Wednesday, June 4, 2014

It Takes A Village

I found a project idea in one of the art education professional magazines (School Arts or Arts and Activities, I apologize that I cannot cite which one!).  The project was titled It Takes a Village and I loved the way it combined ideas of collaboration and community with art concepts.  Even though the project was designed for 6th graders, I felt I could adapt it to be a perfect culminating project for my second graders this year.  The project was a class favorite and a huge success!
Students first designed their own cottage on small paper.  They drew inspiration from cultures of focus in the 2nd grade social studies curriculum, and from artists of study in the 2nd grade art curriculum.
Students then created a village by tracing their own cottage on a large paper, and choosing classmates' cottages to trace and add into the scene as well. Students paid careful attention to overlapping and letting their work fall off the edge of the paper.  A horizon line was added at the end of the drawing phase, with plenty of oohs and ahhs!
Students traced their pencil lines with Sharpies before painting with watercolor paints. Here a student is using semi-moist watercolors. These watercolors provide a nice quality pigment, but if enough water is not added they do not fully dry and remain sticky on the paper.  In the future, I would not give 2nd graders the option to use semi-moist watercolor paints and would save them for more mature artists.
Students also added color using standard watercolor trays and tube watercolors were used to mix special colors.
The background was painted using liquid watercolors.  I absolutely love liquid watercolors as they are bright and intense!
These finished pieces are a true testament to the title. It took a village to create the scene. My students had to rely on one another and share their creativity in order to complete each individual project.  What a great way to end the school year! 

See the full class set of paintings on my Flickr page