Saturday, January 29, 2011

Clowning around

You need:
  1. coloured construction paper 32 by 23 cm
  2. white drawing paper A5 size
  3. oil pastels
  4. scissors
  5. glue
  6. tempera paint

Look at pictures of clowns on the digiboard and talk about how they recognize a clown.

Give each student a coloured construction paper and a white sheet of A5 size. Let them cut the corners of the white sheet, and let them paste this clown's face on the coloured sheet. Draw a clown using oil pastels: eyes, nose, mouth, hair, hat, bow etc. Colour the different parts with oil pastels. Outline everything with black.

Use toilet rolls and tempera paint to stamp coloured circles around the clown. Hang them all together on the bulletin board: ready for carnival!

Artworks made by students of grade 2

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Abstract relief

You need:

  1. piece of grey cardboard 18 by 24 cm (cereal box)
  2. tissue paper
  3. wood glue
  4. several zijdevloeipapier
  5. houtlijm
  6. various free materials like rope, pasta, shells, sticks, buttons, etc.
  7. varnish
  8. coloured cardboard for frame

Look at the painting Catalan landscape of Joan Miró (Google pictures). Discuss what is on this painting, what things are definable and which are not. Explain the difference between realistic and abstract.

Tell the students they are going to make an abstract relief. Students make a composition of different items on their grey cardboard. They have to make a horizon line at least. Paste the different items with glue. Don't paste the items too close together and make sure it is not too full.

When the composition is ready, bring wood glue on all items and the cardboard. Cover everything with tissue paper. Push the paper firmly against the pasted items to make the tissue paper crumple. Here and there the paper will rip, so paste multiple layers of the same colour paper.

Finish with a layer of wood glue or wait until the artwork has dried and then apply a layer of varnish. Paste the artwork on a coloured background.

All artworks are made by students grade 3

Thanks to Ann de Naegel and her students.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

In the style of René Magritte (2)

Made by Tyra, grade 6
You need:
  1. white drawing sheet A4 size

  2. aquarelle pencils

  3. jar with water

  4. brush

  5. fine black marker

Rene Magritte is born in 1898 in Belgium. When Magritte is 13 years old, his mother commits suicide. She jumps in the river Samber and is found with her dress covering her face. This image has been suggested as the source of several paintings from Magritte: people hiding their faces with several objects.

In 1924 Magritte became friends with members of a surrealism group in Brussels: André Breton, Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí. These artists influence Magritte's work. In the end Magritte became famous with surrealistic paintings.

Magritte gave his paintings a realistic effect of surrealism. He painted simple objects, like a shoe, an apple, a pipe or a tree. Magritte took these things out of their ordinary environment and placed them in a special surrounding.

One of Magritte's most famous works is "La Trahison des Images" (The Treachery of Images). This is a very realistic painting from a pipe, with the text: Ceci n'est pas une pipe (This is not a pipe). The painting is not a pipe, but rather an image of a pipe. As Magritte himself commented: "The famous pipe. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it's just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture 'This is a pipe,' I'd have been lying!" By putting us constantly on the wrong track, Magritte forces us to think about art. Magritte thought it the task of an artist to place reality in a different context.

Links: Magritte museum, Brussel See also the other lesson In the style of René Magritte (1) on this blog.

Made by Debbie, grade 6
Students draw a part of a man or woman, from about chest height. Like Magritte, we see no face. And, like Magritte, the person has something on his head. In stead of the face, students draw an object of their choice. The drawing, person and background, has to be coloured with aquarelle pencils. Use water and a brush to create the effect of aquarel paint. Wait until the artwork is dry and outline everything with a fine marker.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Foreshortening fun

You need:
  1. white drawing sheet A4 size
  2. colour pencils
  3. coloured paper for background

Sneakers have beautiful soles; sometimes the soles better than the shoes themselves! This art lesson is about foreshortening, soles and the inside of hands.
Foreshortening occurs when an object appears compressed when seen from a particular viewpoint, and the effect of perspective causes distortion. Foreshortening is a particularly effective artistic device, used to give the impression of three-dimensional volume and create drama in a picture.

Tell students a story about a scary monster. "Imagine a terrible scary monster approaching you. The monster is much bigger than you and is running fast. You are scared and your try to run backwards. This does not work and you fall. The monster leans over you and you try to ward off with your hands .... "

Students draw the bottoms of the shoes on about the half of the drawing sheet. Then they draw their hands, overlapping the tops of the shoes. They drew their head in between the hands, and add their body. The arms need to be drawn directly to the hands, and the legs have to be drawn to the bottoms of the shoes. Students draw details on the shoe bottoms, and lines on their hands.

Use colour pencils to colour the drawing. When finished, paste it on a coloured background.

All artworks are made by students of grade 5

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Searching for the chameleon

You need:

  1. white drawing sheet A4 size
  2. oil pastels
  3. scissors
  4. small pieces of foam
  5. double sided tape
Start the lesson with this poem about a chameleon.


