We all worked hard this term, and had lots of fun being creative kids!
Balloons, paper mache, fun.
Over the last few months, H and M have become experts at paper mache. They love the medium, and they have gotten really quite good at it. I’ve noticed that they use great judgment with how much paste to apply, how to smooth the paper down nicely, and how many layers to make.
They decided to try and replicate a project that they did in another art class a while ago. They enthusiastically asked me if they could blow up some balloons and cover them, and turn them into fish.
Rachel: How does a balloon turn into a fish?
M: I think I have that part all figured out….
H: Just takes some cardboard, and some tissue paper to cover it all up.
M and H blew up balloons, and did all the paper mache entirely by themselves. When it came time to make fins, I had the boys attempt to draw the shapes onto cardboard to cut out. M wanted me to help with getting the shape just right, so he asked me to draw it on a separate piece of paper, and cut it out. Then, he could trace it himself onto the cardboard, and take it from there.
M: How about we make a trace so I could follow it?
I asked Michael what he would like to learn to draw, and he told me he wanted to draw someone running. So I showed him how to bend the wooden mannequin into different positions, and to try to position it into a running position, thinking about how the legs and arms are bent and extended when you run. He was able to position the guy perfectly into a running form, and then the boys each drew a picture of the man. They did this exercise on two different occasions, and came up with very different interpretations each time.
They both did a great job at drawing what they saw, and Colin especially has strong skills in this area.
This is a quick and easy project, involving cutting and gluing, and spreading on some varnish. Simple as that. They had a chance to use the skills they have become so accomplished at, and look at the lovely product!
H and M wanted to do another canvas painting. This time, they promised to pay close attention to detail, and to come back to their paintings after the first day, to add more layering and make changes.
H: I’m making a mountain. But not just any mountain. I’m making a volcano.
Rachel: What is lava made out of?
H: Pretty much just chemicals, that get hot.. I’m not sure what it’s made out of.
M: It’s made out of melted rock.
H: Hot melted rock.
M: It’s hot enough to melt metal.
M was intent on his painting, carefully adding details, touching up certain areas, and working towards a final vision that he was proud of. He made use of different sized brushes, sponges, rags, and water to create his picture. He mixed some of his own colours, and carefully applied different techniques to complete his work.
M: I just want to use each brush for a specific job. I’ll do the extra detail after.
M was faced with the problem of perspective in this painting. He inquired about what to put behind his arbutus tree; sky or grass. So I gave him a brief explanation of perspective, enough for him to begin the process of understanding how to effectively depict three dimensions in two dimensions. It is very hard at first!
M: I like the whole thing. It looks awesome.
Rachel: What stands out to you?
M: I think the grass.
Shell Animals and Stuffed Animals
Colin was very interested in making things this term, much more so than last term. His enthusiasm hurried him through each project, and had him asking me “What is the next project, Rachel?”
I encouraged him to slow down, to think about details he could add, but he was always eager to move on to something new. He asked me if he could make a stuffed animal again, as well as some shell animals, and I was happy to let him revisit those materials.
When he made the stuffed elephant, he remembered all the steps, and required minimal help from me. But then when he made his shell elephants, he didn’t need any help at all. I simple set out the shells, heated a glue gun for him, and before I knew it, he had constructed three very wonderful little elephants! He has come a long way since the first time we did it and I was so impressed!
H wanted to make a cloud with white lids and pearls and styro foam bits. The boys had passed up the project last year when other kids were doing it, and H must have held it in his head, and today was the day he wanted to do it himself.
Rachel: So what do you know about clouds?
H: They’re made out of gas that is really heavy. Right Max?
Rachel: How can it be heavy if they’re floating up in the sky?
H: Because. It’ like oily gas.
Rachel: What else do you know about clouds?
H: Not very much. Just that black ones are rain clouds. The white ones can carry rain. The black ones just mean it’s going to rain.
Rachel: They’re made from rain?
H: No, they carry rain.
Rachel: Any idea how?
H: Because moisture’s in the air.
Rachel: Can they carry anything else? Like could there be mysterious creatures up there?
H: No. That’s a myth. No one can go into the clouds because they’re not stabilized.
On the last day of class, H came alone because poor M was sick. He got right to work with making a rainbow out of buttons. He wasn’t quite sure about the order of colours, or which colours to include, so I got out the colour wheels for him to look at. Whenever he had a question about the order of colours, I told him to look at the colour wheels, and see if he could tell. He soon caught on, and ended up with a sweet little rainbow for his cloud.
I’m looking forward to more rainbows and colour wheel exploration with both H and M in the spring!