Monday, June 25, 2012

2012: Project 2: Matisse Drawing with Scissors

Our project today went slightly better than the last one. However, there is an interesting dynamic now that the girls are getting a bit older. My older daughter didn't want my younger daughter looking at her project. So I had to put a board up between the two of them. *sigh* It's always something. But both of them finished the project today and I'm very pleased with how they turned out. I think they enjoyed it so it was a success in my book.

Our artist today was once again Henri Matisse. We created "Egyptian Curtain" projects last year and this year I came across two things that inspired us. First, I received a FABULOUS set of books at Christmas this year: the Smart About Art series. These are amazing books for grade school kids. Each book is set up as if a student is writing a report on the artist. The "child author" takes you briefly through the major events in the artist's life, the themes in the artist's work, the colors used, and more. Very elementary, yet informative. I HIGHLY recommend these books. Today, I pulled the Matisse book down from the shelf and read the last half of the book to the girls. This portion of the book discussed Matisse's health struggles later in life. It described how he resorted to using scissors and making wonderful paper collages when he could no longer stand to paint for hours. He would cut the paper and instruct his assistants where to attach them to the artwork. Besides this lovely little book, we were also inspired today by this post at Mrs. Knight's Smartest Artists.

I showed the girls several images of Matisse's cut paper work:
Sorrow of the King, 1952
Polinesia, The Sky, 1947
Panel with Mask, 1947
They each had their own set of construction paper (an entire pad of construction purchased at the Dollar Store!!), a clear glue roller, pair of scissors and their art journal.
I told them they could make anything. They could try making an ocean themed collage like those in the post on Mrs. Knight's blog or they could go on their own and make anything they wanted. But I told them I didn't want it to be a "real" picture of something. This was my way of letting them know I didn't want something literal. They asked if they could draw it out first with pencil on the construction paper. I told them that I thought it would be neat if they just used the scissors, but if they felt they needed to draw it out first that would be okay. They both decided to just use the scissors. ;-)
I really like these next two pictures because they really show how into the process they got:
Ella had to stand she was so into what she was doing. And below, you can see paper all around Lily. Sort of reminds me of the photo of Matisse that I showed the girls where he has paper all over the floor by him. :-)
And here are their finished masterpieces:

Above: Entitled "Jazz" by Ella. She told me all about her rainbow color theme. The aliens are dancing. The very top purple circle with the little rainbow colored dots is a disco ball. The rest of the top half she said was just white space and she wanted to fill it so she just placed the paper how she wanted.

Lily decided to call hers "Candyland". Do you see the candy corn on the lower right side? The other smaller orange triangles are baby candy corns. The hearts are candy hearts (like conversation hearts). There's a candy cane. The purple shapes are chocolate eggs and the red circle is a cherry lifesaver. Oh, and the pink squares are strawberry Starburst. Isn't that awesome?!

You know what I loved about the girls creations? They both truly knew exactly what they were doing as they went along. They both picked a theme completely on their own, not influenced by me; not influenced by Matisse's artwork themes (other than Ella calling hers Jazz....Matisse did create a book of art called Jazz). These were truly their own art ideas. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Art & Science Collide: Mad Scientist Experiments

 I like to do science experiments with the girls in the summer and even though we created baking soda volcanoes the previous summer, I came across several posts that inspired me to do a Mad Scientist play experience with the kids. You can see where our inspiration came from in these posts from Growing a Jeweled Rose, and this post and this post from Play at Home Mom.

