Friday, January 25, 2013

A Martin Luther King project and experimenting in watercolors

We had the second weekly art class at Studio 116 yesterday evening (:

In last week's drawing lesson, we focused on observation and shape.  This week, we focused on value and tone and how to see it.

We started by making simple tone scales of high light, middle light, middle gray and dark:

Then we moved into using a still life to help see tone.  One of the most awesome things about getting to do the lessons in Studio 116 is the variety of things that can be used for models!  These gourds were -perfect-!

To help them understand tone, I had them squint their eyes-- it makes the lightest lights and the darkest darks that much easier to see.  And working with the white gourds made seeing the gray tones that much easier.

 Then, we used a still life in color.  The kids decided they really wanted one of the funny mugs that's available for purchase at Studio 116 in this one (:

And then we moved into the take home project (:  We took the opportunity to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday from Monday.

Here's what you need to do the project:  you take a black and white photograph with high contrast and at least 4 tones (in this case, two versions of Dr. King), a sheet of drawing paper, a glue stick and a pencil.

I found these two great images online:

You tear the image roughly in half, anyway you choose.  But only -1- tear.  Then you glue one half to your drawing paper, and draw in the other half using the paper as a reference.

They did fantastic!  I was really impressed and proud of all of them!

You've probably noticed that we're working our way through the Elements of Art (:  They are some of the key foundations to the visual arts.  Next week, we're going to be focusing on line-- types and varieties with a project (or 2) that helps understand and develop line.

For the second hour, we continued our lesson in watercolor.  Last week, we focused on color theory and how colors are blended.  This week, we moved into awesome techniques!

We started by dividing a sheet of paper into 6 sections and labeling them:  wet on wet, wet on dry, dry on dry, wash, blotting, and gradual.

Since we weren't working on color theory, each child was allowed to choose the color they wanted to work in.  We used 3 paintbrushes-- a large soft bristle brush, and 2 smaller fine tipped ones.

For dry on dry, we used a dry small brush to draw.  Then for wet on dry, using the other small brush, we dipped it in the water (hence the wet), then the paint.  For wet on wet, we used the large brush in clean water to wet the paper, then the small wet brush to draw.  I loved hearing all the "Whoas!" and the excitement as they did this.  We discussed the differences between the three techniques.

For wash, we use the big brush very wet and worked in single strokes for a nice even coat.  For gradual, we loaded the big brush up with a lot of paint for the first stroke, then dipped it in the water, did the second stroke, back to the clean water, third stroke (et cetra) and they noticed that each time you come back it gets lighter and lighter and lighter.  Which gave us the perfect opportunity to talk about the translucency of water color.

For blotting, we did a wash, then I had them clean their brush and squeeze all of the water out then "negatively" draw as the brush soaks up excess paint and water.  I let them know this is also a great way to fix little mistakes.  Then we used paper towel to blot the same area and see the pattern this created.  On of the girls said it was like watching stars or clouds appear (:

The second half of technique focused on wax resist and salt:

 For was resist, we turn to our friend the white crayon (:  Just draw on the white surface any shape or design desired, then wash over it.  It works best if your wash is thin, but you can always swipe with more water if you've added too much paint.

For the salt, a little goes a long way!  Just a pinch is all it took.  Once the paint dries, the salt is brushed off and beautiful star bursts remain in their place.

And to end the evening, we experimented in combining techniques.  I demonstrated using wax resist, wash, wet on wet, dry on wet, and salt:

All in all, we all had a fantastic time!

Next week, the second hour will be about using all these wonderful watercolor techniques to make our own artbook/ story (:

Hope to see you next Thursday at Studio 116!

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