Colourful Cats! Andy Warhol inspired: Year 1/2 art lesson

A great lesson to do in a unit on pets. We used Andy Warhol’s ’25 Cats’ as inspiration for these drawings of cats in all sorts of positions. Before Warhol was well known, he published a book with lots of illustrations of cats. Warhol was living with his Mum in New York and at one time he had 25 cats cohabiting in the apartment!!

LESSON ACTIVITIES:

View video about Andy Warhol’s “25 cats” and look at his pictures.

What do you see? What else do you notice about the pictures? What do you think he used to draw and colour the pictures? (eg. black outline in ink, not all realistic colours.)

Students followed some directed drawing (and some youtube tutorials) of cats in different positions. (in greylead pencil) to fit four differnt cats on their paper.

They then used a fine point waterproof marker (like Sharpie), added short lines to add texture for the cat’s fur, then & different coloured food dye wash colour on each cat.

FULL LESSON with learning intentions, success criteria, Victorian curriculum links, youtube video links used to draw cats in different positions, and assessment/self evaluation rubric.

GRAFFITI INITIALS / Street art~ Year 3-4

When looking at Street at with students, there are some interesting discussions about graffiti and street art and the fine line between the two. Of course there is much street art that is done with permission or on commission, but some graffiti (not done with permission) can be powerful art too! And then of course there is the graffiti that is only considered vandalism because people don’t appreciate it as art.

We looked at the different styles and types of graffiti / street art including tags (nick name or initials), a throw (still using a nickname or word, but often done with block or bubble letters that are coloured in), a ‘piece’ (like a throw, but usually with more colour), a ‘piece’: (more time spent on the visual conventions of the design including overlapping letters in a style like wildstyle, bubble or block letters adding dimension to the lettering to give it more form, like shadowing, and colour graduation and combination); and stencils which the artist (looked at Banksy’s work) has pre-made a cut out to spray over onto the surface. (see Banksy Stencil post)

The students did a Seesaw activity to review terminology so they could match the terms with some some graffiti & street art images.

Using just their initials, students drew a tag, then explored thicker lettering styles, before deciding which one to use for their (master)’piece’.

A background of a brick wall was printed using foam blocks, and a large “dripping paint blob” was cut out to go under the letters. The lettering needed to be slightly overlapped or connected, outlined, have dimension added in the way of shadow lines and colours chosen to contrast the paint blob.

Lesson plan contains links to Victorian Curriculum, learning intentions and success criteria, rubric for student self assessment, links to useful youTube videos for the class, lesson steps and activities with photo examples, display photos of different types of graffiti (taken by me!) with explanation, and link to an online graffiti maker for early finishers.

Farm Scene with George the Farmer- Year 1/2 Mixed Media Art lesson

Student Artwork

This project tied in with our “Picasso Cow Program” where the school was involved in learning about the dairy industry and the health benefits of eating dairy products. The “Discover Dairy” website was a wealth of information with loads of short informative videos.

Firstly, I posed some questions to students to see what their prior knowledge of dairy farms was: What is a DAIRY farm? What does a dairy farmer do? What do dairy farmers do besides milk cows?

We watched some videos from Discover Dairy to give students an insight into life on a dairy farm and were useful to learn about what happens on a typical dairy farm to prompt discussion.

‘George the Farmer’ is a character created by two people from farming backgrounds whose vision is ‘a world where children connect to the earth, food and farm’. Based in regional South Australia, they produce fun picture storybooks about all types of farming and agriculture, with lots of teacher resources as well. https://www.georgethefarmer.com.au We used the picture book: ‘George the Farmer- Ruby and the Dairy Dilemma.’

One of the learning opportunities when beginning our farm scene was about SPACE- foreground, middle ground and background and the size proportions. Students drew a background of farm paddocks, discussing how when things are further away they look smaller. They drew some farm buildings like a dairy, barn or windmill just below the horizon line and added a tractor and maybe a cow in the middle ground.

