Sea Turtle Painting

If you look closely at this picture you'll see a lovely texture that was created by...plastic wrap.
1. You need to use true watercolor paper for this. I once ran out and used plain drawing paper – it didn’t work at all. So, give each student a 9" x 12" sheet of watercolor paper and demonstrate how they can draw a sea turtle with ovals, legs and head. They may start their drawing with a pencil, but they then need to trace all the lines with a dark crayon to hide the pencil.
2. I like to use dissolved watercolor tablets. Give the students blue and green watercolor in separate cups, and have them make overlapping splotches of each color all over their drawing. They must use a generous amount of paint. When the paper is really wet, cover the entire paper with a generous section of plastic wrap. Show the students how to push the wrap around until a lot of wrinkles are created. Let the painting dry about an hour or so before you remove the wrap.

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Matisse Pattern Landscape

Henri Matisse, an important French artist, loved all kinds of patterns. Not only the decorative forms he created, but also reproductions of tapestries, embroideries, silks and more. A recent donation of leftover wallpaper inspired this project.
1. I first gave each student a 12" square of chip board for mounting. I passed a variety of wallpapers cut in 12" squares.
2. I asked the students to first choose one main wallpaper for their background and glue it to the chipboard with heavy use of a glue stick.
3. The next step was to choose a ground color and cut a horizon to glue over the background paper.
4. I showed the students how to draw a tree trunk on the back of the wallpaper to cut out and glue it over the ground and background. Tree tops were drawn on another piece of wallpaper to cut out and glue over the top of the trunks. Repeat this step in various sizes. Simplicity of all the shapes is encouraged.

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Watercolor Terrarium

This project can be modified by drawing the jar as a simple silhouette or with dimensional ovals as shown.
1. I cut jar templates from letter-size chip board and gave one to each student. I had them trace the jar in pencil on a 9" x 12" paper.
2. Limit the early crayon color selection to minimize mistakes. Students traced the jar in blue and drew a ground line in green. Then the plants were drawn above the ground, and roots were drawn in white below. I found that going straight to crayon worked fine. Sometimes drawing in pencil and then tracing slows the process down. Lastly, flowers were added to the plants. Emphasize that the coloring needs to be heavy so they should press hard throughout.
3. I distributed watercolor paints and had the students use different colors for the ground, the jar and the background.
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Art Journaling 121

This is a quick bonus project I used in my last rainy-day Art Journal Class. I’m always on the lookout for ways to layer art, and these tissue paper rain drops worked really well.
1. As an intro, I asked all the students to make a border around a new page. Could be straight, scallop, zig-zag, anything to add a little more interest. After the pencil lines were done, they were traced with a thin black marker.
2. I asked the students to write a quick paragraph about rain, whether they liked it or not, and what memories it might bring. A title was added to the top, something large and decorative. Young students could just right the word rain on their page in big fancy letters.
3. I had cut out a lot of tissue rain drops beforehand as the paper can be a challenge for young ones (you have to cut lots of layers at a time). These were passed out to each student. I foresaw problems with kinders overusing the rubber cement, so I walked around and brushed spots of glue on the pages where they pointed to. The tissue drops were placed on top, where they laid nice and flat.
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Student Art Gallery

Thanks so much to Brad V. and his 4th grade class in Alexandra PS. They sent in samples of one of their latest projects, Ivory Coast animal drawings. I adore all the patterns they put in their animals, and all the bright color around them. What terrific pieces of art, kids!
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Art Journaling 119

These umbrellas are cut out from patterned scrapbook paper. It’s raining cats and dogs here in LA so I thought this would be a good theme for my next after-school Art Journal class.
1. I started with tracing different size circles onto the pattern paper, drawing a scallop line through the middle, and cutting each out. I made one large, one medium, and one smaller circle so all my umbrellas would be different sizes.
2. After arranging them on my journal page, I glued them down with a glue stick. Black lines were drawn on each to indicate the spokes, and then handles were drawn underneath.
3. I used a thin blue marker to draw lines of rain coming down, which stopped at each umbrella. Pencil crayon was added to add more color to the background.
4. Most students have heard of the "Rain, rain, go away..." poem, so it is an easy one for them to write somewhere on their page.
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Chuck Close Self Portrait

