Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fourth and Fifth: Chinese Bamboo Paintings

I love doing this lesson as it forces students to work sloooowly, methodically, and of course, learn about a different culture. In the Chinese culture, because bamboos can bend during storms, but are not easily broken, they symbolize strength and integrity.  Students first mixed black sumi ink and green paint to create a dark green color for their bamboo. Beginning from the bottom of the paper, they painted upward in calm, confident strokes, lifting up their brush to make thin gaps for the bamboo nodes. For the delicate stems, students used just the tips of their round brush to create the thinnest lines possible. I told them this part needed to be fast or else their lines will be bumpy and "nervous". One of the funnest steps to this project was making a chop of their names. After coming up with an interesting  signature that fit inside a tiny square, they carved it in reverse on a styrofoam square. Then they glued the styrofoam onto a wooden block and stamped it on their painting. Finished!

Second and Third: Saguaro Paintings

As I drove home a little later than usual from work, I noticed the gorgeous sunset and the striking contrast made by the shadowed trees in the foreground. I had to make a lesson out of this as it is a picture that students see everyday.  Students learned the wet-on-wet technique in which they sprayed their paper with water and painted on the paper with watercolor.  This created really cool effects and the students loved watching the colors branch out and move around. Once their sky dried, they painted their foreground black and the middle ground a lighter color since it's farther away. Since we're living in a desert, I thought it was appropriate that students painted saguaros and palm trees!