Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Drawing with Jan Brett's "How to Draw an Elephant"

Children love to draw things that look realistic. Kindergarten children draw with a special joy and ease that makes it fun to teach them new skills. Kindergarteners spend the first half of their art year learning about lines/shapes and how that is what makes a drawing. After lots of practice with various lessons the children are introduced to Jan Brett's "How to Draw an Elephant" video from her website. I have tried several of the Jan Brett's lessons and the drawing that is the most successful is the elephant drawing. The children are thrilled with the results! Before they begin to draw, they watch the demonstration video all the way through. When the demo ends I have them get their Sharpie markers ready and I replay the video slowly stopping with each step and emphasizing the directions. Instead of finishing the drawings with water colors (like Jan Brett does ) we use colored chalk. The drawings are done on the first day and a lesson on using chalk is done on the second day.

The instructions for chalk drawing have to be made very clear. The children use a tissue as a "blending tool." I repeat the instruction of "color lightly" and model what that means several times. I show the children how to layer colors, how to use the tip or the side of the chalk, and how to keep their hands clean with an extra tissue. Once the lesson is over, I have them take their drawings to a clean spot so their tables can be cleared for cleaning with a wet wipe.

Artist Made Ornament Exchange

The Collective Muse is a group of artist who live and work in Nashville, Tennessee. Our backgrounds and our interests in art vary but we all agree that our purpose is to encourage and support each other in art making. Our group has evolved over the past seven years, member have come and gone, but a core group of us remains. This year we celebrated the Christmas Season by having our first "Artist Made Ornament Exchange."

The variety of ornaments was amazing, everything from collaged hearts bedazzled with glitter, felted creatures, origami cranes, folded book stars, collaged brie boxes with butterflies, fabric/felt folk symbols, and painted wood scraps. We drew numbers for who would go first and went around the pile of wrapped ornaments picking in turn. Once we were done picking, we took turns opening each set of artist ornaments at a time.

" Ohhhs and Ahhhhs" cooed all around the table as we opened each one. Everyone's face was bright with joy, surprise and delight. The Christmas Season has become steeped in commercial goods for many people but not during this event. It was such a pleasure to give and receive beautifully handcrafted objects made by each other. My " Visions of Sugar Plums" are of one day having a Christmas Tree covered from top to bottom with only handmade ornaments of my friends and family. The Collective Muse's Artist Made Ornament Exchange is sure to become our annual tradition. I hope you create this tradition in your life too! Occupy Christmas!