Thursday, February 24, 2011

Modigliani face - art project

Amedeo Clemente Modigliani (July 12, 1884 – January 24, 1920) was an Italian artist who worked mainly in France. If you are not familiar with this artist he was famous for his paintings of elongated faces with long skinny necks. His drawings were simple and stylized. This is a fun lesson to do with all ages, and I have added the tissue paper background for an extra twist, since the face painting can be a fairly quick project to do.

These are two of Modigliani's portraits-

File:Portrait of dedie.jpg

File:Amedeo Modigliani - Jeanne Hebuterne in Red Shawl.jpg


watercolor paper
bleeding art tissue paper

I begin this lesson by showing some of Modigliani's portraits. I talk about the long skinny faces and necks, and the almond shaped eyes,simple nose, and small rosebud lips. Starting with a big skinny U shape,  I have the students practice a simple face drawing in this style following my steps as I do it on a white board. For fun I have them do simple curly lines for the hair. If I have already done a portrait lesson with them I point out the difference between a more realistic portrait; the shape and size of the features, and the placement of them compared to Modigliani's faces.

Next I have them do a large drawing of the face on the watercolor paper, filling up most of the space. After they have done it in pencil, I have them go over all the lines with Sharpie. Then we watercolor the faces. I let them have some freedom with the hair, making it two tone if they want, and just painting it loosely around their Sharpie lines.

After they have done the painting part then we use small pieces of tissue paper to fill in the background putting water under and over each piece with a brush and overlapping them. When the tissue dries we pull that off, and you end up with a textured looking background.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Boston Tea Party-art project

I just did this project a few months ago at one of the schools I work at. The 5th and 6th graders are studying the early explorers thru the 1800's for history this year so I have been looking for projects relating to that time period. My husband had the great idea to use tea for paint and do a drawing of the actual Boston Tea Party. I handed out copies of a drawing and they used that as a guide for their own painting.


extra fine line Sharpie
brewed tea
watercolor paper

The first step to this project was creating the tea "paint". I made the tea in a pan with two cups of water and about 6 tea bags and cooked it down to about a 1 cup concentrate. I used cranberry raspberry herb tea (which brews red, but turns grey  on the paper), and english breakfast black tea (which brews a dark brown, but turns tan on the paper). You could try any tea and see what you come up with. I was looking for two distinct different colors so these teas did the trick.

After they practiced sketching the scene, they went over all the lines with a Sharpie, then "painted" it in with the tea. They only had the two color choices, so they had to make some decisions on how to make the picture look the most interesting. If they did more than one layer they could darken the color, so I told them to just experiement with it. I love the old world look it gave the paintings, which seemed fitting for the subject matter.

This was kind of a quick painting project so I had them do either a two or three teacup drawing as well to use the tea on. Those turned out great too!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Picasso Masks-art project

Kids love to do masks I have discovered, and the crazier the better. I came up with this lesson for one of my summer classes and have done it  at one of the schools I teach at too. It is a great mixed media project and combines alot of fun techniques.


paper mache masks-I get mine from Nasco
acrylic paints
Spectra deluxe bleeding tissue paper -Nasco
medium gauge craft wire
foam beads
old toothbrush
colored plastic beads
masking tape
mod podge

First I have the kids trace around the shape of the mask onto scratch paper then basecoat the whole mask with white paint. ( I have pre drilled 5 holes in the top of each mask)While the paint is drying , I have them  draw out what shapes they want on their mask, explaining that one side will be painted and one side will be done with tissue paper.

When the basecoat is dry they draw a line down the middle of their masks with pencil and draw the shapes on the side they will paint. Then they start applying tissue pieces they have torn (on the other side of the mask) with the mod podge layering under and over each piece and overlapping a little. Once they have finished that side they work on painting the shapes they have drawn on the other side.  I use a bright color palette-aqua, yellow, red, orange and green to coordinate with the tissue colors. When it is all dry they will outline their painted shapes in the Sharpie, and draw shapes on top of the tissue paper.They will use a brush to make a black strip over their center pencil line.

 Then they use 5 precut wire pieces to string their foam and plastic beads on twisting the top, and threading it thru the holes (twisting the wire on the back of the mask to hold them. I put  one piece of masking tape over all the twisted ends on the back of the mask to help them stand upright.

Then we cover the top (where the beads are) with a cloth or paper and splatter the whole mask with watered down black paint using an old toothbrush and stylis. The kids love this project!