Tinted Valentine Hearts

First graders need practice mixing secondary colors, but I just can’t get too excited over making color wheels on paper plates. Instead I had them focus on just mixing purple (plus a little white) in honor of Valentine’s Day.
1. I made an 11" x 17" size template of printed hearts which you can download HERE. Print at 77% for an 8.5" x 11" size template.
2. Students received printed paper, a paper plate of red, blue and white tempera paint, a brush and a cup of water. They were to see how many new colors they could mix, and then fill in the hearts as they wish.
CA Visual Arts Standard: 
2.2 Mix secondary colors from primary colors and describe the process.
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Watercolor Sailboats

The key to great watercolor resist paintings? Use lots of white crayon whenever possible, and try to have students draw with them directly on the paper – no pencil planning first. Those gray lines just take away from the “freshness” of the look.
1. Some pencil planning is necessary to begin this painting, so students should first draw two boats and horizon grass lines in pencil as shown.
2. Once those large shapes have been decided, they may be traced with a crayon. Additional crayon detail may be added, such as patterns on the boats, white lines in the water, lined grass on the hills, and sun and clouds in the sky. The more pressure used in making these crayon lines, the better.
3. Liquid watercolor paints may be applied to cover the boats, grass, water and sky.
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Homemade Valentine Card

If you can get your hands on some fancy colored paper, this simple layout can make a really nice card. I used some sample rice papers from an old scrapbook collection that worked well.
1. Fold letter-size white card stock paper in half to make a 5.5" x 8" card. Random squares and rectangles were cut to fit the paper in a loose grid, and were glued in place. Glue sticks work best so there are no wrinkles from wet glue.
2. With the scraps remaining, they are folded them in half to cut hearts that would fit each square or rectangle, i.e. tall skinny heart for a tall skinny box, etc. Glue them in place when they are finished. That’s it – there’s nothing quite like a homemade Valentine card.
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Red Chalkboard Wall

I’ve known about chalkboard paint for awhile, but I never knew you could mix your own. My super clever friends at Project HOPE Art  knew how and made one in Haiti on their recent trip. Go to Red Chalkboard Wall to see how you can make your own very red board, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
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Over 300 Sundresses Delivered to Haiti

If you’ve been following HOPE Art’s Dress Drive, then you’ll love seeing these beautiful Haitian girls wearing their new homemade sundresses. Melissa, Jenni, Stefanie and Jacq traveled back to Port-Au-Prince just a couple of weeks ago and not only delivered dozens of dresses to Nadine’s orphanage (OJFA), but to many other schools as well. Over were 300 delivered on this trip, and almost 80 more are ready to go out in April. 

The girls are all dressed up for a party for Phara, the eldest. All she wanted for her 15th birthday was some American pizza and the HOPE Art ladies made it happen, along with some other special treats that you can see in their Facebook album HERE

If you'd like to get involved, HOPE Art will be traveling back to Haiti in April and we'll take as many dresses as we can carry. Follow the HOPE Art Dress Project posting to find out how to participate.

And to all gave their time and effort to make this project so successful, on behalf of the orphans, we thank you.  

— Project HOPE Art
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Pink Dinosaurs

I chose dinosaurs as my after school oil pastel project today, wondering if I would get any objections from my female students. Well, not only did they make some of the prettiest and pinkest stegosauruses you ever saw, one girl proceeded to rattle off more dino facts than I have ever heard before.
1. Students followed my drawing, starting with the back, then belly and legs. The triangle plates were added last, starting with small ones at the end and large in the middle.
2. All the pencil lines were traced with a black Sharpie marker.
3. All the shapes were colored in with Portfolio® Oil Pastels.
Thanks so much to Kaylee, a talented first grader who made this amazing drawing today.
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Many-Colored Hands

I’ve found that students new to oil pastels often need to be guided to use them to their full potential, namely layering them. This project can be a good practice as they will be able to see that brown pastel colored over gold, for example, makes a completely different color than gold colored over brown.
1. Students are to trace their hand as many times as the they can on a piece of paper, all of them just touching each other to create lots of closed spaces. No overlapping!
2. After the hands are traced in pencil, the lines are traced with a fat black Sharpie marker.
3. The hands are colored in with oil pastels, using as many combinations as possible. My sample uses peach, golden brown, medium brown, pink and white in different layers.
4. Lastly, the closed shapes around the hands are colored with different pastels.
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Bernard Hoyes-Inspired Dancing Lady

