We could make "prettier" art.
Our instructors could design out an already-balanced composition, pick out the colors that we know go best together, and outline each step exactly for our our artists to follow.
And the art might look prettier.
But our objective is NOT to see how well they can execute the teacher's instruction.
And in the end, THIS IS ALL THEM.
Could I make it prettier? Probably.
Could I make it better? I don't think so.
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The result from these bubble prints is a delicate lacy pattern (see above). The fish print was done in a second step using printing foam; we'll get a blog post written about that step next week!
The best part is seeing how BIG you can get your bubbles to grow!
It's a little bit science, a little bit art (and a little bit of soapy-mess)...and a whole lot of fun!
If you want to make these bubble prints at home, we've put together a short tutorial for you that appeared first on our facebook page.
After your bubble prints dry, you can cut or tear them to use them in collages or use them as backgrounds for more drawings, paintings, and prints. In our next post, we'll show you how we made our glittery fishy prints to go along with the story, Rainbow Fish. Stay tuned!
More Bubble Activities:
This is one of my favorite projects that we've done during our mixed media month! Admittedly, I'm a sucker for a good self portrait project, especially one that allows our teens and pre-teens to do some reflecting on what makes them unique AND avoids the anxiety that comes from telling them they are going the have to draw their own face.
This project incorporates the art form of a selfie and photo filters instead of drawing and painting, so it's perfect for our older artists who are already super familiar with the technology!
Step One: Prepping the photos
We've learned that our inkjet office printer doesn't print on transparencies well--they are wet and smudge really easily--so we always have them printed at Office Depot.
Step 2: Create the collage
Once they've got a good collection going, they can start laying the pieces out on their canvas. Here's where it's a good idea to have your photo transparency handy. We tell our artists to make sure that their favorite collage pieces lay underneath the negative space on the transparency.
Step 3: Assembling and finishing
If you need a great self portrait project, or a unique mixed media project, I encourage you to give this one a try!
Unique Self Portrait Art Projects
Ideas from other brilliant teaches and students:
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Once they were done, we stapled them to cardboard tubes so they could stand up.
Since this was a process art invitation, there's very little work on our part. All we had to do was set out the supplies and facilitate the dialogue!
Before class started, we traced a template and cut our paper dolls from heavy white paper (get our template here). If you're not up for cutting out your own, or if you REALLY need a lot of them, you can always purchase a pre-cut pad of blank doll figures (check out these ones).
Other supplies that you could use: washi tape, googly eyes, yarn, ribbon, fabric scraps, etc.
Our kiddos pretty much dove right in with very little hesitation or need for direction. But our students visit the studio weekly and are used to these types of process art invitations (In other words, they've learned not to ask, "what are we supposed to do?" because they know they are just going to get a smile and a shrug from their instructors!)
If your students are having a hard time getting started, here are some conversation starters:
Try not to let them get hung up on the perfect shape of a shirt or the perfect shape of a shoe. Rectangles make great shoes. Torn bits of paper layered together will be a wonderfully unique shirt.
Do you see the doll on the left with the big smile and pointy teeth? He's dressed in a dinosaur costume. The mask is folds down to reveal the human face underneath. How amazing is that?!
I hope you try this out with your artists at home or in your classroom. Let me know how it goes for you!
More Figure & Portraiture Art Activities
Art History Matters
Our preschool classes have a monthly Art History focus that goes along with the art concept that we're learning and the stories that we're reading. When we're studying CONTRAST (the difference between black and white, shadow and highlight)d in January, we look at VanGogh's Starry Night and we read the books Flashlight and Where the Wild Things Are. We don't look at VanGogh's Sunflowers because they don't fit into our curriculum. Don't feel like you have to teach the entire breadth of an artists' work or the entire art movement; it's okay to simplify it.
It's also important to note that our lessons and our activities that follow are PROCESS ART. It's never about the product that is created, but rather the learning that took place in the process. When we're learning about Seurat and then offer an invitation to try pointillism by making fingerprints on giant stamp pads, it's perfectly acceptable for our artists to make handprints instead. Or even foot prints. Our art invitations are just that--invitations. It doesn't mean that the lesson was a failure or that they don't understand Seurat's art. Maybe our artists just really, really needed to feel their whole hand on that stamp pad.
Our Top 10 Favorite Famous Artists to Teach Kids
Additional Preschool Resources
We hope that our Top 10 gets you thinking about YOUR Top 10 list. And inspires you to incorporate some art history into you ABCs, colors, and shapes lesson. There are so many tie-ins between famous artists and famous paintings that you can use in the preschool classroom. Happy teaching!
I thought it would be fun to go live on facebook and share some watercolor painting with you today!
I'm going to be painting with three different types of watercolor-ish paints (okay, the last one is technically an acrylic ink, but it's my favorite!). I hope you enjoy this little heart tutorial!
Process Art is not about us. It's about them.
TIP #1: Set the expections up front
At the beginning on the year, send home a flyer about the types of activities you'll be doing in your room and WHY. If you need a template to get you started, I've got you. Click here to download a one-page document that you can personalize for your class.
TIP #2: Take pictures
Capturing the actual creation will help parents to visualize what exactly happened. Video is even better. See how focused they are? See how they are smiling?
TIP #3: Stop sending the art home
Stop worrying about HAVING something to send home. It's okay if they don't take something home. If the process is what really matters, the product created isn't needed as proof. Don't feel like you need to keep everything. Often times in our art centers, those small quarter sheets of paper get used and left there, with no name or way of knowing who it belongs to. We usually pile them all up and save them until the end of the day JUST IN CASE someone comes back for it. If not, it get's thrown away. If the kids don't care, why should you?
