February 14, 2017

The Human Face: In and Out of Proportion

The Human Face: In and Out of Proportion

Art Center Sarasota's class for students ages 6-15 is called Rising Rembrandts.  I had the opportunity of teaching that class this past Saturday.  The lesson was all about making two faces: drawing one in proportion, then collaging the other out of proportion.

Preparing the lesson:

  • I gathered examples of artist-rendered faces that were in and out of proportion. 

          *In proportion: I used my own drawings.

          *Out of proportion: I used a print called Woman With Mauve Hat done by the king of disproportion: Pablo Picasso.

Woman With Mauve Hat
by Pablo Picasso

Teaching the Lesson:

  • Our first face was drawn in graphite and followed all the 'rules of proportion'.

  • We began by making a template in the shape of a human head.  Many students were surprised to find that their head was shaped like an upside down hen's eggs and not a circle.  

  • Next we used our template to trace the head onto a 9" x 12" piece of drawing paper. One by one we added the features, careful to make each proportional to the size of the head we had drawn.

  • You can see by the photo above that we drew guidelines down the center both vertically and horizontally.  This helped us position the features correctly and make them the right size.  We looked in mirrors to see the detail of our own features and the symmetry of our faces.

  • Once our drawing was complete, we were ready to create our second face.  After looking at Picasso's painting of Woman With Mauve Hat (above), the students were ready to get wacky.

  • This face was to be in color.  The students had already painted two pieces of 9" x 12" multipurpose paper, one in warm colors (red, yellow, orange) and the other in cool colors (green, purple, blue).  Now it was time to choose whether this face would be warm or cool.  Using the same template as before, the students traced and cut a second head identical in size to the first.

  • This student choose her warm color paper to make a wacky head inspired by Picasso.

  • The students' next task was to start collaging.  I had a table already set up with construction paper pieces of various colors and sizes.  Everyone got busy cutting and gluing eyes, nose, mouth, etc. to their colorful heads, and ... these features did NOT have to follow proportion guidelines.  

  • Our last step was to create a frame for our two heads.  We positioned a 12" x 18" piece of brown construction paper horizontally, then glued the heads one on each size. 

  • You can see the finished project in the photo above.  

Until next time ... have a colorful day!

Concepts explored:

color: warm and cool colors
balance: symmetrical balance
contrast: proportional and disproportional
line: drawing the face

January 30, 2017

Weird and Wacky Face Puppets

Weird and Wacky Face Puppets 

Today was Art Center Sarasota's second Mini Monet class.  There were two students (age 3 and 5), each accompanied by a parent.

Today's lesson focused on warm colors (red, yellow, orange) and cool colors (green, blue, purple).  The children learned that artists use warm colors to create a happy, cozy mood and cool colors to create a calm, relaxed mood.

Today the children used paint and collage to create weird and wacky face puppets.  


  • First we looked at a collage by Romare Bearden to discover the funny, unusual faces he created from cut paper.
  • Then we went to the gallery and found paintings and collages containing warm and cool colors. 
  • We even found a weird and wacky face in the gallery.  The artist had made it from nuts, bolts, and gears, etc.  

Teaching the Lesson:

  • Painting was first on the list of things to do.  Each child had to choose three of the warm/cool colors to paint with.  They could choose all warm, all cool, or a mixture, depending on the mood they wanted to create for their puppet.  
  • Once the choices were made, everyone got busy using a foam brush to cover a piece of 8.5" x 11" mat board with paint.  It would become the base for our puppet's head.

Break Time:

  • While the paint dried, we went outside for a short break.  The children needed to get some wiggles out, so we played a game I call MOVE IT.


Everyone watched as I spread warm and cool colored rectangles around the grass.  
I began to call out directions:
  •     Hop on one foot to a warm color.
  •     Jump with two feet to a cool color.
  •     Walk like a giant to your favorite color and tell me if it's warm or cool. 
  •     Etc.   

Back in the Classroom:

  • I introduced the collage portion of our art project with a puppet show using a weird and wacky face I had made at home.   It had a paint stirrer hot glued to the bottom as a handle making it a stick puppet.

We all sat on the floor in a circle, and I made the puppet talk to the children.  It told them about it's eyes made from bottle caps, nostrils made from buttons, hair made from craft sticks, and mouth made from construction paper with beads for teeth.

By the time the show ended, the children understood how they too could use unusual items to make a face for their puppets.

I had already placed a variety of collage items, each in its own container, lined up on a table like a smorgasbord of treats for the children and parents to select from.

  • Everyone got to work arranging and gluing their puppet's face.

Items that couldn't be glued on with school glue, were attached by the parents with hot glue.

  • Here are the finished faces.


(Please excuse the blurry photos.  I didn't have my usual camera today.) 