Jamaican-born artist Bernard Hoyes is a Caribbean national who has served his country well. Now residing in California, Hoyes is among the most widely collected and exhibited of contemporary artists. Through his art, many have been able to connect with Jamaica’s colorful traditions and culture.
1. Past experience has proven that students almost always draw images too small, so requiring art to touch all four sides of the paper helps to eliminate this tendency. Give each student an 8.5"x11" piece of paper and ask them to draw two hands as indicated in diagram #1.
2. A simple dress is drawn connected to the hands, with a hem that touches the bottom of the paper. No feet are necessary, just a simple outline of a dress.
3. A neck and head are added, either straightforward or at an angle.
4. A turban and center knot that touch the top of the paper are added. Once the drawing is done, all the pencil lines are traced with a thick black marker. The skin is colored, along with the dress and background.
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Recycled Paper Heart Valentine

This heart is made from just newspaper, white glue, string and some pretty sparkle paint.
1. Tear about 8 sheets of newspaper (lengthwise will be the easiest direction) into 1" strips. Cut those strips into little 1/2" bits and place in a large bowl. Cover with hot water and let soak for 24 hours.
2. The paper will start to look like a pulp. Work it through your fingers, tearing up any large lumps so that it looks like gray oatmeal. When the lumps are gone, take a large handful of pulp and squeeze out all the extra water.
3. Working the pulp in your hands, add white glue to the mixture at about a ratio of about 1 unit of glue to 4 units of pulp. Form a ball, place it on wax paper and press to form a flat heart that is at least 1" thick. Let dry for several hours or until it starts to harden. When you can pick up the heart, wrap it with a length of string, pulling firmly to make indentations. Tuck the ends into the back.
5. When the heart is dry, paint the entire shape with a thick layer of white acrylic paint. Let dry and then paint with a thick layer of red paint. Let dry and have fun experimenting with smudges that emphasis the texture of your heart. I added some glitter paint for a final touch. A spray of a glossy sealer would be a good idea to finish off your project.
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How to Draw a Rose

I have a feeling that many students are going to be asking their teachers and parents “How do I draw a rose?” in the next few weeks, so I thought I’d diagram how I draw mine.
1. Follow the steps shown to draw your flower with a pencil. The gray lines indicate erasing.
2. Trace your flower with a Sharpie marker.
3. This flower is colored in with Portfolio® Oil Pastels, but any bright colors will do.
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Hearts for Haiti

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. You can get handmade, one-of-a-kind ceramic hearts for your loved one and support Project HOPE Art’s work in Haiti too. Visit our Etsy shop Hope Art Hearts to place an order. Thanks everyone!!
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“Art Ed Blogs of the Year” Results

I just learned that I placed 2nd in “Art Ed Blogs of the Year”! How exciting! Thanks so much to Jessica at Art of Education for sponsoring this event, and to everyone who voted for me. It’s nice to see our art blogging community just get bigger and better every year.
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Hearts of Many Colors

I believe there are times to plan your art with a pencil, and there are times you just need to jump right in and draw with a brush. You can’t go wrong with these rows of delicate hearts, even if they do get crooked and lopsided. In fact, I think they may get even better.
Start with real watercolor paper, and Educational Mixable Crayola Watercolor Mixing Sets. They really are great and allow all the color variety you see here. With a small brush, cup of water and plate for mixing, challenge your students to paint rows of even hearts, mixing new colors for each one. The Crayola Set comes with white and black and brilliant blues and violets so many combinations are possible.
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HOPE Art and Haiti and Tutus

Some of the ladies from HOPE Art traveled back to Haiti this month, and along with hundreds of homemade sundresses, delivered tutus (thanks Tutus.com!) for the girls to enjoy. Take a peek at this clip and see if it doesn’t warm your heart...
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Faith Ringgold Flag Story Quilt

Faith Ringgold, an African-American artist, is best known for her large story quilts. In 1985 she made a piece titled “Flag Story Quilt” which inspired this collage.

