Archive | April, 2012

Andy Goldsworthy – Art in Nature, using found and natural objects

24 Apr

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slideshow of kids nature art

Objective: To introduce the works of naturalist artist Andy Goldsworthy, and to create art using natural elements in and around the school, after which their art will be photographed


**MAKE SURE YOU’VE TOLD THE TEACHER THAT YOU’LL BE OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM FOR THE ART EXPERIENCE. Maybe scope out with teacher a suitable outside area to scavenge/set up the art.

Ask the students if they have ever made a sand castle or drawn designs in the sand? Have they ever made a snowman or snow angel? Sometimes creating art is very much like playing and exploring. Many artists are inspired by the beauty in nature: the colors, lines, shapes, textures and compositions. Some artists use paint or clay as their medium to make art; others, like Andy Goldsworthy, use nature itself.

“I enjoy the freedom of just using my hands and “found” tools – a sharp stone, the quill of a feather, thorns. I take the opportunities each day offers: if it is snowing, I work with snow, at leaf-fall it will be with leaves; a blown-over tree becomes a source of twigs and branches. I stop at a place or pick up a material because I feel that there is something to be discovered. Here is where I can learn.” -Andy Goldsworthy

This is also a great lesson to use to introduce a few elements of art: composition (the way the artist chooses to arrange his subject), balance, and color. Ask the kids, as you show the slides, what they notice about how Andy Goldsworthy uses color, composition, and balance. (Look for contrast in colors – compositions all seemed very balanced – lots of circles, or patterns that looked like they were inspired by nature).

Show power point slides of Andy Goldsworthy’s work.

If roaming the school grounds for materials: Have the students pair up in groups of three or four. Take the students outside. Have them gather natural materials that are visually appealing. Look for different colors and different size leaves, rocks, sticks, dirt, etc.

If AD’s have collected their own materials, go to a central area where kids can spread out enough to have a space that is their own.

Have the students create an arrangement out of the natural things they have found. Take close up pictures of their completed work, with written name on white strip of paper near piece for identification.

Element/Principles of Art: Texture, Color, Shape, Balance

Vocabulary: Environmental Art: site specific work in the landscape using nature itself as a “found object”, as both subject and raw material. Composition: the way an artist chooses to arrange subject.


Start early gathering a variety of materials to have on hand:

All colors of beans and dried green peas, Birdseed, Sand

Pea gravel or other larger amounts of small to medium rocks

Leaves – fall or evergreen

Colorful petals or flower heads (dandelions ok), Grass fronds (ornamental grass trimmings)

Seed heads from the fall, Twigs – any shape or size (cool mosses on them all the better)

clumps of moss, Beach glass, Shells, Small pinecones, Berries

• Bowls to carry their items

• White strips of paper for kid’s names – will put next to art piece before photo taken.

• Digital camera to take pictures of final finished pieces before clean-up

Print used:

Book on Andy Goldsworthy’s work, plus Scholastic Art April/May 2005 issue

Conclusion: This was the most fun I have had at a lesson. And I’ve had some fun over the years. The kids LOVED being outside, they connected with nature, found their own creative way to express their form of art and in the end understood that this style of art is temporary. They enjoyed what the created and were ok when it was swept up. Beautiful pictures were taken as memories of a fun afternoon.

Art Docent: Marcie Guthrie and Jim Bargfrede
Lesson Title: Andy Goldsworthy – Art in Nature
Room 7, 3rd Grade, Ms. Saltsman


Batik and the wax resist technique

12 Apr


The second graders in Bungalow 3 explored the ancient art of Batik and the artistic process of wax-resist dying. Batik is a form of fabric dying that has been widely used in India, Southeast Asia and even Africa for millennia. Batik artists use a tool to apply melted wax to fabric in various intricate designs. The fabrics are then dipped in dye, allowed to dry and the wax is removed. The dye does not stick to the fabric where the wax had been and thus creates a design.

You will need:

Watercolor paper
White crayons
Food Coloring Dye
Kosher Salt
Thick Paint Brushes


1. Using the crayon, draw a simple (not complex) design on the watercolor paper. The thicker the lines of the drawing are, the better the design will show through.

2. Using the paintbrush, apply water to the entire piece of paper. Be thoughtful: not too much, not too little.

3. Drip food coloring in small splashes around the paper, and using the straw, blow on the dye, allowing it to spread over the paper. You will see the simple design begin to show through. See how different dye colors blend together to make other colors.

4. Once your color is the way you like it, sprinkle salt over the entire picture. This creates an interesting texture. Experiment with more salt here and less salt there.

5. Let paper dry overnight. When dry, dust off remaining salt.

Closing Comments: This is a quick, fun project that had all of the kids really excited and looking to do more at home. It can be a bit messy, so be sure to have plenty of wipes and paper towels available. We found it worked best to put the paper into trays that could accommodate any extra spillage.

Lesson Title: Batik and the Wax Resist Technique
Room#, Grade, Teacher: B3, Second Grade, Mrs. Ware
Docent/s: Kelley Hofmann, Margaret Bagshaw
Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: Wax Resist, Simple vs. Complex Design, Color Theory

Seurat Pointillism

1 Apr

Georges Seurat lived from 1859-1891. He was a French post-impressionist painter who devised a technique of painting called Pointilism.

Seurat grew up in a wealthy family in Paris and went to the Ecole des Beaux Arts from 1878-79. His first major painting, Bathers at Asnieres, was rejected by the Paris Salon. Seurat joined the independent artists and they formed their own society in 1884. Seurat spent the next two years painting one of his most famous pieces, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte.

Meanwhile scientists were studying color, optical effects, and perception. They noticed that two colors next to each other slightly overlappIng had the effect of another color when viewed from a distance. This is what Pointilism is based on.

Seurat believed that painters could use color to create harmony and emotion in art. Gaiety was shown with warm colors and lines sweeping upward. Calm was depicted by a balance of light and dark colors and horizontal lines. Sadness was shown with dark or cold colors and lines pointing down.

For the lesson, I reviewed slides of Seurat’s artwork and we discussed the emotion depicted in each one. Then we used the theme of space/planets/rockets for the project. I had the kids sketch out their picture in pencil. Then they used q-tips dipped in tempera paint and made dots of color. We had 6 colors on each table for the students to share: red, yellow, blue, green, black and white. When the first color dried, the students could put other colors nearby to form the picture.

Name: Susan Goodall
Lesson Title: Seurat Pointillism
Room#, Grade, Teacher: 5, 1st, Guerrero
Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: Georges Seurat/ French Post-Impressionism/ Pointilism
Closing Comments: