Sunday, January 29, 2012

LOVE Canvas: In the Style of Robert Indiana

So I have been meaning to come up with a semi sculptural piece as a nod to Robert Indiana.

With Valentine's Day on the horizon I got my chance.

All of us have seen this "LOVE" arrangement at some time or another but do not realize it's Pop Art origins. Indiana continues to build on and explore use of his iconic work.  Last year he created a version for Google (search page) to display on Valentine's Day.

Now I didn't tilt my "O" like Indiana as it just didn't work with the canvas as well as the fact that my "O" is quite circular.  An oval "O" would tilt better.


- air dry clay, I used La Doll
- pre primed canvas, (I get mine by the 10 pack when they are on sale at Michaels) or you can use a piece of heavy cardboard
- paper towel
- small amount of water
- acrylic paint
- white gel pen
- fine black sharpie
- Aleene's Tacky glue
- Mod Podge


Before sculpting I took a piece of cardboard and cut a square that was the size of the letter I wanted.  This help me measure as I went along.

Pull a chunk of clay from the package. ( You can also recreate this in natural clay and fire it in the kiln, making a slab for the letters to rest on.)

Form your letters.  use a small amount of water if needed to help smooth out any cracks.
For this project my letters were about 1 cm or 1/2 an inch thick.

Once you have all your letters completed leave them to dry on a paper towel.

Drying time will vary but air dry clay will take about 24 hrs.

Paint your canvas or cardboard substrate.

I used acrylic paint.

Paint your clay letters.  I wanted mine to have a bandanna type design so I basecoated them in different colors.

Once dry I used a white gel pen and a fine black sharpie to make my designs.

Glue to your canvas or cardboard with tacky glue.

Finally you can add a coat of Mod podge to help seal and really secure those letters to the canvas.
That's it.  This project can be easily modified into a paint and paper composition if you are short on time.  Pop art is always a hit with the kids and be sure to check out more of Robert Indiana"s work.

See you next time.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

How to Make a Heart Book

I was busy today working on lots of new art projects....most are still drying but I thought I'd show you this Heart Book.

I apologize for the dark photos but unfortunately in Winter we have very short days...I'll try to get some natural light photos tomorrow.

See Below

I love shaped pages and any shape that is symmetrical works well with this application, pumpkins, apples, fir trees, snowflakes, etc, etc.



- thin cardboard or chipboard
- heart template
- assorted papers
- glue
- scissors
- paint
- colored paper
- hockey tape
- embellishments
- needle and thread


Trace out a heart on thin cardboard.  This will be your template when cutting out your pages.

You can make the heart any size you want.

Trace and cut hearts out a variety of papers.  I used vellum, wrapping paper, painted paper, book pages, wax paper, etc.

You need at least 10 hearts to make a nice book.  Fold them in half, they should all fit nicely together.

You want to bind these papers together separate from the covers.

I'm using thread but you could sew them on the machine or use a stapler.  Just make sure the binding runs along the fold line.

Now you want to make your front and back cover.  Cut these out of thin cardboard or chipboard.  I wanted mine quite a bit larger than the heart pages.

Paint or add color/decoration to the inside of the covers.  I'm staying with my heart motif.

You might want to outline where the heart pages will be when planning your design.

Turn the covers over and set them side by side.  We are going to join them together with hockey tape which makes a great binding.  It's very flexible, easy to use, and widely available.
Leave a little gap between the covers.

The gap helps the covers move freely when opening and closing.

Take a piece of hockey tape and tape the covers together (leaving the gap in place).

Trim off the ends of the tape with scissors.

Press down on the tape to make sure it is stuck on thoroughly.

You should be able to open and close the covers quite nicely.

Now you can finish the covers.  I went with paper but you could use fabric or paint.

I measured out a rectangle of paper slightly longer than the length of my covers.
Coat with some glue, leave the fold line free of glue.
Fold your cover paper in half and put into place, close the book so you leave slack in the fold line, let dry folded.

Open the book and put some glue where the heart insert is to go.

Put the heart pages in the book.  Pull them up a bit in the middle before the glue sets up.  This enables the book to be fully open.

Now you can leave the heart pages as they are....use them to add text or illustrations but if you are not adding anything to them here is a tip to get them to fan out nicely.

Starting on the first page add a little glue to the top of the page, turn the next page gluing the tops together.

Now  put a little glue at the bottom of this page and then turn and glue the next page to it.

Keep up this alternating pattern, gluing top then bottom thru all pages.

This will give you a nice honeycomb type effect like those tissue decorations we have all seen at showers and weddings.

Add text.  I used the computer and then added some color to my words.