Chuck Close is an American painter and photographer who first achieved fame as a photorealist. This project, which imitates his style, takes a bit of planning, but the results can be spectacular.
1. Take digital photos of the students. With my computer graphics software, I cropped the faces in Photoshop and printed them out (black & white) to fill an 8" x 10" box. Cut out all the photos.
2. Create and print an 8" x 10" grid sheet filled with a 1" lines for each student. Cut out all the grids. Cut sheets of carbon paper that are 8" x 10" square. Stack the photo on the carbon on the grid paper. Tape together. The students are to trace all the edges of their faces on the photo, which will transfer to the grid.
3. Once the face edge lines are on the grid paper, instruct the students to pick a pair of pencil crayons each for the face, neck, background and hair. Each square in these areas is to be filled with any kind of shapes and patterns, but only with the chosen pair of colors. Repeat until all the areas are filled. The eyes look best just colored normally without any patterns.

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Art Journal Page

I like to encourage kids to make layered pages in their art journals. I ask them not write entries NEXT to their pictures, but to place them OVER their pictures to make the entry part of the art.
1. I had some old maps on hand and gave each student a section. I had them cut out a few simple shapes that reminded them of traveling and mounted them using glue sticks.
2. Next, they used watercolor and/or colored pencils to fill in the background. The entire page should be filled in.
3. Then, they added their story, poem or journal entry using a permanent marker or pen to prevent bleeding.
CA Visual Art Standard: Creative Expression, Grade Three
2.1 Explore ideas for art in a personal sketchbook.
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Winter Birch Trees

My school is doing a holiday fundraiser this fall, and I think I may use this project as it makes a nice winter scene. It also is a good example of how the contrast of white on dark can really have a lot of visual impact.
1. Tape a border around the edge of a square of watercolor paper with 1" painter’s masking tape. Cut thick and thin strips for trees that touch the top and the bottom of the border. These strips should be  hand cut for a natural look. Branches may be added, along with a moon. All tape edges are smoothed down.
2. Water down dark blue watercolor paint and spread over the entire picture. To add texture, sprinkle salt on the paint while still wet. Let dry for several hours.
3. Rub the salt off the picture and carefully peel off the tape. To add little snowflakes, paint white dots with a small brush and acrylic paint. If any of the paint leaked into the trees, you can also use this paint to cover up those spots.
4. With very watery blue paint, add the little bark edges on the left and right of the trees and branches. Also add a shadow stripe on the same side of all the trees and branches.CA Visual Art Standard: Grade Four
2.7 Use contrast (light and dark) expressively in an original work of art.
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Friendship Bracelet Book Winners

It’s time to announce the two lucky winners of the Klutz Friendship book giveaway.
Thank you readers for all your really kind comments about my blog. I wish I could give a book to all 113 of you, but alas there can only be two winners. The winning screen names I randomly selected are: “Gerky” and “sew happy Stacy”. Congratulations ladies, you win 2 books each – one to keep and one to give away. Please email me your addresses so the books can be sent on their way. Thanks again to Klutz Publications for this great giveaway!
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Art Book Giveaway, Value $65


It’s time for a giveaway contest, and this time the prize is four great books that would be a wonderful addition to any library: “Eco Friendly Crafting with Kids”, “Paper Robots”, “My First Art Activity Book” and “My First Cupcake Decorating Book”. All are published by CICO Books, lovely to look at, and have lots of ideas that I haven’t seen before (which is really saying something). 

To enter my giveaway, leave a comment with contact info by Tuesday, August 14th at midnight, PDT. Continental US shipping only. Good luck everyone!
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