preference is to hang it from the wood at the top of the window frame or a window latch).

Hole drilled at top of frame and suction hook added

The children then simply glued on the glass etc to the outside of the glass frame.  Leave to dry flat for 24 hours and then hang in a window.  They look very pretty with the sun shining through.

Note the glue is not dry which is why its still white (it will dry clear)

We also made some Melted Bead Suncatchers.  I got this idea from The Artful Parent about a year ago.  My children and I made some and they are hanging above our french doors.  Lots of people ask me how we made them and are stunned to find out how easy it is.

What you need:
  • Translucent Pony beads (we found some glittery ones too and these look great)
  • Muffin Pan
  • Fishing Wire
  • Drill
How to: The children placed pony beads into a muffin pan and this is then placed in the oven at around 200 degrees until they are melted (about half an hour).  Warning this does produce a terrible smell so is best done with all the windows and doors open and extractor fan on full. Once the suncatchers were hard and cool they just popped out of the muffin pan and I drilled a hole in the top.  I attached a piece of fishing wire to hang them from.

Melted Bead Suncatcher

Here are some of my other favourite suncatcher / window decoration ideas:

Cellophane shapes on the window by Creative Jewish Mum (another one of my favourite blogs).  We did this on one of our windows and the kids just loved putting up all the shapes.  They looked wonderful until the cellophane started to fade.  I didn't take any photos so the below photo is from Creative Jewish Mum.

 Celophane Stained Glass Craft Circles

Window crayons on the window
Let the kids go wild with drawing on the windows and not the walls!  We used Crayola Window Crayons.

Window crayons
Melted Crayon Shaving Suncatchers.  
Another idea from The Artful Parent is these melted crayon suncatchers. They are fun to make as you need to grate the crayons first (this kids loved doing this, well for a while anyway..), sort them into colour piles, then spread them onto your wax paper in pretty patterns.  Another piece of wax paper is placed on top and they are then ironed on a low setting to melt the crayon shavings.  The only problem was that I just couldn't find wax paper in Australia so I thought I'd give it a go with baking paper instead.  Let me tell you they are not the same thing as even though the crayon melted and kind of stuck the two pieces together after a while the crayon just started to fall out onto our floor.  My solution was to wedge the melted crayon between two pieces of contact paper by pulling off the baking paper and replacing with contact.  It ended up looking quite effective (much more translucent) and no more wax crayon on the floor!!  Martha Stewart does a lovely heart version which I would love to try if I could find the wax paper.

Melted Crayon suncatchers in contact paper

 Martha Stewart Melted Wax Crayon Hearts

Melted Crayon on normal paper.
Same technique as above yet with normal paper.  To ensure the crayon didn't fall onto my floor this time I painted over it with Mod Podge.

Melted Crayon on normal paper with Mod Podge on top

Contact Paper Nature Suncatcher
We have done various nature themed suncatchers with leaves, flowers and petals.  I got this idea from The Artful Parent as well (Jean really likes suncatchers too!!). They look stunning to begin with yet the flowers do start to die and sometimes even go mouldy after a few weeks.  I also did a small hanging version by wedging the leaves and flowers between two pieces of contact paper, cutting into a shape, punching a hole in top and hanging on some string.  I can't wait to do one of these in Autumn with the beautiful Autumn coloured leaves.

Flowers and leaves nature suncatcher with contact paper
Flowers and leaves contact suncatcher hanging
Other Contact Paper Suncatchers
The ideas are endless when it comes to contact paper suncatchers.  You can pretty much put anything between two pieces of contact paper and hang in the window or place the contact directly onto the window itself.  Here are some other simple ones with sequins and glitter.

Contact paper suncatcher with cellophane and sequins
Contact suncatchers with glitter and sequins
Glass Beads hanging Window Decoration
This one is very simple to make and looks really great hanging in a window with the sun shining on the glass beads.  Lay out a piece of string and then glue two glass beads together along its length making sure you glue the string in between them.

Glass Beads Window Ornament (sorry pic refused to rotate)
Salt dough Window Ornaments
Read my post here about salt dough and putting beads in them.  Notice how the sun really shines through the beads if they are hung in a window...
Children's salt dough fish with beads in it.
We have some index dividers lying around so we may try this one next.............Kids' Stained Glass Art Project with Index Dividers again from The Artful Parent.

Kids Stained Glass Art Project

And I love this one.  I would like to see this at our school on a large window.  Its by Candice Ashment Art and is done by Grade Two children.

And here is another one I want to try.  It sounds very easy.  All you do is glue the glass beads into a yoghurt lid and when the glue is dry you pop it out and hang up!  A great one to try during the school holidays.  Directions can be found at Kids Activity Blog.

Glass Beads Suncatcher from Kids Activity Blog

That's it for this week.


Sunday, 17 March 2013

Georgia O'Keeffe Watercolour Flowers

Our theme this week was FLOWERS...
The studio was filled with them. So inspiring and lovely to look at!!!

