I had six 5-8 year olds. Perfection. Art Camp was held upstairs, which is basically one big game room (or if you are the previous owners, a large and completely dark poker room). I set up a long table with old plastic tablecloths covering the carpet (thankfully, since there were several paint spills). I had been having issues with loving the new house the week before (our a/c wasn't working and several other first world problems), so utilizing that room and realizing how awesome it was made me start appreciating the house more. I had our regular babysitter, AnaKaren, come and help out as my assistant. She was fabulous and I'm not sure I could have done it without her.
On the first day as the kids came in, I had two stations set up. One for decorating their art bins (filled with supplies for the week and labeled with their names) and the other for customizing their art smocks (white xl men t-shirts). The kids were divided into two groups and switched stations after five minutes. Some of the kids were very predictable in the way they personalized their shirts (Jakson drew Minecraft---shocker), but Storey decided to go avante garde with hers and drew a large, angry bull. Sometimes I wonder....
Before getting started, I explained everything that was included in their art bins and all of the rules that we needed to follow to have a successful week. The main rule: don't do anything to harm another artist or their art.
Every day we started with a drawing prompt, shared our work, I introduced an artist and an aspect of their artwork that we would be studying, practiced it a bit, and used that as the inspiration for our "masterpiece." I was pretty amazed at how much the kids retained about the artists and the different types of art.
The whole week was so fun and ended with an art gallery Friday evening to show off all the masterpieces. It has been such a crazy couple of months that taking the time to do something like this restored a little sanity for me. And kept the kids away from the TV!
Showing off the gallery invitations they made. Their masterpieces from Day One are strung on the wall behind them (in preparation for the Art Gallery that evening).
From the evening Art Gallery....
More details in case you are interested:
Monday Lesson Plan (can you tell that I used to teach school??? This may be a dead giveaway :)):
- Design shirts and decorate art bins
- Cover rules of Art Camp and go over supplies
- Introduce artist of the day: Kandinsky-father of abstract art. Go through library books about artist discuss what they notice about his pieces (colorful and abstract). Also go over the definition of abstract. Explain that Kandinsky used a lot of color because he "heard" color and painted what he heard. Listen to a couple of clips of songs and talk about what colors we hear in them.
- Acquaint kids with Kandinsky's "Concentric Circles" and mediums for the day (watercolor and oil pastels)
- Practice drawing concentric circles in sketchbooks
- Snack time
- Teach kids how to use oil pastels and practice on "practice" water color paper (8.5x11)
- For the masterpiece: Using large watercolor paper with a grid of 6 squares already drawn on it. For each square, kids listen to a different piece of music and draw concentric circles with colors they hear using oil pastels. After drawing circles (using at least three different colors), listen to the same songs again and choose one color watercolor to paint over the top, filling each square.
- Examples of songs-I didn't download anything special for this, just chose a variety of genres and tempos from CDs and songs on my computer: Popular from Wicked, Cotton Eyed Joe (I happened to have a CD with this, don't judge), a church hymn, an Imagine Dragons song, No More Monkey's Jumping On The Bed (from a kid song CD), and a dance song by Baha Men.
- Get sketchbooks as they come in. Prompt: Listen to the classical music playing and sketch a picture of how it looks. Some kids drew abstract drawings, others drew flowers and such. Jakson drew a still life of his marble toy that he was laying next to.... You can't win 'em all.
- Finish listening and painting from the day before (not in the original plan, but this took longer than I had predicted to finish)
- Introduce artist of the day-Paul Klee. Look through library books of his artwork (I put sticky notes on the pages beforehand--some of his art is not appropriate for children). Discuss his phrase "take a line for a walk."
- Talk about different kinds of lines we use in art. Hand out copies of this flier showing different types of lines.
- Using the practice watercolor paper and a pencil, have each child trace their hand (and part of their arm). Copy over it with sharpie. Divide the hand into five sections. Instruct the kids to fill each section with patterns of one type of line. Choose a different type of line for each section.
- Show Paul Klee's Senecio. Talk about his use of lines and minimal details.
- Pass out mirrors and masterpiece paper. Explain self-portraits. Have the kids draw self portraits step by step. Draw a large oval for head, place hand at top of head and draw almond eyes underneath hand, etc. Encourage kids to stay away from drawing lots of details, just lines. Trace over pencil drawing with sharpie marker.
- At this point, we were supposed to finish these pieces with tissue paper but were running out of time. I needed them to paint the background for Friday's masterpiece so that the paint would dry in time for them to work on the rest of it. I instructed them to choose one watercolor that represented the sky and paint an entire masterpiece paper with that color.
- Lay papers out to dry and pickup
- Get sketchbooks as they come in and their "types of lines" handout. Review the types of lines by drawing pictures with those types of lines or completely filling pages with patterns of them.
- Finish masterpiece from Wednesday. Originally I wanted to use tissue paper cut into squares that would bleed the color onto the self portraits, but I went to several stores and couldn't find any. Finally, I settled for regular tissue paper cut into squares and painted over the self portrait with a mixture of glue and water. Still looked cool, but the self portraits were a little harder to see underneath than I would have liked.
- Discuss artist of the day: Romare Bearden. Again, I had to be careful about the artwork that I showed the kids, but we talked about collage and using different types of materials to create layers and dimension in a piece of art. We were also going to make small monochromatic collages with a bunch of materials I had collected, but didn't have time.
- Masterpiece inspiration of the day: House in Cotton Field. Have the kids create a collage of their home, their dream home, or their bedroom (a last minute addition because a couple of the girls wanted to make their bedroom). Use magazines, newspaper, and construction paper for collages.
- This was the least successful piece of art in my opinion. I wish we would have had more time to discuss collage and monochromatic colors. The kids still enjoyed making their collages (most of them had no idea what a collage was to begin with).
- Write and paint invitations for the gallery.
- Pick up
- My incredible friend Annie Reynolds has an awesome awesome post about art camp that she put on one day/week throughout the summer for her nieces and nephews. My artist study of Kandinsky was based on her lesson as well as the gallery idea.
- The blog, Classic Play, has a whole series called "Art School" that is fabulous.
- Teach Kids Art is another great resource with detailed lessons and ideas for teaching kids about artists.