Saturday, October 26, 2013

"Mastering Mosaics" Giveaway Results

Just a quick post to let you know the winner of "Mastering Mosaics" by Rayna Clark.

I had a total of 201 entries (wow!) and the winner by random draw is:

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2013-10-26 19:12:18 UTC

That works out to be,
Dessa Shepherd who left this comment on the blog:
Just came by your site and found exactly what I was looking for! A fun and easy way to create mosaics with my students. I have fourth graders and they will love this! Thanks :-)
P.S. The book would be well used in my classroom!

Congratulations Dessa! Please email your shipping address to: so I can get that out to you right away.

Thanks everyone for entering, there are more giveaways to come!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Halloween Mosaics and "Mastering Mosaics" Giveaway

I love mosaics.  Glass, eggshell, tile and of course paper.

Here is a paper mosaic take on a project from last year.

It's like a jigsaw puzzle that you get to design.

I also want to introduce you to this new book, "Mastering Mosaics" by Rayna Clark, published by Schiffer.

It profiles 19 artists showing their design process and step by step directions for 19 corresponding projects.  There are lots of tips and new techniques to learn along the way.  The photos are very detailed and I can't wait to try out the mosaic sculpture that is presented using Styrofoam and plaster strips as a base.

You can enter for your chance to win a copy of this book at the end of this post.

Now back to my Halloween mosaics:


- drawing paper
- disk tempera paint
- acrylic or liquid tempera paint
- disposable foam brush
- oil pastels
- bubble wrap
- black paper
- white school glue
- paper for mounting


Using oil pastels make some stripe, wiggly lines, on your drawing paper.

Paint over your lines with orange disk tempera paint.

Let dry.

Take another piece of paper and paint orange, let dry.

Take a piece of bubble wrap, paint with yellow acrylic or liquid tempera.

Press onto the orange paper you painted.

Look at that gorgeous texture the print adds!

Paint another piece of paper with yellow tempera.

Take a disposable foam brush and cut a notch out of it.

Using orange acrylic or liquid tempera use your brush to paint on stripes.

Take a piece of black paper and draw out your pumpkin shape in white crayon.

Cut out.

Take your painted papers and cut into strips.  Cut each strip into shapes, triangles work well.

Using glue or Mod Podge start gluing on your pieces.  Let them hang over the edges as you will trim them afterwards. Leave some space between pieces so the black shows up like the grout.

Cover the whole shape.

Flip the shape over and trim off the excess.

Add eyes and a mouth with leftover paper.

Mount on a coloured background and add some oil pastel accents.

Here's a ghost made with painted book pages, painting over masking tape on paper, and a crayon resist paper.

Now on to the giveaway.

Up for grabs is "Mastering Mosaics" by Rayna Clark. published by Schiffer, 2013.

Hardcover, 11"x 8 1/2", 200 colour photos,
256 pgs.
Suggested retail $34.99 US

If you would like to enter to win do one of the following:

- leave a comment on this post
- send me an email at:
- like or leave a comment on this post at my Facebook page

Contest closes on Friday Oct 25th/13 at 11:59pm.

Canadian and US residents only.

Good luck everyone.

Disclaimer: Review and Giveaway copy provided by Schiffer Publishing.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Notan Studies

I have been doing a Light and Shadow unit with Grade 3-4.  They are currently studying this in science and I am reinforcing it with their art studies.

We started off doing these Notan studies.  So simple yet so effective.


- heavy drawing paper
- mat or rectangle for tracing around
- pencil
- white and black disk tempera
- reference photos
- black sharpie
- paper for mounting if wanted


I gave the kids a little talk about light and shadow.  I then talked about tonal value, what it is and how it can help you make amazing art.

For this project we discussed 3 values, lightest lights, darkest darks, and a mid tone.

I gave each student a piece of paper and a mat.  I asked them to trace around it  3 times with a pencil.

