Friday, 20 July 2012

What Oil Painting Materials to Buy for a Beginners’ Art Class

Starting out in oil painting need not mean purchasing lots of art materials. With some guidance, money can be saved on needless pigments or art gadgets. The secret is to purchase only what is essential and also the most mobile. This will come in useful when starting an oil painting course.

Essential Pigments for Starting Out in Oil Painting

Essential Oil Painting
Rachel Shirley
There is a confusing choice of art pigments that can be used for art class, but not all are needed. In fact, many colours are redundant, such as orange, skin tone and grey. Regardless of whether the class focuses upon landscape, portraiture or abstract, a few pigments will cover most needs. Small 37ml tubes (with a larger tube of white, say 100ml) will be easy to carry. The following pigments will come in useful, as these include the primary colours: titanium white, ultramarine, pthalo blue, lemon yellow, cadmium yellow (pale), permanent rose, cadmium red, burnt umber and burnt sienna. Additional pigments can be added at a later stage: viridian, cerulean blue, cobalt blue, carmine red, alizarin crimson, quinacridone violet, vermillion, Indian red, lamp black.

What are the Main Types of Oil Paint?

It is recommended that beginners purchase student quality oil paint as the artist quality is costly. Student quality oils provide high performance in regards to tinting strength and coverage; the main difference is that the artist quality oils comprise traditional sources of pigment as opposed to synthetic. Purchase only tried and tested producers of oil paint such as Winsor & Newton or Daler Rowney. Water based oil paint such as Artisan can be used if the user is sensitive to solvents associated with oils. Water soluble oils can be thinned and cleaned with water instead of solvents.

Beginner’s Guide to Oil Painting Brushes

Sable brushes or a blend of sable and synthetic are ideal for oil painting. Bristles that are springy to the touch would be suitable for detail and blending. Ox hair (or similar stiff brushes from DIY stores) would be suitable for impasto techniques or ladling on large areas of paint. Art brushes come in various sizes and shapes. Several at one’s disposal will enable the mixing of different colours without having to repeatedly wash the brushes in spirits.

Art Brush Sizes for Oil Painting

Brushes come in various sizes that are designated by numbers; the larger the number, the larger the brush. Sizes 00, 3 and 6 should satisfy all needs for fine detail. Sable ‘rounds’ (bristles that taper to a point) will provide a fine line. Filbert or ‘flat’ describe bristles that create wide brushmarks. Sizes 10, 12 or larger would be suitable for applying large areas of paint and for glazing. With this in mind, only a range of 6 brush sizes or so would be needed to create an array of marks.

The Use of Art Mediums in Art Class

As oil paint is oil-based, special solvents are needed for cleaning the brushes and thinning the paint. Some solvents can be smelly, not ideal for work in an enclosed space. For this reason, turps or industrial spirits should not be used. Low odour artist’s spirits such as Sansador are kinder to the brushes as well as the senses. A jar of Sansador could last years if used solvent were left in a jar to settle and then the clear solution siphoned off into another jar to be reused.

Linseed oil can be used to thin the oil paint into an oily wash, which makes the paint runny and provide gloss. Other art mediums can be experimented with, such as alkyd mediums which accelerate the drying time of oil paint and also impasto. For health and safety, place such solvents into small jars with a secure lid.

Compact Art Boards for Students

A variety of art surfaces can be used for oil painting. For compactness, an oil sketching pad can be found in art shops. This works out cheaper than purchasing numerous canvases and also saves on space. Oil sketching pads comprise sized paper with a light, canvas texture. Alternatively, art boards can be purchased in various sizes and textures. Art boards are simply cut card which has been primed for oil painting.

Gessoes and Grounds for Oil Painting

To cut on cost, preparing your own art surfaces can be a satisfying experience. Simply purchase a tin of good quality gesso primer, which is a water-soluble white paint that can be applied straight into wood, card or paper. The primer dries water-resistant but brushes can be cleaned in warm water afterwards. Some artists use oil based primers or prepare their own gessoes with warm glue and gesso powder. However, the use of acrylic primer gesso makes priming art surfaces a lot simpler.

