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.


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.



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.



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.


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.



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!


Dog Collage:


Cat Collages (this was a popular choice):






Owl Collage:


Bunny Collage:


Hamster Collage:



Hope everyone is having a great summer!

Olympic Tributes

The youngest elementary art students completed some mixed media tributes to the 2018 Olympics.


The figures were designed after the Olympic Pictograms.


They were harder to assemble than you might think – requiring measuring and placement of body parts.


We also learned a little about the Olympics.


And as always, had V05A3774a lot of fun.

Value Paintings and Polar Bears

We had fun creating winter value landscape paintings and drawing polar bears in the Tuesday Elementary Class this week.


In the process, we learned about value. Value creates depth in a picture making the object look 3 D.   We looked at photos of the moon at night and saw how the circle around the moon is lighter and how the sky gets darker as you move away. We then created value circles around the moons on our project moving from pure white to dark, dark blue.

We also learned about horizon lines, foreground and backgrounds while we had fun painting our backgrounds.

We then very patently drew polar bears, cut them out, glued them on and added a few trees as we talked about shadow and perspective.  For the last step, we added snow to finish off our pieces.


I am so impressed by their work.




After spending the last few weeks painting, we moved into making some 3 D art. We started by looking at sculptures of the human figure.

Alberto Giacometti and George Segal:

I introduced the students to Alberto Giacometti, Swiss Sculptor and Painter.

Although he was a painter as well, Giacometti is most renowned for his expressive sculptures of the human figure following World War II.

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Some view them as representing the isolation and loneliness following the war. As if the figures were turned in on themselves and failing to communicate with others, despite their overwhelming desire to reach out. Others see strength of humans in the frailty of the characters. Giacometti himself said he was not sculpting humans but rather “the shadow that they cast.”  I paint and sculpt to get a grip on reality… to protect myself. Alberto Giacometti

We looked at some of his sculptures and talked about how he exaggerated the arms and legs and how thin and flat the figures were. The students were surprised to find out that one of his sculptures recently sold for $104 million dollars, breaking the record for a work of art purchased at auction.

We also looked at human figurines sculpted by George Segal an American painter and sculptor associated with the Pop Art movement. artwork_images_117528_261874_george-segal

Segal pioneered the use of plaster bandages (plaster-impregnated gauze strips designed for making orthopedic casts) as a sculptural medium. In this process, he first wrapped a model with bandages in sections, then removed the hardened forms and put them back together with more plaster to form a hollow shell. These forms were not used as molds; the shell itself became the final sculpture, including the rough texture of the bandages. Segal’s figures had minimal color and detail, which gave them a ghostly, melancholic appearance.

We talked about the human body and proportions of head, chest, arms and legs, and how to accurately portray the human figure. Then we set to work creating our own figurines.

Our figurines.

Creating our figurines is a multi-step process that began with thinking about different gestures and trying them out on our wood models.


The students then built the armature of the sculpture out of wire.


Once the structure was built, they wrapped it with foil. We talked about how this was like building the muscle of the body.


The next step was to add the skin to hold it all together. We did this by wrapping the sculpture in plaster of paris strips.




Finally we dressed our figurines with strips of cloth dipped in Paverpol.

Paverpol is the leading textile hardener and fiber sculpting medium in the world, and the only one awarded the AP non-toxic seal by the Arts and Creative Materials Institute (ACMI). It was created by a group of Dutch artists in the early 1990s as a user-friendly, environmentally friendly alternative to resin and is now used by artists and crafters in more than 20 countries around the world.

It was messy but a lot of fun to dress our figurines.

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The final step is to paint the figurines all black and then add bronze or silver texture to make them look like metal sculptures.

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The Teen Class:  Students of all levels have enjoyed this project.  We modified the project to make it more challenging for the Teens who are creating larger figurines with more complicated positions and interest.  It has been really fun to see their individual personalities expressed through their sculptures.

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They are really enjoying this project!  We should be wrapping this project up this week so look forward to your student bringing their creation home. Enjoy!


Elementary Art Class – Mixed Media Winter Scenes

It may be raining outside, but it has been snowing in The Studio.

Winter Scenes

After working so hard on the Sunflower Paintings, I wanted to start the year with a fun project that introduced some new art concepts. Last week, the elementary art students finished their mixed media winter scenes.


The students enjoyed the creativity involved with the project and, as always, I took every opportunity to introduce art concepts. So while the pieces of work look like a winter, glittery scene we also learned the following:

Value: We talked about value and shading. Value is the amount of light reflected from the surface. Value creates depth in a picture making the object look 3 D.   We looked at photos of the moon at night and saw how the circle around the moon is lighter and how the sky gets darker as you move away. We then created value circles around the moons on our project.


Color: We also talked about the way different colors convey different emotions and feelings. Cool colors (blues and greens) can make you feel calm, tranquil or at peace. Reds and yellows can invoke feelings of happiness, excitement and optimism. A sudden spot of bright color can provide a strong focal point.  We looked at some examples of color photos and the mood created.

Silhouette, Shadows and Perspective: We also talked about how a silhouette is the dark shape of someone or something visible against a lighter background. Cast Shadow is the shadow made by an object. The moon will cause a cast shadow of the trees on the ground. We can predict where the cast shadow will fall based on the positioning of the moon. We used the position of the light source (here the moon) to position highlights and shadows more accurately.


Mixed Media: Lastly we let our creativity flow by adding ourselves and some glitter to the images.



Hope these brightened up your homes.

See you next week!