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Chinese Brush Painting: Bamboo

10 Mar


The study of specialized brush stroke techniques.

The students learned a few traditional Chinese brush strokes. They first practiced how to hold the bamboo brush, then how to keep their fingers light on the brush, with the brush at times vertical to the paper, their elbows off the desks. Many kids stood to make it easier to stay light on the brush.

The kids practiced and practiced a simple up/down/up brush stroke to create what was the leaves on the bamboo stalk. They first used newsprint, then practiced more on rice paper. The students observed that different pressure of the brush on the paper created different results. The black paint on the rice paper created another element of observation, as the paint spread much easier on this paper.


The second stroke they practiced was the broad “stalk” stroke. They laid their brushes on the side and gently and lightly, moved the brush upwards towards the top of the paper creating segments of bamboo stalks. Too much pressure made the stalks too thick, and too little paint made the strokes too faint. The students continued to practice their strokes until they got the concept and brush movement.



After much practice, the kids created their painting following steps to create bamboo stalks and leaves on rice paper.


  • Brush Stroke
  • Density


  • Black Watercolor
  • Rice Paper
  • Bamboo brush

2nd grade, Ms. Schroder, Room B3
Art Docent: Marcie Guthrie


Wayne Thiebaud – color & multimedia art

16 Jan

cupcake1 cupcake2

(born November 15, 1920) Wayne Thiebaud is an American painter whose most famous works are of cakes, pastries, boots, toilets, toys and lipsticks.

While he was with the Navy, Thiebaud spent time in New York (on leave) and began painting the pastries and other “American” food that he would become known for. He was very interested in creating realistic paintings and he did this by using thick paint in exaggerated colors. When he painted cakes, for example, he applied the paint like a baker would spread frosting. The food in his paintings looks real enough to eat.



Multimedia artists are contemporary artists who use a wide range of media to communicate their art. Multimedia art includes, by definition, more than one medium, therefore multimedia artists use visual art in combination with sound art, moving images and other media. Multimedia artwork also frequently engages senses other than sight, such as hearing, touch, or smell.


What dessert would you draw? And why?

How would your frosting look? Any bright colors?

Beginning of lesson…

(names on front of paper in pencil) Students will arrange the tissue paper scraps on their paper, then brush the vinegar/water mixture over the scraps until they are wet and transferring the color to the paper. Volunteers will remove the tissue paper and let the pieces dry. Make compound/paint mixture at this point. Discussion time, then continue with the lesson.

cupcake4 cupcake3


12” x 8” watercolor paper

Tissue Paper scraps

Mixture of distilled vinegar and water

Paint brushes to brush vinegar/water mixture

Colored paper for cupcake “liners”

Wall compound (powdered form #90) mixed with tempra paint (4 colors) and water

Micro beads and sequins for on top cupcake

Black oil pastels for texture on cupcake liner

Popsicle sticks

Scissors & Glue sticks

Paper plates to mix wall compound

Paper to cover desks


  • Choose colored paper and cut two cupcake liner shapes, rounding edges. And glue to paper leaving space for “frosting”.
  • Draw black lines on the cupcake liners
  • Choose “frosting” color and spread with popsicle stick.
  • Embellish with beads and sequins.
  • Let dry overnight.

2nd grade, Ms. Schroder, Room B3
Art Docent: Marcie Guthrie
Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: Texture/Color/Wayne Thiebaud
Print used: various paintings of his desserts

Pattern, Texture and Storytelling – Faith Ringgold

17 Nov


Pattern, Texture and Storytelling
Faith Ringgold (1930- )
Print used: Tar Beach

Faith Ringgold was born and raised in Harlem,New York. She was greatly influenced by the fabric she worked with at home with her mother, who was a fashion designer, and has used fabric in many of her artworks. She is especially well known for her painted “story quilts” which blur the line between “art” and “craft” by combining painting, quilted fabric, and storytelling. Her finished pieces are actual quilts. No paper. No painting. And are displayed in many museums across the country.

