Sunday, April 26, 2015

Calgary Tower and Fort Calgary Art Projects

This is a project I have been doing with Grades 1/2. It relates to Calgary's history but can be adapted to whatever historical landmarks are in your area.

It's an 8"x10" canvas.  This one is for the opening of the Calgary tower in 1967.

This one is for the establishment of Fort Calgary in 1875.

I give the students a choice for which one they want to complete.

Here is some student work.


- 8"x10" substrate, we use canvas, you could use cardboard or hardboard
- drywall filler
- recycled cardboard
- acrylic paint in sky blue, black, green, white, orange, red and purple
- scrap coloured paper, glitter paper
- black and red ribbon
- for Fort Calgary you need some twigs
- blue and red sharpies for Union Jack flag for Fort Calgary
- tacky glue
- printed text labels from the computer
- Mod Podge, optional


Cut pieces for your project out of recycled cardboard.

For the Calgary Tower we cut out the tower and some additional skyscrapers to represent downtown.

For Fort Calgary we cut out a Tipi, the main fort building, and the 2 towers.

The kids wrote their names on every single piece on the coloured side with a sharpie. We turned them to the brown side and gave each piece a coat of drywall filler.  The kids just use 2 or 3 fingers to spread on the drywall.  We don't put it on the coloured side because it has a shiny finish that the drywall doesn't stick to after it has setup.
I also had them add some drywall filler to the canvas to texture the sky a bit.  Set aside to dry overnight.

After the drywall has dried it's time to start painting.  I tape off the horizon line for the kids.  This gives the kids a visual on where to stop painting. Calgary Tower is portrait style, Fort Calgary is landscape.

We paint the sky blue for both the Calgary Tower and Fort Calgary.

Let dry.

While the canvas is drying paint the parts and pieces.

Don't worry about the details just the background colours.

Let dry.

When the canvas is dry I lift the tape and move it up so the edge is right at the end of the blue sky.

For the Calgary Tower we paint the bottom black.  For Fort Calgary we paint it green.

Remove the tape when the ground area is dry.

Using a sponge we sponged on some clouds.  I find that if you moisten the sponge first you get a better result.  You just want it damp.

When your parts and pieces are dry start adding details.

I used black ribbon for the tower and red ribbon for the trim on Fort Calgary.

We also used coloured paper and some glitter paper for our skyscraper windows.

Glue the pieces onto the canvas.

For Fort Calgary we add designs to the Tipi with coloured paper and ribbon, glue on windows and trim, and add a flagpole with a Union Jack we make out of paper and sharpies.

We also add some cut twigs to form the outer wall of the fort.

Finally add the titles.  I printed these off the computer, added a little colour with some disk tempera paint like a wash, and had the kids cut them out.

Glue into place.

You can add a coat of Mod Podge to seal everything into place and give the piece a nice shiny finish.

That's it.

See you next time.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Spring Chickens

I can't believe that Easter is in a week and I haven't posted for over a month!

Well,  I have been neck deep in residencies at several schools but I finally have reached spring vacation time.

Here is a new spring project.  The inspiration came off of pintrest but there is no link just a picture. Thank-you whoever you are!   I have changed it up and tested it with 2 classes of kinders.

They turned out great so I thought I would pass it on to you.


- blue paper or you can paint some white paper blue
- rectangle of white paper about 4x6
- brown, black, white, yellow, green, and orange paint. I used acrylic but you can use liquid tempera.
- pencil and wooden skewer
- small piece of corrugated cardboard
- glue
- googly eyes
- coloured feathers
- sponges
- paintbrush


At school we used blue construction paper but it also looks great on painted blue paper.

I gave the students some black and brown paint and had them paint the 4"x6" piece of paper.

Using a pencil and end of a skewer I had them stamp dots all over the paper with white paint.

Put the 4"x6" paper aside to dry.  With the leftover white paint take a small piece of sponge and sponge on a few clouds on the blue paper.