TIP #4: Make collaborative art instead
Giant collaborative art is wonderful for the classroom because it's easier to prepare, uses fewer resources, and encourages communication skills between students. Plus, when the art stays in the classroom, it can be revisited over and over (and none of the parents have to figure out what to do with the day's art.)
TIP #5: Document what the children say about their art
Write a note quoting the child's explanation of their art. Drawing for preschoolers is more about communication than it is about making something pretty. This way parents can continue the conversation at home.
I hope that those tips are helpful. What's your best tip for advocating for more PROCESS ART in the preschool classroom? I'd love to know!
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More Process Art for Preschoolers
I love cutting paper snowflakes. It's one of my favorite winter-y art activities to do with the kids during down time. Today, on facebook, I'm sharing three quick tips that you can incorporate to take your snowflake cutting from beginner to advanced.
It's that simple. Not a fancy template you have to download or some crazy pattern to follow. Just some general guidelines to take your paper snowflakes from beginner to advanced. Happy creating!
More Snow Art Resources:
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I adore these homemade, paint-printed valentines with metallic gold details. They are made using gel printing plates from Gelli Arts and the result is a layered, textured, one-of-a-kind Valentine. I hope you enjoy the tutorial below!
Printmaking Valentine Tutorial
We started by picking a color scheme. We opted for coral, magenta, turquoise, and white knowing that the gold sharpie would be the perfect finishing touch. Gelli plates work best by layering pattern and colors, using masks each time you print so that the bottom layers peak through.
To make the masks, we cut hearts from the white drawing paper, making sure to keep both the positive hearts AND the negative mask. Both will be useful!
Since each layer has to dry a bit in between, we started by printing the bottom layer on all six cards. (You can work on one card at a time if you'd rather.) Each card was prepped with a center circle mask taped in place. Some backgrounds were gradients. Some were patterns. Some where solids.
Leaving the white circle in place on every card, we continued to the second layer. This is really something that ONLY makes sense if you play around with it! By placing a heart on a painted gelli plate, you allow the bottom layer to peak through on the card (in the shape of a heart). Conversely, but placing the negative mask on a painted gelli plate, you print the positive heart onto your card. Whew. Brainteaser.
You can do as many layers you want. Just keep adding patterns and masks to create depth to your prints. Use the q-tip to doodle a pattern into the paint before you print. Wipe your gelli plates off in between paint colors, especially if they are complimentary, so you don't end up with brown!
For the final touch, we removed all of our masks and added gold detailing and lettering.
Since the heart masks are so textured and gorgeous, we decided that they needed to be saved! So, we used glue to collage a few on our final cards.
If you want, you can also add a varnish on top of the paint to create a glossy shine to your finished card. Be sure to let it dry COMPLETELY before putting in envelope!
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More Valentines Day Arts & Crafts Activities
More Printmaking Art Activities
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Host Your Own Fairy Camp
We begin with a look at architecture. We look at photos of different houses and discuss what we see. We talk about windows and window frames. Types of siding. Types of roofs (rooves?). We notice trim. And gutters. And eaves. Only after we've OBSERVED the world around us, we can begin to create.
We use these little wooden birdhouses. They come in different sizes and I feel like over the past six years, we've used them all! Most recently, we used these ones. They are only about 1.5 inches high and are perfect for fairies! Plus, they fit really nicely on our saucers and leave plenty of "yard."
Our artists use sharpie markers to add architectural details onto their fairy house. If we have a particularly young crowd, we usually discuss the difference between DRAWING and COLORING before we had out the sharpies. We're going to be painting these with watercolors, so DRAWING is all we need here. Not coloring.
Our favorite paints are liquid watercolors. And our favorite liquid watercolor for this is Colorations GLITTER Liquid Watercolor. Because it's washable. And it has glitter. Duh.
The liquid watercolor is perfect to stain the wood a beautiful, sparkling, rainbow of color while still allowing for all the sharpie details to show through. Bonus: it drys really quickly.
Once the houses are dry, we invite the artists to glue even more details onto their wooden houses. These details could really be anything you have laying around the craft closet, but OUR favorites are sequins, faux flowers, and gemstones. You could use regular glue or modpodge for this, but hot glue is the real winner. (Yes, we let our 4-5's use low temp hot glue guns. It's something we're pretty proud of. But that's another blog post for another time.)
The video below show our artists hard at work on this step. We also offered glue and glitter shakers at this camp. :)
Our artists create gardens for their houses using a terra cotta plant saucer. The gardens are made from moss, glass gems, and faux flowers. Some of our older artists use popiscle sticks to construct bridges and fences.
If we have an older crowd it's fun to just put out a variety of supplies to see what they can come up with. Things like twine, ribbons, cardboard, washers, buttons, thread spools, sea shells, and toothpicks make for wonderful tinkering materials. Again hot glue is your friend. In longer classes, we've even put out the polymer clay so kids can sculpt miniature forrest animals and tiny home funishings.
Once the garden is done, we add the houses and the fairies. Our "fairies" are battery-powered led lights. They are the perfect size for placing inside the tiny houses. (Tip: Tie a string to little loop on the light if you want to be able to get it back out of your house easily to turn it off.)
Enjoy this video of Miss Sara introducing our artists to the fairy:
When the fairies are inside the houses, they make a perfect little night light!
So, there you have it! Our guide to a successful and artful fairy house class, camp, or group project. Of course, you could do this with just one kiddo too, but we love the creative energy of a group.
If you get a chance to try it out, send me some pictures or tag me on social media, okay? I'd love to see!
Content inspired by the artists and art created in our studio.
Orange Easel began as a small art studio in my basement and continues to grow and serve our community. Read more about our story here.