Thursday, February 16, 2012
Abstract fun with chalk pastels
This project is an annual favorite with my 2nd graders. We discuss abstraction, and the unusual way we will use materials. Where's the paper? Oh, it's soaking in the sink. Yup, ugly gray 'bogus' paper, soaking wet, is our paper for this. We take it to the table, write names on the back in black, and flip it over right onto the table. DO NOT put newspaper underneath - it will absorb the water and make the paper dry too fast. We will be coloring with chalk pastels, which turn paint-like on the wet paper.
Anyhow, the rules are simple. Since the paper is ugly-colored, so it must be totally covered. No scribbling. No recognizable objects (houses, trees, faces, animals, flowers, etc.) Colors can be blended. Black is used last.
We used music for inspiration: Gustav Holst's The Planets - mostly Jupiter, a little Venus and Neptune, and a wee taste of Mars. In the subsequent art class, we coated with Mod Podge for a lovely sheen and to bring back the rich colors of the wet pastels. We painted over the black first to seal it, and then the other colors, carefully laying on the Mod Podge without rubbing. Aren't they cool?
The girl who did the piece below told me: "I liked it until we listened to Mars (the bringer of war). Mars messed me up; I used too much black, and it made my picture look too angry."
I posted about this process here last year, but then we used Jim Dine and hearts for our inspiration. Here's the whole bulletin board full of these fun abstractions that I hung up today.
A word about cleanup: use old sponges. I spray the tables with cleaners and the kids go gung-ho washing them down, but I did end up throwing away sponges at the end of the morning, because they were so BLACK with chalk dust. I suppose for those of you who have tray to work on, they could be taken to the sink and rinsed, but I'm a big fan of making messes and cleaning them up. I mean, it's an art room. I'm not afraid to get the tables dirty, and the kids LOVE to sponge. No spray cleaner? A can of shaving cream could be a great alternative. Spread it around, and sponge it up! Your tables will be clean and your room will smell good too.