Saturday, August 29, 2015

Pacon Plastic Poster Board - part 2

 A couple of days ago I told you about a new product from Pacon that I had the opportunity to test.  I loved the assorted vibrant colors I used for my collage experiments, but the color choice that intrigued me most was the "clear" (which I think can be more accurately described as translucent), so I experimented with a couple more possible project ideas for the Pacon website.

When I was a kid, my parents purchased a pair of paintings on glass at a fair, that the artist had painting while they watached, and they hung on our living room wall for decades.  I wish I knew what happened to them.  The artist had painted the landscapes on the back of the glass, beginning with the foreground details.  These paintings were the inspiration for my ideas for the translucent plastic poster board. 

I decided to use the translucency to create some atmospheric perspective.  One side is very smooth; I will be referring to this side as the front, and the other is slightly textured; this side is the back.  I sketched a quick skyline on paper, put it under the translucent board with the back side facing UP, and began by painting yellows and whites for windows and lights.
 I painted with acrylic, which dried quickly. As soon as it dried, I painted some buildings in black and various grays.  I painted these right OVER the windows, so you could no longer see them on the back.
 On top of the buildings, still on the BACK, I quickly painted the sky, with clouds and some smoke coming from smokesacks on the buildings.  Here's what the back looked like at this point. 
While that was drying, I also painting this sunburst sky on another piece of the poster board.  I cannot seem to get the color balance accurate in any of these color photos, but you'll get the idea.
When I set that aside to draw, I went back to my skyline painting.  I flipped it over, and this is how it looked on the front.  Since the windows were painted FIRST, their detail was all visible. 
Then, I used some more acrylic paint, this time on the FRONT, to paint some foreground in front of the buildings.  I hadn't planned well, so I didn't leave a lot of room for the foreground, but I was able to fit in some foliage.  Here it is.
 As a final step, I used a black Sharpie marker on the FRONT and added a few line details on the buildings here and there.  This is the final product. 
I think the "backwards thinking" required to plan this out would be a fun challenge for upper elementary or mid-level students.  You will be painting FIRST what you usually paint LAST!

Meanwhile... the color burst sky on the back of the other piece of translucent plastic poster board had dried, so I flipped it over and, using a black Sharpie on the front, I created this silhouette of a bare tree.
 Viewed from the backside, this is what it looks like.
 I decided to do one last fun detail.  I flipped back to the front, and, using a white Sharpie paint marker, I added a skim of snow on the top side of the branches and the ground.  I also added a few flakes flying through the sky.  Here's the final product.
I'm still toying with other ideas for the clear board, so maybe, down the road, there will be a "part 3" post about the Pacon Plastic Poster Board.  I'm busy playing with colored Sharpies on the board, using them on both the front and back to experiment with the color mixing possibilities when light passes through when hung in a window.
By the way, for those of you intrigued by this product and want to get some, it is currently only available at Michael's, in both the clear and white, but School Specialty will be picking it up soon, and they will offer all colors I shared in my previous post.  So keep your eyes peeled!  This is a really fun product, with lots of possibility! 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Pacon Plastic Poster Board - part 1

 I have been lucky enough to have an opportunity to test a new product for Pacon to develop some lesson ideas for its use, that will eventually be posted on their website.  The product is Plastic Poster Board, and I've gotta tell you, I kinda LOVE this stuff!  So much possibility!  The poster board is 22"x 28", and I received an assortment that included a selection of black, red, yellow, azure blue, fluorescent green, fluorescent pink, and clear.  The clear is, to me, more translucent than clear.  It also comes in white but my pack didn't include any white.
When I started playing with it, Matisse's cutouts, such as the one below, immediately came to mind.  I also  thought about Calder's mobiles, and the colorful paintings of Stuart Davis.
So I cut it into rectangular chunks, and then, while sitting in the passenger seat of hubby's car on the drive to Maine, I did some "drawing with scissors", saving all the negative and positive shapes from my cutting.  My original idea was to use these cutout shapes to make mini collages to hang in a window perhaps, or to string the shapes together to hang in a Calder-esque window mobile.  But instead, I ended up gluing larger collages, beginning with the first two pieces at the top of the post.
Then, especially smitten with the translucent stuff, I made the collage above and glued it on the translucent board.  This could easily be hung on a window.  Thinking about lesson development and the Elements of Art and Principles of Design when I made these pieces, I set myself some parameters.  I made sure that each piece included at least one positive and one negative shape, and at least one geometric and one amorphous shape.  I tried to create a successful composition using asymmetrical balance.  I used repetition, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, unity/harmony, and so on.  I experimented with backing it using a piece of white tagboard,
 Or a piece of blue.
 Here's a better view of its translucency.
 I decided to play with some Sharpie paint markers  on the piece.  I drew line designs on the BACK side with a white blue, and red paint marker, and on the FRONT with a black marker.  Here is the finished piece, placed over a piece of black.
 I used some more pieces that I'd cut, including some translucent strips, to make this quickie collage on blue, below, and then I used the Sharpie paint markers on the front.
When I held it up to a window and let the light glow through, the blue looked really great.  It occurred to me that it would be fun to make 'fish tanks' to hang in a window, or perhaps portholes.

I made this final piece below using even more of my cutouts.  For this piece, I decorated the front using a black Sharpie paint marker.  Perhaps I went a little too pattern crazy? 
  A few things fun facts about the plastic poster board -
  • It is WONDERFUL to cut.  Your scissors will glide right through it.  Your students will love cutting it!  It will serve as a wonderful alterntive to construction paper for many collage purposes.
  • And of course, unlike paper, it is not going to rip.
  • Plus, the colors are not going to  fade, (at least that's what I think).
  • The colors are limited, but they are rich and bright.  Very appealing!
  • For flat work, Elmer's Glue-All or glue sticks hold quite well.  I was actually surprised; it glues together much more effectively than, for example, colored sheet foam.  (Since it is not porous, you will always be able to pull pieces off glued with Elmer's or glue sticks.)
  • Sharpie paint markers work fabulously on it.  Regular black Sharpies also work well on all colors of the board (except the black, of course), and, on the translucent board, you can use any color Sharpie, including metallics.
  • I discovered that the Playcolor tempera stick samples, including metallics, that were given to me by a vendor at last spring's NAEA convention, also work effectively on the plastic poster board.  
 My next post will be a completely different art project idea that I developed  specifically for the 'clear' translucent Plastic Poster Board.   But in the meantime, one last image.  The pink fish is a positive/negative cutout image, with both pieces glued onto one piece of blue.  The two fishes were colored the same way, using the paint markers yet again.
So many other other collage ideas...  Funky colorful cities, haunted house collages with windows, Picasso-style cubist silly portraits, and so much more.  Can you tell I like this stuff???  What are your ideas?  Funky flowers?  Crazy cars? Cutting shapes to string as charms on necklaces or earrings?  What else? 

Once I have completed writing up the step-by-step lessons, complete with Common Core standards, and they are posted on the Pacon site, I will let you all know the link to find them!  In the meantime, feel free to ask questions and if you get a chance to use this stuff, GO FOR IT!!  You won't be disappointed.