1. To help cut swatches, I gave the students  this template to follow, printed on 8.5" x 11" cardstock. I passed out several old magazines to have them cut out swatches of red, and black and white type to fill in the stripes and blue swatches to fill in the rectangle. The pieces were attached with glue stick.
2. Students covered the blue rectangle with glue stick and arranged the hole punch circles for stars, as shown.
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Tiki Faces

Drawing a Tiki face is all about making symmetrical shapes, and usually captures the attention of some of the more “restless” students.
1. Give the students a sheet of brown construction paper, and ask them to fold it in half vertically so they know where the center of their face will be. Using the sample Tiki face for inspiration, demonstrate how they can draw eyes, nose and mouth in this style, always taking care to center shapes on the middle fold line. Emphasize that they are to draw lots of outlined shapes that will be colored in later.
2. After the face has been drawn in pencil, give the students a black marker to trace all the pencil lines.

3. Distribute construction paper crayons and have the students fill in all the cool shapes they made, along with the background.
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Senofu Spirit Drawings

The Senufo people of West Africa’s Ivory Coast are renowned for their cloth paintings. They believe their artwork has special meaning and helps protect them in their daily lives. Design motifs usually include birds, snakes, fish, frogs, crocodiles, and turtles as seen from above or side, covered with lots of geometric patterns.
1. I had to substitute manila paper for cloth, but someday would like to try this on muslin. I had the students draw a border around their paper the width of a ruler. I drew some very simple animal shapes on the board for them to refer to. They were to pick their favorite and draw it as large as they could in the middle of their paper. When complete, the animals were filled with geometric patterns as well as the border.
2. After the patterns are all drawn, I had the students trace the animal and border with a fat black Sharpie and the inside patterns with a thin one.
3. When coloring with oil pastels, I explained that the Senofu people thought all animals had spirits and often outlined them with a thick band of yellow to represent that kind of energy. Lastly, the background was colored whatever color they wanted. The borders were to remain with patterns only and no extra color.
CA Art Standard: Grade Four
4.4 Identify and describe how various cultures define and value art differently.
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“Focal Point” Valentine

This is an exercise to have students think about how they can make their art have a focal point by using different colors, patterns, values, etc. Many masters such as Cezanne used it in paintings like this one to make the warm fruit stand out from the cool background.
1. Give each student a piece of paper, pencil and cardboard heart to trace. The students are to trace lots of hearts, either in a row or randomly spaced.
2. The hearts are then traced with a black marker. Ask the students to choose one heart that is to be the focal point of their picture. When coloring, that heart needs to be different from all the others. It could be that one uses warm colors and the rest are cool, or the colors are all similar but one has stripes in it. Or as my students had just learned about making 3D shapes, one could have dimension added and the rest are flat. I personally like colored pencils for this project, and if you can afford them, the Prismacolor brands are the best. It’s a simple exercise, and you also have a possible Valentine card when you’re done.
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Falling Away Drawing

Students start with tracing their own hands and shoes to make thislarge “falling away” drawing.
1. A large piece of paper is needed, about 18" x 24" or so, depending on the size of the students. They begin by tracing their own hands just above the middle, and their shoes below.
2. A head is drawn behind the hands. Arms and legs are connected to hands and shoes.
3. All the lines are traced with a marker and colored as desired. I remember this working well for large groups as the tracing gives everyone an equal starting point.
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New Year Art Journal Page

Another reason I love the Strathmore Art Journal books? Their pages are not only great for drawing, but watercolor painting as well. Students used torn pieces of Scotch Blue Tape to make these colorful “2012” pages.
1. The 1" Scotch Blue tape I had was a bit too wide to make readable letters in our Strathmore journals, so I tore strips in half for my young (K-2) students. If you pre-tear a lot of 2" long pieces and stick them on plastic sleeves, students can then concentrate on just blocking out skinny “2012” numbers across their journal pages themselves.
2. When the blue tape numbers are done, they may be painted over with watercolor paint in outline or block style. When complete, the painted may be dabbed with a paper towel and the tape peeled off.
3. Students had a choice of painting or coloring the inside of their numbers, and finishing the pages as they desired. I personally like using skinny markers to draw additional patterns, but as you can see lots of colorful options are possible.
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How to Draw a Winter Tree

Winter brings bare trees, and the to chance study and draw them without any worries about leaves. I’ve posted my favorite method of drawing "Y Trees” before (click here) but this time it’s with a winter theme.
1. I drew a large “Y” just using a black oil pastel. Then I added more “Y”s on the branches until it was filled.
2. I made the trunk and middle branches thicker, ending with just points at the tips of all the branches.
3. I drew a horizon line with a blue pastel, and filled in the sky as solid as I could. The darker, the better.
4. After mixing up some watery white tempera paint, I used a brush to shake drops all over my picture. No flinging, just shaking up and down. Let dry flat before you pick up your masterpiece.
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How to Draw a Rooster