Students used oil pastels to colour in and food dye wash for grass and sky.

Students then made painted paper for George the Farmer’s shirt and pants, and scraps of painted paper in brown, beige, yellow for the hat, face hands, boots etc. I had several of each shape for the pieces of George in card cut from cereal boxes so the children could trace them on the back of the painted paper, choosing the shape shirt they want. I had painted paper already done for the skin, hat and hair and cut them into smaller pieces to just fit the card shapes so there was no wastage.

I cut out card shapes of the shirt, pants, face, and hat for children to trace around on the back of the painted paper. They used scraps to cut out a belt, boots, hair and hands.

Students paint a print out of a cow and cut out to glue on or the cow could have been drawn onto the middle ground or foreground (larger) instead.

Lesson plan with learning intentions, success criteria, links to useful videos, suggested artist artworks for discussion, template for shapes to make George the Farmer.

Ugly Dolls~ Soft sculptures by Year 3-4

This was a favourite project, the students loved designing and making their own soft “Ugly Doll” toy. The school topic was “Celebrate Difference!” Many students had seen the 2019 Ugly Doll movie, but we watched the trailer on YouTube so everyone got a sense of how it related to the topic. We discussed the ideas and messages in the film: e.g. “Our flaws are what make us unique.

Students set about drafting a shape and design for their ‘ugly doll’ in their scrap books. The shape needed to be fairly simple so that it would be easy to sew around. Arms, legs, ears or any other appendages were added separately. I gave them half and A4 paper to make a template that size to cut out and pin to their chosen felt colour (two pieces cut together).

Felt scraps, buttons, wool etc, could be sewn or glued onto the top piece of felt to create the face, hair etc. They cut out arms, legs, etc. pinning to the body shape.

The two pieces are pinned around the edges and are stitched together, using either a running stitch or a whip stitch, leaving an opening at the top or bottom for stuffing, then stitched up.

Ugly Doll lesson plan- success criteria, links to useful videos and the Victorian Curriculum, and a rubric reflection

Reverse Acetate Portraits ~ Year 5-6 Art lesson

Once I worked how to do a reverse acetate portrait, I got Year 5/6’s to do one; the Year 6’s were displayed at Graduation. This is a relatively easy process and in most cases successful! Win-win!

Students were photographed to include head and shoulders to the chest, and printed out in black and white on A4 paper. Next, a piece of acetate was taped (just at the top) over the photograph, so they could lift it up and flip it over.

Using a black permanent marker (we used Fine Point Sharpies) students trace around their face and features, hair, clothing, etc, and if they flip the acetate over so it is on top of the back of the photo (white paper) they will see if they have missed any lines. If not they leave it flipped over- photo will be face down and this is the REVERSE of the acetate sheet- the side that you paint on. Their outline is on the other side (the front).

On this reverse side of the acetate, students used either warm or cool colours to paint just the hair, clothing and lips and eyebrows if they wanted. They could mix colours and add white; best to do a second coat so that the paint is not transparent. Of course you can use other colour schemes- primary, complementary, analogous. We didn’t have a lot of time left for colour theory!

Next step it to make some painted paper in the opposite colourway than the portrait (cool>warm, warm>cool). You could use gelli plates to make prints, but we just painted the paper, and whilst wet used texture combs to drag through the paint to create something interesting lines ( wavy, swirly, straight) and blending different colours a little.

WARM COLOURED PAINTED PAPER USING TEXTURE COMBS

All that needs to be done to complete the reverse acetate portraits is to slip the painted paper under the acetate sheet (the painted side is on the reverse). I left the photo attached and for display, a card frame was added plus a backing sheet, and Yr 6 students decorated it with their name and the year for Graduation.

