Saturday, November 10, 2018

New Project: People in Motion

I love inventing new projects.  My DragonWing Art students (2 girls and one boy) just completed a couple of these first-time projects, one of which I'm sharing with you today!
The theme for our 7-week session was 'Let's Get Moving'.  For the project I'm sharing today, the theme was 'people in motion'.  Each student created their own movable template for a person, cutting out out body parts and assembling them all with brass fasteners so that the limbs could be arranged in various poses.  I thought about showing the students Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase, but not knowing two of the children or their parents very well, I decided against it. The kids did a great job, nevertheless.
Once assembled, the templates were traced repeatedly performing a moving action, such as the bowling image below.  The outlines were traced over with a black Sharpie.

Then, class was postponed for a week because of an unexpected visitor in our classroom. I'm terrified of rodents, and was freaked out to see a squirrel standing on the table next to the drying rack.  Pest control was called, and after a few days the invader was trapped and released hopefully very far away. With my husband's help, the gap at the bottom of the classroom door was covered with metal stripping, and the building was better secured.  Nothing had been destroyed in the room but with the squirrel trapped in there, he'd made a big mess, with stuff knocked over on the floor and squirrel droppings here and there.  The custodian did a first cleanup but was afraid to move the art stuff.  So then I took everything out of the room and did a thorough cleaning, and put  it all back, getting rid of some useless stuff in the process.  Then the custodian did a final cleaning/disinfecting.  Hopefully no more rodents, ever!

Anyhow, once the classroom was ours again, and the templates were traced, the students had a choice of three ways to add color.  One way was to trace inside the outlines of the figures with markers, and then use wet paintbrushes to pull the color into the figures and let the colors blend, as being done by the boy below.
The girls used the same method to color their figures.

 For their backgrounds, the girls used a second process.  They colored with pastel chalks, and then dipped a finger into liquid starch and used the wet finger to blend  the chalk colors.  The starch helps to blend, and also to 'fix' the chalk.
 One of the girls had missed a class and never outlined her figures with Sharpie.  I think it added an ethereal look to her diver in front of a beautiful sunset (or is it a sunrise?).

Instead of using the chalk and starch, the boy chose to paint his background with tempera paints.
I only had three students in the fall session of my class; one 4th grade girl, and one 5th grade girl,,and a 3rd grade boy.  The two younger kids were first-timers in the class, and none of them had ever met each other before.  After a rather quiet first class, they suddenly all became a wonderful unit, treating each other so nicely, laughing and relaxing and complimenting each other on their work.  By the end of the session, the two girls had exchanged phone numbers to arrange play-dates.  I couldn't have had a nicer little group.

One more time, here's the transformation of the piece at the top of this post, from before and after the chalk color had been added. Pretty cool, isn't it?
Look for another one of the new projects (hint: its based on the 'Let's Get Moving' theme, and was created with papier-mache) in a blog post coming soon! 


  1. I love these! I have liquid starch! Now I can’t wait to play with pastels and liquid starch. You always come up with such cool techniques.

    1. Thanks! But I didn’t invent the starch technique. That came from Ginger aka Paintbrush Rocket, who I think modified an idea of mine that used pastel chalks on wet bogus paper, sealed with Mod Podge.

  2. I love this Phyl! Donna Staten

    1. Thank you Donna! Always good to hear from you!