Sunday, September 27, 2015

Artist Trading Cards

I can hardly wait to introduce Star Academy students of all grade levels to our Artist Trading Card project in a few weeks!  This project worked its way into my curriculum over the summer when I participated in a daily Twitter art challenge for a month with a group of fellow Art teachers from schools across the United States. One of the many amazing things that the Twitter challenge provided me with, was learning about an Artist Trading Card swap for art students at schools all across the United States.

Similar to trading cards of any variety (Pokemon comes to mind) Artist Trading Cards are small, baseball sized cards that are original works of art that can be traded with other artists, in this case, other art students from schools all over the United States.  Star Academy students will make several ATC's exploring various art techniques, mediums, and focus on specific elements of art to create their very own 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" masterpieces.  They will each select one card to send off to the swap and wait patiently to receive ATC's from students at other schools in exchange for our cards.

I am excited to introduce this project to students for a few reasons:

  • Creating art on 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" canvas is FUN!  The space is small, so students are more willing to take chances with their art, knowing that if they don't like it, they can simply make another.
  • I like how ATC's lend themselves to introduce students to a variety of art techniques, mediums, elements, etc and students get choices with their artwork!
  • I am secretly hoping that ATC's will take hold at Star and students will be creating and trading their ATC's with fellow classmates beyond the organized swap.
  • My wheels are spinning with thoughts of turning ATC's into a year long early finisher activity. An Artist Trading Card station could easily be set up in the Art room and students could demonstrate mastery of techniques and art skills by creating ATC's when they finish their class projects.  

Here are a few example ATC's that I made.  I had SO much fun creating these little guys and can't wait to see how my students take to Artist Trading Cards!  Stay tuned for ATC update in a few weeks!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Adventures in Watercolor

Watercolor is such a great "go to" medium to expand from the basic markers and crayons for younger grades a few weeks into a new school year, once basic Art room rules and procedures are established. Not too messy for end of class clean up procedures still in the works, but still provides the satisfaction and magical element of painting that most children seem to love.

Magical and practical elements aside, I have two major issues with watercolors; muted color effect and short lasting color palettes.  I have yet to find a brand of watercolor paints that provides a vibrant enough color to make the medium worth the while.  These two frustrations, paired with a warm and cool color lesson that I've been dying to try, set me out on a google search to find vibrant watercolors.

I was shocked to find the top of my vibrant watercolor google search to be "homemade watercolor recipes."  I compared a few recipes and was off to the local Dollar store for supplies and ingredients.

The supplies:

ice cube trays (or other individual containers such as mini muffin tins)
food color (gel variety was voted as providing most vibrant color)
baking soda
corn starch
light corn syrup
white distilled vinegar

The proportions:

1/2 C baking soda
1/4 C white distilled vinegar
1/4 C corn starch
1/2 t light corn syrup

  • mix the above four ingredients together, pour into divided containers, add several drops of food color to your desired color intensity, mix well and set aside to dry.  Allow 2-3 days for the watercolors to be completely solid in form and ready for use.
  • The above recipe will yield one ice cube tray of primary and secondary colors.  I was able to get 5 palettes made with the food color packets before running out.
The Outcome:

The most vibrant, color intense watercolors I have ever seen!  So happy with the outcome, I'm making a second batch this weekend so each tabletop has two full color palettes to share from.  Can't wait to test them out with 1st and 2nd grade Color Exploration Unit this month!