Tag Archives: color

Consistency Pays Back

I organize my art studio with color. I mean Everything with a capital “E”. The markers, colored pencils, oil and chalk pastels, paper, paint. You name it.

Recently, a student came to me to ask if he could organize the paper scraps. “YES please!” He was finished with his art before the others and I was thrilled that he was interested in offering a helping hand over taking the time for free draw. But the best part of it all, is his strategy.

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Yes, it is organized by color! Without the slightest prompt, this is what he chose to do.

When have you witnessed your students sharing their knowledge without your prompting ?
Share those heart warming stories of pay back that we are so grateful for!

Are you interested in how I organize? Check out some ideas here.

Have a colorful day! -MJ

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Does a Color Wheel have to be a Circle? Nope!

Young artists were offered the challenge of designing and creating a color wheel that was anything but a wheel. View a few of the selected images below or click here to learn more about the process behind their unique creations.

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Have a colorful day!
-MJ

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The Falling Leaves: A Rekindled Love of Autumn

You can try and call my bluff but I can’t remember a year in my life where I have been so head over heels for the nature and colors that make up the autumn season. As a child, the fall meant the end of summer and the start of a new school year hence homework and high-anxiety Sunday nights; I think many can relate. This year, however, holds so much more.

After exiting my car in the early morning and walking through the concrete parking lot, my eyes are distracted by the intense colors that cover the ground. Vibrant reds, fire oranges, intense yellows and that shade of lime that strikes a cord in my heart, sprinkle the earth in pointy geometric shapes. I collect a large quantity and use them for art making and nature explorations in the classroom wherever it supports my curriculum.

Early Childhood artists have been observing the fall colors and singing about the actions they perform in nature during the autumn. I play the xylophone to a simple melody and sing a song I wrote that was inspired by my rekindled love of this colorful season. Children are mezmorized by the gentle high-pitched sound of this musical toy and easily follow along in song and hand gestures.

Listen to the leaves (rest) falling from the trees

                                 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5  they touch the ground                            (hands are held up high then slowly fall to the ground)

Yellow, orange, green (rest) red and brown

fall colors (rest) cover the ground

With the help of the collection of leaves I found earlier that morning, we have a visual, tangable resource to inspire our art. We discuss the colors and shapes we see and notice that not each leaf is the same shape. Some have three points, others have 5 and this one has, let’s count: 15! As a supporter of Inquiry-Based learning, my learning objectives are to challenge students to observe, analyze and make connections. Therefore, my questions do not have “yes” or “no” answers. Rather than ask “what shape is this leaf?” I ask “what do you notice about the shape of this leaf?”. This allows every student to feel comfortable to share their ideas and also opens up the discussion for an endless amount of creative possibilities.

I offer a limited palette when creating collage, painting, and drawing during these fall art explorations. Brown paper is the ground and the space where we collage our falling leaves. Colored tissue triangles are the leaves that are fragile and pointy. Yellow and Red can be mixed to recreate the various orange hues that dress the fall leaves and are painted with patterns that mimic the motion of leaves touching the ground. Oil pastels can illustrate the falling leaves. I make an effort to ask the students about the shapes and lines I notice in their compositions and write their direct quote in small, neat pencil at the bottom of their drawing. The product is not my concern, rather a positive experience with the art process and the connection they make to the content determines my material choice and activity structure. Once you have an objective in mind (a goal for what you want students to learn and become aware of), format and plan your learning experiences to achieve your goal.

Elementary artists are introduced to contour drawing with the help of the various types of leaves I collect that morning. Note that leaves don’t last longer than a day inside so my collections were frequent and fresh for each art experience (if time is on your side, a quick trip outside will allow students to scan the local harvest and choose a selection of inspiring material). Students carefully observe the curves, dips and sharp angles that form the edges of the soft delicate forms and use black felt-tip pens to draw their observations. Students soon noticed the texture found on the underside of the leaves and inquired about what they saw. We discussed how veins bring nutrients to all areas of a leaf’s surface and made a connection to the veins in our own bodies and discussed how they carry blood and oxygen to every part of our body. Texture was further explored through leaf prints using black ink on white paper. Students discovered so much more about the details and patterns found in leaves when they observed the textures that the process of relief printing offered to the naked eye.

What other material would be able to display the textures found in a leaf? Students pressed leaves into clay with the help of a rolling pin and carefully lifted the pointed subject. A beautiful impression was left in the clay and students were motivated to use a clay knife to follow the contours of the leaf and cut out its elaborate shape. Colored underglazes can be used after a bisque firing to make these hard-to-see details more prominent. See the link for clay relief below. At the end of the class period, students had made at least three clay reliefs and joined them together to form a fall inspired sculptural work of art.

Are you inspired to bring nature inside for a creative artmaking experience? If so, view the list below for a selection of engaging and meaningful hands on learning.

Autumn Inspired Art Experiences (and the necessary materials)

Leaf printing (ink, brayer, paper)

Contour Leaf Drawing (any drawing material, paper)

Leaf rubbings (crayon, oil pastel, chalk pastel, paper)

Leaf prints in clay (clay, rolling pin, clay knives, colored underglaze, clear gloss glaze) learn more here.