Other Essential Art Materials for Oil Painting

Mixing oil paint on a palette need not mean the purchase of specially-treated wood. An old saucer or Cling Film over a piece of board would be suitable as a mixing palette. In fact, any non porous material would be suitable. Rags will come in handy for wiping the brushes dry. But how can all these items be ferried to class? Some artists like to use a pochade box or similar for storing and transit. I use a tool box, which is the same as an art bin, but much cheaper. A tool box with a handle and tiered drawers that open out would be ideal for the art materials.

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Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Art Lesson for Stage Two Kids: Combining Art and Literacy

Incorporating literacy into art lessons is a good way of getting children to practice writing whilst completing an art project. Providing step by step instructions with accompanying illustrations will also practice logical thought, as can be seen in this art lesson plan.

Drawing Exercise for Stage 2 Kids

Literacy in Art Lessons
H Busby
The teacher may begin with a short quiz in order to prepare the class for the art task ahead. In this case, to put into the correct order various stages of completing a simple task, which might be to bake a cake, to take a dog for a walk, to get ready for school, or even make a cup of tea. Each stage must be put into the correct order.

An example of such a preliminary quiz might be to place into the correct order how to bake a cake such as the following:

  1. Take the cake out of the baking tray to cool.
  2. Mix the eggs, butter, sugar and flour.
  3. Sieve the flour.
  4. Measure the ingredients.
  5. Place into a preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Lesson Plan for Writing and Drawing

Once the children have successfully completed the quiz, they may think about the task they wish to describe within their art project. They may select any simple task they wish, but to provide simple line drawings along with the written instructions. The following may be used for assessment.

  • Describe the materials needed. Are there any preparatory requirements?
  • Evidence of logical thinking. What comes first? Should the first step come first? Does the next step naturally follow? Does the sequence of stages make logical sense?
  • Could an extra step be inserted to make the demonstration clearer?
  • Are the illustrations sufficiently clear? Great drawing ability is not the aim here, but drawings that can easily be made out. For example, drawings should not be too small or unrecognizable.
Writing Projects in Art Lessons

The accompanying text must possess correctly-used full stops and capital letters. There should be no more than 2 spelling mistakes in the instructions and the writing must be sufficiently clear. Children are encouraged not to make the written instructions too pithy or wordy; 2 – 3 sentences per illustration might be ideal. The placing of each element on the sheet of paper (A3 or A4) will also need to be taken into consideration. Between 6 to 10 illustrations might also be realistic within the time frame.

Art Lesson for Stage Two Kids to Develop Cognitive Thinking

Devising a step by step demonstration comprising written instructions and accompanying illustrations will help kids think logically. What comes first? Which step logically follows? Are the instructions unclear due to a missing step? What comes last? Drawing ability is not the aim here, but simple line drawings that are easy to make out. Accompanying text must relate to each illustration and make logical sense. The writing must be legible as well as the drawings (i.e., not too small or unrecognizable). Writing and illustration instructions not only practices literacy in art but also logical thought.

Satisfying Literacy Initiative in Art for Kids

The illustration above shows step by step instructions on how to draw various animals, in this case, a cat and a dog. Children may use reference books for visual resources, but the step by step instructions must be the children’s’ original work. The demonstration package must also be easy to follow. Such an art lesson will help develop cognitive thinking for kids.

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Monday, 16 July 2012

Simple Drawing Exercise for Kids in Key Stage One Classes

A beginner’s version of taking a line for a walk can be used for children in preschool or those with poor hand to eye coordination. This drawing exercise is very simple and can yield satisfactory creative results regardless of ability. There are no pressures to make the drawing look like something or to practice exacting drawing techniques. The only lesson objective is to cover the paper with marks and/or colour.

Ideal First Drawing Lesson for Kids

Taking a Line for a Walk for Kids
This basic drawing exercise for kids can be used as a first art lesson at school and even for preschool kids. Little artistic direction is needed and many different effects can be produced without too much effort by the use of several colouring pencils and a sheet of paper. An ideal stepping stone into painting a first abstract, this art lesson would suit children of any ability, including those with poor coordination as there is room to explore different shading techniques and the use of line.

