Yay! The dogs are finished!! And they turned out beyond my expectations. We got so many compliments on the canvases as I walked them back into the school to show the kids in Mrs. S's class how they turned out.....
They voted on names for their art pieces. The one above became "Who Let the Dogs Out". And the one below became "Rainbow Dogs".
The kids wanted to know how I put their dogs onto the canvas and so I brought in a mini canvas and I drew up a little french bulldog. I got out the watered down Modge Podge and glued the dog onto the mini canvas right there and the kids all came up to check it out. They were amazed at how fast it dried and how amazing it looked on the canvas. I can see that I may need to make a series of these for our house maybe....hmmmmm...
After the kids voted on the names for the artworks, I went home and wrote the title of each artwork, the date and then each child's name in Mrs. S's class all around the canvases.
The kids voted to use the "realistic colored" dogs canvas for the school's art auction and then voted to give the "crazy colored" dogs canvas to Mrs. S herself for teacher appreciation week (which was coincidentally happening just about then). The auction piece was the object of a bidding war (nothing crazy, but funny nonetheless) and gave our school's PTC some needed funds that are now earmarked specifically for arts programs for our school. But the best part - as I was volunteering in the "art display" room during the auction - was that every kid in Mrs. S's class proudly (and I mean, proudly) dragged their parents in to show them their dog. THAT is cool.
My carpenter husband cringed as he watched me eyeball the "even-ness" of the dog portraits as I placed them on the canvas.
It was a bit agonizing at first as I would get them in place, walk around the table and eyeball them to see if they were even and then I'd let loose with a big sigh.....and blow the thin pieces of wax paper all over the place!
Eventually I got them all glued down. I used a slightly watered down version of Modge Podge in matte finish. It was a slow process as sometimes even with all my precautions, a marker would bleed and usually I could catch it in the next stroke and wipe it off, then clean my brush again and then go back over it very delicately. I initially put each dog on individually and then once they were all on and dried, I went back over the entire canvas in broad strokes with the glue concoction. The next day I went over each canvas again.
The wax paper does crinkle a bit on some of the images. But it's pretty hard to see the wrinkle once it dries because as Kathy said, the wax paper does suck into the canvas and the image looks like it is painted on there once it is dry.
I started the lesson this day with a lecture on how we handle permanent markers as a medium. Safety and courtesy and cleanliness issues were addressed. Then I showed them how to put the wax paper over their pencil drawings (they could tape them down if necessary) and start tracing their dogs with a marker. The cool part was that they could spend as long as they wanted on their pencil drawings, and erase as many times as they needed to until they felt their drawing was what they wanted. And then they could put the wax paper over it and only trace the lines they wanted for their dog design. This seemed to help with any drawing anxiety that might have popped up. Really, this group of kids was amazingly fun and supportive to teach and I don't think I heard one "I can't" during the class sessions.
I did go through the wax paper and put an R on the dryer side of the paper that I wanted them to draw on for ease when I applied the dogs to the canvas.
A few kids needed an extra sheet of wax paper but really they mostly had it down and worked quite diligently.
I did tell them that they had to hand into me their completed "realistic" colored dog first, before they could start on their "crazy" colored dog.
Oh I almost forgot, I went over how to color with the permanent markers and how to keep the colors from bleeding into one another. I also told them to start with light colors first and add the darker colors on top and then to outline the dogs when done to make them stand out.
And I told them the strokes of their markers could simulate coat texture and of course could add to the patterns on their crazy dogs. I adored the kids in Mrs. S's class and was so happy with how they took right to all of my "dog responsibility" lectures and then made such wonderful art afterwards. Now I just had to figure out how to get all this artwork onto the canvases......and not ruin anything....
Now we were getting down to some good dog art. But first I used some dog photos from my 4-H club and gave each child a breed photo and taped it on their back. Then we played a game trying to guess what dog breed they were. That got the wiggles out and then they listened to my art rules. We talked about drawing lightly and practicing, practicing, practicing. I also wanted the kids to get used to making their dogs roughly a certain size so they would look fairly consistent on the canvas (at least size wise). So I came up with my "4-pack" drawing sheet. Basically squares drawn on a paper that the kids could use as a guideline. I wanted them to try and fill the whole square with their dog's portrait. I also drew up a "dog 4-pack" sheet with a plain sample of a dog in the corner to also help them with size determination and simplicity of lines. I was a bit hesitant to do that as I worried I'd get a bunch of kids just copying my dog. But I explained to them what it was for and not one kid copied my dog.
Some kids drew several dogs and practiced over and over. While some kids drew just one dog and they were good with that. I went over the dog coat color poster again and talked about realistic colored dogs.
Then I told them we would be drawing TWO dogs. One would be done in realistic colors with realistic dog coat markings.
I have been a dog leader of a 4-H club for about 13 years now. And I really, really enjoy it. I especially love teaching kids about how to be responsible dog owners and how to be safe around dogs. When I was a kid, back in the dark ages, I was also in dog 4-H. And frankly, I was not the greatest dog trainer, but boy did I love looking at and learning as many dog breeds as I could. I figured this would be such a great opportunity to share this good stuff with the kids, while we were creating great art. Yes, I nagged Mrs. S to let me spend extra time on this dog information, all under the guise that this would help us better understand how to draw dogs. First, I talked to them about my love of dogs and then we sat in a circle and passed around a small stuffed dogs. When the dog came around to a child, they could share some info about their own dog or a dog they know. We talked about what it takes to keep a dog healthy and happy and how big of a responsibility it is to own a dog. Then we talked about the AKC dog breed groups and how and why dog breeds were grouped into specific dog breed groups. We figured out they were grouped by their "jobs". And then we talked about what kind of jobs that dogs have had over the years and how they were specifically bred to do these certain jobs. We discussed that because dogs were bred for different jobs that also meant that different dogs would have different temperments and behaviors and that we should respect that and understand that not all dog breeds are good for every family. We also identified that dogs in each dog breed group had certain similarities, often in their coloring and coats and body type. This was my segue into the art portion of our day. I had to get there eventually!