Leaf collage (liquid glue, paper, be sure to vary the size and shape of leaves, literary resource: Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert)

And if you crave direct contact with a human being to answer your questions, as do I, feel free to email me anytime at sunporchartstudio@gmail.com .

Have a crisp, cool, windy yet COLORFUL day! (and why not finish it off with a mug of hot cider)

-MJ

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Hello Oils. I love you.

I did it. I set up shop last night and hung out with my palette knife. We are best buds. Completed in the AM today, this dahlia inspired floral portrait is dressed in various green hues with hints of warm and cool patches, just like the ocean’s current.My painting session consisted of Gerry Rafferty Radio on Pandora, delicious colors that felt like butter while mixing and an ice cold martini. Thanks, Nicky.

Gotta love Gamblin’s Transparent Orange. I use it as an intense under painting color and it stuns the eye in details. Here is my floral work in progress. By mid session it reminded me of Blanche’s bedspread in Golden Girls. No Joke. Not good. Had to work on my palette choices. Can you sense the GG’s? or Miami Beach? Well, it is what it is.

Have you painted lately? What colors live on your palette these days?

Thank you for being a friend. -MJ

 

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Organizing with COLOR

markers organized by hue and temperature

The local thrift store in my neighborhood organizes their articles of clothing by type and by COLOR. This method of categorization is what excites my senses and motivates me to search, touch and discover great finds. But this is not the first time I have seen this done, for it is an imperative attribute of the display of materials at the infant and toddler schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy. I had the opportunity to experience being in their classrooms and have learned that the Reggio approach believes that the learning environment is the third teacher and the organization of materials plays a crucial part in engaging students in art making. To learn more about the Reggio approach to teaching, click here.

beautifully organized wooden materials at Beginnings Nursery

To promote self-service, the materials in my art studio are always available to students and on display on the counter tops. Markers, colored pencils, oil pastels and water color pencils are organized by hue and temperature. Students use trays to collect their color choices as well as scissors and glue at their leisure when they need them. We take the time to discuss how materials can be used mindfully and respectfully and how we can practice responsibility during clean up by placing every tool back in their “home base”.

oil pastels organized by temperature

The material display is eye-catching and inspiring. When objects are organized by color, I can’t help but want to TOUCH! Promoting student engagement and a desire to explore is my goal as an art teacher and maintaining a welcoming work environment will help achieve that goal. When a space is cluttered, our minds can easily become cluttered. Children will feel safe and eager to explore in a planned, clean space.

bins labeled by hue and temperature through text and color swatches

Using text and visuals together in a label or message display helps children to make connections between words and images. Every picture tells a story, don’t it?

Do you enjoy organizing? What have been some successful and/or aesthetically pleasing ways you have designed a space?

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13 color shots

a selection of eye candy that tickles my fancy and may do the same jazz for you.

i. love. colors. what makes you smile?

description of images from top to bottom: 1. box o’ colored pencils 2. hand painted table 3. collaged star made from hand painted tissue papers 4. patrick’s birthday card 5. watercolor fun with shannon timoney photography 6. collaged squares from blueschool.org 7. hand painted plates for john and eleana 8. new years postcards 9. refurbished oil pastel bits 9. the joy of painting 10. texture relief prints 11. crayon love 12. more new years postcards 13. oil painting feels like spreading pigmented butter. yum.

thanks for viewing. have a colorful day. -MJ

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Making Hand Painted Papers @ Art Engine

Ever wonder how art teachers are able to facilitate magic making in the studio? The answer is everywhere at the recently published site, Art Engine. It is an online archive of meaningful art experiences for children. Basically, it is an art teaching collaborative that publishes weekly posts of art lessons and makes it super simple for a teacher or caregiver to search by category, theme or art material. I have shared a quick look into a hand painted paper making activity that was recently featured at Art Engine. The complete art activity with a motivation, lesson developement and material list can be found at Art Engine.

In Hand Painted Papers, Art Engine offers a tutorial on how to make vibrantly colored papers for collage by painting tissue paper. The post shares insight into adding a small amount of white to increase the opacity of the mixture for maximum boldness. Successes for paint set up and process is shared as well as a motivation to begin the lesson and inspire students to think and work like painters. Using tempera paint mixtures of various colors, use a gentle brush to cover the entire sheet of  8×10 inch white tissue paper. Use a new sheet for each new color. After the tissues sheets have dried, add textures with printing tools to the dry solid sheets in new colors that are darker or made lighter with white. You may be fearful that the tissue is too thin and may not hold up to a moving brush, but it rarely tears. The thin, pliable quality of the tissue makes it easy to cut and glue down to the surface. Modge Podge or any adhesive plus gloss/matte medium product works best for collaging hand painted tissue because the paper is so thin. Have students coat the area where they want to glue first then place the tissue over it and paint on top as well. A glossy adhesive like Modge Podge creates a clear stunning finish when applied over the collage. Art Engine suggests having students collage over foamcore stars as well as on paper.

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