Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Charcoal Landscapes

By Owen (Year2)

 Lesson Background:
2BD has been learning about how life has changed in the past 100 years, particularly focussing on our local area.

Lesson Materials:
Photos and artworks showing the local landscape 100 years ago
Art paper
Charcoal (I like to use the cheap synthetic charcoal sticks with young students, as they don't break as easily as more expensive willow)

Lesson Steps:
1. We broke the artwork we were using as inspiration up into segments- drawing in first the horizon line, then the largest features first, such as mountains and the large gumtree in the foreground.
2.  We then added smaller details.
3.  We talked about shadow and light, and talked about where (& why) they would be positioned in the picture.  We also talked a lot about not drawing things the way we THINK they look, but actually looking at things in detail.  Not drawing "broccoli trees" got talked about a lot! ;)

Year 2 Student Artworks:



Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Gustav Klimt Tree of Life

2BD's CONNECT display

Lesson Background:
Each year, our school has a focus word for the year.  This year, our word is "CONNECT" and we were set with the task to create a "CONNECT" display in our classrooms.  This is ours!  We have been talking a lot about having a growth mindset, and how we need to make connections in our learning and with each other, to make sure the "branches" in our brains grow thick and strong, instead of withering away and dying.

Lesson Materials:
6 sheets of light brown cardboard
Gold acrylic paint for the background
Black acrylic paint for the tree
Other acrylic paint colours to decorate
Silver glitter glue
PVA glue

Lesson Steps:
1.  Stick the cardboard sheets together with the tape.
2.  Paint them with a thick layer of gold paint.
3.  Paint a swirly tree shape on top.
4.  On paper, each student draws, then paints a bird and a jewel shape.  We used step-by-step drawing cards off the Internet to help.  Once dry, coat in a layer of silver glitter glue and PVA.
5.  Stick the jewels and birds onto the tree with PVA glue, when the tree is dry.
6.  Paint coloured circle shapes along all the tree branches and trunk, then decorate them with silver and white dots both inside and around them.



Thursday, 17 November 2016

Hand & Footprint Christmas Trees

By Annabel (9 months old, with a lot of help from her Mum!)

Lesson Background:
This is another activity I did with my nearly-3 year old, and my 9 month old in the lead up to Christmas.  They both had a blast with this activity!

Lesson Materials:
Green acrylic paint
Brown acrylic paint
Assorted pom poms
Assorted sparkly accessories
PVA glue

Lesson Steps:
1.  Paint foot brown, and stamp onto the bottom of the paper to make a tree trunk.
2.  Paint hand green and stamp multiple times in a Christmas tree shape above the brown footprint trunk.
3.  When dry, gently paint PVA glue over the green part of the tree, and then decorate it with the pom poms and sparkly accessories.

This artwork can be used to make cute Christmas cards (see below).  For very young children, the adult supervisor/teacher can paint and stamp the child's hands and feet for them.

One of Charlie's trees turned into a Christmas card for his childcare centre

After the painting/stamping stage
Charlie's finished tree (nearly-3 years old)
Decorating the tree



Friday, 17 June 2016

Abstract Mixed Media Collage

Activity Background:

This is another activity done with my 2 year old whilst I am on maternity leave with my new bub.  This collage was created as a gift for my sister and her fiancee.  If I was doing this activity with older children, I would look into the concept of positive and negative space, especially the paper cut-out artworks of Henri Matisse.

Activity Materials:

-  PVA glue and brush
-  Coloured feathers, beads, scraps of felt, pom poms etc. (Discount shops often have packets of pre-cut felt shapes that are perfect for this activity.  I had a packet of hearts, butterflies and flowers, as well as old scraps of felt from past art activities)
-  Canvas or art paper

Activity Steps:

1.  Cut out interesting scraps of fabric, felt and ribbon (adults do this if children are too young).
2.  Choose scraps of fabric, and/or feathers, ribbons etc and paste them onto a canvas or sheet of paper using the PVA glue.  Older children should consider the choice and positioning of shapes in relation to creating interesting positive and negative spaces.
2.  Keep going until you are satisfied with the result.

Abstract Splatter Paintings

My 2 year old's splatter paintings

Activity Background:

I'm currently on maternity leave with my second bub, and decided that I would set up a painting activity for my 2 year old son at home one day, as we needed some gift for some family and friends, and my little man was keen to paint!  My little boy has a habit of starting well with paintings, and then smooshing all the colours into one big brown mess by the end!  So, I was considering how I might avoid that again, and came up with this activity.  He was very proud of his finished artworks, and myself and the recipients of them were thrilled!

