Friday, August 31, 2012

Dragonflies Part 1: Magnets

I have been working on dragonflies the past couple of days.

There were so many at the cabin this year, types I had never seen before. So that was the inspiration for this project.

I was also thinking that teachers always need magnets especially if you work with white boards.  If you have the kids make one for themselves and one for you you'll have lots!

So let's get started.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Monoprint Studies

There were a pair of nesting eagles at the lake this summer.  We would watch them from the boat as they sat in their nest or soared over the water.  Very majestic!

This eagle is part of a monprint study.  Monoprints are very easy to do.  I use the "sandwich" method I first learned from Rhian Brynjolson's book, "Art & Illustration For the Classroom". The latest edition of this book can be found here.

Faux Bark Paintings
 Wax paper monprints produce wonderful texture, here is another project where I used wax paper monprint to produce the background.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Figure Template and Giveaway Results

Hello everyone!  Before I announce the results to the giveaway I wanted to show you this little guy.

It's a figure template that artists use to help draw the body in different poses.

Now you can buy a plastic version at art supply stores but I thought I'd show you how easy it is to make one. 

Let's get started.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Art Lab for Kids: Giveaway and Serigraph Project

Well I'm back after a very relaxing 2 weeks at the cabin.....I was so relaxed that I didn't even manage to get a post up. 

But all good things come to an end and it's time to start getting ready for a new (whisper it now so the kids don't hear) school year!

One of the first things I need to do is order supplies which includes any new instructional books and I have a perfect one to recommend this year.

This Serigraph or silk screen project comes from it and I'll give you the "how to" in just a minute but first the book.

Art Lab for Kids by Susan Schwake is a pretty amazing little book.  I have 2 other "Lab" books and I originally thought this would just be a simplified version for kids, but this book has tons of great ideas!  There are 52 projects but Susan doesn't stop there as every project presented has a "Go Further" section with ideas for extra projects using the variations of the same technique.
Each project also has a materials list , a large photo of the finished project, 2-5 pictures of the process and step by step instructions.  Susan also includes an artist bio as each project is inspired by by the work of a contemporary artist.

Almost ever project is paper based so no need for special materials. I think it's a great addition to any art program.

Here are the details
There are 6 chapters:
- How to use this book
- Drawing
- Painting
- Printmaking
- Paper
- and Mixed Media

- Soft cover
- 144 pgs, 275 illustrations
- suggested retail is $24.99 CAN and $22.95 US

If you would like to win your own copy check out the details at the end of this post.

Now onto the silk screening project which is based on the project in the book.

- embroidery hoop
- gauze like material
- scissors
- mod podge or screen filler, water resistant glue will also work
- fine paint brush
- paper and pencil
- acrylic paint or liquid tempera
- paper or fabric to print your design on


You need an embroidery hoop, plastic or wood.  The plastic ones are more durable but cost more.
You can use screen filler, Mod Podge, on water resistant glue.  For this project I'm using Mod Podge.

Before you start you want to practice making your design.  Take the inner hoop and place on some paper, trace out from the inside with pencil.

Sketch out a design.

Insert your gauze like material. Make sure it is taut. I buy what is on sale and it doesn't need to be silk. I find some great material in the drapery section for this.

Trim away the excess.

Place your hoop with the gauze fabric down on top of your sketch.  The fabric is directly on the paper. You can see the design thru the fabric.  Go over your lines with pencil right on the fabric.

Turn over the hoop so the fabric side is facing up.  With a small brush and a little Mod Podge start painting in all the areas and detail that you want to stay white.

Let dry.
When dry place the hoop onto the paper or fabric you want to print on. If you are printing onto fabric use acrylic paint.
 You want the fabric touching the paper.  I'm using acrylic paint.

Holding the hoop down with one hand, you don't want it to shift, paint over the gauze.

Carefully lift off the hoop and you can see your print.

Before the paint dries on the screen wash gently with water. No hard scrubbing.

Let the screen air dry fully, don't blot with a towel as you might disturb the design. You now can use your screen again with another color.

That's it.
So onto the giveaway.  If you are interested in winning a copy of "Art Lab for Kids" by Susan Schwake you need to do one of the following:

- comment on this post
- visit my Facebook page and comment or like this post link
- or send me an email at

Get your entry in by 11:59pm Thursday night and I will make the draw Friday Aug 24/12. Canadian and US entries only.
Good luck everyone and thanks Quarry Books for sponsoring this giveaway!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Giveaway Results

Thanks everyone for entering the draw for "Daring Adventures in Paint" by Mati Rose McDonough.  There was a total of 165 entries.

The winning entry chosen by random draw is, #115 which works out to be:

Sarah Irvine McIntrye who left me a comment on Facebook.  Congratulations Sarah!

I am off to BC for a few weeks so the blog will be in cabin mode.  There will still be posts but I have no scanner so some of the photography will be a bit rustic.

Take care everyone.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How to make an Amate Paper Cutout

This project is based on the Amate (bark paper) cutouts of the Otomi people of East Central Mexico.  It is one of the projects I did in Fernie.  It is also a great project to discuss the principle of symmetry with students.  In Fernie we discussed some of the stone sculpture by the Aztecs and how it was symmetrical.  It also teaches kids how to use the center fold when designing symmetrical projects.  Something I use constantly when making patterns and templates.

- resource/reference material, see here
- brown kraft paper or paper bags
- wax paper
- oil pastels or crayon
- scissors
- pencil
- tempera paint
- paper for mounting
- glue
- an iron

Take a piece of brown kraft paper or part of a paper bag.  Cut to size.
Now scrunch up with your hands, try not to tear it.  Unfold and scrunch it again and again.
Flatten out on your workspace and smooth it out a bit.

Using oil pastels or crayon rub a little color onto the paper.  It works best if you take the wrapper off and then use the side.

Fold the paper in half with the color to the inside.

Take a pencil, here I'm using a sharpie so you can see, and draw out one half of your design using the fold line as the middle.

Cut out your design.  Use your other hand to keep the paper together so it doesn't shift as you are cutting.

You can cut out inside parts as well.

Open up your design.

Add tempera paint for a bit more color if you want.  Lots of ancient sculpture was painted, sometimes with very strong color, but it has weathered away with time.  Even ancient Greek sculpture, which we base classical forms on was brightly painted, not that clean look that we see now.

Sandwich your cutting between 2 pieces of wax paper.

Place your "sandwich" on top of some newspaper and use an iron to press and melt some of the wax onto your cutting.  I have a special iron that I use only for crafts.  If you are using your clothes iron make sure to put some newspaper on top as well so you don't get wax on that next shirt you iron!  The wax paper adds some weight to your cutting and it melts a bit of that pastel and crayon giving your cutting a weathered look.

Peel back the wax paper to release your cutting.

Find a nice piece of paper to mount your cutting on.  Glue into place.  Lay down that wax paper on top again and then add a few heavy books and let your cutting set for a while.

Here are some more examples.  This is always a successful project and they look terrific on the bulletin board.


Don't forget to enter the giveaway for "Daring Adventures in Paint" by Mati Rose McDonough.  I will be making the draw this Friday. See my last post for all the details on how to enter.