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Suminagashi Monoprints – Marbling Paper

29 May

The best way to describe this lesson is to supply all the websites I used to lead this lesson.


Here they are:

I first found this website explaining the lesson in pretty simple terms and great photos:

Then I found this great video tutorial from Blick Art:

I had the kids watch this video of a marbling master in Japan:

You can download a printed lesson plan that is pretty detailed here:


The kids divided into groups of about 5-6 kids and rotated through the water tray to take their turns. A parent volunteer at each water tray. The inks were put in a round palette. You don’t need much ink at all. The kids that were waiting enjoyed watching their friends try different color combinations and tricks with moving the ink around the water surface.

I found that the paint brushes made with real natural materials worked better than synthetic bristle brushes.


Some tricks to move the ink is to blow gently on the surface or from the side to move the water. Or create “currents” in the water away from the ink. The currents move the ink in swirls.


A lot of the kids loved the project because they felt like there was no one way to do this type of art and that there was no way to “screw it up”.

: )


The kids made flat prints, cards and some made bookmarks.

Art Docent: Marcie Guthrie
Room#, Grade, Teacher: Rm. 9, 4th grade, Mrs. Choi
Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: COLOR and PATTERN and MOVEMENT


Op Art – one-point perspective

14 Apr


What is Op Art?

Op art, also known as optical art, is a style of visual art that makes use of optical illusions.

“Optical art is a method of painting concerning the interaction between illusion and picture plane, between understanding and seeing.” Op art works are abstract. When the viewer looks at them, the impression is given of movement, hidden images, flashing and vibration, patterns, or alternatively, of swelling or warping.

Why do artists use perspective? 

Objects appear to get smaller as they recede into the background. To a viewer, an object actually shrinks by half in size each time the distance to it is doubled—something our eyes and brain use every day to decide where we are in relation to our surroundings.

There are three different types of perspective in art – geometric perspective, linear perspective, and aerial perspective.

Geometric perspective drawing is useful for architectural and mechanical drawings. In aerial perspective, the distant objects or spaces appear less sharp (or blurry) because of dust and water vapor in the air; as a result distant objects exhibit less contrast. Aerial perspective is particularly used in art involving landscapes. Linear perspective is common in art with buildings or other structures.


Op art, one-point perspective, concave, convex, complementary colors



  1. Draw a vanishing point in the center of your paper.
  2. Draw an even number of diagonal lines that radiate from the point to the edge of the paper.  Recommended number of lines:  14.  The lines do not have to be evenly spaced.
  3. Add 2 concave lines (curving away from the vanishing point) in one of the triangles.  In the next triangle, add two convex lines (curving toward the vanishing point).  Continue adding lines all the way around.  Add more than two in some places, to suit your design idea. Make sure space between lines (the white bands) are not too close together and not too close to the center vanishing point.
  4. The triangles have now become cones with the addition of the curved lines.  Choose two complementary markers to color the opposite cones, leaving the bands white.
  5. Choose two different complementary colored pencils to shade the bands, darker on the edges and lighter in the center.


Have the kids practice shading first with a colored pencil.
The kids should double-check that they have an even # of lines drawn. It is easy to mis-count the # of lines.
Use new or almost-new markers. They go through the color quickly.
Sometimes a child misses his/her pattern and colors the same color in the next “cone”, see below.


Art Docent: Marcie Guthrie
Room#, Grade, Teacher: Rm. 9, 4th grade, Mrs. Choi
Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: LINE and COLOR and PATTERN

Ilya Bolotowsky – Rotation and Balance (of Color & Line)

9 Nov

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I started my lesson with a news article.–abc-news-topstories.html


Rotation -to turn around a central point. Rotating an object does not change it, but does affect our perception of it. Understand the meaning and measure of a quarter rotation (90°), half rotation (180°) and so on. Observe how the visual relationship of the lines and shapes created affect the balance of the finished piece.

Balance – refers to the ways in which the elements (lines, shapes, colors, textures, etc.) of a piece are arranged. Balance can be symmetrical (“formal”), where elements are given equal “weight” from an imaginary line in the middle of a piece. Balance doesn’t necessarily mean symmetry, though. Asymmetrical (“informal”) balance occurs when elements are placed unevenly in a piece, but work together to produce harmony overall.

About the Artist and Print

Born in Russia, immigrated to US in 1923. Bolotowsky was a leading 20th Century painter in abstract styles in New York City. His work embraced cubism and was much influenced by Dutch painter Piet Mondrian.He called his round paintings tondos.

In Tondo Variation in Red (1978) a few elements produce a powerful, dynamic impact. The weighty, dark red of the upper half of the painting is supported by horizontal whites that stabilize the composition. An even darker red, vertical plane below, bounded by a slim, straight, blue band, anchors the plane above and balances the composition.


What if I rotated the painting 90°, does it look as balanced? Why or why not? Another 90°?

Would different colors make a difference? Why or why not?

What about if there was no white? Does contrast help create balance?


10” x 10” square white paper
Larger black paper with 9” circle cut from center
Ruler and pencil/eraser
Colored pencils


  • Write name NICELY in pencil in lower right corner of black paper. And set aside.
  • Use ruler and pencil to create a design on white paper. Use horizontal and vertical lines.
  • Try to limit to no more than 15 lines.
  • Find balance with your lines. Vary the thicknesses.
  • Fill in shapes with color. Make sure to include some white lines.
  • Once finished. Place your drawing BEHIND your black paper. Rotate your drawing 90° until you find the composition that shows off the best feeling of balance in your piece. Keep rotating your piece a quarter turn if necessary.
  • Once you have found the best orientation, flip both pieces over and tape the drawing to the backside of the black paper.

Art Docent: Marcie Guthrie
Print/Painting: Tondo Variation in Red (1978)
Room#, Grade, Teacher: Rm. 9, 4th grade, Mrs. Choi
Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: LINE and BALANCE

Creating a Character – Tim Burton

21 Oct


1. We looked at several Tim Burton Sketches (from his concept sketches to realization both in animation & live-action)

2. We did a demonstration of building a simple 2-D character out of paper (using markers, simple templates & brads)

3. The students designed and built their own moveable character!


1. To understand the MOTIFs an artist might typically employ in his/her work (for example, with Tim Burton we noticed: STRIPES, SPIKY lines, BIG ROUND eyes, Round or HEART shaped faces, STITCH lines, etc…)

2. To use those motifs while creating our own character that embodied particular values &/or story (for example, with Tim Burton we talked about characters with VULNERABILITY, a sense of WHIMSY, who are maybe a little bit CREEPY, but BIG HEARTED)

3. To begin to understand how we can turn 2-D characters into moveable creations.  To do this, we had the students add brads to make their characters moveable (which will be important as we move into the 3-D of clay).


1. We had a set of very rough Tim-Burton-ish parameters for the students to follow, but they were free to be as creative as possible!

2. We talked about how the simple lines of an eyebrow can convey emotion (ie: sad lines point up from the nose, angry lines point down towards the nose…some kids had great fun trying to figure out “wicked” eyebrows, “happy” eyebrows, “surprised” eyebrows…)

3. All images shown were related to Tim Burton’s G and PG work only. We talked about James & The Giant Peach, The Nightmare Before Christmas & Alice in Wonderland


Room 8, 4th grade, Mr. Kreiter

Docent: Kira Franz-Knight