Thursday, October 7, 2010

looking at clouds.

This year I got some wax transfer paper that I wanted students to experiment with. I have done crayon resist paintings with students before, but I never liked the way pencil lines would show up if students were using light crayon colors. If using white crayons the students had a hard time because they couldn't see what they were drawing, so the results were always hit or miss.

With this wax paper they could press hard on the wax with a pencil and the image would transfer onto the paper underneath. This eliminates unnecessary pencil lines and contour lines in the final image. When drawing through the wax paper, the students can see the image they are building. The major emphasis is on pressing hard with their drawing tool to get the wax to transfer sufficiently.

So, I got the paper. I just needed to find an artist to base the project on. That's when Siri Hol's work graced a blog I follow.

Siri is a young illustrator from Norway, living in the Netherlands. Her style has a certain child like quality that I thought our students would be drawn in by. In her landscapes she uses simple lines and geometric shapes to create trees. This was perfect since the students had been learning about geometric and natural shapes, as well as different types of lines, in their previous three lessons.

Siri made these wonderful illustrations of kids in a park looking at clouds. The images reflect the fun of laying on your back on the grass and trying to see different shapes in the clouds above. The students enjoyed identifying the items in Siri's clouds and some of the cloud shapes offered multiple interpretations, which allowed more students to participate in the discussion.

After viewing and discussing Siri's use of shapes, lines, and her landscape subject, the students got to work.

1. draw a ground line
2. draw a number of simple trees using vertical and diagonal lines, and ovals and circles
use different size lines and circular shapes to create more 3d space in the landscape
have a couple trees start higher on the ground to look further back
3. add color to grass and trees- use light and dark colors to make the tree tops look more 3d
4. with wax paper over the sky, draw cloud shapes, emphasizing pressing hard AND filling in the clouds so they won't look like line drawings in the sky
5. remove wax paper and paint over sky with blues and/or purples to get the clouds to appear- lots of oohs and ahhs during this part of the demo/instruction


  1. I got this reply from Siri the other day.

    Hi Don Masse,

    Thanks for your email.
    I don't mind you using my illustration for the project. As long as you've
    included the link to my website, which you have!
    The lessons you have on your blog look really cool.
    The story is for an educational publisher, the children meet the cloud
    during a picnic in the park with mom and dad. The cloud begins to talk and
    teaches the children what clouds are, little raindrops in the sky that can
    create rain when they get to heavy. They can create shade and can be seen in
    different shapes. It's a story for 3 year olds so it's quite short. :)
    Glad you like the illustrations.

    All the best,

    Siri Hol.

  2. Siri linked to our blog from hers, so her friends could check out what great work our 2nd graders did!