Art Room, Color Construct Create, Elementary Art, OT, OT Corner, Preschool Art, Therapeutic Art, therapeutic side

The Take Home: Tactile Sensory Processing

One unique aspect of our studio is that we incorporate opportunities for tactile sensory play into our weekly themes.   Many of our artists have notable hypersensitivity or hyposensitivity to tactile input in their daily lives.  Therefore, we include projects and the activities on our “sensory table” that can promote a greater tolerance for textures that might make us uncomfortable or provide textures that kids may seek out and neeeeeeeeeed to touch.  Seriously, have you ever played with kinetic sand or oobleck?

hands

We think it is important that our artists are exposed to messy, sticky, wet, rough, slimy or powdery media.  These textures are all present in our daily lives, and if we have the opportunity to play with them in this controlled environment (art room), then we can work on our impulsivity to touch, avoidance of touch, and overall tactile sensory integration.

Winter snow bin
Insta-Snow – a fantastically fun medium!!!
Art Room, Color Construct Create, Elementary Art, OT, OT Corner, Preschool Art, Therapeutic Art, therapeutic side

The Take Home: Finger Strength

Our hands are amazing.  They are, quite possibly, the most useful parts of our bodies. Hands are a key component to art-making (and pretty much every other facet of our existence).  Our ability to make art starts at the earliest stages of our development.  As babies, motor movements are often reflexive.  Once babies begin to interact with their environment,  their movement patterns become volitional and begin to override their reflexes.  These multi-sensory play experiences form the foundation for higher level skill development.  For babies and toddlers, hand and finger strength is built through play.  They see a toy, they grab it with their tiny little hands.  They want to manipulate it to get it into their mouth, they have to work really hard at it.  With practice, those movements become more fluid and they move toward mastery.  As children become more independent, learning to feed and dress themselves and mimicking our activities, the fine motor demands grow exponentially.

The process of completing a simple drawing task, painting a picture, or molding a dish out of clay is a multi-sensory experience that demands much from our artists small hands. Each week, we create opportunities to promote the development of finger strength.  This week was no exception!  As they became scientists working in our “lab” they used their pincers to drop colored vinegar onto a tray of baking soda, they used pencil and sharpie to draw their beakers and test tubes, and they squeezed out drops of food coloring to dye their sugar solutions.  All the while, they didn’t realize that they were building strength, dexterity and finger endurance!

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Color Construct Create

Arts of Asia!

Our theme this month takes us to Asia!  We could stay with this theme for months given the vast amount of inspiration from the many countries and cultures of this continent.  We visited Thailand, India, Japan, and China on our tour.  One of the favorites from this month was our open hand tray.  Our inspiration came from the beautiful henna designs in India.  Here’s how we did this really fun project:

Materials:
Air dry clay (we like Crayola!)
Paper Bowls
Scoring tools: straws, dowels, plastic knives, awls
Acrylic Paint (Blick)
Small/medium paint brushes
Modpodge

Prep:
Roll out a racquetball/lacrosse ball size slab of air dry clay 1/4″ thick for each student, place between sheets of cling wrap or in zipper bags.

Steps:
Show students images of henna designs.  Discuss the meaning of Mehndi ceremonies in Indian culture.

Each student receives a slab of clay and a plastic knife.  Students trace their hand onto the clay with fingers touching.  Use the plastic knife to gently cut out the hand.  Use scoring tools to make designs and patterns, emphasizing floral patterns, leaves, etc.  Line a paper bowl (or any cereal-sized bowl) with cling wrap and gently press hands into the base of the bowl to round the shape of the hand.  Do not disturb the designs of the hands while pressing into the bowl.  Allow to dry undisturbed for 2-4 days (depending on climate).

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At the next class, return hands to students with a small palette of acrylic paint with small brushes.  We chose colors based on what we had a lot of in the closet ;)!   Ask the students to paint the entire hand, no white spots.  Acrylic paint is absorbed quickly into the clay so it shouldn’t take long to dry.  We intentionally limit the amount of paint the kids have access to for 2 reasons: we don’t like to waste and if you give them only what they need, they are more likely to use it appropriately.  Let’s face it, we all have those students who will apply globs and globs of paint.  If you are intentional with your teaching and materials distribution, they will be intentional with their painting! Once the paint is dry, liberally apply Modpodge with a foam brush or old paint brush.  We have old brushes that we use just for glue application!  Have fun!

Color Construct Create, OT Corner, Preschool Art, Therapeutic Art

The Take Home: Endurance

One of the biggest struggles we have in providing art classes to younger children is their endurance, their ability to fully participate for the duration of the class.

Endurance: the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity
Merriam-Webster.com. 2017. https://www.merriam-webster.com (11 January 2017).

kids-doing-artWe teach regular art classes in a preschool after school enrichment program as well as our weekend and after school classes.  For children ages 3-5, we know that they will not be able to sit nicely in a chair for 45 minutes while we ramble on about a particular artist, show examples of famous artwork, and then proceed to teach them various techniques, and still expect a carefully designed product at the end of class.  No, we expect that their endurance for these difficult tasks will be no more than 5-10 minutes at a time. Besides, for many young children, coloring and attention to task are two very difficult activities in and of themselves, let alone completing a recognizable art project.

To accommodate and make it fun for everyone, work in natural breaks, provide related sensory activities, and rotate between sitting activities and those where they can get up and choose supplies, or stand at the table or vertical surface.  Instead of one beautiful masterpiece, we choose 2-3 smaller projects that are modified to be less involved and provide novelty and interest for them to be engaged the whole time, building their endurance for longer activities which then carries over into the home and school settings.

