Saturday, April 29, 2017

watercolor landscape triptychs

During the Landscape and Still Life spring break camp, campers had the opportunity to try their hand at creating watercolor landscapes. For fun I had each of them create a triptych of one landscape scene, just changing the composition of the landscape in each panel.

Watercolor is always a bit challenging as the kids tend to want to try to use the same techniques they do with acrylic paint. But by the end of the project, each camper got the hang of it.

Deep Cove at sunset, 11 year old

This artist had been living in Deep Cove while their house was being renovated. The landscape she chose is right in town of mountains, water and trees basked in the warm glow of sunset. I think her results are gorgeous.

waterfall, 8 year old

This artist focused on a waterfall landscape. He created a lovely composition of three different viewpoints of the landscape.

Vancouver coast, 11 year old

And it is easy to see how the progression in this triptych as the artist became more comfortable with the watercolor. When she was finished, she tried another quick landscape really allowing the watercolor to do all the work for her.

11 year old

I'm not sure all the campers became huge fans of watercolor at the end of the project, but I'm certainly a fan of the works they created.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

paper castings

In the Sculpture and Paper spring break camp, I wanted to introduce a paper casting project. Not only would the children have the opportunity to create their own paper, but then also turn the paper into a sculpture.

I did several experiments before the start of camp to find the best way to present this project to children. I finally decided to create their molds from modeling clay.

So to begin with each camper was given an orange size ball of modeling clay. The each started with a circular form that was about an inch deep. I explained that the parts of their sculpture they wanted to stick out in the end, needed to be pushed in the deepest into clay. It did not take very long for all of them to catch on to this idea and the most difficult part became exactly what to create for their subject.

When they finished making a mold with the modeling clay, I gave them some watercolors to paint the inside of the mold. This color would ultimately absorb into the paper they would make afterwards.

Once that was done, we made our own paper!

The campers had a great time ripping an old newspaper and some copy paper up into inch size pieces. With a measuring cup, they counted out the cups needed of ripped up paper to add to some warm water to start our sludge. We then put the entire mixture into a blender and pulverized it. When finished, we added the mixture to more warm water in a container and mixed it all up to create our sludge.

Then each child had a turn with the paper frame, dipped it into the sludge, gently brought it up and let the excess water drip off, then flipped it onto a piece of felt and used another towel to absorb more water through the backside of the frame, finally lifting the frame off and revealing their own handmade paper.

From there they each took their newly made paper and flipped it on top of the modeling clay mold they had made and with a paintbrush, dabbed the paper into all the nooks and crannies. 

Then we let it dry overnight and removed the modeling clay to reveal their paper casting sculpture.

Now how to mount it?  Well I wanted to do some kind of printmaking but found I had so many different projects planned there wasn't really going to be time to do a day of camp focused on printmaking. So I had each child create a background for their sculpture using a piece of styrofoam.

They began by drawing their design on sketch paper, taping it over the styrofoam and then tracing the drawing to indent the lines in the foam. Once finished, they took off the sketch paper and retraced their lines just to make sure they were deep enough to register when printed.

Then instead of printing on paper, they printed on a wood plaque that afterwards I mounted their paper sculpture on top.

8 year old

This artist created a seaweed print to go with her paper casting of a starfish and shells.  

Here is a close up of the paper.

The paper was quite beautiful and hardened up more like cardboard.

10 year old

Love the trees and flowers.

6 year old

And this young artist is fascinated by hawks so created a bust of one for his paper casting. The background is full of clouds and he chose the color green to mimic the forest. What a lot of thought from a child so young!

8 year old

This is a bear from a video game, hence the party hats behind it which are also a part of the game.

The molds were in great shape when finished and I happened to have some plaster in the studio. I asked the kids if they would like to mix some up and pour it into the molds so they had a plaster casting too. By the time they had finished the printmaking part of the project, the plaster was dry enough to remove the clay.

Since it was damp, they had a chance to add some watercolor to the castings.

Here they are when first finished.

But what was most interesting was how the paint changed as the plaster dried throughout the week. Here are the same castings mounted on board at the end of the week.

Isn't that amazing? Well I find it fascinating at least.....

The campers had a great time with this project and seemed to enjoy all the different parts to creating the end product. I am looking forward to introducing paper castings again in a camp this summer.