Tag Archives: Line

Hopewell Culture copper tooling

28 Oct

The inspiration for this lesson comes from the Eastern Woodlands native Americans – who Mrs. Ware’s class has been learning about recently. Specifically the Hopewell culture. The Hopewell culture describes a group of related communities located in the Eastern Woodlands area. The most well known Hopewell site is located where the state of Ohio is today.

07_Hopewell-interaction-sphere-OAHopewellians were skilled artisans and crafters and had a trade network that spanned hundreds of miles to exchange goods they created with those of other tribes. They worked in materials such as mica (a flaky, clear mineral), human & animal bone and metals such as copper. These materials came from many different places as a result of their vast trade network.

11_dbb988a5b31258b4ec2d4f5f70161ff2Today we can see the evidence of these early people in the earthen mounds they built almost 2000 years ago. Scientists haven’t agreed on what purpose the mounds serve but some of the mounds were burial sites. They buried artifacts and treasures with the bodies in these mounds and many interesting things have been found.

This project is based on these copper artifacts.
{discuss} What is copper and how did they form it into these shapes??  (a naturally occurring reddish-orange metal found in the earth that is quite soft and can be worked by hand using tools and heat. The Hopewell people pounded the chunks they mined from the ground into flat sheets. Then they cut out shapes and carved designs into the surface.17_Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 3.50.29 AM

{discuss} how we use copper in our lives all the time – in water pipes, motors, batteries, electronics and cooking pots. And something we all carry in our pockets sometimes used to be made of copper – Pennies were 95% copper until 1983.  Why does some copper appear shiny and orange and other copper looks brownish and green? (patina – metal reacts with oxygen over time and creates a crust that protects the metal underneath) 23_hopewell-falcon-effigy-granger

Many of these Hopewell artifacts had similar motifs (recurring theme or design) ie – weeping eye, thunderbird, spider, serpent, mirrored symmetry. These motifs were things that were common or important in their lives and their culture so that’s what they chose to adorn their art.

Students will make their own copper artifacts using thin copper sheets and a stylus (like a pencil without lead). Copper is very soft so they will be able to draw on it to create a grooved design. Because this piece is flat and they aren’t adding colors to it they are creating interesting visuals with texture. Fill in areas with line patterns or motifs. Use motifs of the Hopewell culture or design you own.

photo (31)Students can “draw” on either side (or both!) to create your piece. Decide if they like the raised look or the indented look or maybe do both. Practice first in pencil in the notebook to layout design ideas. These copper sheets are expensive there is no extra if they want to start over. In order for this to work they must have a soft surface under your copper so do it on top of your notebook – NOT directly on your desk. {demo embossing technique – good video here} Press hard! Be careful of the edges of the metal – they can be sharp. When they turn them in have them indicate which side is the back and put a piece of tape with the student’s name on it.

Optional patina –  once completed students can decide if they like the look of shiny copper or if you like the old, weathered, greenish patina. Outside of class docents can treat select pieces to have the old patina look.

.004 copper tooling foil (cut into 6” squares) available at craft stores & online
wooden stylus (I used dowels, cut short and sharpened like pencils)
notebook (kids have them)
tape & marker for names
patina solution (optional) I used this one
clear coat lacquer spray

photo (33) (1)Patina process:
– I cleaned each piece with acetone and a scouring pad scrubbing in one direction only to clean the surface of any factory coating or fingerprints and to buff the surface to make the patina “stick” better.
– Rinse with water and dry thoroughly.
– Fill a flat, shallow plate with a small amount of solution and place the copper piece face down for about 5 minutes. Agitate slightly to make sure all of the front surface is touched by the solution. * note: solution becomes less potent after time and copper exposure. Use sparingly and refresh or replace solution every 5 pieces or so.
– Drain copper of excess solution drips and lay flat face up to develop. I left them for a whole day but the color starts to come up in minutes.
– Lightly brush each dry patina’d piece with a soft brush or dry soft cloth to remove any patina that is flaking off. Use a clean scouring pad to lightly scrape the surface to expose a little of the copper highlight on raised areas of the design.
– When pieces are free of dust spray them with a thin coat of clear lacquer to seal in the patina and let dry.

Note: Because the scouring of these pieces will make them flatter & smoother than any non-patina’d pieces you might want to burnish the shiny copper ones a bit. I used the side of a stylus to rub them flat just a bit.


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

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

Van Gogh “Starry Night” style paintings

11 Dec



Rm 2, Kindergarten, Ms Beckley December 11 art lesson

Art docents: Eileen Berlin and Cathy Clark


Title: Starry Night in the style of Vincent Van Gogh


Art Element: lines and curves


Preparation: We pre-cut sets of small rectangles of various colors and sizes for each table, and prepared a tray or baking tin of 6 fingerpaints for each pair of students. We used white, yellow, orange, red, green and brown washable tempura thinned with a little dish detergent. The project was done on 12 x 18 blue paper.


Lesson: We looked at Vincent Van Gogh’s self-portrait and Eileen talked a little about his life. Van Gogh tried many different jobs before he concentrated on painting. Sometimes he became so focused on painting that he forgot to eat or sleep. We looked at one of his most famous works, Starry Night, and pointed out the main elements in the painting — houses, tree, night sky. We talked about how Van Gogh tried to express emotions and motion in this painting.


We distributed the blue paper and sets of small rectangles. Eileen used the document viewer as she modeled and explained each step in the project.


1) Fold a rectangle and cut at a slant to create a house with a roof. Glue 2 or 3 houses on the lower right of the picture. (When the children were well into this, we covered their fronts with plastic wrap and distributed the trays of fingerpaints.)


2) Use small dabs of paint to create lighted windows in some of the houses. Use longer straight or curved lines or swirls to draw a tree on the left side of the picture.


3) Add stars and the moon to the night sky. Create the impression of glow by surrounding the stars with short lines. Some created the impression of wind using large, long swirls of color.


Closing Comments: Many steps for a single lesson. Many, many wet wipes used.



Andy Warhol – miniature accordion-style books

10 Dec


Lesson focus: outline and accent color

We looked at the early work of Andy Warhol and discussed images that remind each of us of the winter holiday that our own family celebrates.

Before Andy Warhol began silk-screening soup cans, he produced thousands of whimsical line illustrations on various subjects. We looked at a small-format book published with several of these holiday-inspired drawings by Warhol.

butterfliescat hollyshoe «

Next, we worked on creating our own miniature (3.5″ x 3.5″) accordion-style books. Each child used a black pen to draw the outline of one image on each of the four panels of the book. After that, we learned about brush skills and chose one color from our water color paint set to accent certain elements of our artwork.

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

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

9 Nov

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I started my lesson with a news article. http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/goodwill-painting-bought-9-99-auctioned-27k-130823785–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

Book Art

6 Nov


INSPIRED BY RYAN COLEMAN http://ryancolemanart.com/exhibitionphotos/


this BOOK ART video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItBDO3OylM0&feature=related

In this lesson we talked about BOOK ART and looked at some examples by artist RYAN COLEMAN. We used cotton balls instead of paint brushes for our background. We used an old book found at the Thrift store. We focused on Line and Space.

Art Docent: Debi Boyette
Lesson Title: Book Art
Room#, Grade, Teacher: B4, Mrs. Vaagsland
Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: LINE and SPACE