Glue your words into place and now embellish as you see fit.

I added a few sequins and some more hearts.

That's it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wood Houses : Art and Poetry Project

This is a project that I came up with a few months ago.  I used it at Christmas time for the Grade 3's but you can use it anytime.

It's a house that also has a poem incorporated with it.

Mine states:

" My House
Is warm and snug
full of people I love
and a DOOR
to shut out the

(I think I was  a little stressed at the time)

The kids had a great time making them and it was fairly easy to execute.


- piece of wood 5 inches high, I used 1 1/2 X 3 1/2 timber ( or 2 by 4's)
- saw
- sandpaper
- acrylic paint
- wax paper
- white paper, colored paper
- pencil crayons, fine sharpies
- tacky glue
- thin cardboard or chipboard
- Mod podge
- a poem printed out in computer text or hand written

Now the timbers I bought were 8' long.  My volunteer carpenter (thanks Mr. B) cut them on an angle in 5" sections.  He cut a 10" piece and then cut into 2.

You get 19 houses for each 8' timber.

I had the kids sand all the edges.  They loved that part.

We wrote their names on the bottom in sharpie.

I then had the kids paint the houses with acrylic paint.  No need to paint the top or bottom.Place each house on a small piece of wax paper.

The kids tended to paint the front first and then we set them upright and turned the wax paper so they could reach all the sides.

Let dry.

Take your cardboard or chipboard and cut out a roof.  We used rectangles that were 4" by 2 1/2".

You want a little overhang at the sides.

 Paint one side of the cardboard.

Let dry.

Now we will work on the windows.

For the Grade 3's I made up a sheet of windows for them.

This way they could do their drawings and then cut out the windows.

The top windows were 1"x1"
- the big front window was 1.5"x1.5"
- we had a back window that was 2" by 2.25"
- and 2 side windows that were 1" X 1.5"

Using pencils, pencil crayons, colored paper and fine sharpies the kids made little scenes in the windows. For the Christmas houses there were a lot of Christmas trees and decorations as well as family members.  Make sure you don't use washable markers as they will smear when you go to Mod podge the house.

Glue windows into place.  Make sure the top windows are about an inch down from the top edge of the wood so you can see them after you attach the roof.  The door was a rectangle cut from a piece of colored paper with a door knob drawn in.
For the roof cut little shingle shapes out of colored paper and glue into place starting with the top row.  Stagger each row so it looks like real shingles.  The kids also drew in some of the shingles with a white gel pen to mix it up a bit.  Attach roof to the house with tacky glue.  You want the back of the roof flush to the back of the house giving you a nice overhang in the front.
Print out or nicely hand write your poem.  Cut out sections and glue into place on the house.  Finally Mod Podge the whole thing for a nice shiny finish.  If  the windows wrinkle a bit don't worry everything will flatten out as the Mod Podge dries.
That's it.  The grade 3's wrote a short sentence starting with "My House at Christmas....."

I can envision a nice Valentine themed house.

See you soon.

Monday, January 16, 2012

In the Style of Rene Magritte #2

So we are still looking at Surrealism in Grade 6.  The students did my usual lesson on Magritte last year in Grade 5 but I thought we would try another.

Here is our version of  "The Large Family" 1963

and this is the original.

This is my favorite painting of Magritte and always leads to wonderful conversation regarding the symbolism.

- 2 sheets wc paper
- green painter's tape
- disk tempera in blue, yellow,orange,white and black
- paintbrushes
- kleenex
- scissors
- white pastel or pencil crayon
- Dove Template 1, Dove Template 2 or create your own
- tacky glue


Take your wc papers and tape down to your art boards with the green painter's tape.

While the paint is still wet use a kleenex to lift off clouds.

Let dry.

On the second board begin painting your background.

Add some blue, orange and yellow.  Leave the top white as well as the bottom.

Add some black now.  At the bottom you want to fill in with black for the water but leave that white horizon line.

Go over your sky colors with a black wash including the white at the top.

At the bottom add a few waves in the water with white tempera or gauche.

Let background dry.
Turn your cloud paper over and sketch out the flying dove.  Now with Grade 6 I will be asking them to create their own Dove.  I have included a template (see materials list)  for those of you who want it.

Cut out your sketch.
Now to make the head look separate from the back wing you may want to use some white pencil crayon or pastel and strategically place a cloudy mist.

Glue into place and let dry with a piece of wax paper put on top of the surface and then a large heavy book placed on top of that.

That's it.  Magritte used his cloud landscape in several other paintings that your students may enjoy recreating or coming up with their own compositions that draw upon his work.

See you soon.