Sunflower Paintings

Some real sunflowers to observe!

Some real sunflowers to observe!

Mrs. Janock, Ms. Johnson, and Mrs. Nigro’s students leapt right into a painting project this week.  I saw sunflowers for sale at the grocery store and couldn’t resist!


We looked very carefully at the sunflowers and paid special attention to the center of the sunflower.  We then looked at Georgia O’Keeffe’s sunflower painting.  We noticed how Georgia O’Keeffe cropped in on the flower and showed it up close to the viewer.


Students chose to use either a cool palette or a warm palette for their painting.  For these flowers, we will focus on realistic textures and details, but imaginary colors.  We started by painting one circle for the center of the sunflower and adding concentric circles around it to form the florets.  We then chose a color for the petals and painted all the way to the edge of the paper.  Next week we will go in with oil pastels to add texture and details.


Snow Day

Caroline's Snow Day Painting

Caroline’s Snow Day Painting

Coffin and Gerry students were thrilled that it was snowing this morning!  To celebrate the first snow of the school year, kindergarteners put their paper animal sculptures on hold for the day and instead made snowy paintings.  First, students thought of a scene they might see in the snow: a snowman, a snow-covered tree, a snowy house, even a snowy kindergartener!  They drew their scenes with crayons and thought of details to make each one special.  Then, they used white tempera paint to add snow and transform the scene!  We thought together about all the places snow builds up when it sticks, such as on the ground, on our shoulders, on top of patio furniture, and on each branch and window sill.  Unfortunately, today’s snow didn’t stick around for the afternoon, but we’ll have our paintings to remind us!

Busy Spiders

Lily's spider collage

Lily’s spider collage

Kindergarten students in Mrs. Gay’s class read The Very Busy Spider, by Eric Carle.  Afterward, we painted spiderwebs for our spiders to use.  Students used white colored pencil to sketch their web.  They noticed that even though webs look very complicated, there are some familiar things in there — an X, a plus sign, and a lot of circles!  After sketching the web, students used white tempera to carefully paint over their lines.  One painting skill kindergarteners worked on was using controlled brush strokes so the web didn’t turn into a blob.

Once the paint was dry, students started to collage their spiders.  We looked at the shapes used to create a spider — mostly different sized circles and rectangles.  Students worked on cutting and counting out the correct number of legs.  Cutting a circle can be a challenging skill for kindergarteners, but I think they rose to the occasion!


EJ's spider collage

EJ’s spider collage

Kindergarteners with a little extra time made details such as eyes, feet, fangs, spider family members, and juicy flies for their spiders to eat.


Kendall's pumpkin painting

Kendall’s pumpkin painting

The Coffin School garden has been growing some spectacular pumpkins this fall!  I picked two from the back garden and brought them into the art room for students to observe.  We carefully examined the shape of the pumpkins and noticed that while they were mostly oval, they were a little irregular — one had a taller side and one had a flatter bottom.  We also noticed the directions the ridges curve in, the way the stem looks bumpy, and the dirt from where the pumpkin was resting on its side as it grew.


After drawing the pumpkins in pencil, students had a choice to either outline them in Sharpie or black tempera paint.  Next week we will use chalk pastel to color our pumpkins and review warm and cool color relationships.

The Witch’s Kitchen

Witch's Kitchen watercolor

Witch’s Kitchen watercolor, by Nicholas

1st grade students have been thinking about what kind of things a witch might have in her kitchen.  Students decided she would probably have “normal” kitchen things — a refrigerator, an oven, a sink — as well as “creepy” kitchen things, like bat soup, spider cake, and Frankenstein’s monster as a dinner guest.  Students who prefer to do something other than Halloween can choose a different theme for their kitchen — one year we had a Christmas kitchen and an animal kitchen!

Witch's Kitchen watercolor, by Gabby

Witch’s Kitchen watercolor, by Gabby

Students spent one class drawing details with pencil and outlining with Sharpie.  For the next class, they used watercolor to paint the kitchens.  Students just used tempera paint for their outer space artwork, and they were happy they could mix watercolors in the tray lid just like how they mixed their tempera.  1st graders continued to show great respect for materials by taking care to wash their brushes and keep their trays neat.  Next week we will continue painting to make sure our witches have colorful walls and floors!

3D Daffodils

3rd Grade 3D Daffodils

3rd Grade 3D Daffodils

3rd grade students have been studying flowers during science in their classroom.  Mrs. Bruett’s class is using Integrated Arts time to work on creating 3D models of daffodils.  For the first class, students painted a paper plate to form the petals, a strip of paper that would become the corona, and a strip of paper that would become the stem and leaves.  We discussed how daffodils come in a variety of colors, and some have matching corona and petals, and some do not.  For the next class, we cut and glued the corona into a ring shape.  We used “fancy” scissors to cut the top of the corona into a ruffle.  We cut tabs onto the bottom to create a flat surface for gluing.  We then worked on dividing the plate into six segments to form the petals, and glued the corona into the center.  Most students stopped here, but a few had time to create the pistil, stigma, and stamen.  Next week we will cut out stems and leaves and finish assembling the flowers.

Tints and Shades

India and Nick's Crazy Critter Paintings

India and Nick’s Crazy Critter Paintings

Second graders are continuing to work on their Crazy Critters.  This week we’re using tempera to paint our critters.  Students I taught last year may remember mixing primary and secondary colors, but we made a color mixing chart to refresh our memories. Students also learned a new concept: tints and shades.  A tint is any color plus white, and a shade is any color plus black.  Sometimes a tint or shade doesn’t look like what one would expect (yellow + black = …greenish!), so students were encouraged to use a scrap of paper to test their mixtures.  Each table received red, yellow, blue, black, and white paints, and a mixing tray.  We created many interesting colors today, including pink, periwinkle, sandy brown, army green, and “sunburn” (orangey-pink, ouch!).

Students also worked on their general craftsmanship with their paintings: making sure edges are dry to prevent unwanted smudges, selecting an appropriately-sized brush for the area being painted, and washing the brush between colors. Next week we will continue painting, and we will finish up with “detail work” — using colored pencils and Sharpies to add tiny details like whiskers and claws.