In March I had the excellent assignment of teaching about 500 students in Northern CA a new art technique.
The parameters were rather strict:
- It had to be FUN!
- Set-up and clean-up had to be reasonable.
- Each session would include up to 100 students and would be held in the echoing cafeteria.
- The project had to be started AND completed in one hour.
- Students would walk away with a piece of art that was basically dry and portable.
The technique I chose to teach was Pastel blending with mineral oil.
I designed two projects to appeal to my range of ages. My 1st group was 1st graders and we started with a direct draw of a hen and chicks with the help of a document camera.
They all drew with pencil, traced with Sharpie and then started coloring with oil pastels.
We passed out regular oil pastels and told them to color roughly-leaving areas of white paper would work to their advantage. Some followed this advice…
Once the chickens were colored it was time to use secret sauce (mineral oil)and magic wands (cotton swabs) to make these drawings into oil paintings.
I counseled using a different cotton swab tip for each color, but just like any other painting technique, if you want to, you can make all the colors blend together and end up with a lovely muddy result! With 2nd grade and older I taught them how to draw a flying, fire breathing dragon. We followed the same process of direct draw, Sharpie outline, pastel drawing, and oil painting.
These are great before and after examples showing how the rough coloring results in the smooth final painting.
I also tried teaching the dragon to a T-Kindergarten class and saw some amazing results.
I love how this little guy attacks his coloring and painting with such purpose and enthusiasm.
Was it Fun? Check!
Set-Up and Clean-Up Reasonable? Check!
Possible with Crowding? Check!
Started and completed in an hour? Check!
Ready to go and Portable? Check!