Activity Materials:

-  A range of coloured acrylic paints (I used a mixture of thick good quality ones, and cheaper runnier kids ones) squirted onto plastic or paper plates, or a palette.  I had a plate of warm colours and a plate of cool colours
-  Canvases or Art paper
-  Paintbrushes
-  Roller brushes
-  A plastic spoon
-  Newspaper to cover the table
-  A water pot to clean brushes

Activity Steps:

1.  I gave my little boy the roller brush and let him roll it through one plate of colours, and roll it onto his canvas to make a background.
2.  I gave him the paintbrush and showed him how to dip it into a runny colour, and flick it onto the canvas,
3.  I gave him the spoon and showed him how to scoop up blobs of paint and drop or flick them onto the canvas.
4.  After using each of these techniques, I asked him when he thought his painting was finished.  The results are in the pictures!


Monday, 2 May 2016


Completed Keith Haring-inspired mural
Completed Tree of Learning mural

Completed Kandinsky-inspired mural

These are the murals from my STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Media) group, composed of students from grades 4 & 5.  I'm really thrilled with the final products which brighten the hallways of our fabulous school.  Well done to the great group of kids who worked so hard on them!

Project Background:

Once a fortnight for 2 school terms (I think it worked out as 8 sessions in total, plus a few extra finishing-off sessions squeezed in), students from Grades 3-6 at my school are involved in a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Media) elective.  Each teacher from these year levels, runs an elective based on a personal passion.  I chose to focus on the Arts (surprise!) and set up a mural painting group.

Lesson Materials:

Large thin timber boards
Chromacryl acrylic paints in a range of colours
Paintbrushes of all sizes
Paint and water pots
Plastic drop sheets
Gloss varnish to coat the murals when completed


Session 1:  Looking at photographs of murals, and learning what a mural is; touring the school to find appropriate available spaces for murals; beginning their designs and proposals.

Session 2:  Students spent this session focusing on completing their designs and proposals.  Students were asked to remember that as a primary school, we wanted bright, happy, child-friendly murals, that appealed to all ages and genders, would remain 'timeless', and were simple enough in shape and design,  so that students could draw and paint them successfully.  Their proposal had to describe the design, state what message or feeling it communicated to the public who would walk past the mural, where they would like the mural to be located, and why their mural should be selected to be created.  At the end of the session, students submitted their team proposals and designs to our school principal, who chose the 3 winning murals to be created based on those she felt best represented our school (and one of the mural designs was to have 2 versions created, due to the number of students in the group).  
Session 3:  Students drew their designs.  We watched time-lapse videos of artists on Youtube, drawing their designs.

Session 4:  We watched more Youtube time-lapse videos of artists painting murals, and discussed the fact that the painting was done in stages and layers.  We watched how the largest blocks of colour were done first, and how final intricate details were not done until multiple layers had been built up.  This was beneficial for students to see, as of course, they were excited and impatient to jump straight in and paint it all in 1 go!

Sessions 5 & 6:  Painting the base layers.

Sessions 7 & 8:  Painting the 2nd layers.

Sessions 9 & 10:  Painting the final layers and detail.

Future Session:  Final touches, tidying up and gloss varnish when dry.

The Murals in progress...

Group 1: Keith Haring-inspired Mural

Group 2:  Kandinsky-inspired mural

Group 3:  Enchanted tree of learning

Group 4:  Kandinsky-inspired mural


Monday, 21 December 2015

Christmas Soft Pastel Lights

By Hanser (Grade 5)

Lesson Background:

I got this idea from: http://ourartlately.blogspot.com.au/2011/12/stringing-up-lights.html

Lesson Materials (per child):

1 sheet A4 black or grey card
soft pastels

Lesson Steps:

1.  Using a black soft pastel, draw the wire for the lights, looping around the page.  Create light and shade by shadowing it with a grey or white pastel.
2.  Draw the base and bulb of each light using black and/or grey pastel.
3.  Colour them in with brightly coloured pastels.
4.  Using your little finger, smudge the edges of the colours outwards, so that the lights look like they are shining.
5.  Put a little dab of white pastel in each, to look like reflections.

My sample (unfinished!)


