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Projects Submitted - 2022-23

Below are short descriptions of the projects submitted, along with sample pictures, and related links.  

If you are voting on projects, please get the general idea of the projects before going to the Feedback (aka voting) form!  Think about which projects will be successful with our multiple grades (with modifications as needed).  Consider whether it has an engaging background, art technique lesson, ability to be creative or allow exploration, a unique experience, doable with our time and resources, and/or something the students will enjoy and see as a success.   Thank you!

Project Feedback Form 22-23

American Campfire

Key Lessons: Albert Bierstadt, tempera paint techniques, multiple light sources

Enjoy a night by the campfire!  Bierstadt was a hired painter that traveled the country before cameras to document the vast country as it was surveyed. He often painted campfire scenes, aside from his landscapes. First sketch on dark blue paper.  Then paint with tempera, 2 brushes and several application techniques.  Learn basic painting techniques using multiple light sources.

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Blackout Poetry

Key Lessons:  Blackout poetry, Austin Kleon

If you struggle to find the right words, why not start with somebody else’s?   That is the philosophy behind blackout poetry that has become more popular in the last decade.  Students choose words from the printed page of a vintage book to create an original poem.  Extraneous words are then redacted. This blackout process is deliberate and creates visual imagery that relates to or adds to the theme of the poem.  For younger students, project can be modified to use simpler book pages with images can be used.

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City Perspective

Key Lessons:  one point perspective, layering colors

Create a unique city-scape in a forced perspective.  Use a compass or template to  make a circle.  Using a ruler start on the outside edge of the circle and draw (with pencil) to the center creating various buildings (skyscrapers), using reference and or making them up (preferred). Use a sharpie to trace pencil lines then use crayons or markers to color in. Cut out the circle and you are done.  Enjoy the view up! 

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Colors of Snow

Key Lessons: seeing color in what we normally think of as white, watercolor techniques, Claude Monet

View pictures of snow scenes, birch trees, and watercolor works of famous artists such as Claude Monet and many other contemporary artists.  The goal is to let the artist discover colors where there was none, get creative with the use of these colors and use salt to miraculously and dramatically change the impact on the art.  Learn different watercolor techniques (wet on wet, wet on dry, dry on dry).  Also learn the use of Maskoid, which works as a resist for the birch trees. One will never look at snow the same way again.

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Dream Catcher

Key Lessons: Dream Catchers, concentric circles, patterns, contrast for interest and focal points, wet-on-wet watercolor technique, analogous color 

Learn about the the origins of and meaning behind the Native American Indian Dream Catcher.  Then create a hand drawn line ink Dream Catcher using a drawing compass (or circle shapes) with a focus on lines, shapes and repeating patterns and use of black and white to create contrast. Painted with analogous watercolors using the wet-on-wet technique.

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Gorey’s Guest

Key Lessons: Edward Gorey, pen & ink techniques, hatching, shading, expressions

Students learn about Edward Gorey and using their imaginations and some drawing guidance, create a piece in the spirit of his work. Our launch pad will be his book “The Doubtful Guest” in which a strange creature shows up at someone’s door, then barges in, makes a bit of a nuisance of himself and stays for 17 years!  Given tips including facial expressions, cross-hatching and shading, they can make up their own “guest”, complete with a suitcase, and then create some nonsense prose to go with it.  They can use alcohol brush markers to add some additional shading and to add accent colors to the project. Enjoy all the guests!

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Gorilla Project

Key Lessons: Portraiture, animal conservation

Drawing people can be intimidating for students, by drawing one of our closest relatives it becomes less daunting.  You still must get a sense of proportion and seek out the spatial relationships.  We will also concentrate on shadow, highlights, grey towns and fur direction.  The portrait will be drawn with a regular and a black colored pencil.  (Lesson plan has an option for possibly adding diluted tempera paint.)  In addition to portraiture, students can learn about animal conservation.

