Thursday, December 1, 2016

Recycled Cardboard Butterflies Inspired by David Gerstein

 Skyler, 3rd grade

 Summer, 4th grade

Fiona, 3rd grade 

 Clare, Kindergarten

 Miss Mary, 49  :)

Pinterest is a constant cource of inspiration, from my next "must read", to the perfect crockpot soup,  and on and on. But what I have really enjoyed is stumbling across new (to me) artists that inspire me. Insert David Gerstein. This Israeli born painter and sculptor creates colorful, dynamic pieces full of movement, life and often humor. His outdoor sculptures can be found all over the world. Yup, I'm completely smitten! Here is a link to his metal butterfly sculptures that inspired this project:

For this project we utilized recycled cardboard from large boxes and extra large pizza boxes. I had the children draw half of the butterfly shape and used it as a template to cut a second. The also drew a simple body. This project was all about layers. They painted simple shapes on their cut bases with a limited color palette. They could add an extra layer of painted shapes. On a sheet of watercolor paper, they created wet on wet dots that were cut out and glued to each wing. I also offered recycled painted paper for them to cut into ovals or circles. These were glued down in a symmetrical manner (or not if they chose to go another route). We added finishing touches with black glue, puff paint and even sequins for some. This was my first time using puff paint and I can see what all the fuss is about. So much icing a cake!
These pieces measure about 2' X 2 1/2'. I glued a piece of twine to the back so they could be hung.

Here are steps to create one using recycled cereal boxes. This would be a fun project for Earth Day! Ask children to bring in a cereal boxes. You can utilize scrap painted paper or even magazine pages for collaged spots. Instead of puff paint, create colored glue using tempera or acrylic paint shaken with used glue bottles.You can even challenge yourself to use the nearly gone bottles of acrylic and tempera paint (as I did) to paint these. Children can make small circle print details using dried up markers or old pencils dipped in paint. There are lots of fun possibilities here to use what's on hand.

Layer one - acrylic painted shapes in a limited color palette

Painted papers from the recycling bin for collaged spots

Miss Mary's finished cereal box butterfly 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Mixed Media Lighthouse Art Lesson

Earlier in the year, my young elementary students created some wonderful mixed media lighthouse collages. It's a fun lesson that helps teach children the concepts of foreground, middle ground and background. You can see my original post here:

And the article describing the lesson in more detail, in next month's issue of Arts and Activities magazine here:

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Paper Bag Owls and the Sharpie Art Workshop for Kids Giveaway!

Today is my day to post for the Sharpie Blog Roll by Art Projects for leading up to the release of Kathy Barbro's Fantastic new book,

I'm excited to be a project contributor! Kathy was the first art teacher blogger I discovered over seven years ago when I started teaching art classes. She has an amazing knack for breaking down any subject matter in easy to follow steps for kids to draw. She is always coming up with new and creative ideas! So I was thrilled and honored when she asked me to submit a project for her upcoming Sharpie Art book. My students know Sharpie isn't just a proper noun in my classes, it's a verb. They'll often hear me say, "Go ahead and Sharpie your pencil lines."

The book is full of Fun, Creative, and Easy to follow art and craft projects. It releases this Tuesday, November 15th. Kathy is hosting a giveaway for a signed book for three lucky readers. Just follow this link and leave a comment before midnight on November 15th for a chance to win.

In the meantime, here are some other fun ideas for kids to create using Sharpie Markers and brown paper bags

Lunch Bag Owl 


Black Sharpie Marker - Fine Tip, Chisel or King Size
Chalk Pastels
2 brown paper lunch bags
Scissors and glue
newspaper or tissue paper

After you have drawn all your Sharpie lines, add color to your owl using
the side of your chalk pastels with light pressure
Stuff bag with crumbled newspaper
Cut out wings and ear tufts from a separate bag and glue to your owl

Have the kids make these for a fun autumn display on the mantle
or gathered around pumpkins! 

Here's a link to buy the book:

Graphic Owl Luminaria


Brown school lunch bag
Black Sharpie Marker
 Sharpie Markers in Assorted Colors
Battery Tea Light Candle

Kids can get creative with lines and shapes in
creating their graphic owl - here are just a few ideas
After black lines are drawn, color away!

Put these on the mantle or by your front door to welcome
family and friends at your next gathering!

Grocery Bag Owls

Barn Owl
Fun facts: Barn Owls have a distinctive heart shaped face,
 their flight is silent and they don't hoot, they shriek

Brown Grocery Bag, cut into a rectangle
Fine and Ultra Fine Tip Black Sharpie Markers
Chalk Pastels

For a simple, finished composition - on a piece of black construction paper,
create a full moon with chalk pastel and add some stars with a white Sharpie marker.
Just cut out and glue your owl to the backgroud.
(those veins!)

Great Horned Owl
The Great Horned Owl is named for the tufts of feathers (not ears) that sit on top of its head. The ears are actually openings in the sides of its skull, hidden by feathers, down on the sides of its head.

Create sketchy loose lines with Sharpies
Add a little more color with chalk pastels


Brown Grocery Bag, cut into a rectangle
Sharpie Markers in Black, Brown and White
Chalk Pastels
Create a backgroud of your choice

Check out tomorrow's project of Fibers and Sharpies (using rubbing alcohol for a bleed) from Nic Hahn of Mini Matisse.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Autumn Art Fun

Here are some of the projects my students have been working on during my favorite season.

 First Grade Mixed Media Squirrel Collages

Tree and Squirrel Silhouettes with Tissue Paper Skies

Mixed Media Raccoon Portraits

Pumpkin Still Lifes on Roofing Felt

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Travel Poster Art Fun

Uluru, Australia

Paris, France



When the closest thing to traveling you do is watching Anthony Bourdain on The Travel Channel, what do you do to satisfy your wanderlust? Well, if you're me, you settle on a travel poster art themed class. It was very difficult to settle on only four destinations for my month-long class. My 2nd-4th graders used a variety of wet and dry media to create their compositions. They had a lot of fun exploring a new land each week. So even though it's been years since I've had my passport stamped, this was a nice little consolation prize.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Owl and Raccoon Portraits

My apologies for being MIA for the past couple months. While my husband was recuperating from some health issues, this art major was educating herself on everything from atrial ablations, astigmatisms, A1c's, and the benefits of acupuncture. And this was only the "A's". Phew!

I'm glad to be stepping away from all the medical terminology and getting back into the elements of art! Here are some recent pieces from my Autumn Draw, Paint Collage class. (K-3rd)

Mixed Media Raccoons

Owl Collages

As a fun bonus, the eyes and moons were painted with glow in the dark paint