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Students Play With Tints and Shades at Magnolia Park

Coleman Elementary School third graders practiced tints and shades using a cityscape inspired by the streets of San Francisco. With Mentor Artist Julia James, students began with a quick pencil drawing of seven different buildings with a foreground, middle ground and background.”We used blue or red tempera. Adding white made tints; adding black made shades. It was challenging to mix colors without using any water. If we mixed too vigorously, the paint was soaked up by the paper plate! In exploring shades and tints, we learned that the background is usually lighter than the foreground. Last week, we practiced painting with a round brush. For this project we used flat brushes and discovered they make different lines. It was great to have flat brushes for working in tight corners and around sharp edges. For the final step, we added windows and doors.”

Thank you to The Kennedy Center, Marin Community Foundation, and Marin County Office of Education for making these programs possible.

Third graders Persevere to create Hero Sculptures at Laurel Dell

In the Youth in Arts visual arts model program at Laurel Dell, third graders devoted an entire month to studying the human form. We have created our own Super Heroes sculptures. We brainstormed together and individually: What is a problem you see in the world? How could you solve it with a super power? What would you like to have as a super power?  This connects directly with one of the key third grade life science standards: how the environment, traits, and behavior impact plants and animals and an understanding of the human form.

We started with Blind Contour Drawing. Keen observation helps to build a strong scientific and artistic eye. We are teaching our hand to do what our Eye tells us, instead of what we remember or think. We thought about how we would show our super power with our bodies as we posed for each other for Observational Gesture drawing. Not only did the model use their entire body to show a pose, but the artists used their entire arms to draw on very large pieces of paper. Students were asked to show the Gesture of the model and fill the page with only 30 seconds to draw! We were sprawled across the floor for this warm-up.

Our next job was to build hero sculptures out of wire, foil, tape, rice paper, and medium. Students persevered in this 3-week undertaking!

Along the way we documented our work with observational drawings.

Along the way we documented our work with observational drawings.


Wrapping wire and then applying foil took a lot of patience.

As a next step classroom teachers could build upon English Language standards by writing descriptive stories about their Super Hero.

Thank you to the California Arts Council and the Laurel Dell PTA for their generous support of this project.CAClogo_stackedRGB