Tuesday, November 16, 2010

look out for those cacti!

The 1st graders' first project focused on geometric shapes, contour lines, and texture. I wanted to revisit a couple of those elements while looking at different types of shapes.

Enter Geninne Zlatkis. She is a painter and illustrator, living in Mexico, that keeps an amazing blog about her work, her process, and her inspirations. One of the things I really appreciate about her blog is her images and videos of works in progress. She allows readers to see behind the curtain so to speak.

Her paintings of the natural world have a fresh and vibrant sense of color that is complimented by the delicacy of her line work and rendering of texture and pattern.

The students viewed her blog with me and we talked about some of her subjects- plants and animals. These subjects are examples of natural shapes in art and, well, nature. We talked about how Geninne uses line in different ways to may cacti look spiky, birds look feathery, and fish look scaly.

The final thing we talked about before starting their drawing was color. In the previous drawing they did,  students could use any color they wanted. This time, they could only use the primary colors, plus pink because it is a tint of red. We reviewed the secondary colors that are made by mixing the primaries and when I showed them an example of what they would be doing I discussed how I made those new colors by blending different primaries together.

1. draw cacti and birds with pencil
2. trace contour lines with black marker
3. color shapes with primary color crayons, mixing them together in different combinations to make secondary colors in areas. press hard and soft to create dark and light versions of those colors.


  1. Hi. I have come by way of Geninne's Art Blog. As a school volunteer, I am frequently called upon to help with (and help develop) art lessons for primary grade children. I'm sure I don't have to tell you how discouraging it is to see how art instruction has gone by the wayside for many public schools. Your blog will be a great resource for me, and for the teachers I work with.

    Thanks so much for sharing these projects!

  2. I am impressed! I am a follower of Geninne's for a couple of years and a Primary State school English teacher in Greece!Congrats for what you have inspired your students to do!Ariadne from Greece!

  3. Hi I'm just stopping by via Gennine's to let lucky you and the children know that their Map Inspired birdies are fantastic!

    They each have such personality and fantastic movement.

    Great job everyone!

    Felicity [besos]

  4. I found your class project at Geninne's blog and am sooo impressed! Please tell your students that my head was buzzing with stories that each picture blossomed in my head as I pondered their drawings and the hard work that went into each one! Beautiful!
    Elaine Waters
    Eastfield Global Magnet School, Marion, NC

  5. I too am a follower of Geninne's blog. What a fun project to do and take inspiration from her work. Your students have done an awesome job with their drawing and also the colors they have chosen. Very talented group of students. Give them my compliments and tell them to keep at their art.

  6. Wonderful work kids! Keep on drawing and playing with color,line and form and you'll go far! You'll be rewarded, it will help you each tell your own stories!

  7. What a great lesson plan - I could see it working with any age level, including well over 1st grade... bravo and keep those kids creating! Thanks to Geninne for sending so many viewers your way!

  8. Fabulous work !!!!I love Geninne's work!!!!her works looks simple....but in reality shes a perfectionist when it comes to detailing! and the kids at ur school have done a wonderful job and as a teacher u have done a great job being able to inspire them!!!

  9. Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement! I can not wait to share your comments with the kids after they get back from Thanksgiving break. I hope you all come back and visit throughout the year to see what our talented students are up to during the year:)

  10. I am not so much into painting, also because I think I am not gifted for that. :) But this pictures are just amazing. they make me "wanting to paint"! Thank you for this.

  11. I was inspired when I saw these works and when I looked through your previous projects I was so impressed. You have a natural ability with getting the best out of children without squashing their natural curiosity and creativity. I am also an art teacher in Australia :)
    thank you!

  12. Geninne responded to my email and then posted some photos on her blog and linked this blog to hers. Since she did that there have been over 2000 additional views of our students' work. Cool!

    Hi Don :)

    Your student's paintings are fantastic!!! I really loved seeing how they interpreted my birdies.
    I am very honored!

    You can tell your students that I used to live in San Diego and that I was always inspired by it. Every time I go back with my husband and sons we visit the Point Loma tide pools...one of my very favorite spots :)
    All the best!