Has anyone seen my chameleon this morning?
He has to be hiding somewhere.
He asked me if we could play hide-and-go-seek,
and then disappeared into thin air.
I've looked high and low in the yard and the house
and it seems like he's nowhere around.
He's probably hiding right out in the open
but doesn't yet want to be found.
I'm guessing he looks like a leaf on a bush
or the back of a sofa or chair.
He could be disguised as a book or a bagel.
Regardless, I don't think it's fair.
If you come across my chameleon, please tell him
I give up. He beat me today.
He's clearly the champion at hiding so, next time,
it's my turn to pick what we play.
Kenn Nesbitt
Draw shapes of your choice on the sheet. Leave about 1 cm white between the shapes. Colour them with three or four different colours of oil pastels.

Draw a chameleon on another sheet and colour it the same way as the first sheet: coloured shapes with one cm white between them. Cut it out with a one cm white around it. Use small pieces of foam and double side tape to paste the chameleon on the background. The chameleon will be slightly higher.


All artworks are made by students of grade 6

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Colourful cows, like Peter Diem

You need:

  1. white painting sheet A3 size or a canvas
  2. acrylic paint
  3. brushes
  4. jar with water
  5. paper towels

Peter Diem (1945) is a Dutch painter. Diem, born from a Dutch father and a German mother, came in Amsterdam at the age of 3. He had a difficult childhood in which the people of Amsterdam showed they were not charmed by Germans so soon after the Second World War. After highschool Diem went to a school for graphic design to study graphic work. Through several European countries Diem landed in the 70's in the USA, where he married and had children. Halfway through the 90's he returned to the Netherlands and settled with his Diem Museum on the Prinsengracht Amsterdam.

Diem is inspired by the CoBrA Group ( a group of artists from Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam - see also my lesson about CoBrA artist Corneille). His style is abstract and expressive. He brings the paint thick on the canvas, sometimes directly from the tube. With brush, knife and fingers the bright coloured paint is spread across the canvas. 'Diem paints like a tornado, he lives his art'. Themes in his work are flying cows, Napoleon, Africa and Ernest Hemingway.

Show artwork of Diem on the digital board. Pictures are to be found on Diem's website or use the Google picture viewer and look for Peter Diem. Discuss Diem's work:

  • subject, Diem paints often cows
  • use of bright colours
  • simplicity of the image
  • thick black contour lines
  • no white spots anymore
  • the cow is full screen
Show students how to draw a simplified cow, by drawing a cow on the digital board (click on the picture to enlarge). Let the children draw a picture of a simple cow. They have to sketch thin, without drawing many details. The cow has to be painted with acrylic paint, considering the features of Diem's work. Paint a background. Outline the cow with black paint and a small brush. This will also eliminate the unevenness. And of course the work has to be signed, just like Diem does!

All artworks are made by students grade 5

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Egg carton head

Made by Tristan, grade 4

You need:

  1. cardboard A3 size, black or brown
  2. egg cartons
  3. scissors
  4. glue

Bring some things with an obvious texture: a piece of wood, stone, glass, a knitted sweater, carpet etc. Let the children feel and express what they feel. Show them with a flashlight (shine directly or indirectly) that texture can be soon also.

Give each student two egg cartons and a piece of cardboard. Students have to make a head of the egg cartons, using the different textures of the material. The inside of the carton feels different as the outside.

Slide the pieces (torn or cut) on the cardboard until you have a good composition. Paste everything securely, taking care to minimize the black or brown carton shown in the face.

Stamped snowmen

You need:

  1. coloured construction paper A3 size
  2. white and black tempera
  3. saucer
  4. brush
  5. wine bottle corks

Give all students a sheet of coloured construction paper. Give a saucer with white paint and a little black paint for every two students. Children have to use a cork to stamp a snowman. Knots, eyes and mouth have to be made by finger printing. Only a hat or broom may be painted with a brush.

By students of grade 1

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Artist Trading Cards

Some weeks before Christmas, I was contacted by Amy Baldwin, art teacher at St. Pauls Lutheran School in Millington (Michigan). She wrote me she was a fan of my weblog. We emailed for a while, wondering if we could do a little project together. I read about exchanging ATC's on many art blogs, so I proposed to let our students make those little cards for eachother. This seemed to her very nice, so we got started!

Amy's students made ATC's for my students, my Dutch students did the same for hers.
A couple of days before Christmas I sent an envelope filled with 50 ATC's of my 23 students to Millington.

Yesterday we received the big envelope, full of ATC's! How exciting for my students to get those beautiful cards from the other side of the world! They admired the cards and were surprised about the Dutch words on some of them. Thank you very much Amy and thank you all, St. Paul's students!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Stuffed animal

You need:

  1. white or coloured drawing sheet A4 size
  2. chalk pastel
  3. pencil
  4. hairspray
  5. stuffed animal

Ask students to take their favourite stuffed animal for this lesson. Let them choose their own drawing sheet. In my class students had to choose from grey, brown or white.

Tell students how to work with chalk pastel: you have to colour lightly and then smudge the chalk with your fingers. Don't produce to much powder, because you won't be able to smudge it away anymore. Vary with colours; you may use two colours and smudge them together. Tell students about light and show them lighter and darker parts of the stuffed animals. Use white chalk to lighten up parts of the stuffed animal, and black chalk to darken colours and make shadows.

Draw a horizon line and sketch your stuffed animal lightly with a pencil. Colour it with chalk pastel. Chalk pastel will emphasize the softness of the animal. Create a background and colour it completely. Use hairspray to fixate the chalk and paste the work on a coloured background.

All artworks are made by students of grade 6.