Tuesday, May 12, 2015

In the Art Room: Desert Landscapes with Third Grade

Hello, Tumblin' Tumbleweeds! I hope all y'all are feelin' footloose and fancy-free (like, why would you wanna be free of fancy?! I take it back, I hope you are fancy-full). My third graders have been wrapping up their art projects as the end rapidly draws near (like, 7 days left, y'all. Not like I'm counting the days, minutes, seconds or anything. Ahem) and I realized I'd never shared these beauties with ya! So in this here post, I'll fill you in on our process, the prezi used and some other whut-nuts. 
 So I've been kinda obsessed with having the kids work in chalk since we created those chalked ceiling tiles last month. And the kids have really enjoyed working with it as well. There's just something about using an art supply that involves smearing and getting up-to-our-elbows messy that's just irresistible. 
Since these guys didn't have a chance to make ceiling tiles, I thought I'd let 'em work on a desert landscape. It tied in nicely with our theme of Mexico and allowed me to introduce a super fab contemporary female artist, Sushe Felix
When I first spotted Sushe's work, I was totes smitten. And I totes thought she was working in chalk! That is until I saw this photo...
Like, fur realz?! All those amazingly even gradations are PAINTED?! Are you kitten me? I am in love with her work, you can view more of it (and her hubby's, his work is pretty groovy as well) here
Right? Totes smitten. If you have a chance, check out her paintings of animals, they are so cute. The girls let out a collective "awwwww!" when I shared a baby owl painting with them. 
For this project, we used the KOSS brand chalk that had worked so well for our ceiling tiles. We also used 9" X 12" sheets of paper.
I told the kids that their first step was to create their background. They could use any light color they wanted for their sky and any coupla colors they thought might look good for a desert floor. 
We blended with our fingers because it's super fun. I did tell 'em to use separate fingers for different color blending so as not to muddy their vibrant colors. 
 Next the kids cut out big cloud shapes.
And colored them with darker colors of chalk in the same fam as the color of our sky. Again, this was to prevent muddy looking colors. 
Using one hand to hold the paper super still, we used our other hand to smear the chalk upward. 
The key is not to let the paper move so that your cloud stencil can create a crisp line. 
 Like-a dis.
Then we flipped the cloud paper over and repeated the process on the other side of our masterpiece. 
Next up: creating the mountains! Cut a zig-zag mountain-y kind of shape out of some scrap paper. 
Color like you did the clouds with a variety of greens. However, this time, instead of pushing the chalk up, pull the colors downward.
The kids seriously thing this entire process is magical. You will be considered high class art teacherin' royalty with this one, I promise ya.
 Now cut out a piece of paper that doesn't have peaks like a mountain but has plateaus. We borrowed some desert books from the library to use on our tables for inspiration. Let's hope the librarian doesn't notice the chalk dust. 
 For the cliffs we did the same pull-down-the-chalk method. 
Once complete, we looked at even more desert books and my stash of How-to-Draw books for ideas of what could live in our landscape. 
Just a mile?! Well, I'm not taking my chances with that scorpion, yikes!
 Love the pink sunset in this work of art. We did chat about creating depth and space with a decrease in size of objects, rivers and roads. 
Just 200 more miles to Tennessee, y'all! Hope in your dune buggy and drop by! Tell next time, kids.

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  1. Ah, those are fantastic. I love the look of handmade stencils. I'll be stealin, you know, like an artist. ;)

  2. Years ago, I used to do some chalk stencil-y things with the kids, pretty much the same processes that you've used here, and somehow I forgot all about it, and I guess it got pushed aside for other stuff. Now I'm wondering why! Thanks for sharing this and for making me remember something I didn't know that I'd forgotten!

  3. Wow! I totally LOVE the works of Sushe Felix!
    I am doing this lesson right now with my 3rd graders :D Thank you thank you thank you!!!

  4. Anonymous3/18/2016

    Great Lesson! What medium did the students use for the drawings within their landscape?

  5. Anonymous11/01/2016

    The details and animals were drawn with chalk also?

  6. I love work with chalk myself and even like to use it to paint with a wet brush. Do you know if all the pigments are non toxic. My only worry about using with kids is the dust.


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