Frog Life Cycle~ Year 1/2 Mixed media art lesson

As part of a theme of Growth and Change, Year 1 & 2 discussed changes in the weather and the seasons and nature. We talked about the traditional seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter and learnt about the seven Aboriginal Seasons of the Kulin Nation (Melbourne and south central Victoria) by viewing a Calendar. We noted that September and October is called “Poorneet”- Tadpole Season. Some children had said they’d seen tadpoles and small frogs in a local park with a lake.

We watched a video about the life cycle of a frog, with pictures of the stages and changes.

Students painted a lake, pond or creek/river. They formed tadpoles for plasticine and eggs from bubble wrap.

Painted paper was made with browns and greens using texture wands to make frog skin.

Children used templates to help them draw the body parts for their frog onto the back of their painted paper to then cut out and glue together, then place on their pond scene.

Lesson plan with learning intentions, success criteria, lesson activities, links to videos used, frog templates, and Victorian Curriculum links.

Painted Paper Butterflies~ Eric Carle inspired- Prep

LEARNING INTENTIONS:

To make an Eric Carle inspired butterfly collage with painted paper.

We are learning about symmetry and shape.

We are learning about warm and cool colours.

SUCCESS CRITERIA:

I can cut a symmetrical butterfly shape from painted paper by folding my paper in half. 

I can cut shapes from cool coloured paper and arrange symmetrically onto my butterfly (in the style of Eric Carle)

LEARNING ACTIVITIES:

Children make painted paper with WARM colours. They paint their entire paper with one warm colour then add texture by scraping a texture comb through the wet paint. They then use texture wands to dab or roll another warm colour over the paper.

Discuss SYMMETRY- mirror images- same on both sides. Look at some pictures of butterflies and notice the symmetrical designs. Discuss SHAPES – organic: like a butterfly, a leaf, a flower etc, and geometric like squares and triangles.

Students fold their dry painted paper in half (colour inside) and draw half a butterfly- maybe a ‘B’ shape or chosen wing design next to the fold and cut out.

Add a long brown strip for body in the middle. Add a circle head, eyes and antennae.

Cool coloured papers (scraps) are folded and used to cut out (two at a time) shapes to be placed symmetrically on butterfly wings.

Hungry Caterpillars ~ Eric Carle inspired. Prep collage art lesson

Eric Carle’s children’s books and illustrations are a delight to read to children and also a wonderful inspiration so many art projects- who doesn’t love painted paper collages?

The Prep students (first year at Primary school) were working on a theme of “Growth and Change” and the story “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” fits in beautifully. This art lesson is the first part- of course there has to be the cocoon and then the butterfly!

We watched an animated version of the story on Youtube, and I also had a copy of the book to look carefully at the pictures. We discussed how they think Eric Carle made the pictures- someone did eventually proffer that he painted paper and then cut and pasted it. We talked about how he might have got the effects of texture. I then showed them a short video of Carle making making paper, and collaging a butterfly, so they could see his process.

Making painted paper:

Students were given a tray with a dark green, an ‘apple’ green, and white. They were instructed not to actually mix the colours, but to double dip to cover their entire paper and then while the paint was wet to use a texture wand or comb to dab or scrape through the wet paint. They also did a smaller piece of paper with red, yellow and purple paint in sections. These are left to dry for the next session.

We looked at Eric Carle’s caterpillar and decided that the shape needed for the body parts was an oval. So to make a template for the caterpillar’s body, each child was given a smallish piece of cardboard to fill it with an oval shape. After checking with me that it was big enough, they cut it out and used that to trace onto the back of their painted paper as many as they could. (we folded the paper in half so they would cut two out at a time) They traced a slightly bigger head on the red paper and used the yellow to cut circles for eyes, the purple for antennae.

I demonstrated how they could glue down their ovals- we talked about arranging and overlapping- once again referring to Carle’s caterpillar. Students cut out yellow eyes, purple antennae and green circles for on top of eyes and a small triangle nose. I cut the little ‘L’ shaped feet for them from scrap brown painted paper.

Full Lesson Plan with Learning Intentions, Success Criteria, (also enlarged for display on screen or print) lesson activities, youtube video links, and self evaluation rubric.