I passed out a bunch of reference photos, landscapes, simple still lives, all had high contrast and all in black and white.

They used the white of the paper for the light value (no paint).  Black tempera for the dark and mixed a grey for the mid tone.  At school I had them in separate containers.

We went straight in with paint, no pencil sketching.  As they finished one study, they found another photo they liked and did the second, and then a third.

I asked them to focus on shape and value,  not to worry about detail.

When they were done I asked them to retrace the rectangles with black sharpie.

Finally you can cut them out leaving a white border and mount on coloured paper.

Here is some student work but it hasn't been trimmed and mounted yet.

Great work Grade 3-4!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Self Portraits

I have been working with Grade 1 and 2 on self portraits.

Trying to get them to hit the landmarks, put features in roughly the right places, and to really look at the shapes of things.


- brown kraft paper
- gesso or white primer
- paint roller
- regular paper for draft drawing
- pencil and eraser
- re-positionable contact paper, optional
- tempera paint in skin tones
- crayons, pencil crayons
- disk tempera for hair, shirt, text
- glue
- fine sharpie


I have a set of mirrors that I give out and ask that they look closely at their features.  We use the mirrors as we draw.

We started doing a practice drawing. If I had more time I would of had them do a drawing with no instruction first, this helps to show progress.

On regular paper we start talking about the shape of the head.

We drew in pencil but I'm using a sharpie so you can see it.

We aim for an oval or egg shape.

We add the neck and shoulders.  I point out that the shoulders go straight out or angle down a little.  We don't want them shaped like hills,  makes it look like we are hunching up our shoulders.

We then find the centre of the face and make a dot.

Make a dotted line across the oval.

If you ask the kids what will be on this line they will say "the nose".  I ask them to look in the mirror again and then I get "oh, the eyes!".

We then draw a second dotted line halfway between our first line and the chin (nose line) and then a third line halfway between the second line and the chin (mouth line).

I talk to the kids about the eye shapes.  How we are going for a football shape and not a soccer ball.

Eye spacing can be difficult so we talk about how it's like drawing 3 eyes except we erase the middle one.

We can then put in that upper lid, just a sliver.  I ask the kids to look at their eyes (iris,pupil) to see if there is any white showing above them.

We then draw in the iris touching the top of the eye and add the pupil.  With older kids we add the reflection.

We talk about eyelashes.

We leave the eyebrows out for now.

On to the nose.  On the nose line in the section between where the eyes are spaced we add a little "c", add another on the their side but backwards, and then a little hill between the two.

You can then add some lines for the sides of the nose.  If you look at those side lines , they go up above the eyes and then arch into the eyebrows. (have students look in the mirror)

On the mouth line we put in the mouth.  We start with the little dip in the centre of the upper lip. We we then extend this, curving up if we want a smile, we do the bottom of the upper lip.

Add the lower lip, thinner and shorter than the upper lip.

Add the neckline of the shirt.

Add the ears.

Then add the hair.  I ask the kids to look in the mirror to see that hair comes down on the forehead even if their hair is short.

I took kraft paper and cut it into squares.  I placed them on the ground and using a paint roller with a handle rolled primer onto them.  I wanted it to looked quick so the brown shows on the edges.

It dries quickly.

After our practice drawing we repeated what we did on the primed paper.

With crayon we add colour to our eyes, lips, and eyebrows.

Because I had a lot of young Grade 1's, I cut eye shape out of contact paper and we covered the eyes.  If you place the paper on top of the eye you can see the pencil thru it and then you can trace out the shape.
Cut, peel and stick.

Mix up a skin tone using white liquid tempera.  Add a drop or two of red and some brown.

Paint in the face and neck.

Paint in the hair and shirt.

Peel off eye stickers when the face paint has dried.

I cut the letters for 'self' using the cricut.  I printed the text for portrait.  For the kids it was printed on paper I created that had faces all over it.  We painted our 'portrait' paper.

Glue into place.

That's it.