Saturday, July 26, 2014
For several summers I have taught art to middle school age children at the Hoff-Barthelson Summer Arts Program in Scarsdale, NY. One of the art projects the children enjoy and look forward to is creating a mural. Often children are working independently on art projects, so I like to give students the opportunity to work together on a class project. I think collaborating with others is very important for children to experience. The theme is the HB summer arts program. We begin by brainstorming, which is a great way for children to get their ideas across. All ideas are valuable and given thoughtful consideration. I guide the students as we go so that decisions are made, and the group agrees on a final layout of the mural. Then I discuss with the children how they will execute their ideas. I stress that they should think outside the box and use new art techniques and materials. The mural above incorporated sponging, sand in the paint to create texture (grass), pasta for the pine tree and foam shapes for the leaves on the tree. Cardboard was used for some of the elements to create dimension and break the plane of the paper. I introduced the children to dry brush, which was used on the tree (bark texture) and the roof of the house (shingle look). The idea for the plane flying over the school came from a boy, who had just been at the beach where he saw a plane with an advertisement on a banner. One child contributed the idea of putting themselves in the mural. Then another child chimed in that they should put themselves in the windows. Everyone made their own self portraits. The children enjoyed spending time getting themselves to look just right. The mural took four days to complete. I made sure that each child made a contribution, so it was fair.
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
This mosaic project was inspired by a bag of leftover red kidney beans. The students in my summer art class used recycled red kidney beans along with an assortment of colored beans, pasta, tiles, and gems to create mosaics. I suggested they create a design that was very open (not a lot of details), but they decided what their mosaic would be - either something real or imaginary. Designs ranged from smiley faces, to Kermit the Frog, to a strawberry. The tree (pictured above) has a very ethereal feeling and may be more imaginary than real. A background made-up of blue-green pasta gives the mosaic (above right) dimension. The students patiently placed the elements down. One girl broke the pasta into smaller pieces (Strawberry) so that it would lay flat. Another girl spent several class periods gluing rows of green and yellow peas for the background of her cat mosaic. Looking around the classroom at the completed mosaics I was really impressed. I saw a wide range of designs that were executed with great attention to detail and care. It felt good knowing that materials in the classroom that had been used for other projects were being repurposed in new and exciting ways.