“Tar Beach” is one of her many “story quilts”. Read “Tar Beach” book.

Ask students to think about the sentence, “I would like to fly over… because…”

Pattern and Texture


When answering the question above, what is it about that place or image that makes you want to be there or explore it from above?

What would it look like? Does it have vibrant colors, sparkling lights? Is it bigger than you imagined?


Explain lesson and show example.

Like Faith, use fabric scraps to create a patterned border around your paper.

Use fabrics that inspire and enhance your drawing.

Write your sentence at the bottom, then your drawing above with YOU flying in the air!


14” x 14” square white paper with border lightly drawn
Fabric scraps, cut in 2″ strips
Pencil and fine-point Sharpie for writing sentence
Colored pencils & Glue sticks


  • Write name NICELY in pencil on back.
  • Choose fabric scraps and cut them into squares about 2” x 2”.
  • Glue your border of fabric scraps with glue stick
  • Draw with pencil your drawing AND sentence.
  • Make sure your sentence is complete and written nicely and not TOO BIG.
  • Double-check to make sure it is written correctly, then trace over with a Sharpie, write your name near the sentence
  • Make sure to include YOU in the picture flying.
  • Color in with colored pencil


2nd grade, Ms. Schroder, Room B3
Art Docent: Marcie Guthrie
Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: Faith Ringgold


Warm and Cool Colors

26 Oct


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This lesson was about warm colors and cool colors. Identifying them. Creating a pattern with them. Looking at artists that use both warm and cool colors in the same painting (Klee, Kandinsky, Jacob Lawrence). And what effect that has on the painting. We talked about primary colors and a simple addition problem (1 + 1= 2). One primary color + one primary color = a secondary color.

We used watercolor pencils for this lesson. Color with pencil…apply water… and presto! It becomes like watercolors! The kids liked watching the transformation.

Here’s the lesson:

Review color theory and the color wheel. Talk about primary and secondary colors. Discuss complimentary colors or color opposites and how those combinations are always the result of a pairing of one primary color with a secondary color.

Complimentary colors are made up of a warm color and a cool color and how they sit across from each other on the color wheel.

Red (a warm primary color) is the compliment (opposite) of Green (a cool secondary color)
Blue (a cool primary color) is the compliment (opposite) of Orange (a warm secondary color)
Yellow (a warm primary color) is the compliment (opposite) of Purple (a cool secondary color)

A primary color + a primary color equals a secondary color.  1+1=2


Fold cardstock in half one direction and then in half again in the other direction so that you end up with four boxes.

Draw diagonal lines in one box, starting in the middle and radiating outward. Lines should not be any closer than a finger width apart.

Repeat on the remaining three boxes so that all the lines would match up at the folds.

Add colors in an alternating pattern of warm and cool. Starting with the center box (4 triangles). Make sure each triangle alternates warm/cool.

Color is added in such a way as that the warm cool pattern continues both from the center to the sides of each color.

Once all the color was added we use Q-tips to add water and blend.

Art Docents:

Marcie Guthrie and Gala Bent
2nd grade, Room B3, Ms. Schroder
Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: color

Postcard art – Landscapes

8 Mar

– blank postcards – I made my own using the computer and printed them (2-up) on letter size cardstock. A blank front with a frame to draw inside, and a fun back with fancy “postcard” script, address lines and a stamp box.  I finished them by decoratively cutting the edges with either pinking shears or other textured cutter.
– colored pencils (I chose them for ease in my K class but with the right paper this could be a great watercolor activity too!)


Postcard back

foreground – object closer in space often near the bottom of the picture
background – objects further away behind the main subject often near the top of the picture

Read book: The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson (illustrated by Axel Scheffler)

Discuss several landscape scenes from the story and what we objects we see in the foreground and background. Note how the space is filled and color is everywhere (no “white” left)

Think about all the places the snail and the whale went together.  If you went someplace special you might send a postcard to a friend to tell them about it. (Talk about sending/receiving postcards

Think of someplace special you’ve been, a favorite scene from our story or even invent a landscape in your imagination. Using only colored pencils, draw and color in your landscape scene on the front your postcard.  Fill the whole white space and add details in the foreground and background.