I showed the kids the two samples that we made. They oohed and ahhhed and that made me feel good. They laughed when I showed them Peelu's sample and told them that S & R's dad had made that one. And then I brought out the above posters that I created and we talked about them and then we just all doodled for a bit. I talked about how to do simple dogs, just using common shapes and showed them my doodles on the class camera screen. But really, they were all off and running for this first day.
Okay, here's how our samples turned out.......above you will see our first sample that I put together of "realistic colored dogs". For the record, R drew and colored the Siberian Husky and the "Blue Dog" in the lower right hand corner. S drew the Chocolate Lab in the lower left hand corner and I drew the other three dogs. "Blue Dog" is our Australian Cattle Dog, Scully, (who really is a blue dog!), the "Chocolate Lab" is our beloved dog Jack who died last Summer and the hairy black & white English Springer Spaniel is our newest family member, Joe. The other three dogs were just fun figments of our imagination.
With this canvas, I learned a few lessons. First off, you can see the smudges from some fingers on the wax paper around the edges of the square. And also, some of the permanent markers bled as I applied the wash of Mod Podge to adhere them to the canvas. The cool things I learned though, are that they apply really easily and the wax paper (as Kathy said in her post) does kind of suck into the canvas and it looks like the portraits are painted on when it dries. I changed a few things on the next canvas.
First off, you can see here that I trimmed around each of these portraits. I also realized their is a dryer side to the wax paper and a slicker side. The markers work fabulously on both sides. But the dryer side seemed to have more "teeth" for the markers to grab onto and it seemed less inclined to bleed on this side. So we colored on the dry side of the paper, but when I put them on the canvas I put this side face down so that my actual brush stroked were on the wax side and not seeming to carry the color away . One caveat - this did make all the images "backward" on the canvas, but for this purpose it did not matter on any of the dogs in our samples or the ones from the class.
Peelu also got in on the action and made her own canvas all by herself.
And here are the two sample canvases all finished and ready to show the class.
I am such a geek. I admit it. I badgered S & R's 3rd grade teacher into letting me create the class art auction project this year. Yes, I nagged and nagged and thankfully Mrs. S is not only a dear friend, but her own kids have been in my dog 4-H club and she knows my crazy idiosyncrasies by now. And of course, this meant that the art project I wanted to do this year was all about ....DOGS. Yay!
I've had an art auction idea percolating in my head since the one we made last year. It was going to be totally different from the wind chimes, however and going to venture into teaching a large group of third graders how to draw dogs. EEK! In my crafting and art teaching experiences I have yet to teach such a large group how to draw anything. But I had been inspired by this class self-portrait project at Art Projects for Kids (one of my absolute favorite kid art blogs, BTW). I loved her use of this dry wax paper in creating these portraits and then how easy it appeared to mount onto the canvas.
So, I got my very own guinea pigs on board with the assignment to see if this really could work ( of course this is after I already presented the idea to Mrs. S -nothing like the cart before the horse!) We scoured our collection of dog books and drawing guides and found these to be the most helpful and inspirational: My Very Favorite Art Book: I Love to Draw Dogs by Jennifer Lipsey Why is Blue Dog Blue? by George Rodrigue Doodle Dogs by Klutz
And the amazingly colorful dog portraits by the artist Heather Galler
We also used several very old dog breed picture books that I've had since I was a kid, our own dogs and several friends' dogs as inspiration for some of our portraits. I sketched several dog portraits in the approximate size we would need for the canvas. After I cleaned up my drawings, I outlined them in black Sharpie so they could be easily traced onto the wax paper for our sample canvases.
As you can see, I underestimated my kids' abilities because they just drew their own faces (although R traced one of mine with her own crazy color scheme).
It got addicting. The wax paper was so easy to draw on and we were having so much fun and our drawings were getting better and better the more we did......let's just say we had a whole bunch of samples to choose from after two days.
We also found that the Sharpies kind of bled through onto the drawing that we were tracing from and created a cool pointillism effect on the white paper underneath.
You'll notice that a few of our dogs had some accessories, like glasses and crowns...more tangents for us to go off on let me tell you! Also, we incorporated some VERY colorful and pattern-rich doggies as well. My thought on the art auction project was expanding - perhaps two separate canvases - one with realistically colored dog portraits and one with crazy colored and patterned dogs? My thoughts were tumbling around and around - I could teach the kids not only about dogs but about some principles of art.....how exciting...I could teach these third graders about two of my favorite passions! How great is that? And yes, I did nag, browbeat, I mean - persuade - Mrs. S to let me "teach" this project in her classroom for several hours over the course of several days before Spring Break. More on that later.
Wife to a VERY understanding man (even if he does roll his eyes and duck back into his garage way too much); mother to three maniacs,crafter, professional volunteer, crazed maniac in her own right...yep, that about covers it for now.
It's about crafts, family, gardening, life....really whatever the heck I want to talk about. I am wordy, messy, opinionated, disorganized, lacking in focus, manic, craft obsessed...and pretty much this all spills out on the pages of this blog. You've been warned!
Please feel free to link responsibly to any of my posts. But also, please ask first before using any of my images or words. And feel free to "pin away", my friends.