Here are all of the supplies I gathered:
--vegetable oil
--baking soda
--alkaseltzer tablets
--liquid watercolors
--pipe droppers
--turkey baster
--measuring cup

We started off with a bin on top of our light table and added some bubbles and liquid watercolor. The kids used straws to blow big bubbles in the solution. We also watched to see how the liquid watercolor moved in the container. We also experimented with smaller straws and bigger straws to see if the bubbles were different sizes.
I cleaned out the bubble solution and added some water. We added vegetable oil and alkaseltzer tablets to watch the liquid watercolor bubble up and make lava lamp type bubbles.
After that, we started making mini baking soda volcanoes in clear plastic glasses. They just kept adding baking soda, vinegar and watercolors over and over again.
Here is a time lapse series of images to see what happens when you pour the vinegar into the baking soda. It worked great because the bin was large enough, the girls could have their own corner and do their own experimenting.
After awhile we picked the cups up to see what they looked like on the bottom:
We didn't realize all that baking soda was still in the bottom so we mixed it up and poured more vinegar in until it was all gone.

I think they could have played with all of this for quite some time. They really had a blast with this activity. And the light table really added to the sensory experience of it all. Highly recommend this!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Art & Science Collide: Cloud Jars

Each week in the summer, we create at least one art project and we do one science experiment/project. I came up with Science Fridays last year and the girls loved it so much that I decided to do it again this year. Thanks to Pinterest I've found a bunch of new things for us to try.. Ironically, someone else does science on Fridays and calls is Sci-Fri (instead of Sci-Fi...isn't that great?!).

I came across this post about cloud jars on the Teach Preschool blog and even though it is easy and preschool level, I thought my girls would get a kick out of it too. I really think this can be fun for just about any age. Really, shaving cream? Of course it is going to be fun!
First we talked about a few of the different kinds of clouds including cumulonimbus clouds, which made us think of the scene from the movie Up! where Russell talks about the clouds. I tried to find it on You Tube to post on here, but couldn't come across it easily. ;-) After talking about the different kinds of clouds, we talked about how they were formed and how it rains.

Then we filled our jars with water, topped with shaving cream to make a cloud and proceeded to add "moisture" or liquid watercolors to the clouds. When the clouds were filled with too much moisture, it began to "rain" watercolors into the water. They thought this was so fun! They each did two jars worth before we moved on to making messy shaving cream art.
A quick note on the plastic droppers I got from Discount School Supply company (along with the liquid watercolors). They float when you leave them in the paint bottles! It was great! The girls could just leave them sit in the top of the bottles so we didn't have to worry about getting the colors mixed.
They really loved this! I think they could have made jar after jar and still be entertained. You could also turn this into a color theory lesson about mixing colors to make new colors. It was a great project to do on a rainy, yucky summer morning.

2012: Project 1--Self Portraits

I was pretty excited to get our art history projects under way this summer. I always start off with the same project each year: a self portrait. I've learned over the last couple years that the girls do much better with these projects if they are well rested. I was reminded of this once again as they each had a mini-meltdown during the course of this project. It was a Monday after three days of being up north with my husband. Kind of my fault. I should have planned that a bit better. But oh well. We reviewed the images I showed them last year for art historical self-portraits. And then I showed them a few doodle pages. I told them they could make a portrait with a "real" background or one that was something imaginative.
Despite some of the drama that occurred during the project, they turned out pretty cute. In the future, I might limit the use of the Crayola Slick Stix just because they are so thick and messy and I think my younger daughter's picture would have had a totally different feel if I hadn't let her color the sky and grass with them. But I'm always torn with letting them roll with it and giving them direction.

My six year old's...she's in our backyard and though it's hard to tell below, she even put in some of the pine trees. It was fun, she asked me to help her draw pine trees. So I showed her how to make a trunk and some hash marks for the needles. She was so proud that she could make pine trees that weren't just a triangle or look like Christmas trees.
My eight year old's...she obviously went with the imaginative route for her background. She didn't originally have sunglasses on. But she didn't use a thin enough marker and her eyes ended up looking like she had goth makeup on. She was really upset how they turned out so we "fixed" it by turning them into sunglasses a la "Beautiful Oops". ;-)
I like to do this project each year just to give them the same set of instructions and see what they do with them from year to year. We'll see how our next art history related project the meantime, we have been having fun with some liquid watercolors and kool-aid!