Art Lesson for Kindergarten Children

The art teacher may firstly instruct children to place their pencils onto the sheet of paper and then simply move the pencil around in a random fashion. Children may look away as they move their pencils over the page or to move the paper around beneath their pencils. The only rule is not to lift the pencil from the paper during this mark-making process until the line is complete. It doesn’t matter if the line is uneven, jagged or scribbled; just keep the pencil moving over the paper in one continuous line until a line of some kind inhabits a fair portion of the page.

Colouring in Technique for Kids

Once children are happy with their random marks, it is time to colour in enclosed spaces. An enclosed space can be found on any part of the page where the line happens to create a ‘shape’ (see illustration). Children may choose any colour in order to shade in chosen shape. They may:

  • Colour in the shape in one flat colour.
  • Colour in the shape with two colours, one blending into the other.
  • Colour in the shape with different marks, which might be cross-hatched, swirly or smooth.
  • Colour in the shape via a blend of colours.
  • Colour in the shape with any medium, be it felt-tip, crayon, pencil or pen.

It doesn’t matter if the shading is neat or scribbly, so long as each child expresses a colour and/or line over the entire page.

Simple Art Lesson for Stage One Kids

As there are no pressures to get the lines right, children will begin to enjoy exploring mark-making for its own sake. Various shading techniques can be explored and colour behaviour can be experimented with. The teacher may encourage children to:

Select a contrasting colour to shade in a neighbouring shape. Red and green, for instance will appear brighter when placed side by side.

Select a harmonizing colour to shade in a neighbouring shape.  Blue and green for instance will appear more low-key.

Select a contrasting tone to shade a neighbouring shape. Pale blue next to deep red will create a visually interesting partnership.

Place side by side colours of differing mediums, which might be pencil and felt-tip.

Art Lesson Plan Idea for the Start of Term

Kids of any artistic ability as well as those will poor coordination and low confidence will be able to take part in this art lesson, which involves taking a line for a walk. This means creating a long, random line over a fair portion of the page. It does not matter what the line looks like, so long as it inhabits a fair portion of the page in equal measure. Enclosed spaces can then be coloured in by the means of any drawing medium, colour or mark. Interesting effects can be discovered by colour exploration. The only art objective is to cover the entire page with line and/or colour. Interesting patterns and designs will often emerge.

Other Art Lesson Ideas for Kids

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Art Lesson Idea for Stage 2 Children: How to Age Paper

Children may create their own aged artifacts after poring over history books showing old maps, illustrations or scripts. Creating aged effects not only spurs experimentation but also encourage children to discover more about our past. In this lesson, children are to create aged effects to paper after completing an illustration.

Art Lesson on Aging Paper

How to Make Paper Look Old
H and J Busby
There are several ways of aging paper, each method suggesting various stages of age. Steeping paper in coffee granules will give the paper a dark tone. A steeped teabag will give the paper a warm, burnished colour. For a paler brown colour, orange juice can be introduced into the tea. The beverage needs to steep in hot water for a few minutes and allowed to cool before paper can be immersed. Children may experiment with various effects of aged paper by trying out the different solutions and steeping the paper for various amounts of time.

Recreating Old Artifacts in Schools

A vessel sufficiently wide and flat to accommodate paper is required, as well as a heatproof container in which to strew the beverage. For the illustrations, good quality colour pencils or pens can be used. Do not use watercolour pencils as the pigments will bleed out whilst the paper is in soak. Also avoid using wax pencils as they will repel the water. Children may draw old maps, vessels or scripts inspired by reference books. Bright colours and definite marks are encouraged as the illustrations will fade a little whilst the paper is being aged.

