Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ow ow ... owls!

Made by Elaine, 12 years old

You need:

  1. white drawing sheet A4 size
  2. black markers in different sizes
  3. yellow or orange marker
  4. liquid watercolour
  5. brushes
  6. black construction paper
  7. photographs of owls

Discuss with the children characteristics from owls and look at some photographs. Owls have large forward-facing eyes and ear-holes, a hawk-like beak, a flat face, and usually a conspicuous circle of feathers - a facial disc - around each eye. Although owls have binocluar vision, their large eyes are fixed in their sockets, as with other birds, and they must turn their entire head to change views.

Owls are far-sighted, and are unable to see anything clearly within a few inches of their eyes. Their far vision, particularly in low light, is exceptionally good. Owls cannot turn their heads completely backwards. They can turn their head 135 degrees in either direction; they can thus look behind their own shoulders, with a total 270 degree field of view.

Some owls have have ear-tufts on the sides of the head. Those ear-tufts are made of feathers and indicate the status: a grown-up, strong healthy owl with a large territory has large ear-tufts. Young, weak, sick or old owls have smaller ear-tufts.
Most owls have a mixture of brown, black, white, and gray feathers. These colours provide camouflage, and so the owls can easily hide.

Made by Charmaine, 11 years old

Children sketch an owl on a branch with pencil, considering the characteristics from owls we talked about before. After this, patterns have to be made in the body parts of the owl, with different sizes of black markers. By making different patterns, those body parts must be recognized. Only the eyes and the beak may be coloured yellow or orange, the rest is black or white.

When finished, the background has to be painted with yellow liquid watercolour. Don't touch the black marker lines if you didn't use a waterproof one, because the black ink will run out then. Stay away about a half centimeter from your drawing.
Finally paste the artwork on black construction paper.

Owls, made by children of grade 5

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Blowing trees

You need:
  1. white drawing sheet A4 size
  2. watercolour paint
  3. tempera paint
  4. indian ink
  5. q-tips
  6. straws
  7. black construction paper
Practice blowing the ink droplets first on a scrap paper.
Drip a drop of indian ink at about one third from the bottom of the sheet and blow through the straw to the top of the sheet and to the sides. Keep blowing to get smaller branches. Make three trees this way.
Let your work dry. Paint a background with watercolour paint. You can paint over the trees carefully, the indian ink will not smudge if it's dry enough. Let the work dry again.
Take tempera and a q-tip to paint autumn leaves on the branches, the ground and in the air. Near the tree many leaves, further less leaves.
Paste your work on a black sheet.

Monday, November 23, 2009

In the style of ... Christo

A wrapped globe

Christo Vladimirov Javacheff, Christo, is a famous artist. Christo works on large art projects. The artistic strategy of Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude (she died in november 2009) is to 'wrapp' large buildings or landscapes with fabrics. The wrapping of buildings or objects leads to the abstraction. Examples of his work are the wrapping of Pont Neuf in Paris (1985), the Reichstag in Berlin (1995) and The Gates in Central Park New York (2004). Christo wants his work to be seen by lots of people. The result is intended purely aesthetic. People will look at the environment "with new eyes".
All work from Christo is to be seen on his website.

Wrapping like Christo

Tell the students some days before the lesson, to take an object from home that:

  1. is larger than a soda can;
  2. fits on a table;
  3. is not breakable;
  4. is not expensive;
  5. may stay in school for some days;
  6. has a particular form (not just a box)

Discuss with the children why people wrap things: to protect, to surprise (presents), to ship.
Why has Christo wrapped things? What is the effect of the wrapped objects? Look at some Christo projects and discuss them.

A wrapped easel

You need:

  1. an object for each kid
  2. big fabrics, pieces of plastic, garbage bags, wrapping papier, toilet paper, aluminum foil and plastic wrap
  3. materials to tie, like rope, yarn, tape, wire, fishing line, painter tape and fabric strips
  4. materials to decorate, like feathers, paint, markers, coloured paper, textile markers, glitter glue, buttons etc.
The goal for today: wrap your object to hide details; tie it, to make the form visible again. When your ready earlier than others, you may decorate your artwork using different materials.

When children go to work, walk around and stimulate them. Each kid wraps in his own way, nothing is wrong. Stay mentioning the goal: wrap to let disappear details, tie to recognize the form again.
When everybody is ready and the classroom is tidy again, ask children to exhibit their work. Are the goals achieved?
Finally children make some digital photo's of their own work.

A wrapped Christmas decoration

Lesson and photo's received from Linda Vroemisse

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dutch December skyline

The Dutch website juf Lisette has a lesson we do every year: the December skyline! 5 December is the day Sinterklaas visits all Dutch children to give them presents. You can read more about Sinterklaas and his Black Petes in the category Dutch folklore.

