How To: Colorful Animal Collages

What a crazy few weeks it has been at the studio! We successfully had our first two camps and they were so much fun. The elementary students explored color through different mediums and our teens practiced their drawing and painting skills. We will be posting about different projects from camp throughout the summer, starting with one of my favorites: colorful animal collages.

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The students got so into this project and had such a fun time making these crazy, colorful collages. I love this project because it combined fun with practicing artistic skills. Keep reading to see a step-by-step overview of how to complete this project as well as see the finished results!

Step One: Have the students scribble or create some kind of design using crayons or pastels on big sheets of paper. Then, using watercolor, tempura paint or dye from a tie-dye kit, have the students paint over their design to make bold and colorful paper. Make sure they know that everyone is sharing their paper creations.

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Step Two: Let the students brainstorm about what kind of animal they want to create. We let the campers choose from birds, cats and dogs but a few students got creative and did wolves, bunnies and hamsters.

Step Three: Assemble the base of the collage once paper has dried. Have the students tear or cut up the colorful paper and post it on stiff cardboard or paper using Elmer’s glue.

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Step Four: Using black acrylic paint, trace the outline of the animal’s eyes, noses and mouth on multimedia paper. The shape of these features changes based on the animal so the students were shown demonstrations and samples but also used reference photos. See examples of the different animals at the end of this post.

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Step Five: Fill in the eyes using different shades of oil pastels. Trace the outline of the eye with the darkest shade and slowly blend to lighter colors to make the eye pop. Allow the students to color in the mouth and nose with pastels or acrylic paint as well.

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Step Six: Paste the facial features on the collage using glue then have the students add finishing touches with acrylic paint such as whiskers, fur or ears. Fan brushes are great for this step.

Step Seven: Admire your work!

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Dog Collage:

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Cat Collages (this was a popular choice):

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Owl Collage:

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Bunny Collage:

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Hamster Collage:

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Hope everyone is having a great summer!

Teen Landscape Watercolors

The teens completed their landscape watercolor paintings.

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There were a lot of lessons wrapped up into this project.

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We started with an introduction to watercolor painting and all of the different types of marks you can make with watercolor.

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We learned about color mixing and painted our own colorwheels.

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We also had an in depth lesson on one point perspective.

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We then completed mini-sketches of our paintings to check the overall composition.

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And then our larger landscapes.

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Watercolor is a very hard medium and they did a great job; had fun and learned a lot.

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Acrylic Ice Cream Cone Paintings

I think my students are picking up on my love of colors.

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I may have said this once, or a hundred times, but most importantly I want my students to have fun and positive experiences while they explore art.

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But, I used to be a lawyer, and that Type A side of me is always trying to teach basic art concepts.

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With this lesson we got an introduction to painting standing up at an easel with acrylic paint.

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And a lesson on color theory and value.

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Hope these brighten your day.

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XO, Jamie

Value Portraits with Tessellations

The Wednesday Elementary Art Class completed value portraits with tessellations. This project was inspired by the current exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum which features artist Kehinde Wiley.

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Kehinde Wiley is one of the leading American artists to emerge in the last decade and he has been ingeniously reworking the grand portraiture traditions of Western culture.

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Since ancient times the portrait has been tied to the representation of power, and in European courts and churches, artists and their patrons developed a complex repository of postures and poses and refined a symbolic language. This language, woven into all aspects of a portrait, described the sitter’s influence and power, virtue and character, or profession.

In his consideration of portrait traditions, Wiley has been especially drawn to the grand aristocratic portraits of the 18th century.

The artist began his first series of portraits in the early 2000s during a residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem. He set out to photograph and recast assertive and self-empowered young men from the neighborhood in the style and manner of traditional history painting. Since then he has also painted rap and sports stars but for the most part his attention has focused on ordinary men of color in their everyday clothes. Trained at Yale in the 1990s, Wiley was steeped in the discussions concerning identity politics during this decade and he brings his personal insights and theoretical studies to his practice.

Wiley’s portraits are highly stylized and staged, and draw attention to the dialectic between a history of aristocratic representation and the portrait as a statement of power and the individual’s sense of empowerment. Source

Tessellations

We created our backgrounds out of tessellations – covering a surface with a single repeating pattern without gaps or overlaps. In tessellation designs, congruent polygons fit together like jigsaw puzzle pieces that repeat again and again.

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We talked about Escher who is the ‘Father’ of modern tessellations.During his life, he became obsessed with filling surfaces with pictures that did not overlap or leave spaces. Aged 68, he stated, “Filling two-dimensional planes has become a real mania to which I have become addicted and from which I sometimes find it hard to tear myself away.”

In 1925 he produced what was really his first tessellation. It was a block print of ‘lions’ in which the subject interlocked and covered the plane! He block printed it on silk in gold and silver. He was disappointed that people were not impressed.

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Escher died in a home for old artists on 27th March, 1972. He had produced 448 woodcuts, linocuts and lithos and over 2000 drawings. Source

This is how we made our tessellations pattern:

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Value Faces

For the faces, we talked about value and used what we had previously learned to paint a value face. I helped them in this process by using the Cut Out filter in Photoshop.

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They stayed with one color, which was the opposite in temperature to the background, to paint value faces. This project was a little challenging for this age group but they worked really hard on their faces and hopefully learned something too.

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Don’t miss the Kehinde Wiley exhibit at the SAM! It is well worth a drive downtown.

Can’t wait to see you-all again!

Jamie