The Laughing Zebra

art teacher

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Henri Matisse is one of my favorite artists and so I am always looking for new projects to share him with my students. This is a class I did this summer for kids ages 9 and up. I bought some new watercolor paper to try and it was so fun to work with. (Canson XL Watercolor pads)  The sheets are 18×24, and 140 pound paper weight so you can erase a lot and it takes more abuse than a lighter weight paper. We also used Dick Blick liquid watercolors (update: I have since switched to Sargeant brand liquid watercolors, as the Dick Blick ones are now a new thicker formula). The liquid watercolors are so much easier to use for the larger paper format. The kids don’t have to stop and mix more color and so they had more success with their washes. We did a sample drawing first on a smaller sheet of paper, looking at Matisse’s original painting. I also gave them each a coloring sheet picture of the painting. I had them simplify their drawings and leave out some of the background foliage and details. We did the drawing and painting step by step, taking time to talk about proportion and reflections. This was a great lesson and they all ended up with some beautiful paintings.

*See my new Henri Matisse art lesson in my upcoming book!  (Click here for more information)

Please refer people back to this site if you use this lesson! 🙂

I did this Laurel Burch cats art project for one of my summer classes and have also done it for kindergarten to 6th grade at the school I work at. It is a fun one to do as kids like to do animal projects and this one is doable for any age. There are some great pics on the internet of Laurel Burch cats. I showed a lot of them in class to generate some ideas. I like using the chalk pastel on the black paper-it adds a fun dimension. I got this project idea from another blog-but can’t remember where now. I changed it up a bit.

I had the kids practice drawing the body of the cat on a scratch paper first. In my summer class they could choose to do a head or a body. At school the younger kids used a poster board pattern and then I had them come up with their own pattern for inside the cat. I had the kindergarteners trace around just a head template. We talked a lot about Laurel Burch and her use of color and pattern. Also how she did the cat’s eyes (more like a human eye). I showed them samples of her work to begin with. Once they practiced what pattern they were going to use I had them do their final drawing on the black paper. They used the chalk pastels to color them and and Nupastels to outline and accent. I had them either do a pattern in the background or a frame.

Please refer people back to this site if you use this lesson! 🙂