Milk Bottle Cows- John Kelly inspired ~ Year 5/6 art lesson

Melbourne artist John Kelly is well known for his many cow sculptures and paintings, but they are rather intriguing because they are a boxy shape and have an elongated neck and small head. It is not until you find out the back story for these strange bovines that they make sense.

His inspiration came from a story about how life size paper mache model cows were made during WWII and placed around airfields to disguise them as farms to Japanese aircraft! The interesting part is that several artists who were serving in the army were instructed to make the cows, including William Dobell who served as an official war artist. In 1943 he won the Archibald Prize with a stylised, exaggerated portrait of fellow artist Joshua Smith, with an elongated neck and small head, which at the time was quite controversial.

So when John Kelly read about this wartime ruse, he decided to make artworks of what he named, “Dobell’s Cows” mimicking portraits Dobell had made with these long necks and small heads on his cows. He imagined how Dobell would have marked out lines to paint them as Holstein or Ayreshire cows with patched markings, maybe had them on wheels to move them around the field, stacked them up line blocks- quite a parody of events!

LESSON ACTIVITIES:

Students were shown the artwork, ‘The Incident’ by John Kelly, without any knowledge of the story behind it. I used the Visual Thinking Strategies by posing the questions:

What is going on in this picture?

What do you see that makes you say that?

What else can you find?

After students shared their thoughts, we looked at other artworks by Kelly that help build up the story. I used a Powerpoint (included with lesson plan below) with other works and a look at William Dobell’s portraits to understand how this influenced Kelly’s cows.

Use 2 Litre plastic milk bottles for the cow body.

We used corks for legs because I had a huge tub full of them, but you could just as easily secure rolled cardboard to the front and back.

Start with the legs, covering with strips of wet plaster cloth to join to the bottle, then cover the entire bottle with plaster smoothing as you go.

I sliced off edges of champagne corks to make the thin neck and glued and glued egg shaped poly balls to them. The top of the cork fitted nicely into the opening of the milk bottle with a strip of wet plaster bandage wound around to hold it in place.

When covering the head with plaster strips, ears can be shaped out of the wet plaster.

Horns can be added with the plaster or paper clay like Crayola Model Magic. Once the plaster is dry the cow is painted either black and white for a Holstein cow or reddish-tan for an Ayrshire cow.

Detailed lesson plan for John Kelly Cow models. Includes learning intention, success criteria, assessment /self evaluation rubric and Victorian curriculum standards. Also a PDF to discuss John Kelly’s cow artworks.
PDF to discuss John Kelly’s cow artworks.

Cows with Four Stomachs! Year 3/4 Art lesson

LEARNING INTENTION & SUCCESS CRITERIA:

We are learning about the 4 stomachs of a cow and how they make milk and digest food.

I can draw the the side view of a cow and colour it in a chosen breed, eg, Holstein, Ayreshire, Jersey, Guernsey, etc.

I can draw and label the four stomachs of a cow to stick behind the flap cut in the cow’s stomach.

LESSON ACTIVITIES:

Videos to learn about cow’s digestion and their 4 stomachs- list the names on board.

How cows make milk 4 stomachs explained.

FOR KIDS –   The Cow’s Stomach video,

Mobile Dairy Classroom: Learn About Cattle Eating Habits and Cow Digestion, Grades 4-6 (best from 1:50min)

Students draw a cow on A3 paper to mostly fill the paper. Colour it in a chosen breed. We used the Discover Dairy website to help choose: Cow Breeds Interactive We used water soluble pastels to colour then painted with water to give it a painted look. Food dye wash for sky and grass.

On A4 paper draw the cows four stomachs and label, making sure it will fit inside the cow’s stomach that they drew. Cut a flap in cow (I did this for them with a scalpel knife (Stanley knife)- basically a “U” shape, so you can see the stomachs stuck behind when you lift the flap.