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Saturday, May 21, 2011

3rd Grade Flowers in Vases

    3rd Graders took some very creative approaches to this project of drawing flowers in a vase.  I love doing a project like this one with my students because they have so many options and choices with the subject matter and the colors they use.  Oil pastels make these especially bright and colorful on colored construction paper.  I like the depth that starting out with a colored paper brings the art work.  The students have their choice of paper color, then we look at pictures of real flowers and discuss the different lines and shapes that make each flower look the way it does.  I demonstrate how to draw the vase on the paper by explaining that the vases take up almost all of the lower half of the paper, while the flowers take up the whole upper half...filling the space on the paper is very important.  I show them how they can begin with a line that will be top of their vase and line that will be the bottom.  They can draw any kind of line on the side of the vase, then make one that is reflective of that on the other side.  This can be the most difficult part for some students.  I tell them to be as creative as they would like with their vases!  We draw a horizon line that will indicate our table.  Then I demonstrate how to draw some of the different blooms on the flowers.  I tell them to use a variety of different blooms, in different shapes and sizes.  I explain that variety is one of the principles of design and it adds interest to their art work.  I tell the students to save their stems for last, and I show them how to draw a line from their bloom to the top of the vase, stopping and starting around other blooms to make them overlap.
    After they have completed their pencil drawing, it is time to color in their work with oil pastels.  I demonstrate how they can rub the oil pastels on their sides for coloring in large areas, and how to use the tip for smaller, detailed areas.  I show them how to blend colors together and how to add dimension to their flowers and vases.  The students really enjoy using the oil pastels, even though they can be so messy.  I always tell them to not rest their hands on their work, or wipe over their work with their hands, because the pastels will smear easily and make prints on their paper where they don't want them.  They can use paper towels to rest their hands on while coloring if they like.  Each picture is so uniquely the students' own vision and creative interpretation.  Choices are so important when teaching students art.  The more the better!  This builds confidence, self-esteem, and pride in one's own work.  It is wonderful, too, when students can compliment one another on how they did something different and what a good choice they made.  How affirming is that?!  When our peers can lift us up for making a unique choice and not going along with the crowd?  These are the real lessons we are learning in art.

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