The Laughing Zebra

liquid watercolors

Bicycle Art inspired by Joel Henriques

This page contains affiliate links and I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Everything on this page I have used and heartily recommend for teaching art.

This lesson is based on the modern artist Joel Henriques. It is a playful colorful project and has as its main subject matter something that is near and dear to most kids hearts…a bicycle! With the warmer weather I thought this would be a fun lesson as kids are finally able to get out and ride their bikes (remember how that first bike ride of the season always felt?)

Below is a bit more info on this contemporary artist from Portland, Oregon:

Resources for teaching about Joel Henriques

When I teach an art lesson, I like to first tell my students about the artist we are studying before we start the actual art part. I try to find great videos, images, and slideshows that have already been created and are easy to access to help educate my students. Here are a few resources for teaching your kids a little bit more about the artist we are studying in this lesson, Georgia O’Keeffe!

Who is Joel Henriques?

Joel Henriques is an artist and toy designer living in Portland, Oregon. He learned art from his grandma, who showed him famous artists such as Miro and Picasso and taught him about color and design. He has four-year-old twins who inspire him to create art and toys that coincide with their imaginations. He has a blog, Made By Joel, where he documents the toys and crafts and art he makes for kids.

Books

Made to Play

This book is written by Joel himself and has some amazing crafts and toys to make for kids in it.

Videos
Photos of his Artwork

Bicycle Art inspired by Joel Henriques

Kids of all ages can have success with this drawing. Help them get the tires and the main bike frame lines right and the rest will fall into place. If everything is not in proportion or exactly where it should be that is ok-it will still look like a bicycle! 

Supplies:

These are the supplies I used (but other products could be substituted):

  • Sargent art magic liquid watercolors- red, magenta,violet, brown, yellow, orange, turquoise, blue, green,
  • Water container
  • Paper towels
  • Watercolor brush (I use the Crayola taklon #7 watercolor brush)
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Eraser
  • 2 ½ inch drinking glass, small mouth pint mason jar, or small yogurt container
  • Fine line black Sharpie
  • Small container to mix brown watercolor with water in
  • 11×15 Canson Montval Watercolor paper
  •  

Step-by-Step:

  1. With a ruler draw a line 4 inches from the bottom of your paper.
  2. Using the ruler make about 30 stripes of various widths. (for younger kids just do about 10-15 stripes)
  3. Mark 5 ½ inches out on your horizontal line. (it can be anywhere)
  4. Place your glass or jar ¼ inch above the mark and trace a around it to make the tires. (center it over the mark)
  5. Find the center of both tires and mark it with the pencil.
  6. Draw a mark 3 ¾  inches above the horizontal line in the center of the tires, and use it as a guide to draw a light horizontal line from tire to tire.
  7. Add two diagonal lines.
  8. Finish off the bottom of the bike frame with two triangle shapes (see photo)
  9. Extend the diagonal lines ½ inch and add the seat and handlebars.
  10. Add a double circle where the triangles meet between the tires. Add the petals.
  11. Add circles in the center of the tires and 6 diagonal spoke lines.Sharpie over all the bike pencil lines. Don’t worry if some of your lines get wobbly or the tires get too thick etc. Erase extra pencil lines when you are done. 
  12. Add a few drops of brown liquid watercolor to a small container of water (I use a souffle cup) and with a scrunched up paper towel dip into the container and then pounce on the paper to make a light textured background above the 4 inch horizontal line. Be careful the watered down paint is not too dark, you want just a light color. (add more water if necessary)
  13. Starting with the yellow fill in 2-4 stripes with each color (for younger kids 1 or 2 for each stripe since they will only have 10-15) .I did 5 stripes of the brown though to break up all the colors.  (do lighter colors first)  Spread them out and be sure not to fill in a stripe next to a wet one or they will bleed together. This part takes some patience-don’t rush and just use the tip of your brush and a little paint at a time.

 

 

Step-by-step photos

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I'm writing a book!

I am excited to announce my latest project!  My daughter and I are working on a big, beautiful, creatively designed book on artist related lessons (similar to the ones on this website but with more details, step by step instructions and photos). The book will be for anyone who wants concise, detailed, well laid out lessons that are ready to teach, in a format that is fun to look at as well.

Book Info

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Other Lessons:

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Georgia O'Keeffe Seashell Art

This page contains affiliate links and I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Everything on this page I have used and heartily recommend for teaching art.

Keep reading for more information about Georgia O’Keeffe, resources to teach about her, and a great liquid watercolor art lesson!

Georgia O’Keeffe liked to paint things big so that others would take time to notice them and all their details. She is quoted as saying about her big flower paintings:

“I decided that if I could paint that flower on a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.” 

“I’ll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking the time to look at it – I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers.”

She carried this over to her other art as well and loved to make her images so big that sometimes parts of them were off the canvas, or they became almost abstract because of their size.

Resources for teaching about Georgia O'Keeffe

When I teach an art lesson, I like to first tell my students about the artist we are studying before we start the actual art part. I try to find great videos, images, and slideshows that have already been created and are easy to access to help educate my students. Here are a few resources for teaching your kids a little bit more about the artist we are studying in this lesson, Georgia O’Keeffe!

Who is Georgia O'Keeffe?

(November 15, 1887 – March 6, 1986) She was an American artist who is best known for her beautifully painted enlarged flowers. She also painted New York skyscrapers, New Mexico landscapes, and other elements from nature, like animal skulls, trees, and seashells.

