Friday, February 5, 2016

chalking it up.

What a week!

I introduced my kinders and 3rds to a couple quilt artists this week and we used their work as an introduction to chalk application and color concepts.

The 3rd graders looked at a quilt by Kathryn Upitis. I've been focusing on 3d space with them and her quilt, September Dawn, was an interesting example of depth in a more abstract sense. We reviewed fore,middle, and background and then looked at the quilt and  tried to see the depth in it. Kids struggled to do so, until I gave them the title of the piece and then things started to click- the ground stands out because it's really dark, but what about the sky? Kids noticed darker and bigger clouds at the top and smaller, lighter ones at the back.

We interpreted this in chalk instead of pieced fabric. I modeled how to hold the chalk to keep themselves and their paper clean. We built the sky and smoothed it out, added the ground and left it rough. We then built the clouds with oil pastels. We used white first and went on top with blue and/or purple. We used tints of colored paper to make our Carol Wyatt inspired landscapes, but this was the first time we mixed those tints in class this year.

We knocked out an exit slip at the end that addressed tints, 3d space, and how their work was different than Kathryn's.

I got through one day this week and then my son was admitted to the hospital. I knew I was going to be out one day, but ended up being out until today. I am very relieved to say that he comes home today and we have a diagnosis and treatment plan. I will be so over the top thrilled to see him sleeping in his own bed tonight:)

Anywho, because I knew I would be out one day, I put together a short video for the sub to use for chalk technique and project intro. My goal is to do more of these in the future. Back in class today, I used them and I was able to distribute supplies while kids watched my demo. Pretty cool being in two places at once!

Meanwhile the kinders looked at a quilt called Full Bloom by LA based quilter Latifah Saafir. (I just discovered the MQG ((Modern Quilt Guild)) website, so be prepared for even more quilt inspired projects!) We talked about what they saw in the quilt and how the title of a piece can guide your thinking when looking at art. We did a chalk pastel drawing of Latifah's quilt. We drew our shapes in white chalk, added chalk color and smoothed it out in the leaves, added color to the background and left it rough, and finished things off by using black oil pastels to make the outlines bold and strong.

Next week, I will have both grade levels experimenting with oil pastels.

While sitting with my son this week, one of the ways I coped was drawing on my ipad with a new app (for me), autodesk sketchbook. Getting a little better using my fat fingers to make thin lines on the touchscreen:)


  1. First off, so glad to hear your son is doing well! That's wonderful news!
    I love your use of contemporary artists in your lessons. These quilt inspired pieces came out great. I've never had an ipad. Your nice contour drawings make me want to get one and give this app a whirl.

    1. Thanks, Mary:) the app has been pretty fun. You can choose different tools, colors, opacities to use and you can add and lock layers to keep from screwing up parts;)

  2. Beautiful work with your students. I LOVE LOVE LOVE good art teaching at the elementary level because it is so important for growth and development of well-rounded students, not to mention fun.

  3. Wow!I love what you have done and please let the children know their renditions of September Dawn are beautiful. I am also happy to hear that your son is doing better. - Kathryn Upitis

  4. Such a great story. I know Kathryn and you chose wisely!!!!
    Keep up all these amazing artistic endeavors.