Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Getting ready for CLAY!!! Tested Tips for Teachers!

I've come to realize that some of the things that come naturally to me as an art teacher are not necessarily things that other art teachers are good at.  So, I'm going to start sharing a few tips. (Then I won't feel so bad when I steal art technique tips from other teachers!)

So today I'm going to share how I get ready to start clay for the first time in Art 1.

First, get out the OLDEST bags of clay first. I am using Low Fire White clay. I have 3 bags that I need to stretch out between 3 Art 1 classes. Two bags are pretty hard. One bag is nice and soft. I will force the students to use the two hard slabs first.  How you say.. easy. :)

Take the heavy block of clay out of the bag. (Yes I am working on the floor. It's easier for me to work on the floor and I've come to realize that it doesn't really matter if the clay is absolutely "clean" when I give it to students, it's not going to be "clean" when they are finished. It WILL have random bits of junk/hair/trash in it no matter what I say or do.)

Here is my block of clay. I do at least set it on it's plastic bag.

Now take your wire cutter and cut the block in half.

Lay 1/2 down and stand the other 1/2 on the clay base. Cut it in 1/2 as well.
Like this.

Now take the 1/4 wedge and cut it into 4 or so parts. Try to be somewhat consistent in size. But be ready to say.. "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit." Yes, even in high school!

Now take EACH wedge and place it into a plastic bag that zips closed. Brand doesn't matter. I use LOTS of ziploc bags. I make the quart size bags a supply item that kids have to provide. DON'T CLOSE THE BAG YET!!!
6. Now take the bags over to the sink and if the clay is already leather hard, place a few drops of water in each bag and close up the bag.

7. Place the OLDEST clay at the BOTTOM of the bucket. Place the BEST clay somewhere else until the old clay is used. (Notice the best clay is sitting on my counter inside gallon storage bags.. I'll pull these out at the end of the day for my last class. This is two-fold.. it forces the students to use the old clay first and it makes sure that every once in a while the last class of the day gets the best supply!)
Side note here... the students ALWAYS dig to the bottom of the bucket thinking that they are going to get the best of something...

Prepare your supplies for your table stations I use the lids  that come with small storage tubs for "plates" for my tables. I have one set on my front counter as an example of how I expect the students to place their supplies.

Notice the supplies on my front small table. I have EXACTLY the number of sharp instruments that we need for the tables. I only allow ONE of each tool per table. Students just have to share. I can keep up with seven of each of the tools, but I can't keep up with 25 of each!

You might also notice the canvas boards that I have in the tub next to the clay. These canvas boards are GREAT! They don't totally protect my tables, but they do a pretty good job. A lot of people cover the entire table for clay, but I don't have time as I teach Art 1, Art 2 and then back to Art 1. My advanced kids don't do clay at the same time as Art 1 and they really, really don't appreciate getting clay dust on their drawings!

So there you have it.

Art 1 is making 3 clay coils and a pinch pot today!

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Healing Tree

Three of my advanced art students have been volunteering their time and talent for the local hospital's wound care clinic by painting a "healing tree".

It's been a slower process than I thought it would be because they can only work from 4pm to 6pm during the week.

But the end result is going to be fantastic!

Here are a few pictures of the students at work.

They plan to complete it next week. 

I am proud of these girls and their work ethic! I met the doctor that works out of the clinic a couple of days ago and he asked me if I had been working on the mural with the girls. I said nope. And the nurses quickly said it's just been the girls, that I haven't picked up a paint brush. I told him that if I have done my job, I can tell the students the expectations, give them feedback and a little guidance and make sure that they have the necessary supplies, but I shouldn't have to do the project for them. He seemed a little surprised that I would be willing to give the students so much responsibility, I just said these are good kids and smiled. It was really interesting, he was so complimentary of the work, he just couldn't believe that I didn't force my hand in the work. I guess that the difference in our professions.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Animal Contour with Tangled Lines Watercolor Painting

For the second project in Art 1, students were asked to create a contour drawing of an animal. Becuase I wanted to reinforce the idea that they would be drawing from OBSERVATION, I had them draw various stuffed animals that I purchased from the dollar store!

While the animals drawings were not as inspired as they might have been if I had allowed them to draw from photographs, one of the most important things that students must learn in Art 1 is that they MUST draw from observation!

Anyway... we did a series of contour drawings of stuffed animals. I had bears, monkeys, a couple birds and various other stuffed animals.  After a couple of days drawing, the students were asked to draw their favorite drawing on larger piece of paper, making sure that their animal was larger than the paper so that it "hung off" the paper on 3 sides.

Then the students created line drawings inside each section of the animal. If the student didn't listen at the begining and only had one big section of stomach, he/she found out really quickly that their project was going to be boring! After the line drawings (in sharpie) were finished, the students painted each section a different color using watercolors.

Here are some of the fun finished pieces. Click Here to see the entire gallery.
For more instructions see my snapguide below.

Finished Radial Design Color Wheels

A few weeks ago Art 1 students completed their Radial Design Color Wheels.

Or you can just look at a couple of highlights below.

The project was a hit and one that I think that I will do every year as a first project. I learned so much about the students and could really see the strengths and weakness of each student immediately!

For the complete lesson, watch the snap guide tutorial.
Check out How to Create a Radial Design Color Wheel by Emily McLemore on Snapguide.