I’ve been trying to find a way to work roosters into an art class, and think this drawing in oil pastel will work well. The feathers look good with light sketchy lines and the red comb and wattle are easy to shade.
1. Have students very lightly sketch a center line on their paper in both directions just to use as a guide. The outline of the head is drawn.
2. The beak is added to the flat side of the head.
3. The comb is drawn on top.
4. The wattle and other details are added. When complete, all the lines are traced with a thick black permanent marker.
5. I colored my rooster with Portfolio® Oil Pastels, starting with a gold body, golden yellow beak and red comb and wattle. Sketchy lines were drawn on top with a medium brown pastel, and gray was added to the edge of the comb for shading. The background may be colored as desired.
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Chameleon Watercolor Painting

This first grader amazes me every week. While the rest of the class was doing variations of my rainbow and spotted sample art, he very quietly and deliberately painted his chameleon full of stripes. Not just a few, but all across the body and then more behind. What more can you ask for than to have students start with your idea, then run with it and make it their own?
1. I did a follow along drawing with students first, beginning with the chameleon head, then extended body, then curved tail. Legs and eyes and mouth were added.
2. All lines were traced with a Sharpie marker.
3. Students used Dick Blick liquid watercolors on watercolor paper. To make colors run together, they needed to overlap paint while it was still wet. Emil’s colors were pretty dry when he made stripes so they kept their clean edges.
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Radiating Valentine Card

This is a variation of another post called Fireworks Drawing, just using a heart as the center shape this time.
1. I used a 1 1/2" heart die cut to make lots of card stock paper hearts. Give each student three hearts and a folded piece of drawing paper to make a card. On the front, they are to arrange the three hearts in a way that pleases them, and then trace with a colored pencil.
2. The students are to then draw edges around the outside of each heart, always in a zig-zag or radiating fashion. They start by drawing 2 or 3 borders around each heart, and then choose which ones will fill up the background.

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Sitting Valentine Kids

I’m a sucker for personalized Valentines, and I’m guessing most parents are too. The most time intensive part of this project is getting every student’s face printed on a heavy sheet of paper, so I thought I’d post this idea a little early.
1. A black and white head should be about 1 1/2" tall and placed about 1/2" down from the top of a letter-size piece of card stock paper. I have the graphics software to print faces individually, but if you don’t you could always just cut and paste. If you photograph students in front of a white wall, it will help them see where to cut later on.
2. Students need to fold the paper in half to find the waist line, and then the bottom in half to find where the knees will fall. I believe it helps to draw the heart first, then the hands, and then connect arms to the shoulders. The bottom half of the body may be drawn however students wish, but the knees must be on the fold line and shoes almost touch the bottom of the paper. When the drawing is done, all lines are traced with a black marker.
3. The body is colored in with colored pencils and cut out carefully with scissors.
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How to Draw Cartoon Faces

The great thing about cartoon drawing is that it is simply meant to “suggest” things like eyes, nose, hair, etc. I have plans for a big comic book project with my students next week and feel that starting with some practice drawings like the above will help them stay on track and not get overly detailed. Here’s the steps I’ll lead them through to create a few quick characters before they begin their Comic Book Project. To copy, simply click on the image above, drag it to your desktop, open and print.
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How to Draw Chinese Lanterns

This year, the Chinese New Year starts on Monday, January 23rd. It is the most important event in the Chinese calendar and lots of paper lanterns are often hung for decorations. Their bright colors and tubular shape make for some great basic shading practice.
1. When drawing groups of three, it helps to draw the middle first to keep the art balanced. I started by drawing with the center lantern. Then I drew the top and bottom of the right lantern, making sure it was a bit lower on the page. The connecting zig-zag lines were added. The smallest left lantern was drawn in the same manner, just a little higher on the page. Drawing the lanterns progressively smaller as shown will give perspective to the drawing.
2. I traced all the lines with a permanent, chisel tip black marker.
3. To make a highlight in the center of each lantern, I heavily colored the middle section of each with a white pastel. Then I chose different pastel colors and blended the colors to make a graduated tint in the center of each. Finally, the background color was added.
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An Eye for Magritte

RenĂ© Magritte was a Belgian surrealist artist who became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images. He wanted to challenge viewers to think about what they were looking at and to ask themselves “What does this painting mean?”
1. Take an old CD and trace it in the center of an 8.5" x 11" paper. Add lines around the circle to turn it into an eye, including eyelashes.
2. Trace all the pencil lines with a black marker.
3. Draw an image inside the eye which reflects something you like to look at. This could be anything BUT the drawing of the inside of an eye. The more mysterious, the better! Color all the shapes with colored pencils.

