Tag Archives: color

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

Symbolism – Mexican Huichol bead/yarn paintings

19 Mar
Tunuri and the Blue Deer

Tunuri and the Blue Deer

On a recent trip to Mexico we encountered the bead and yarn paintings of the Huichol. They live in the mountains of Mexico and have kept their traditional way of life for many generations. They still live the same way their great great grandparents did.

{read book: The Journey of Tunuri and the Blue Deer: A Huichol Indian Story. Also discuss info on the “history” pages at the end}

show: photos of beaded art & yarn paintings
– briefly discuss methods, notice multi-colored patterns in the forms

The Journey of Tunuri and the Blue Deer is a traditional Huichol story about a young child finding his path in life by connecting with the powers of nature – which are very important to the Huichol. The story tells of the experiences of young Tunuri, who becomes lost in the woods. He meets the magical Blue Deer who introduces Tunuri to who? Father Sun, Mother Earth, Brother Wind, Sister Water and Grandfather Fire while leading him back to his human family.

This story tells us about how the Huichol people relate to nature. How do we relate to nature?
Another thing we find in this story are *many* symbols. What is a symbol?

Huichol artist placing beads individually

Huichol artist placing beads individually

yarn painting

yarn painting

symbol: an image that represents something else – an idea or physical thing.

where do we encounter symbols?
– maps
– street signs (STOP, Hospital)
– uniforms – police, sports, super heroes

– stop sign (red octagon)
– tent drawing on a map means camping
– heart shape is symbol of love

What symbols did we see in Tunuri’s story? What do they mean?
– blue deer – messenger
– sun/rays – Father Sun who gives life and light
– lake – Sister Water
– cloud – Brother Wind
– garden/flowers – Mother Earth
– fire – Grandfather Fire who created everything, symbol of heat and strength

Each page is full of symbols – if there were no words would we be able to tell the basic story by looking at the symbols?

We are going to make “bead” paintings but instead of beads we are going to use stamps.  The Huichol artists individually place every bead in their creation so we are going to individually stamp each of our “beads” onto our paper.

Think of a symbol or scene you like from the book or from the images we looked at. Using the colors you have, create your own “bead” painting of a symbol.
**FILL THE WHOLE SQUARE WITH COLOR** Try not to leave any white
Place your “beads” carefully next to each other and not overlap
If you play Minecraft think of your drawing like you’re crafting it from blocks

one set per two students

one set per two students

 – pencils (preferably new and unsharpened)
– multi-colored ink stamp pads
– white paper

materials for the class

materials for the class

Write your name in pencil on the back

Using the eraser end of the pencil, *gently* tamp it into the colored ink (ONLY one color per pencil!!) and stamp it onto the paper to make your designs.

You can get 2-3 stamps on paper for each tamp on the ink pad

Start by making the main part of your image then fill in all the white with the time you have left.

if done early:
use scrap paper to make bookmarks using the same method but do any design you choose. If everyone finishes with time to spare we can share a few of our symbol “bead” paintings.IMG_6518 IMG_6524 IMG_6597

Saturated Colors – difference between light and bright colors

16 Mar

The art docent lesson today focused on further exploration of the creative possibilities of line, and we also talked about saturated or bright colors. We watched this video: https://vimeo.com/34698421

And then we did the same thing– using a piece of vellum with dots for eyes to find faces in the shapes that the children had drawn (the pictures attached are in-progress shots where you can see the dotted vellum).


After that, we looked at the color wheel and talked about the saturated tones of the rainbow that make up the basic color wheel, including some discussion about primary, secondary and tertiary colors, warm and cool tones, and the difference between “light” colors and “bright” colors.


Then the kids began to apply bright colors to their drawings.


Room 3, Kinder, Ms. Lepse
Docent: Heather Allen and Gala Bent
Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: line and color


25 Feb

This was an art project that also had a lot to do with science. We planned to make sunprints, and lucky for us, there was **SUN** !


By the way, we did have a backup Seattle plan; sunprints can be made in cloudy weather, they just take much longer! We talked about these experiments as photographs–a word which means, literally: writing with light. We’ll be studying more about photography later this year, and will remind students about their experience with a light-sensitive surface.


We are planning to construct a quilt-like grid of the final pieces, so that it looks like a starry sky. The project was inspired, in part, by the work of artist Danielle Rante.



Room 3, Kinder, Ms. Lepse
Docent: Heather Allen and Gala Bent
Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: Color, form and pattern


16 Jan

Room 4 Lesson on Mondrian – December, 2012

broadway boogie mondrian Room 4

Docent: Matt Schonwald-MBA

Mondrian Shapes and Colors

16 Jan

Room 2 – Using Shapes and Colors in the style of Mondrian

DSCN8442 DSCN8444

Preparation: We pre-cut yellow, red and blue rectangles of various sizes, and 1 x 18 or 12 inch strips of black. The project was done on 12 x 18 white paper.

Lesson: We looked at Mondrian’s self-portrait and a photo of him when he was much older. We looked at an early representational painting, a painting from his cubism phase, and a geometic, basic colored abstract and explained how he believed in using only the basic essences of things in his work. Art, then, does not need to look like a real thing. Cathy showed a nature photograph, then how she made an abstract from it using the elements of blue sky, yellow sun, flower stems and red flowers.

We distributed the white paper and sets of the black strips and colored rectangles. We asked the students to start by gluing some black strips on the horizontal and vertical of the picture, then glue or cut and glue a few colored rectangles to complete the picture. When they gave their pictures to Ms. Beckley she asked them what was in their picture.
Lesson Title: Using Shapes and Colors in the style of Mondrian
Room#, Grade, Teacher: Rm 2, Kindergarten, Ms Beckley
Docent/s: Eileen Berlin and Cathy Clark

November, 2012 lesson

Email: catherinejclark@comcast.net
Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: lines and rectangles, basic colors