Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Kandinsky Christmas Tree

This is an easy Christmas tree project.  Good for kinders on up.

I did 3 versions.  This is on paper.

This is on wood.

and then as ornaments.


- heavy painting paper for background, the wood version uses hardboard or MDF
- drawing paper for collage papers
- liquid tempera or acrylic in many colours
- corrugated cardboard
- tacky glue
- a little bit of glitter paper
- thread for hanging if making ornaments


For the paper version I taped off my background paper.

Using blue tempera or acrylic paint your background.  I used 2 blues for variety using a darker blue at the top of my page.

If you don'y have 2 blue shades use a little white or black in your blue paint to mix a different blue to use.

I used blue acrylic on my hardboard for my wood version.

Set aside to dry.

I then took some corrugated cardboard and cut out a large triangle for my tree.

I measured my cardboard to make sure it was slightly smaller than my background before cutting.

For the ornaments I cut smaller triangles and added a little bit of a trunk.

Paint your cardboard green.

I did the same for my ornaments but did both sides.

Set aside to dry.

Now it's time to make our collage papers.  You need to paint a few papers in multiple colours.

At school we will share papers so I will get some students to do the yellow, some to do the green, etc.

I like to get a little variation in my painted papers so I include white to add in here and there or different shades of colours.

When the papers and triangle are dry we can begin assembly.

Here you can see the colour variations I use for the painted papers.  A lot more interesting this way.

Start cutting out different sized circles out of the paper.

We are going to layer some of them.

I like to have it all cut and planned out before I start gluing.

You can use some small circles of a single colour to fill in the holes.

When you have it planned start gluing.

I did the same with my ornaments.

For the top of the tree we are going to make layered circle top.

Now my tree is not glued on here I just have it placed on my background to see how big to make my circle at the top.

I traced the inside of my tape on the back of my painted yellow paper.

I glued this at the top of my background.  I then cut a smaller circle out of some glitter paper and glued that on the yellow circle.

I glued my tree on now and then added a even smaller circle on the top of the tree.

You can see I did the same for the tree on the wood base.

For the ornaments it's a little different.

I cut 2 of my larger yellow circle.  I then glue them together with my hanger thread sandwiched between.

I then glue on the smaller glitter circle on the front and then glue this to my tree.

That's it I hope you give this a try.


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Nativity Collage

Here is a Nativity Collage I came up with complete with templates.


- wc paper or heavy painting paper for background, mine was 9x12
- disk tempera paint, I used blue and black but I think a purple, magenta background would be nice
- salt
- oil pastel in white and yellow
- paper for painting parts of collage, I used this white construction paper, which really isn't construction paper but beautiful drawing secret weapon to keep costs down
- acrylic, liquid tempera, or disk tempera for painting collage papers
- pencil crayons
- glue
- glitter glue
- TEMPLATE1, TEMPLATE 2, please feel free to use mine


We are going to start with the background. I taped off my edges.

In the upper right corner I'm putting my star.  I traced a cutout star a I had and then coloured it in with yellow oil pastel.

I took a white pastel and drew circles radiating out from the star.  It's a little hard to see because it's white on white.

Now I paint the background using disk tempera. I add a little black to my blue at the top and work my way down with just blue.  I think a purple  and magenta sky would be great as well.

While my paint is wet i add a sprinkle of salt to look like more stars in the sky and add some texture to the background.

I have found that sea salt is working the best for this effect.  As long as the paint is wet when I apply it it works every time where as table salt is hit and miss.  Set aside to dry.

Now I need to paint my collage papers.  I make sure I have paper large enough to fit my templates.  You can find mine Here (template 1, template 2).

I paint each one a different colour.

I did green for Joseph but red or orange would also be great.

Traditional blue for Mary.  Did some swirling brushstrokes for interest.

and yellow/gold for Baby Jesus.

I also painted some scraps of paper a skin tone (whatever shade you wish) and a brown for Joseph's beard, a black would also be nice.

Set papers aside to dry.

Using the templates I trace the pattern on the back of my painted paper. (if you want the arrangement to look like mine make sure you trace the back of the pattern pieces)  Glue into place, Joseph's body should fit nicely into the corner of background.