CA Visual Art Standard: Grade Five
2.7 Communicate values, opinions, or personal insights through an original work of art.
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Landscape with Hatching Shading

Hatching is an artistic technique used to create tonal effects by drawing closely spaced parallel lines. A simple landscape drawing is a good place to practice this kind of shading.
1. I drew the outline of a house on a small piece of paper and added horizon lines and a curved road narrowing into the distance.
2. With the outline complete, I added hatching to the house with the lines following each contour. I then filled in the landscape and sky, changing the direction of the lines to give contrast to each element.

CA Visual Arts Standard: Grade 3
2.3 Paint or draw a landscape, seascape, or cityscape that shows the illusion of space.
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Clothespin Horse

Even though this little horse looks simple, it takes a bit of finessing to make the legs stand and to clip all the pieces together. Gluing in stages should help reduce any frustration.
1. I started with a couple of jumbo popsicle sticks and cut out two 3" strips. These were overlapped just a bit and glued together to make the belly.
2. Next I cut a round end about 2.5" long for the neck, and a strip about 1.5" long for the head. These two were glued together, and a little ear was added on top.
3. For the tail, I found some of the thinnest sticks and cut them with the grain to make some long irregular shapes.
4. Open the clothespins to clip onto the belly. Add the head in the front and tail sticks on the back. Glue all in place if you don’t want your horse to become a pile of sticks!

CA Visual Arts Standard: Grade One
2.5 Create a representational sculpture based on people, animals, or buildings.
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Oil Pastel Portraits – Modigliani Style

Amedeo Modigliani was famous for his elongated and elegant portraits, painted in Paris back in the early 1900s. Heads and necks were long and narrow, giving his subjects a very graceful look.
1. Starting with a 7" x 12" paper, I made light pencil marks approximately 1/3 down the center of the paper, and another third down again. To draw the head, I made an oval that filled up the top 2/3 of the paper. A neck filled the bottom third, along with curved shoulders.
2. At this point, you could remind students of the “normal” placement of features on a face, namely the eyes belong in the center of the head, and the mouth at the bottom 1/8". To make a Modigliani face, the eyes need to be above the center line, and the mouth extra close to the chin. I drew in a long nose in the space that was left. Hair and ears can be filled in as desired.
3. All the pencil lines are traced with a thin black marker, including a signature on the shirt.
4. Modigliani also used a lot of dark and rich colors, so students may be asked to follow that palatte.

CA Visuals Arts Standard: Creative Expression
2.2 Use the conventions of facial . . . proportions in a figure study.
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Finish the Picture

I’ve done a dozen variations of this project over the years, and always love how it both guides the student’s drawing and encourages creative thinking at the same time.
1. Students start by cutting out a small magazine picture, one that inspires them. They use a glue stick to attach it to a piece of watercolor paper.
2. The students “finish the picture” in pencil and then color it in with watercolor pencils. (Don’t get fooled by the cheap brand; the good ones like Prismacolor are like night and day.) Water is painted carefully over the colored areas, which turns the color into paint.
This amazing picture was created today a talented 5th grader.
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First Printmaking Project

I learned in my afterschool printmaking class, once again, that keeping things simple really helps when introducing young students to a new media.
1. I purchased some foam gingerbread men, knowing they would make great printmaking shapes. My prep work consisted of gluing one of these to the middle of a 9" x 12" chip board and letting it dry overnight.
2. During class time, students were given a brayer and access to many sheets of colored cardstock paper. I showed them how to evenly roll acrylic paint over their gingerbread man. A piece of paper was placed on top, rubbed a bit, and then lifted to reveal the print. The goal was to get 3 clear prints that had solid white figures on them with no holes or large blobs.
3. Our prints dried quickly, so after students printed at least 3, and cleaned up their area, they were able to go back and draw many details in their prints with oil pastels.
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Recycled Bottle Head Dress

This comes from Christopher L. Mitchell Photography in Haiti. That head dress is made from plastic bottles! In fact, I think all the headwear is...
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