Concepts explored:

  • Color: warm and cool
  • Shape: rectangle
  • Small muscle coordination
  • Following directions
  • Listening
  • Learning to paint 

January 15, 2017

Little Arty Pants Meets Mini Monets

Little Arty Pants Meets Mini Monets

Art Center Sarasota has a new art class for children ages 3-5.  The class is named Mini Monets, and the Center has asked me to be the teacher.  

Today was the first class, and we had three students, each accompanied by a parent and eager to paint.  We focused on primary colors and texture while making Paint Pizzas Printed With Circles.

Preparing for the Lesson:

  • One of the advantages of teaching art at the Art Center is using the gallery as an instruction tool.  It's a good way to expose the children to a wide variety of art styles and media.
  • After finding the primary colors on the color wheel, we went into the gallery to look for red, yellow, and blue in the paintings currently on display.    

Teaching the Lesson:

  • As we finished our gallery walk, everyone was ready to get started making their own art.  Each child and parent shared one piece of white drawing paper, cut into a circle 11 inches in diameter.  It would become their cooperative paint pizza.
  • Everyone drew with a blue crayon, making as many small circles as possible on their big white circle.  It served as an interesting under-layer for the painting.
  • Next came the paint!
           * I demonstrated how to use the open end of a small plastic cup, dipped in paint, to print a layer of red circles on top of the blue circles.  Adults and children alike were soon busy covering their paper.

          * Yellow was our next paint color.  This time we used a lemon, cut in half and dipped in yellow paint, to print a third layer of circles on top.

          * But we weren't done yet!  There was one more layer to go.  I had found some cardboard tubes about 1" in diameter in a closet at the Art Center.  Everyone dipped the tubes into red paint and printed the final layer of circles on their paint pizzas. (Toilet tissue tubes would work great too.)

          * The paint pizzas looked  yummy!

Making a frame:

Art always looks better with a frame.  So, as our pizzas dried, we created one.

  • In order to make our frame, we used crayons (paper removed), construction paper, and plastic textured plates to make rubbings.  Think ... leaf rubbings as a child.  
  • Each parent and child:
          *Placed a textured plate under a piece of 12" x 15" blue construction paper; 

          *Rubbed the side of a crayon across the paper, applying enough pressure for the texture from the plate to appear on the construction paper;

          *Continued moving the plate around until the entire paper was covered with crayoned texture.

Note:  It's easy to make your own textured rubbing plates.  You'll need two pieces of card stock paper.   Cut small shapes from one piece of card stock and glue them onto the other piece to look something like this:

Putting it all together:

  • Our last step was to glue our paint pizzas onto their textured frames.  Wah-lah!  Here's how they looked. 

Concepts explored:

  • Shape: circle
  • Color: red, yellow, blue: the primary colors
  • Texture: rough, bumpy

Until next time, have a colorful day!


December 31, 2016

Little Arty Pants Has Moved

Little Arty Pants Has Moved

 Art Center Sarasota, located at 707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, Fl. 

Little Arty Pants has moved to Sarasota, Florida where I will be teaching art to the big and little art students at Art Center Sarasota.  I hope you enjoy reading about my new adventures.

New Year Dragons

Dragons for New Year!  How can that be? 

That's exactly what my students (ages 7 to 11) said when I told them to think outside the box and come up with their ideas of what a New Year's Dragon would look like.

Preparing the Lesson:

  • Like many artists presented with a challenge, we started with research.  Who knows a lot about dragons?  Where are dragons popular at new year?  China! 
  • I prepared a Keynote presentation (similar to Power Point) about dragons in China to be shown on my iPad. 
  • The students were to get ideas from the presentation to use when creating their own unique dragon. 

Teaching the Lesson:

  • The students used acrylic paint to cover an 18" x 22" piece of mat board in a cool color: blue, green, or purple.

  • As the mat board was drying, we started on the dragon's face, which we created by collaging layers of construction paper using warm colors only: red, yellow, orange.  We wanted the dragon to 'pop' from the background, and the contrast of warm on cool colors helped that happen.  To accentuate the three dimensional effect, we made the faces symmetrical, then glued them on so the folded section raised up from the board. 

  • Next came the dragon's body.  Some bodies were skinny, others were cubby.  We had a mixture of males and females.  The one below is a female.  Look for her eye lashes,  bow, necklace, and magic wand, which the artist says shouts female.

  • After they glued the dragon onto their mat board, the students took a break while I prepared for what everyone had been waiting for: the bling.  I laid out a smorgasbord of glittery sequined shapes, pipe cleaners, beads, shiny papers, puzzle pieces, craft sticks, oil pastels, and tissue paper.  Each student snipped and glued until time ran out and we had to stop.


Concepts explored:

  • color: warm and cool colors
  • balance: symmetrical balance
  • contrast: color and size
  • space: using all the 2-D space on the picture plane/creating 3-D space with the face
  • line: drawing shapes
  • shape: free form shapes
  • pattern: on the body

Happy New Year
Little Arty Pants