Thursday, April 19, 2012

In the Artroom: Full Moon Rising

Every year my school hosts an end of the year art show. Throughout the year, I hoard all of the masterpieces the kids create. A couple of weeks before the art show, my Army of Amazing Moms start to mount, sort and organize. Once completed, each teacher is given the mountain of masterpieces for their class. They recruit their room moms who then hang all the works of art.

I teach 420 kids. Each of them makes roughly 5 works of art.

That's 2100 pieces of artwork that fill the hall's walls of our school.

And it freaks me out every year...will I be able to get everything ready in time? What about those absent kids who need to finish? And where on earth did I put that class' paintings?!
As I was making a feeble attempt to organize for the show, I stumbled upon these beauties created by my genius fourth grade students. They painted these masterpieces at the beginning of the school year and I'd completely forgotten about how amazing they were. It was a great lesson for the start of the school year as it allowed me to introduce the elements of art and a couple of the Big Name artists.
So I thought I'd share it with you!
For this lesson, we used the following:
  • charcoal sticks
  • large rectangular sheets of paper
  • black tempra paint
  • naked crayons (our name for crayons sans paper)
  • Crayola watercolor paints with the addition of turquoise and magenta
  • watercolor brushes
  • color diffusing paper in leaf shapes
Here's how we went about creating:
  1. We started the year learning about Leonardo da Vinci. Using charcoal sticks (because Leo would have used 'em!) and the element of art of line, we drew a tree branch from observation. 
  2. From there, we drew a circle for the moon anywhere on our painting and painted over our charcoal lines with black tempra paint.
  3. Next, we chatted about Leo's love of nature and did some leaf rubbing. This introduced organic shapes, texture and color. 
  4. Finally we were ready to paint. First warm colors were introduced with the leaf painting.
  5. For the background, we used the cool colors and a variety of values.
  6. During this time, Vincent van Gogh and his love of line, texture and movement were introduced. I'm sure you can see his influence in some of the paintings.
I love the variety of lines this artist used on her tree branch.

Just like any lesson, you've always got the Early Finishers and the Pokey Little Puppies. I myself fall under the PLP category, so I don't like to rush the kids. For my early finishers, they were given the format of a cinquain poem and told to use their artwork as the inspiration.

There are a couple of different ways to go about a cinquain poem. We wrote ours like this:

Line 1: A noun
Line 2: Two adjectives
Line 3: Three -ing words
Line 4: A phrase
Line 5: Repeat Line 1

The kids wrote their poems onto these leaves with a sharpie. These leaves are made from what's called a color-diffusing paper. After writing their poem, the kids used warm color water based markers to color their leaves. Then they simply painted their leaves with water and viola! A beautiful poem-y leaf to accompany their masterpiece.
Because of the dark sky in this painting, the artist used white to paint their tree branch to make it more visible.

I love how this branch seems to hug the moon!
And there you have it! A great addition to our art show. When it all finally comes together, I'll be certain to share photos of the show with you. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Oh wow--these are so stunning! You teach some very talented young artists, Cassie! :) It must be such a delight to be able to see what they come up with.

  2. Good post. Art is a great medium to paint your imagination view with N number of colors.


Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.