I'm currently doing a fabulous Ecourse "Teaching Art 101" by Deep Space Sparkle.  It's been so much fun learning new lessons and tricks, practicing them and connecting with other like minded individuals from all over the globe.   I now have a wealth of exciting lesson ideas for next term.  One lesson used watercolours to paint Georgia O'Keeffe inspired flowers.  Georgia O'Keeffe was our artist of the week a few weeks back and the children really seemed to like her style (and that she was a woman artist for once!!).  It's a fairly easy lesson on watercolours and the results are amazing.  It's a great multi-age lesson.  I have children aged 5 to 12 and they all enjoyed it and produced wonderful artworks.

Watercolour Paper
Watercolour Paints (I used liquid watercolours as that's all I had. The lesson plan suggested pan watercolours)
Flowers for inspiration (I placed real flowers around the studio, books with flowers in them and showed the children several Georgie O'Keeffe paintings)
Salt (we added to the centre of the flowers for the speckled appearance)
Black oil pastel or black permanent marker

I started with a demonstration on how to draw a large flower with petals that went all the way off the page (so it looks close up in typical Georgia O'Keeffe style).  The children did the outline in black oil pastel (younger children) or permanent marker (older children).  The background was painted first, followed by the flower and finally the centre.  I suggested contrasting colours so each component stood out.  The children did a great job and some even wanted to do another one!

The finished pieces are really lovely.   I've placed my children's paintings on the hallway wall already!  I think some IKEA frames would complete them wonderfully.

Our artist of the week is Gustav Klimt.  I showed the children some of his paintings.  They didn't seem too taken by his work although they do like the idea of painting with gold paint!

Klimt "The Kiss"

Cheers Fiona

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Van Gogh Starry Night Paintings

Interpretation of Van Gogh's Starry Night Painting
A few weeks ago the children painted with some lovely acrylic paints their own interpretation of Van Gogh's starry night. Van Gogh has been our artist of the week and we have discussed his work and style and looked at some of his other paintings. Over the past two weeks we finished these paintings with some oil pastel highlights.

Black paper 12x18 inches
Acrylic Paint in various colours yet mainly blues, yellow and white
Oil Pastels in various colours (we also used some metallic ones)
Print of Van Gogh's starry night painting

They came out wonderfully, lovely and bright, with swirls, movement and small lines. The paint is also applied thickly in typical Van Gogh style.  If the children missed the first lesson with the paints they just drew in oil pastel. As always I think they look wonderful although many are quite different from the original!

Children's Van Gogh Starry Night Paintings


Thursday, 7 March 2013

Painted Paper Collages

Painted Paper
Making painted paper is lots of fun.  We have been doing it at the end of every painting lesson to use up any left over paint (waste not want not so they say....). There are lots of techniques that can be used and so many different effects to achieve.  You can splatter paint, paint it on thickly and then use various tools or brushes to make patterns, use glad wrap to make patterns, sponge the paper etc.   Patty at Deep Space Sparkle has a great tutorial on making painted paper including a video click here.  For this weeks project we also used some of our shaving cream marbled paper. Click here for that post.

Shaving Cream Marbled Paper

For today's lesson we first used watercolours and watercolour paper. There had to be some mess involved!! We used green and blue liquid watercolours to create our background for the collage.  We then used the salt technique where you throw grains of salt onto the wet watercolours to create a speckled appearance (the salt soaks up some of the paint) and also added squeezed lemon juice to create patterns or clouds (lemon juice acts as a bleach and lightens the paper in places).  The effect is quite amazing.....

Watercolours with Salt and Lemon Juice added
Watercolour with salt and Lemon Juice added
I gave the children some examples of what they could cut out of their painted paper yet I like to leave things fairly broad to allow them to follow their own interests and creativity.  Making a collage is excellent for practising cutting, pasting and composition skills.  Further development of fine motor skills can help with a variety of tasks including handwriting skills, which I hope will assist my two Prep students who are just learning to write.

Here are our finished art works:

Our artist of the week is Jackson Pollock.  The children really seem to like splatter painting so that's now on our "to do" list!


Friday, 1 March 2013

Paper Clay Creations

This week we painted our Paper Clay sculptures.  I did find that paper clay is still somewhat brittle and we did encounter some breakages (which were easily fixed).  I think the sculptures look GORGEOUS painted in bright acrylic paints and sprayed with gloss enamel.  The children did such a good job.  I asked them to cover up all the white clay and amazingly they all listened!  Here are a few close up shots.....

I also had a little play with the paper clay and made the white and green bowl below.  With the gloss spray on them they look a little like glazed clay.


A few weeks ago our artist of the week was Van Gogh so I decided to get the children to do their own 'Starry Night" interpretation..  We watched a short you tube video click here which showed the Van Gogh starry night picture moving.  I asked them to keep this in mind when they did their own painting to see if they could do lots of swirls in different colours with short lines to give the idea of movement in their painting.  We will finish these paintings next week with oil pastels on top of the acrylic paints to add highlights. 

The artist of the week is a female artist - Georgia O'Keeffe.  I love her close up pictures of flowers. We will be drawing flowers with chalk pastels in a few weeks and I think Georgia's paintings will be a great inspiration.

Georgia O'Keeffe 'Petunia 2'
I've also been playing around with the formatting of the blog so you might see a few changes over the next few weeks.  Feel free to comment.

Cheerio for this week