I am so excited to tell you about what we did this week! This is one of my favorite projects and here is the best part... I Made It UP! Yep! All by myself. I didn't see it somewhere else or anything. And the kids love it. They work on it together, they stay totally engaged the whole time and every project ends up looking great. I can't wait to display these at the annual show. They are going to look fantastic. So for our guided drawing today we showed each other all the different ways to draw spiderwebs. Yep, they have lots of different ideas. It was fun and I think I learned a new way to draw them too! Then I told them today we were going to create a totally different spider web! And while I got a few things ready we had a great discussion about how some artwork is all about the final product. Some artwork is also about the fun process of making it. Splatter painting, installations, this was a great time to tell them about the work of Christo and how his work was a PROCESS, not a result. Luckily today we get both!
Step 1: Web Design!
I didn't spend very long on guided drawing since I needed to get on to the project for the day. We started with a demonstration. This would be chaos if I had to demonstrate more than once, so everyone pay attention!
This project can get a little messy, so we start with aprons or smocks. Paint can splatter!
Each student needs a partner. Start with a blank piece of paper and a length of yarn, about 18 inches long. Provide any kind of paint and a sponge brush. We used both acrylic and tempera paints and both worked great. I like to use the small sheets of posterboard. The glossy side works well with making the spiders later. Your first step is to have your partner hold the yard while you paint it with paint. I like the variation of using two colors. Just swirl them a little on the pallet and paint the paint up and down the yarn until your yarn has plenty of paint on it.
This is Key: If it is YOUR painting, YOU HOLD the string. This is because you will be deciding where the lines will go on your painting. You will be creating the WEB.
You hold the yarn at each end in a firm grip very close to but not touching the paper. Your partner will "flick" the yarn. This is most easily done by pinching the yarn and pulling up slightly and then letting go. If you hook the yarn with your finger it will pull it out of your partners fingers or will pull their hands together, losing the tension needed to SNAP the yarn back down and create the line. We practiced this step with our partners before we painted the paint on the yarn so we knew how to get a good snap. If you hold the yarn too high you will also not get a good line on the paper.
Now just keep moving your yarn to a new spot and "snapping" it until you create your web pattern! Each web will be different. If your yarn gets too dry just paint a little more paint on it again and keep going.
When your web looks the way you want it to you trade jobs with your partner and you snap the yarn while they move the yarn around on the paper. Great teamwork!
This is the end of Step 1. Now wash your hands and get ready to make your spiders!
Step 2: Spiders
For step 2 each student needs a straw. The kind with a bendable elbow in them work best. You can use any liquid paint like ink or watercolor. Watered down tempera or acrylic will work too. It just has to be really watery. Put a tiny bit in a little plastic cup for each partnership. Dip the end of the straw closest to the bend into the paint and then dot that paint that sticks to the straw on the paper. We found less is better than more.
You can experiment on scrap paper before doing this on your web. I let the class try it on my sample web after they watched my demonstration then move back to their own paintings. After the paint is dropped on the paper blow through your straw at it, using the elbow end to aim your air where you want it so that the paint spreads out in a neat shape. You have to get really close for this to work well. And remind everyone to stop and breathe between blowing! I had a lot of dizzy artists.
I let the kids make as many spiders as they want on their webs. But for the next step I told them to pick their favorite two to glue google eyes to. We used Rubber cement to glue them on. The others on the web got eyes made with paint dabbed on using Q-tips.
As a final step you can draw on any details and legs with a Sharpie.
Now to review...
Have fun! And leave me a comment. I would love to know how it went for you!
Flowerstone Art School
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