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Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Key Lessons: Hanging Gardens of BabylonMesopotamia bas-relief sculpture, clay sculpting techniques

After learning about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and bas-relief sculpture, students will create their own version of bas-relief sculpture on a tile to depict elements in the garden.  Steps include painting a unglazed (back) side of a tile black.  Then create an object to represent part of the garden (trees, flowers, animal, etc) in air dry clay (like Model Magic).  Then transfer the clay on the tile and create texture on clay using toothpicks, craft sticks or scissors.  Finally sponge gold paint, first on the design then on the tile (background) *Option: Instead of gold/black, the sculpture can be painted tan/brown to mimic the color of sandstone /alabaster.

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Little Birdie and the Wave

Key Lessons: Joe Vickers, chalk pastel


Look at various artworks of contemporary SoCal artist Joe Vickers.  After, create a stylized beach landscape in the style of Joe Vickers chalk pastel and black marker on watercolor paper.  Docents use hairspray to set the artwork.  Surf's up!

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Merian’s Summer Birds

Key Lessons: Maria Sibylla Merian, symmetry in nature

Learn about artist and naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian and study images of butterflies (and/or other insects). They will learn about symmetry in nature and art by cutting out a butterfly template,decorating it from patterns seen in real butterflies, and then mounting it in 3D on top of a drawn background.  Sharpies, watercolor paint (or crayons) are used. Why ‘Summer Birds’?  In the 1600’s in Germany, butterflies were known as ‘Summer Birds’!  They believed they just flew in from other areas for the season.

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Nagomi Pastels: Northern Lights

Key Lessons: Northern Lights, Japanese Nagomi Pastel Art, layering and blending color, subtractive method to make lines

Students will learn about the cause of northern lights and the associated mythology and legends. They will make a stencil and use the style of Japanese Nagomi Pastels to create a drawing of Northern lights.  Nagomi Pastel Art is a form of healing art founded in Japan, which uses powered pastels to create a transparent, gentle, warm and heart-touching art through simple yet unique ways of painting techniques.

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Owls in the Neighborhood

Key Lessons: John James Audubon, Romantic Era

Learn about the beautiful drawings and paintings of birds by John James Audubon and his goal of recording all the birds of America in a pictorial atlas. Audubon was perfect for the Romantic Era since people were very interested in dramatic bird portraits and in the American Wilderness. Students will follow a directed drawing lesson to create a beautiful picture of an owl in chalk pastels. 

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Pastel Wolf

Key Lessons: Chalk pastel technique, wolf conservation


Students will learn about wolf conservation.  Wolfs have been hunted to near extinction, they were protected, those protections are now being lifted.  Locally, there is a wolf conservation center by San Diego.  Then students will learn chalk pastel techniques.  They will sketch, apply pastel and finish with charcoal pencil to create their own unique wolf.

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Quilling Ocean Sunset Wave

Key Lessons: Quilling, how to translate landscape in abstract art

Quilling is a using paper strips to form a design or pattern. Quilling is centuries old used as ornamenting books and religious artifacts.  Students using markers to apply background color then gluing paper strips to paper to add the wave of water.

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Rainbow Road

Key Lessons: Ted Harrison, oil pastels

Ted Harrison is one of Canada’s most popular artists. His distinctive style of painting is both colorful and sophisticated yet retains an innocent charm, and appeals to young and old alike.  Using paper and pencil, outline a rough draft of each element of the picture.  Using a light color oil pastel, redraw the finished draft onto the substrate (black foam core or black paper as a substitute). Fill each section with bright colors.

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Tricks of Trompe L’oeil

Key Lessons: Trompe L'oeil, John Pugh

Summary:  Trompe-l'œil is an art technique that uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects exist in three dimensions. Learn some basic characteristics and techniques of Trompe L'oeil, it's history and examples.   Notable murals are here in our community by the artist John Pugh (Hermosa Beach murals - "Key of C" and "You Should Have Been Here Yesterday".  Students will produce a sample that exemplifies these traits with acrylic paint.  Steps include loosely sketch layout/image, paint background bricks, add texture, fill-in center image and detail.

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See this example of Trompe L'oeil in Hermosa Beach.

Project Feedback Form 22-23

Questions:  contact

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