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Products We Love

Paper is tantamount to the success of any art program.  We mostly use wood-based papers due to the cost and nature of our art work.  These are papers are made from wood pulp and are great for drawing with different media.  When we watercolor or paint with tempera and acrylics, we use thicker wood-based paper as well as cotton rag paper.  Cotton Rag paper is made from cotton fibers and tends to hold liquid without disintegrating.  I’m sure we all remember trying to use those little watercolor sets on loose paper.  After the first brushstroke, the paper tears and looks like a rumpled mess.

Here are some of the papers we can’t live without.

All purpose drawing and light painting:

Ultimate Drawing Paper!  We’ve tried most of the all-purpose art papers on the market and this one is really good.  Holds up under heavy handed drawing and over eager erasing!!

http://www.discountschoolsupply.com/Product/ProductDetail.aspx?product=28713&Category=

Watercolor:

Canson XL watercolor tapebound pad.  This is a heavy paper with a nice tooth.  Inexpensive enough to supply to our students.

http://www.dickblick.com/products/canson-xl-watercolor-pads/

Butcher: 

Every art teacher needs a solid paper to put up for bulletin boards as well as laying on tables for keeping things contained.  It holds paint and can handle weight of tape.  Doesn’t fade.

http://www.lakeshorelearning.com/product/productDet.jsp?productItemID=1689949371895751&utm_source=google&utm_medium=ppc&utm_campaign=PLA&CAWELAID=520011010000004436&CAGPSPN=pla&CAAGID=14792439177&CATCI=pla-196644073737&catargetid=520011010000055708&cadevice=c&gclid=CMaTl42_rtECFRSUfgodOdwAtA

PAINT!!

Who doesn’t love paint?  There are so many different painting mediums out there, it’s hard to know where to begin.  Some of the paints we love that are easy to purchase for your home art studio are:

WaterColor: There are 2 big winners in the watercolor category, liquid and cake pan watercolors.

Liquid watercolors give the vibrant, beautiful color with the transparency of expensive sets.  They are great for layering, resists, and covering large areas.  We also love that you can adjust the intensity by simply adding water.  We sterilize old condiment jars and store premixed liquid water color for months.

https://www.dickblick.com/products/blick-liquid-watercolors/

For traditional watercolor painting (think back to elementary school and the little paint trays), we love Faber Castell’s watercolor paintbox.  The Faber Castell’s are winners for us because of their strong pigments.  They are more opaque than a traditional watercolor set.  Because the colors are so dense, they last a long time and hold up well under the use and occasional abuse of our little artists.

http://www.fabercastell.com/playing-and-learning/products/washable-paints-and-brushes/Watercolorpaintbox12colors/12501

 

Art Room, Artwork, Color Construct Create, Elementary Art

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

The weather outside is frightful!  Ok ok, it’s cold and a little damp outside here in San Diego which is about as frightful as it gets!  Not that we are complaining.  I, for one, am excited for the rain and the chance to turn off those sprinklers!  We hope all of our families have enjoyed this Thanksgiving weekend.  The chill in the air is perfect for sipping cocoa and decorating for the holidays!

As we roll into December, Kristin, Bonnie, Roni, Nessa, and I are all very excited for our upcoming holiday workshop.  Our December class has got to be one of our absolute favorites.  Last year, we embroidered tea towels, made custom snowflake candles, tea light snowman ornaments, and a few other cute things.  This year, we have even more in store for our kids.  If you haven’t tried a class at Color, Construct, Create, this is a great one to try.   The holiday workshop is a little different from our regular Sunday class.  We split the class up into 10 minute blocks and each child leaves with at least 5-6 different art projects, crafts, and homemade gifts to share.  It is a festively fun time for all!

Here are a couple of our projects from years past.

Art Room, Artwork, Color Construct Create, Elementary Art, Therapeutic Art

Mad about Murals!

This month we are mad!  Mad about murals, that is!  There is something really special about art on a larger scale and something positively magical about kids collaborating to create something together.  We started with our O’Keefe inspired mural.  For this project, the kids studied the rich paintings of Georgia O’Keefe and were inspired by images from nature of beautiful mums and dahlias in festive fall colors.

With an analogous warm color palette (colors next to each other on the color wheel), we freehand painted our flowers in different sizes and shapes.  Our kids sometimes struggle with scale so this was a great opportunity to practice fitting your flower onto the paper by going all the way to the edge without going over.  I admit, we did have a couple of almost perfectly square flowers (the exact shape of the paper).  As any artist knows, sometimes mistakes provide the best inspiration.  With black paint and a tiny brush, the kids were able to add some detail that really made the flowers pop!  And those square flowers… it was a piece of cake to go back in with the black paint and define those petals.

Each child painted 3 or 4 flowers, depending on time.  After they dried, we cut out our flowers and picked our favorites to add to the class mural.  Ms. Kristin painted a vase on the a 6 foot sheet of butcher paper that was hung on the wall.  We used scraps from the scrap paper bin to cut out leaves for the spaces between the flowers.  We think the end result is stunning!  Do you agree?  It’s hard to tell in the photo, but our mural is about 6 feet tall!

img_2584

Materials:

Square art paper in multiple sizes

Tempera Paint: Red, orange, yellow, and black

Large and small paint brushes

Butcher Paper

Green Scraps for leaves

Art Room, Artwork, Color Construct Create, Elementary Art

Let’s Get Going!

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Who’s ready to make some art?  We are!  Our schedule is set, the art studio is ready, so let’s get going!  Color, Construct, Create Studios fall classes will begin the first week of September and continue through the remainder of the school year.  There are only a few spots left so be sure to sign up today!

Check out our schedule on the calendar tab of our website.

http://www.colorconstructcreate.com/calendar-classes.html