To celebrate mothers and other maternal forces in students’ lives we painted flowers on canvas as gifts for Mother’s Day.  Children are such awesome and honest painters! Students enjoyed mixing paints and creating tints.


Oh my, aren’t these fabulous?! Borrowed from the art master Cassie Stephens, these Rousseau inspired tigers are lovely.  I had my morning helpers pre-stamp the textured paper with sponges because sometimes an hour art lesson just can’t fit everything in! I led students through the steps for drawing the tiger with oil pastels.  Students then cut out the tiger portraits and glued to them tontheir rain forest-y leaves.

Here’s a look at a couple of Henri Rousseau’s paintings. I especially like the use of foliage and various greens.

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Oil Pastel Landscapes

This directed draw project didn’t allow for much student choice, but it was a nice project to practice foreground, middle ground, and background.  We used pastels on blue construction paper and just by using lines and color, we were able to create a landscape that portrayed depth.

Complementary Fruit

I found this project on this blog and was excited to try it with a class. We began by drawing a large circle as best we could.  Then, using a ruler, students created a grid background.  Students were then given a set of complementary colors.  My favorite part of this lesson may be pretending to be the colors and “complementing” the other color.

For example, I hold up orange and say, “Oh blue! You look so lovely today!!”

Then I hold up the blue pastel and say, “Orange!!! You look so nice!”

The students usually giggle and I’m pretty sure it helps connect “complement” with “complementary colors”, because the colors are so nice to each other that they both shine and “pop” with each other.

Anyways, students trace their lines with pastels, then use watercolors to fill in the shapes.  It’s also a great opportunity to create dark and light values with the watercolors by increasing or decreasing the amount of water.

Van Gogh Flowers

Third graders took a look at Van Gogh’s flowers as inspiration for their watercolored artwork.  Even though this was a directed draw, each composition came out very different! As suggested by another art blogging teacher- students put away pencils and only used a crayon to draw the flowers and vase.  There’s something really honest and great about unedited drawings by children.

“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” – Pablo Picasso

For this project, I walked students through drawing the flowers highlighting “overlapping” as a technique artists use to show space- some students overlapped more than others. Once the outline was complete students used watercolors to paint their artwork as they chose.

This student left her chair for a more comfortable painting position 🙂 Students were so focused!


Perspective Snowmen

These snowmen came out great! Students used crayon, paint and paper to create the artwork.  This is a great project for showing how artists can show space and perspective.  We started with drawing the curved lines and face of the snowman.  Then students painted the background, blending colors from dark to light.  We added a bit of blue paint to the snowman to show the form of the body.  Lastly students cut their own carrot nose, hat, and scarf from scrap paper.

This idea is from the awesome Deep Space Sparkle blog!

Printed Owls

These owls were a hoot! That never gets old.  Students used an idea sheet I made to draw their own owl onto foam.  Once detail and deep lines were used on the foam, students cut out their drawing and used ink to print the image onto card stock.  The variety and uniqueness of each owl was really great.

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Third Grade Quilt

For this class quilt, students worked on individual squares. Students practiced using a ruler to draw and cut straight lines. Groups were designated “warm” or “cool” colors. I provided a few quit pattern ideas. The first square that students worked on had to replicate one of the ideas I showed them.  Their second or third square was their own design. The final quilt with all the students squares came out very nice!