If I taught art in an Elementary School I would love working with the other teachers in integrating my art projects with their lessons. Even as an at home art teacher I love to have mini Art History lessons with our art projects. This lesson is one of those that would integrate well in the classroom. My students are fascinated by animals but add the magical element of the "Totem Animal" and the idea that there could be an animal out there that has something to teach you or is a type of spirit guide for you and I had their full attention! There are many cultures in the world with variations on this belief and a quick google search brought up lots of fun quizzes and information on the different totem animals. There were a lot of discrepancies, so make sure you teach this with that in mind! Here is some of the information I used:
Your totem animal is usually an animal that is very present in your life, either a favorite animal or one that makes itself known to you somehow, like a big assignment you have to research or actually crossing your path recently!
Your totem animal can change throughout your life. Sometimes we need to be brave, sometimes we need to be still and listen, sometimes we need to be creative. Watch for what the totem animals are trying to tell you!
Once we chose our totem animal and had fun looking up what it means we found some images to do drawings from. We tried charcoal for the first drawing, but then simplified that into a simple line drawing. We did our line drawings in pencil on big pieces of stiff white paper that could handle a little moisture. I mixed white school glue with some black india ink, but there are websites that say you can use acrylic paint mixed with the glue too. Leave your black glue in those orange tipped glue bottles because they will draw a line so easily. Go over your pencil drawing with a bead of black glue. This takes some practice, but really the thick and thin lines add great variety. Set them aside to dry. Next class use watercolor to fill in your drawings. Don't just stop with filling in your animal! I'm a big advocate for FILL THE PAGE! If you have blank space find a texture or pattern or color to fill it in with.
I love our projects and how they turned out. And as much as this isn't a part of MY beliefs, it was amazing to see how well the totems matched the kids!
It's finally March, and the sun has just started to come out occasionally and warm us all up. What does that mean? It means every kid I know, including my own, have started wearing shorts to school, art class, everywhere! They shiver the whole time but they won't admit it. They won't stop because it's in some way a hopeful kind of magic. If we wear them, the sun will come. So along those lines, I thought I would post this great art project that makes me feel like SUMMER is really on its way.
I told the kids to think of drawing themselves and their friends playing in the sprinklers. Include the hose or the sprinkler! I keep a file on hand entitled "Body In Motion" with photos cut from magazines, books of athletes, and anywhere I can find them. These photos show bodies jumping, leaping, running, squatting, etc. Because drawing bodies is HARD! Sometimes in class when someone is really struggling we convince someone to "strike a pose" and model for us so we can see what it really looks like. But the file helps a lot! Anyway, the object is to show bodies in motion while playing in the sprinkler or the hose. THEN when the pictures are done and colored with colored pencils you get to add the sprinkler water!
Get out your watercolors or watered down tempera paint and splatter, flick, whatever works and make that water get everyone wet! On some of the paintings you can see the artist tried to work with the hose or sprinkler head and define the water's point of origin. This project was so much fun. I took these photos of the finished artwork at the Flowerstone Art Show, so you can see some of the kids won awards for theirs!
Flowerstone Art School
School is in session!