Saturday, February 5, 2011

Everthing's Fine when you've got Jim Dine!

Quickie projects with Jim Dine's hearts as the theme! The paper was 9"x 12" ugly gray bogus paper (if you are not familiar, it's a thick blotter-like paper). I'll explain later in this post why the photo on the right (above) has a sheen.

The simple rules, after viewing a variety of Dine's hearts:
  1. The artwork must include a heart.
  2. The artwork must cover the whole paper, or as much as you can cover during the one art class period available.
  3. It should not look like a scribble-mess.

Beyond that, it was up to the kids what to do.

Third graders and fourth graders (except for the few who were still finishing wampum belts -ugh) used oil pastels. Here's a sampling!

Second graders used chalk pastels, on WET bogus paper. It's so much fun! I soaked the paper in the sink, and gave them each a dripping sheet which they promptly slapped down on the table surface. NO NEWSPAPER. You want the paper to stay wet! Their names wet on the backs, the paper was flipped, and they dove in. The pastels become marvelously paint-like, and colors blend richly. The whole pape had to be covered. You can spray the artwork w/water as the kids work if the paper dries too quickly. When done, everyone loves scrubbing their backwards names off the tables (these appear when the papers are flipped).

In the subsequent art class, they painted ModPodge over the surface of the artwork, on one color at a time, rinsing the brush between colors. I had them lay the ModPodge on thickly without rubbing - kind of like frosting cupcakes! The ModPodge dries clear and shiny, seals the artwork, and brings up the luster and vibrancy of the colors. (Hence the sheen on the 2nd heart in this post.) I do this method every year, but with a different theme - Kandinsky or was a great motivator for these, as well as any loose, abstract theme. Next year I'm thinking maybe Chagall? Or Klee? Below are some of these 2nd grade hearts displayed along with some more 3rd grade self portraits.


  1. WOW I love all the colors! what a fun display! :)

  2. I have never heard of bogus paper. I will have to find some.

  3. I love the wet pastel thing! You are so energetic and brave. Modge podge is the best product but it is so smelly! I wish they would make non smelly modge podge for pregnant people. Bogus paper sounds cool just not sure what it is???

  4. Bogus paper isn't hard to find - it's in catalogs like School Specialty/Sax and Nasco with the drawing papers. It's a relatively inexpensive paper - if you are going to soak it, I'd go for the heavier weight. I always soak some extra pieces in case one tears, but generally it is pretty tough.

    Erica, honestly this is not a hard project - no bravery required! Some years we discuss the meaning of "abstract" and put on fun music and just go with the flow. A little spray cleaner on the tables and it all comes off!

    As for the ModPodge, yeah it does smell. But I'm sure some other acrylic gloss polymer or acrylic varnish would work just as well. Anyhow, you won't be pregnant much longer!!

  5. Great lesson, Phyl! We are doing some fine Jim Dine valentines right now too. Ours have 4 hearts per page and have been painted. I like your idea about using the wet paper with the chalk. Have you ever heard about dipping the chalk into liquid starch?

  6. I'd like to try wetting the whole paper. I have had kids dip their chalk into liquid paint before applying to paper. And actually, that brings to mind a project I used to do in the winter where they dip their chalk into white paint before drawing landscapes to make everything look snowy. This is all sounding very messy and very fun!

  7. Lovely, lovely and you even displayed them so beautifully!!