Art Resources for Lesson Plan for Kids

In order to make paper look old, the following items are required for the lesson:

Coffee granules, tea bags and orange juice for various aged effects.
A wide container such as a mixing bowl or baking tray.
A kettle.
Sheets of A4 paper.
Colour pencils and pens.
Reference material such as history books or old maps.
A drying rack.
The use of an oven is optional

How to Make Paper Look Old

Once the children have finished their illustrations, maps or whatever, the paper can be soaked in presteeped beverage. The longer the paper is immersed, the darker the paper will appear. Children may suggest parchment effects by carefully tearing the edges of the paper or puncturing holes via fingernails or nibs. The paper may be scrunched up in a tight ball and placed within the (cooled) beverage solution or rolled up in a scroll. Steeping may last up to 5 minutes or so.

Once the paper has been thoroughly soaked, the paper can be carefully opened out a little, pegged out or placed on a non-absorbent surface to dry. For an extra crisp effect, place the paper in a medium preheated oven for 5 minutes or so, keeping an eye on the paper for when the edges begin to curl. Of course adult, supervision will be required here. Once the paper has been through the aging process, children may touch up their creations by adding further imperfections such as foxing or blemishes by painting on a concentrated beverage solution onto selected areas of the paper.

Parchment Effects

Children may create parchment effects by artificially aging their creations. Coffee will bring a dark tinge to the paper; tea, a warmer, brownish hue. Various stages of steeping will create different tones to the paper. Creasing the paper will encourage further staining in various areas of the paper and less in others. Strategic tearing off of edges will suggest wear and tear, as will puncturing holes or painting blemishes. Children may experiment with these techniques before trying it out on their illustrations.

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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Art Lesson Plan for Stage 2 Children: Map of the World Relief Art

Combining art with geography engages more learning channels than the two subjects separately. This art lesson plan involves studying maps and expressing what has been learned in an art form with 3D elements, ideal for kids in secondary schools.

Creating Maps with Art Materials

Map of the World Joseph Busby
Combining creative art activities with an academic subject matter, in this case, geography will help children absorb information more easily. In this art lesson, the shape of continents, countries and oceans are the focus of the lesson. Children will then recognize the shape of the world map instinctively, as each shape becomes meaningful. Emulating an old map such as that seen by Sir Francis Drake (see illustration) can be used as an example.

Art Materials for Kids’ Activities

A simplified map may be prepared. Intricate maps or one with small print or faded illustrations should be avoided. The map may be photocopied and overlaid with marker pen. Children may trace the outlines of the map themselves before selecting the art materials required. An aged map can be suggested by staining the paper with tea or simply overlying the paper with diluted brown paint; a colourful map can be produced with bold colours or patterns. Good quality kids’ paints should be used, which means avoiding cheap tablet paints that yield little colour. Whatever the effect the contours of the world map must be easily decipherable within the design.

3D Art Lesson for Schools

Children may embellish the map of the world in whatever style they choose, including the use of glue, string, paper Mache, ribbon or tissue paper. In this illustration, we see the contours of the world have been fringed with dark brown tissue paper in keeping with an aged effect. Care has been taken the 3D element follows the contours of the continents faithfully.

Map Making for Kids

As hands-on activities are being incorporated whilst learning about the map of the world, different learning channels are being fulfilled via the exploration of textures simultaneous to learning about the chief countries. This is likely to stimulate children’s interest in geography in a way that merely listening the teacher or studying maps may not satisfy.

Countries in Art

At some point, children must write on their artwork the chief countries, continents and the oceans of the world. This will help consolidate what has been learned so far. The teacher may decide but in this example, the following suggestions might help.

The oceans: Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Continents: Africa, Europe, Asia, Australasia, North America and South America.
Countries: US, China, Russia, Australia, Argentina, Canada, UK and others.
Chief Features: River Nile, the Amazon, Mount Everest, Kilimanjaro, Antarctica the equator and the poles.

Art Lesson Idea for Creating Maps

Creating a map of the world with 3D elements will help children learn about places and their locations on the globe. The map of the world will also be instinctively recognized. With various art materials at the children’s’ disposal, several learning channels are being stimulated, via the use of textures, colours and contours, which include visual and kinesthetic.

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