If kids finish early they can color in the frame on the front or write a note to someone on the back.

Room 2 Kindergarten Mrs. Schroeder

Docent: Jen Clark


Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: color, space

Abstract art – Kandinsky

9 Feb

Discussion: Abstract art  – anyone remember what it means?
abstract art uses shapes, color & line to show ideas or emotions without making a picture look like *something*
Some abstract art is said to be influenced by music. Listening to music we can feel emotions just by the sounds we hear. Music can make you feel happy or sad or relaxed or excited. Abstract art is like that. we don’t have to make pictures that look like things, or people, or animals, we can make images that express feelings and ideas using just colors and lines and shapes on their own.

artist: Wassily Kandinsky (Russian) 1866-1944
didn’t start painting until age 30 and is said to have been the first to paint purely abstract art works

This painting is called: Squares with Concentric Rings
Tell me what shapes and colors you see. What do you feel when you look at this painting? Excited, sad, peaceful. It could be different from person to person – there is no right answer.

We are going to make a piece in the style of Kandinsky but we will be cutting colored circles from paper and gluing them together to make an image like this one (show docent example)
How many big circles do you see? Are they all lined up or messy? They are lined up just like in Kandinsky’s painting.
His circles are not all perfectly round though… and that means that your cutting doesn’t have to be perfect for your piece to be successful so just do your best.
Looking at my example again – inside each big circle how many colors are there?
At your desks you have many different colors of paper with 4 different size circles printed on them.
Your job is to cut out lots of circles in all different sizes and colors and glue them together from biggest to smallest on a black background to look something like this.
See how I put the largest circle on the bottom then the next largest then a little smaller then tiniest?

We will listen to music (Kandinsky was influenced my Mozart) while we work and maybe you will discover some feelings in the music that you want to try to show in your artwork by the colors you choose.

– black 12×18″ construction paper – one per student
– multiple bright colors of construction paper photocopied with 4 different size circles (older students could trace their own using plastic cups, tubs or lids as templates)
– scissors & glue stick for each student

– this is a lot of cutting so suggest that your students try to cut circles 2 or 3 colors of paper at once.

Room 2 Kindergarten Mrs. Schroeder

Docent: Jen Clark


Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: color

Continuous Contour Line

27 Oct

Art element featured: LINE

Artist featured: Emmanuel Claudais

Discussion: what kind of lines do we see in the world?

Introduce “continuous contour” concept – define terms:

continuous – to keep going without stopping
contour – an outline that defines the shape of an object
“continuous contour drawing” means drawing a picture continuously without picking up our pencil from the paper. 

The drawing will be made of one continuous line and we will draw the outlines, or contours of the object.

There are many artists who use this technique to practice with and some artists who only work in contour. 

Emmanuel Claudais is a Canadian artist who works in continuous contour. (Show static examples) He draws the contours, or outlines, of his artworks by never taking his pencil off the paper – by continuously drawing a single line. Some of these scenes are very detailed and have many people and objects in them. But he also does more simple studies of single objects. {show video example}

Here is a link: Website:

discuss video

Try one together: examine a simple object and discuss the kinds of line observed. Emphasize that the “looking and seeing of the object” is the most important part because you want to try your best to draw what you really see in front of you, and not rely on what you think is there.

give brief demonstration drawing an object on the board. (Talk about the lines as you draw them)

Each student should be provided with an object to study and draw (older students might try drawing portraits this way either of themselves or a partner) Have them practice on a scratch piece of paper first before making the final drawing on whatever material you select in whatever medium you choose.

Room 2 Kindergarten Mrs. Schroeder

Docent/s: Jen Clark


Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: Line, form