I glued the face and beard of Joseph into position. I added a band for his head using a bit of the paper I painted for Baby Jesus.
With pencil crayons I drew the face and added some swirls to the beard.

I then glued on Mary's body, she overlaps Joseph a bit.  Added her face and another band for her head.

Baby Jesus is added into Mary';s arms.  I cut a white inner circle for around the baby's head out of regular white paper.

Using pencil crayons I drew on their faces and added a line or 2 for definition.

Finally I added some glitter glue on my star and radiation lines for that extra sparkle.  Glitter never seems to photograph well for me so the finished project has more impact then you can see here.

That's it.

More Christmas projects in the works so I will see you next time.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Negative Poppy Painting

Here is the next poppy project that I came up with, a negative poppy painting.

Negative painting is a hard skill to grasp so I love that this project gives students more practice at it.


- watercolour or heavy painting paper
- masking tape
- watercolour or disk tempera paint
- sea salt
- pencil
- black acrylic paint


I start by taping off my watercolour paper to my art board.

This will give me that nice finished edge.

Using reds, orange, yellow and a little purple and blue I paint the paper. I am using a lot of water to make the paint flow.  The purple and blue are mixed with the red before dropping onto the paper to create the dark reds.

I also scatter some sea salt onto the paint at the end before the paint dries.
Set painting aside to dry.

When painting is dry brush off the salt.  You can see the effect you get in this picture.

Now I need to decide where my poppy flowers will be.  I look at the paint and choose my favourite spots, places where the colours are rich and where the salt has created amazing effects.

I draw the outline of my flowers in these places including the stems and a few leaves.

Taking black acrylic paint I begin to paint around the flowers following my pencil lines.

I paint the spaces inside between the flowers using a smaller brush.

When I have painted all the negative space black I leave my painting to dry.

When it has dried I remove the tape. The last thing I do and this is optional as the painting is pretty awesome as it is right now, I paint in a few shadows with a mix of watery blue and black.  I use a small brush again and I'm very selective where I'm adding this.

That's it.

I love the way it turned out.


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Chalk Pastel Poppies

I have already had requests for new Poppy projects for November so I have come up with a few.

This is a chalk pastel version using the white glue on black paper method.

I am very fond of this technique as it always produces winners but I added a bit of twist this time.


- black paper, you want some tooth or texture so black sketch paper or construction paper works great
- chalk pastels
- white school or tacky glue
- acrylic or liquid tempera
- charcoal and pencil crayons


With a pencil draw out your design on black paper.

Overlapping some of the poppies and stems helps create a good composition. You need enough space between your lines so that the glue won't just run all together.

Using white school glue or tacky glue go over your lines with a bead of glue.

Keep paper flat to dry.

When the glue has dried it's time to add the chalk pastel.

For smudging I like to use kleenex and q-tips for the tight spaces.

When I am using chalk pastels I approach it just like a painting, adding light colours for highlights, dark colours for shadows.  Each poppy is made up of several colours not just red.

Here are the poppies all filled in.

Now you could just stop here or add a background.  I wanted a background but I did not want to use chalk pastel.

First off that would have been a lot of chalk pastel, most schools have a limited supply of pastels. Second it could easily become messy with the smudging, although I have my glue lines for definition chances are some of the background colour would wind up on the poppies.

So I chose to use acrylic paint. You want a colour that will give you a chalkboard like effect so pick a lighter more 'pastel' colour.

Do not add water we are doing a dry brush method here.

You can see what I mean here. I am also criss crossing my strokes.  I do this because the brush strokes show up quite a bit using this method and I don't want long brush stroke lines that the eye will follow rather than looking at my poppies.

When the paint dries I decide to take it a bit further.

Using a charcoal pencil I add some shadow around the poppies on the left.

I also add some pencil crayon, layering on some different shades of blue. I am doing this lightly just to add some depth to the background.

Finally I just add little white paint to the upper right corner. I'm just using my finger to rub it in.

That's it. I quite like using the paint for the background and I can see that this will become my primary method from now on.

See you next time.