Monday, October 3, 2011

Large Painting With Words

After making a couple of large paintings with words on canvases, I became inspired to do something similar with my students. One of my paintings hangs in my living room, the other is in my classroom. Above, you can see that I added melted crayons to the looks so cool in my classroom!

The week before we painted, I encouraged students to grab a packet of songs I had made with lyrics copied from the internet and read over the choices so that they could select something that would be meaningful to them. I had a wide range of choices, poems like e.e. cummings, i carry your heart, to You're A Grand Old Flag and Amazing Grace. I chose children's songs and poems that I liked....I asked the music teacher if she had any lyric sheets, so that I could use songs they sing in music, but she didn't have anything like that.

So I ended up putting a few easy songs like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star so that they would have some variety. Ideally, this would be a fun project to collaborate with a music teacher or even a classroom teacher...many of my students wanted to write their own poems, but since this was just a one-week project, they didn't really have time to do that.

For my demo, I kept adding to one painting, and showed how to splatter paint
This project could be done in one week, I just wanted them to have a sneak peek at the list.

On painting day, did a demo of how to paint lettering. Since they weren't tracing over something that was already written out, this was really, really good practice for precision painting. I encouraged them to go slow, pay attention to the words and the spelling, and make sure they consider what they will do if they get to the end of the paper, but not the end of the word. I also pointed out that if they mess up, do not put an 'X' over the mistake or try to 'black' it out. Just keep going....the main idea is to have a bunch of words painted on a big paper.

I gave them all the list again and had them make their final choice. Once they had selected, they grabbed a 16X20 piece of paper, I did it on craft brown, but anything would work. It was important that they wrote their names on the back, and then I let them start painting.

This project worked really well with 3rd, and 4th graders. If the table was too crowded, I let some of them sit on the floor.  I tried the project with a class of 2nd grade, and since it was the beginning of the year, it was really hard for them to get the sizing of the letters right...they either did them too big or too little, or tried to black out their mistakes.

As a variation, I did allow one class to add melted wax to a smaller version of the painting, on white watercolor paper. I had a bunch of peeled crayons, I threw them in my wax melter, for encaustic painting, and let my students use the eye dropper and sticks to splatter the paintings with wax.

It didn't work out very well....the wax crumbles off the finished product easily...and the colors got all muddy after they got mixed by 20+ kiddos in one hour.

For the large paintings, I matted a few and hung them up at a local shop in town for the September art walk. It was exciting for my students, the paintings were very meaningful right after September 11th, and it was a great opportunity to show off such a large format.

It was super cool to see my students at the art walk with their families!! Some had never even been to a Third Thursday event.