You need:

  1. construction paper A4 size in dark blue, yellow and black
  2. paperclips
  3. scissors
  4. knives
  5. cutting blade
  6. glue

Draw the skyline of a street on the black paper. Add a tree if you want to, or draw a black pete near the chimney.

Put the black sheet on the yellow one and attach them to each other with four paperclips. Cut out the skyline; you'll cut two sheets at the same time. When ready, remove the paperclips and cut some windows out of the black sheet.

Cut a moon out of the rest of the yellow sheet. Stick the black and yellow skyline together and shift the black sheet one millimeter to emerge the yellow one. Look carefully to the position of the moon: you'll see the yellow edges there were the moon shines. Glue the moon on the blue sheet and glue the skyline below. Your December skyline is finished!

Friday, November 20, 2009

thereza rowe : artists who blog

Thereza's blog:
Thereza's website:

Why did you decide to start a blog?

I was still at university studying for my design degree and felt I needed little place to show my drawings, experiments and illustration work so a blog seemed a good start.

How did you come up with the name of your blog?

Red being my favorite colour, I knew it had to be called something red, so one day, whilst playing with my moleskine the name tiny red popped up. Just like that!

How has blogging affected your work as an artist/designer?

Blogging works like an e-sketchbook for me and it has given me a lot more than I expected as it soon became an outlet to document and keep track of my own journey and development as an illustrator. It became a reminder that each ordinary day can be a special one just through sharing what you have noticed on that day. May it be through a doodle, pictures, a link, etc...

What are your favorite artist/designer blogs? Why?

Oh dear, there are so many! If I mention a few, I know I’ll be forgetting others so let’s just say my favorite blogs are the ones that have a good mix of original imagery, context, honesty and a great personality. Hello my faves, you know who you are!

Do you have any advice for artists/designers who are starting a blog?

It depends on what you intend to achieve... Personally, I blog for fun and it’s an excellent way of networking with like-minded people. I’d say: Have fun and do it because you love it.

What has been the most positive and inspirational aspect of having a blog for you?

Networking and interacting with amazing artists who I might otherwise not have had the opportunity to... There’s so much good stuff out there and to be inspired and be able to inspire whilst being part of a community is such a great feeling. Also, the feedback I get from visitors is awesome!

What do you find the most difficult/most rewarding part of having a creative profession?

Most difficult>> handling the business side of things... eventually I might need an agent and an accountant, I think... most rewarding>> production, all the way from the brainstorming process through to the final piece.

Other than your blog, what has been the most effective way for you to promote your art/design?

I have a website, a flickr account and a twitter page and iI think it’s more than enough... there are far too many social networks nowadays, can’t keep up!

Offline >> business cards, postcards, etc

How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?

That’s a tough one! I have a quite hyperactive head and even when I’m not working I’m always noticing, processing, thinking of what’s next... it’s part of doing what you love, I guess...

What would you like to accomplish by the end of 2009?

Oh my, that’s only a couple of months away... so, other than getting more commissions, nothing massive...
From a work’s perpective I want to see if I can organize myself to open a little online shop plus learn to do more with my wonderful Canon SRL camera would be good too ☺

Thanks Thereza!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Owl in moonlight

You need:

  1. white drawing paper A4 size
  2. oil pastel
  3. blue ink
  4. brush
  5. dish with water
  6. scouring pad

See the moon shining through the trees... and in the moonlight everything looks blue.

Children scetch a winter tree, so there will be no leaves. Show them that the branches at the end always be thinner. Scetch a moon between the branches. Draw a cat or an owl on one of those branches.

The tree has to be coloured with blue oil pastel. Color difference can be made by pressing harder or softer, or by using a little black or white through that blue for the feathers. Colour the owl or cat blue too. Use black to draw eyes, ears and beak. The moon is white-yellow and becomes darker yellow to the outside.

When colouring is ready, everything has to be outlined with white oil pastel; even the smallest branches have to be outlined. This is a difficult chore, because you barely see the white and you run the risk that the white crayon will get blue (scrape it then!).

The background will be painted with ink, water and a scouring pad (watch your clothes!). The white lines will resist the ink.
Put undiluted blue ink on a dish and dip the soft side of the scouring pad in it. Stamp with the pad along the outer edges of the drawing. Add water to the ink when you're nearer at the moon. The blue will be lighter then. Make a great light blue circle around the moon.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Black Pete in stained glass

In the folklore of the Netherlands, Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) is a companian of Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas), whose yearly feast in the Netherlands is usually on the evening of 5 December, when they distribute presents to all good children.
The character of Zwarte Piet appears only in the weeks before Saint Nicholas's feast, first when the saint is welcomed with a parade as he arrives in the country (in the Netherlands by steam boat, from Spain), and is mainly targeted at children, who come to meet the saint as he visits stores, schools etc. Zwarte Piet is black because he has to climb down the chimneys with the presents for the children.
Foreign tourists often experience culture shock upon encountering the character. Since the last decade of the 20th century there have been several attempts to introduce a new kind of Zwarte Piet to the Dutch population. These Zwarte Pieten have replaced the traditional black make-up with all sorts of colours. These multi-coloured Pieten are unpopular amongst the Dutch population and are not catching on.
Source: Wikipedia.

