Thursday, February 27, 2014

Warm and Cool Hand Patterns

I’ve seen varying examples of this kind of project all over the internet, so I cannot say exactly where it came from, but here is our version of it! Its one of those “fun projects where we don’t really know we’re learning!”   

We started by talking about warm and cool colors.  Warms and cools are definitely easy concepts for 5th graders to grasp, but its always good to reinforce color families AND warm and cool projects ALWAYS look cool!  We also focus on pattern and try to balance our darker and lighter patterns within each piece.

1.  To begin the project, students trace their hand and forearm three or four times to make an interesting composition.  As always, we talk about balance when choosing how to organize our projects, so they use their space well.  

2.  Then its time to paint with watercolors!   Students get to choose whether the warm colors will be in the foreground or the background.  The cool colors will then, obviously, be the opposite.  Just for fun, I show them what salt* will do to a watercolor painting and let them include that on their background, if they’d like to.  
(*They do their background washes in small sections and then sprinkle a little salt on the section while it is still wet.  After it dries, they brush the extra salt into the sink or garbage and enjoy the neat textures the salt leaves behind in the paint.)

3.  The final step (but the one that definitely takes the longest!) is the pattern detail we add over the top of the hands, using black fine point markers.  
I show the students examples of Zentangles to give them a little inspiration, but ask them to go with patterns they can think of themselves to begin with and then look around the room for other ideas.  We talk about how patterns are ALL around us and so is inspiration! 

While talking about the patterns, I also try to explain how important it is to use a variety of values with the patterns.  If there aren’t enough “dark” patterns, the whole piece is just not as interesting.  Some students struggle with this, as they get so focused on just trying to fill the space they lose track of how light or dark their patterns are, but others understand and make it work for them. 

Overall, this is a great project! The kids love it because it is fun and the results look really neat.  I love it because we have lots of Art words and concepts to talk about and put to use!  

Happy Creating!