Mondrian Studies with Our Youngest Artists

Ever wonder how to integrate art history in a fun and engaging way with young students? We recently spent a month working on de Stijl paintings (yep...we sure did talk about that movement!) and the Dutch painter, Piet Mondrian.

Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow, 1930

Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow, 1930

We began by using a reduced color palette in red, blue, yellow, black and white along. We did not look at any of Mondrian's work! We talked about what vertical and horizontal straight lines were. And students began to paint straight black lines going vertically and or horizontally in the pure color palette (no mixing this time). The results were GORGEOUS!

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The next lesson began by showing kids a Mondrian painting, not sharing much information yet, and asking what they saw. The natural unfolding process of seeing "a famous painting in a BOOK!" reminded them of their work (without copying it), allowing for deeper connections to art and art history. They were certainly eager to see what the next painting was going to be about. We introduced rulers. And further excitement ensued. Where do you place the ruler? Where do you place the drawing instrument (it was Sharpie for this project)? Making vertical and horizontal lines, students were asked to create drawings that used secondary colors (orange, purple, and green) and black and white in soft pastels. How did this differ from the previous art work?

Week three had students working in a watercolor resist method, using contrasting colors. Students learned what contrasting (complementary) colors were and referenced color wheels. They began by using rulers to create their horizontal and vertical lines. Within the shapes they made, students lightly applied oil pastels, leaving textural areas of their white paper where the watercolor would sink through. Students excitedly looked to their neighbors and color wheels and discussed their use and application of color. The results were pretty incredible!

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During our final lesson of this incredible unit of study, students were asked to choose what medium (of the ones we'd used in the three previous lessons) to work in. Using 18x24" heavy weight watercolor paper, students then had to create their own line painting. "Can we use curvy lines?" Why, YES! Go for it! After three weeks of horizontal and vertical lines and learning all about color and application of various materials, students worked with such ease and confidence.

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You Are A Firefly And Shine From Within

If you aren't already familiar with author Rachel Macy Stafford, you might just be after reading her blog post: Children Who Shine From Within.

Let me back up...one day a little over a year ago, I stumbled across an Instagram post (forgive me, I haven't a clue what that original post was nor who posted it) that mentioned the impact of a book on said-poster's said-post. The description of this Rachel Macy Stafford book had me running for the nearest bookstore to get a copy. I read the front and back covers, skimming through Hands Free Mama and felt I had struck gold. As a mom who is challenged to disconnect from feeling forever "plugged in" with all-things-small-business-ownership-related, Hands Free Mama resonated with me on so many levels. It is written in tangible, easy to apply, takeaways; relieving the mama guilt of when I have to plug in for work while giving incredible reminders of how plug in to family.

I began following @handsfreerevolution and went on to reading Only Love Today (also majorly recommended!). Rachel always seems to have just the right words to say at the moment I need to hear them. Which brings me back to her blog post about shining from within. Here's a snippet: "The end of the school year can be hard for kids, especially the Fireflies—those who shine from within. And it’s that time—time for awards, banquets, recognition, and applause. The Butterflies will be noticed. So brilliant. So colorful. Their talents so obvious. But let us not forget the Fireflies. Their triumphs are quiet and unsuspecting. Their gifts might even go completely unnoticed" (Rachel Macy Stafford). 

When I read her post on her Instagram feed this morning about needing to feel a sense of belonging, of knowing one is heard and seen, I needed to jump on here and share it with you.

 

Slime Time!

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We had a BLAST in the studio last week during our Mini Makers Open Studio. In addition to making "diamond" necklaces and mini painted masterpieces, our kiddos whipped up some ooey gooey batches of slime. We made fluffy slime, and glitter slime, and sticky slime, and colorful slimes galore! Thanks to Elmers Glue for one of their recipes!

Elmers Slime Recipe

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