Books

Through Georgia's Eyes

This book has beautiful photos and gives a great look at who Georgia O'Keeffe was. Recommended for ages 5-8.

My Name Is Georgia: A Portrait by Jeanette Winter

This is a great introduction to Georgia O'Keeffe. The story is well written and inspiring. Recommended for ages 4-7.

Georgia O'Keeffe - Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists

By now you've probably picked up that I love this series and this book on Georgia O'Keeffe is no exception! These have great visuals and illustrations and do a superb job teaching about an artist!

Videos
Photos of her Artwork

Georgia O'Keeffe Seashell Art

In this lesson we are going to focus on painting a BIG seashell using bright and beautiful liquid watercolors and black glue for a dynamic painting. This lesson is a two part lesson as the black glue outline will need to dry for several hours or overnight before you can paint.

Supplies:

These are the supplies I used (but other products could be substituted):

  • Glue All
  • Black Acrylic paint
  • Watercolor brush
  • Crayola blue fine line marker
  • Pencil 
  • Eraser
  • Canning or Pickling Salt or Sea Salt
  • Orange, Red, violet, green, turquoise, blue liquid watercolor
  • 11×11 watercolor paper (I cut mine from a 11x 15 sheet of Canson Montval watercolor paper)

Step-by-Step:

  1. Mix black acrylic paint into a ½ full Elmer’s Glue All bottle. Stir with the handle of a paintbrush. Add enough paint to get a dark black. I sometimes add some India Ink as well to get the true black color. (just make sure not to add too much of the ink as it will make the glue runny)
  2. Draw a large spiral shaped seashell filling up the whole paper. (Like Georgia did!)
  3. With steady pressure go over the pencil line with a stream of black glue. (practice this on a scrap paper to test the flow)This takes a bit of practice but once kids get the hang of it it goes smoothly. 
  4. Lay the paper somewhere out of the way where it can stay flat and allow it to dry for several hours or overnight until the glue is completely dry.
  5. When it is ready to paint begin with painting the center part orange adding a lot of paint to keep it wet. Quickly add violet to the outside edge and red to the other edge to finish off the center section. (see sample) If the paints are wet they will gently float into one another. Allow this to dry.
  6. Next add blue to the edge of the top part of the seashell and with a clean wet brush pull out the color to the rest of the top part of the shell. 
  7. Add purple to the other edge. Allow the shell to dry.
  8. For the background work quickly so the colors stay wet and blend into one another. First add some purple around the shell then some turquoise and some watered down green (just mix the green in a little cup with water).
  9. While it is still wet sprinkle the salt over some of the background. The salt will absorb the water and leave a textured water like background. (kids love this part!)
  10. Allow the paint to dry completely then shake the salt off into the garbage.
  11. Using the blue fine line marker make curved lines half way across the top part of the shell from each side. Go over each line with a clean wet brush to blur the lines a bit. 

Don’t worry if this turns out looking more like an abstract painting than a seashell! It will be equally as beautiful and was often the way Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings looked

Step-by-step photos

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I'm writing a book!

I am excited to announce my latest project!  My daughter and I are working on a big, beautiful, creatively designed book on artist related lessons (similar to the ones on this website but with more details, step by step instructions and photos). The book will be for anyone who wants concise, detailed, well laid out lessons that are ready to teach, in a format that is fun to look at as well.

Book Info

Other Lessons:

Recent Blog Posts:

door in Italy with turquoise bike by it.

The Doors of Italy

At the end of a 3 week vacation to Europe, I came away with so many pictures of things that captured my interest and the mood of the moment. I couldn’t get enough of all the time worn doors, especially those in Italy.

Read More »

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We painted Free Little Libraries! Does your city have a Little Free Library? These are little free standing libraries that have a “host” who looks after them and can be located in someone’s yard , out in the country, or in front of a business or in a park.  You can take a book to read or leave one for someone else to find.

Read More »

My Beautiful Tuscan Kitchen

This year marks the two year anniversary of our kitchen remodel! My wonderful cabinet maker husband finally got around to making this custom kitchen for our home and I couldn’t be happier!

Read More »

This page contains affiliate links and I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Everything on this page I have used and heartily recommend for teaching art.

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! 🙂

Paul Gauguin used bright flat colors in his tropical artwork and is a favorite artist of mine to teach about. I got the idea for this project from a picture I saw on the art blog Painting With a Twist. It looked like something Gauguin himself would have had fun with and I knew my students would too!

First we practiced the palm tree on a scratch piece of paper (since this was the only real difficult part of this whole picture). Once the kids had figured out how to curve the trunk and make the palm fronds we switched to an 11×15 sheet of watercolor paper and redrew the palm tree, then added the background details step by step. I let them fill in the bottom of the picture with their own plants and foliage. Then we outlined everything with Sharpie, and the fun began! The only rule with the paint was to try and paint things as differently from real life as they could. To use their “imagination” like Gauguin did when he painted his pictures. We used vibrant Sargeant brand liquid watercolors. I did this with kindergarten to 6th graders and they all turned out great. With the older kids we added white acrylic paint dots with the end of the paint brush for stars. Below are a few of the kindergarten to 1st grade finished projects. I got busy and didn’t take any pictures of the older kids’ projects.

New step by step Gauguin lesson in my upcoming book. Click here to see more information on my book and subscribe for book updates!

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