Preps have been learning about ‘diversity’ and that differences should not only be respected but celebrated! We shared the book “The Mixed Up Chameleon” by Eric Carle where the chameleon wanted to be like other animals but after becoming like each one and getting mixed up, decided it was actually great being himself after all. We discussed a chameleon’s special talent of changing colours to camouflage itself.
Students followed a directed drawing of a chameleon on a piece of A4 paper, and made a ‘foil print’ with markers on the reverse: Colour with markers on aluminium foil, fine spray of water, take a print! Preps made a branch from twisted tissue paper and stuck leaves on a background paper then cut out their chameleon and glued onto the branch.
Foundation (Prep) Lesson plan learning intentions, success criteria, drawing guide for a chameleon, lesson activity steps, artwork examples.
Year 3/4 have been learning about different biomes in their classroom, and in art lessons we have been making artworks about various biomes too. These artworks are focusing on aquatic biomes, specifically coral reefs. For inspiration we looked at the illustrations in the book, ‘Hidden in the Sea’ by Peggy Nille, and the art of Melanie Hava, (@artofmelaniehava) an Indigenous artist from Queensland, near the Great Barrier Reef. We also did an artwork comparison with one of Ken Done’s reef paintings.
Painting the sea was also a lesson about tints by mixing white with blue from light to dark. We used Melanie Hava’s ‘A Reef Wonderland‘ as the inspiration for the sea with a light source from a circle. Students started with a white circle high on the paper, then gradually added more blue in concentric circles until the filled to the edges of the paper and top of reef outline drawn at the bottom.
After looking closely at Melanie Hava and Peggy Nille’s illustrations students add patterns of lines and shapes to the reef. They then draw 3-4 sea creatures in size proportion to each other on a smaller piece of paper (A4). These are coloured in with paint sticks or markers and patterns and details added with paint pens (like Posca)
Next step was colouring the sections of the coral reef with warm colours- we used Zart paint sticks/slicks, as they give the painterly effect, but dry quickly. Paint pens (like Posca) are used to add texture, patterns and plants.
Final step is for students to cut out their sea creatures, arrange and paste them onto the background.
Year 3/4 Victorian Curriculum aligned lesson plan: Learning Intentions, success criteria, links to artist’s work, learning activities, Venn diagram for a comparing two artworks, reference sheet with organic patterns for reef and plants, student self evaluation rubric, student artwork examples.
Year 3/4 project looking at Australian animal habitats and biome of temperate forests where koalas, possums, sugar gliders, quolls etc. live. Students viewed and discussed artworks by a local wildlife artist and then chose an animal (I had plenty of print out image photos to choose from – mostly koalas) and sketching it large on their paper. They then used dye wash for the negative space, before mixing colours to paint the tree and animal using brush strokes to help create texture.
Foam leaf shapes were embossed with lines and then printed around the animal. Extra texture was added with chalk pastels, like on the animal’s fur and especially a koala’s ears!
Lesson plan linked to Yr 3-4 Victorian Curriculum, learning intentions, success criteria, artist artwork (with link for website) for discussion, lesson activities and materials, evaluation rubric.
This lesson is part of a series of lessons around the theme of ‘BIOMES’- (geographical area consisting of a biological community formed in response to the regional climate), this one being a GRASSLAND BIOME. There are many examples of African animal / savanna sunset silhouettes in stock photos and art, and was perfect for Year 3/4 skill set- drawing from observation, fine cutting, and arranging on a warm sunset background.
First we watched a video: The African Savannah – Virtual Field Trip and discussed this grassland biome, listing animals that live there. They viewed some examples of sunset silhouettes with African animals and students used pictures on Google of African animal silhouettes to draw just the shape outline of 2-3 animals and an acacia tree- all in proportion to each other- onto black cover paper (125gsm). The background was made with warm coloured food dye wash on A3 paper.
In the second lesson, the students fringed the edges of a long strip of black paper, then snipped pieces out at an angle to glue along the bottom of the sunset background for the grass. Next they carefully cut out their animals and tree, arranging before gluing down.
Heather Galler, born in 1970 is an American folk artist who make colourful patterned artworks of landscapes, animals and nature. She is well know for her pet portraits, where she uses a photo of a cat or dog, to produce a painted portrait in her folk art style.
After looking at and responding to the colourfully patterned dogs by American folk artist Heather Galler, Year 1 & 2 students explored lines and patterns to use on their own dog outline. The patterns were drawn in oil pastel and then a contrasting colour was painted over each section in dye wash (or liquid watercolour).
Digital Dog using Brushes App
As an alternative extension activity during remote learning, I posted a video demonstration to use Brushes Redux App (for beginners- no layers) to make a digital version of a Heather Galler dog (I think some of the parents enjoyed having a go too!)
Preview of a digital dog -Heather Galler style made using Brushes Redux App without the layers.
Preview of digital artwork using Brushes Redux App- with layers option to trace a dog outline, colour in, add patterns and finally a patterned background in a contrast colour.
Using the layers on Brushes Redux App (or similar) is easy once you know how to do it! It takes a little practice, and for younger kids, some guidance for each step. I have introduced using layers from Year 3 for other digital projects with success.
Lesson plan includes learning intentions & success criteria, examples of artist and student artworks, student self assessment rubric, instruction and links to demonstration videos to make a digital dog using Brushes App (or similar).
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!!
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!
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.
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.