Grade 5 Oil Pastel Carolers

5B carolers

Lesson Background:

This artwork was created as part of our end-of-year Christmas celebrations.  I got the original idea from:  artisandesarts.blogspot.com

Lesson Materials (per student):

1 lead pencil
1 black oil pastel
coloured oil pastels
1 sheet light blue A4 paper, slightly trimmed around the edges
1 sheet A4 dark blue paper to use for backing

Lesson Steps:

1.  Draw the outline of the caroler in lead pencil.
2.  Colour in the caroler with oil pastel.  Don't leave any gaps.  Older students can attempt to use light and shade/shadowing.
3.  Outline all lines and patterns in black oil pastel.
4.  Draw musical notes using a black permanent marker and/or snow/snowflakes in the sky using blue and white oil pastels.
5.  Back onto the dark blue paper.

Student Artworks:

My sample artwork

Christmas Snowflakes

Lesson Background:
This idea came from my fabulous colleague Christine.
Lesson Materials:
A range of different blue and silver papers with various textures and tones (e.g. pearl-effect, shiny, etc.)
A glue-stick
A sheet of white paper or card
Lesson Steps:
1.  If desired, draw a design on scrap paper first.
2.  Cut out a range of thin rectangles, squares and triangles using different papers, and arrange them in a pattern to create your snowflake.
Student Artworks




Sunday, 25 October 2015

Grade 5 Astronaut Artworks

By Aiden

Lesson Background:

We have been learning about the solar system and designing, making & appraising lunar buggies for our Science & Technology unit on Space this term.  We created these astronaut artworks to "space-ify" our classroom and present at our assembly.

Lesson Materials (per student):

2 sheets A3 black thick paper or card (taped together at the back to make 1 large sheet)
5-6 sheets white A4 paper
A black marker or sharpie
Coloured markers
A lead pencil
A black fine liner
A glue stick
1 sheet A4 smooth silver card or paper
Some scraps of silver corrugated card or patterned/textured card
Gold and silver paint
A cotton bud
Gold and silver star stickers (optional)

Lesson Steps:

1.  Trace around both hands and feet on the white paper, using a lead pencil.  Then re-outline in black sharpie marker. 
2.  Draw patterns on the soles of the feet outlines, using the black sharpie.  Try to use a mixture of thin and thick lines.
3.  Draw lines, patterns or pictures on the hand outlines to make them look like astronaut gloves.
4.  To make the torso, gently fold a sheet of white paper in half (portrait-wise), without pressing down the crease.  On the folded side,  use your scissors to gently cut into the paper and round the edge of the top corner (to make shoulders).  Then cut on the diagonal across the bottom fold (to make the 'undies' line).  Finally, cut a slight curve into the middle of the fold, to create a waist.
5.  Using the black sharpie and fineliner, draw in details on the torso (buttons, zippers, pockets, etc.  Add in silver card and collage materials to make belt buckles, press studs, etc.
6.  On some white paper, draw a circle (having a template helps) for the helmet.
7.  On the smooth silver card, draw a large capital 3D letter D (having a template helps) with the middle cut out, to make the helmet visor.
8.  Stick the visor onto the white helmet, and fill inside the "D" with the astronauts face, using coloured markers.
9.  On the black background sheets, use the cotton bud dipped in the gold and silver paint to make small and big dots for stars.  When dry, add sticker stars as well.  You could also add marbled or soft-pastel drawn planets if you had the time and resources.
10.  Stick the torso onto the background, with the head at the top, and then place the hands over the shoulders and the feet over the 'undies line'.

NOTE:  The more colour and detail put onto the astronaut's face and clothing, the better the final effect!

Student Artworks:

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Spring Magnolia Watercolour Paintings

By Hanser

Lesson Background:

To celebrate spring and our city's flower festival, Floriade, my Year 5 students created these beautiful artworks based on gorgeous original artwork by artist Mariska Meijers: http://www.residence.nl/interieur/decoration-en-design/38026-mariska-meijers-met-kleur-de-wereld-veroveren/

Lesson Materials (per student)

1 sheet A4 watercolour paper
1 lead pencil
Watercolour paints
Thin brushes
1 black sharpie/permanent marker

Lesson Steps:

1.  Draw a vase (I showed students a few styles and how to draw them.  Students were encouraged to all draw and position them differently).
2.  Draw a pattern on the vase and on the background wallpaper.  If one of the patterns is quite busy, make the other more simple.
3.  Draw the branches and magnolia flowers (I demonstrated on the board, focusing on having natural curves and bumps on the branches, not straight matchstick-style ones!).  Students use an eraser to rub out any lines from the background that run through their flowers.
4.  Use the watercolour paints to paint their picture.
5.  When dry, outline everything with the black sharpie. 

Grade 5 Student Artworks:

By Ari
By Miranda
By Hayley

By Maddy

By Lauren

By Noah
By Aiden

My (very rushed!) sample artwork to give the students ideas