With a piece of corrugated cardboard dipped in green paint have the kids stamp on some grass.

When the spotted paper is dry have the kids turn it over and draw a line from one corner to the other making a diagonal.

Have them cut on this line.

Glue one of the pieces on the paper just above the grass.  This is the body of the mother hen.

Cut a wing out of the other piece of paper.

Glue into place on the body of the mother hen.

I gave each group of kids 2 sponges. 1 large circle and 1 smaller one.  These are they same sponges I use for stamping snowman.

The kids got to make 2 chicks but here I only added one. Stamp on the body and the head.

Using a triangular piece of sponge and orange paint we stamped on the beaks.

Using a small paintbrush and that same orange paint we painted on some chicken legs.

Glue on the googly eyes and then add a couple of feathers to the top of the mother hen's head.  I cut the ends off so they would fit better.

That's it.

Here is some more recent student work.

Some of the spring trees done by kindergarten.

A few of Grade 4's Inuit whales.

and some of their mixed media owls.

Grade 3's Peruvian masks.  We made our pieces from air dry clay so a bit different from the original post.

The work was just amazing and I can't show it all.  I think it was a record for me as well :
1 month,  702 students, 27 classes, and 37 different projects by the time I was all done.

I'm off to paint in Maui and will hopefully have some great photos for you next time.

Take care everyone and Happy Easter!


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Peacock Batiks and Journal Pages

I recently did these peacock batiks with Grade 3.  It ties into social studies where they are learning about India.  The peacock is the national bird of India.

We used lots of bright colours.

Now if you don't want to do a batik you can also create amazing peacocks in the art journal using painted papers.


- fabric, regular white cotton muslin works great
- pencil
- wax paper
- reference photos of peacock
- Elmer's clear gel glue
- acrylic paint in a variety of colours
- fabric markers, glitter paint, metallic paint to embellish

Art Journal:
- art journal or background paper
- heavy paper for painting
- disk tempera in bright colours
- glue
- markers, glitter, acrylic paint for adding details



Cut your fabric to your desired size.

Lay down some wax paper onto your work surface.  Put the fabric on top of the wax paper.

You can add some tape if you need to hold the fabric in place.

With your pencil draw out your peacock directly onto the fabric.

I asked the kids draw a large enough peacock to fill the space.

Use your Elmer's gel glue and go over your pencil lines.
Sometimes my students find it hard on the hands to squeeze the glue out of the bottle so I'll put some in a little cup and they use a paintbrush.

Go over every line as well as whatever part of the design that you want to stay white.

Keeping the fabric flat let dry.

Paint the peacock using acrylic paint mixed with a bit of water. The water helps the paint flow a bit better making it easier to paint the fabric.

Paint the entire piece of fabric so no white is showing. You can go right over the glue lines.

Let the fabric dry. Now you need to remove the glue. Place the fabric in the sink and let it soak in some hot water.
After 1/2 an hour or so give it a bit of scrub and rinse.

Let dry.

The batik is done but if you want you can add extra sparkle using glitter and metallic paints.

I used the paint to add details to the feathers.

That's it for the batik.  You can make it into a banner, placemat or even a pillow case.

Art Journal:

You need to paint a few papers for the peacock.
First I painted a paper for the body.  I choose blue and green.

I then painted 1/2 of a paper purple and magenta.  The other half I painted yellow.

I painted my background page a nice rich orange.  In fact it was already painted using leftover paint from the batik.

On the back of the paper I painted earlier I drew out my peacock body.
I cut it out.  Save the scraps in case you need them later when making feathers for the peacock.

I had this leftover piece of blue painted paper so I drew out the shape of my feathers.

Cut it out.

I cut strips from the purple and magenta paper and added them to the feathers.

I also added circles form the leftover body paper and yellow paper.  Glue into place on the background and then add body shape.  I cut legs and a beak out of the yellow paper.

I added paint, pencil crayon, marker, and glitter paint to further embellish my peacock.

That's all for now.