Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer Art Camp

Week Two
Animal Love

Week two of pre-school summer art camp was centered around our love for animals, both the domestic and wild variety.  Before embarking on our projects the little artists and I talked about our family pets which included dogs, cats, fish, turtles and caterpillars - a very interesting conversation indeed!  After a few good stories the artists were ready to get to work.

Project 1
Handmade Pottery Animal Faces

We always start off art camp by hand building a shape from a slab of clay.  This gives the clay creations time to dry before they are fired in my kiln.  For our animal camp theme the girls created pottery animal faces.   The multi-step process began by placing a paper plate onto a cut slab of clay, tracing around the plate with a pencil, taking away the extra clay, placing their round clay shape on top of the paper plate and carefully pressing the clay into the plate with a wet sponge.  The clay plate form was set aside while the girls cut eyes, ears, a nose and mouth out of their extra clay.   These shapes were placed onto the the clay plate, and, with wet fingers, the girls smooshed and sealed the edges together. 

The clay forms were given time to dry then fired in my kiln to a bisque consistency which makes them perfect for painting and glazing.   On the second day of art camp, the girls gave their bisque animal faces color and expression with non-toxic pottery glazes and signed the back.  An overcoat of clear glaze was applied and....

the clay shapes were carefully placed into my kiln for one last firing.

Three very proud artists showing off their finished and very colorful pottery animal face plates.   Notice the bowl of water on the porch floor- just incase the very thirsty handmade animals needed a drink.

Project 2
Watercolor Animals

For this project we used Canson's 140lb cold press water color paper which has a wonderful surface texture that erases well and blends easily.  The artists first step was to draw a large scale animal composition making use of the whole sheet of paper with as little negative space left as possible.

The animals were outlined with a Reeves black oil pastel - perfect for resisting the watercolor paints that would be applied later.

Before the girls started painting their animals we applied a thin coat of water over the whole sheet of paper.  This wet-on-wet process helps the paint flow and produces beautiful blended colors.  The girls were able to paint right over their lines without smudging them due to the nature of oil and water resisting one another.

The Finished Paintings
 Two black pigs dancing on a summer evening.
A happy dog chases a colorful blue spider.
A leopard lounging in a cool blue pool.

Project 3
Eric Carle Animal Collages
Our last project was based on Eric Carle's Brown Bear, Brown Bear storybook.  I read the story to the artists and we talked about the colors and textures created for each animal in the book.  Eric Carle's fabulous collage technique, using hand painted papers is easily recognized by book lovers of all ages.

Our first step here was to fill a 12x12 inch canvas with dots of light green, lime green and dark green acrylic paint, all mixed together in a random pattern.  This method of painting gives depth, texture and movement to the background.

While the green canvas paintings dried, the girls produced hand-painted papers which would be cut and layered to produce their Eric Carle like animals.

Creativity and paint flowed as paint was applied to paper.

The Finished Collage Pieces
The colorful pieces of paper were cut into shapes and glued together to create a leopard, a goldfish and a chihuahua.  I took a picture of each girl and made it into a coloring book image on my computer then cut it out for the girls to color.  Once finished, the animals and portraits were glued onto the canvas using Mod Podge for our own little replications of the Brown Bear Story.  

 In the Kitchen
Last day of camp snack...

Thanks girls for another fun and fascinating week of art camp!!

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