Stained glass is the name for a window glass that consists of pieces glass which are connected by lead. Discuss with the children where stained glass is still to be seen. Why do people make it, since we can produce a window out of one piece of glass? What is the effect of stained glass? Wat is lead? What is lead used for?

You need:
  1. black construction paper
  2. tissue paper
  3. scissors
  4. glue

Children are going to make a black pete in stained glass. Our lead is black construction paper. Draw a line around the sheet at 2 cm from the edge. This will be the frame. Draw a black pete in the frame with few details: face, cap and dollar are enough. Link this pete with some strips from 1.5 cm width out of the construction paper to the frame. Draw crosses in those pieces that have to be cut out. After a check from the teacher, the real cutting can start.

After this, the little windows have to be made. Put a piece of tissue paper behind a window of the frame and outline it with pencil. Cut this piece with an edge of 1 cm and glue it on the back of the window. Continue with the other windows.
Hang all artworks against the window!

Friday, November 13, 2009

lisa golightly : artists who blog

Lisa's blog:
Lisa's website:
Lisa's shop:

Why did you decide to start a blog?

Probably the same reason many people do. I had been reading blogs for years and started wanting to share some of my ideas and how I work. I think I had been writing posts in my head for quite a while before I actually took the plunge.

How did you come up with the name of your blog?

It’s just my name and that of my website. And yes, that is my real name. The name Kiki and Polly was inspired by my daughter. Polly was her imaginary friend and Kiki was the name she gave a bird that came to our yard.

How has blogging affected your work as an artist/designer?

Hmmm. I guess one of the greatest things for me is getting to hear feedback. Putting my work out there and hearing peoples thoughts on it has been really gratifying and inspirational.

What are your favorite artist/designer blogs? Why?

Too many to list here (I swear it grows daily!) But a few are:
design is mine
Camilla Engman
design milk
Art Addict

Do you have any advice for artists/designers who are starting a blog?

I try to balance what is inspiring me, my daily life and what I’m working on, mainly because those are the aspects I enjoy most in other people’s blogs. So to blog what it is that draws you to other blogs is a good place to start.

What has been the most positive and inspirational aspect of having a blog for you?

Like I said, hearing from people who have found my work has been amazing. I am a pretty quiet person so having a blog helps me out of my shell!

What do you find the most difficult/most I part of having a creative profession?

I have kids, so balacing time and giving enough to each is the hardest. I heard an artist say once that his wife couldn’t be a true artist because she made the choice to be a mother and art requires too much of yourself to make that sacrifice. Well, I think that’s bull@#$%$, but that said, somedays it would be very helpful to have a few extra hours in the day.

Other than your blog, what has been the most effective way for you to promote your art/design?

Participating in online art markets, maintaining an active etsy store, and introducing yourself to art/design blogs.

How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?

That’s the big question, right? Some days I feel like I have acheived it, others I still struggle. Just recently I started back at my childhood love of horseback riding which has been huge for me. I think the biggest realization for me has been that I don’t neccesarily have balance on a daily basis, but if I step back and look at the overall picture it’s there.

What would you like to accomplish by the end of 2009?

I’d like to keep getting my work out there, keep pushing myself and making the most of some fun opportunites I have coming up.

Thank you Lisa for sharing your thoughts and your lovely artwork!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Explosion at the bottle factory

This lesson is designed to help explain the idea of Abstract art. It is from an Arts and Activities magazine.
Paintings of trees by the Dutch painter Piet Mondriaan show the development of realistic painting to abstract painting clearly. The red tree (1908) is a realistic painting, Mondriaan painted what he saw.

The grey tree (1911) is more abstract, but the shape of the tree can still be seen.

The apple tree (1912) doesn't look like a tree anymore, unless you see this one together with the former paintings.

You need:
  1. black construction paper
  2. scissors and glue
  3. coloured paper
  4. ruler and pencil
After showing the paintings of Mondriaan, kids have to make their own abstract artwork out of a realistic one.
Children draw a line halfway their black sheet. Then they have to cut three or four double bottles out of coloured paper. Glue the bottles on the top piece of the black sheet. Cut the remaining bottles into pieces and glue them on the bottom of the sheet.