Thursday, October 18, 2012

How can I give it away?

This year it was my turn to shepherd the Grade Six kids through the class art project for the school's annual Fall Fling Fundraiser.

Searching on Pinterest I came across Art Projects For Kids a fabulous resource for anyone doing art with kids.  I was particularly taken by the blog post Kinder Self Portraits which described how to do multi self portraits on dry wax paper to put on one large canvas.

A quick email to Kathy Barbro, the lovely author of the blog, to ask her where to get dry wax paper led to a drive across town to the Wholesale Club to pick up a 1000 sheet box of "Patty Papers". Several leisurely hours were then spent at Above Ground Art Supplies trying out various brands of pens on these little slips of glassine to see what showed up best, and smeared the least, and came closest to the colour palette I had chosen for this project.

I didn't want to just work with typical kid colours. Something, probably Pinterest again, led me to the first palette in Pantone's 2013 lineup, Conoisseur. I'm hoping one of the parents will be struck by the fashion forward colour scheme and will bid, bid, bid for the children's creation.

Supplies in hand it was time to go to school. Working with groups of four students at a time each of the children was given one sheet of dry wax paper. Although I had originally intended to stick with the self portrait idea I ended up encouraging them to draw a self portrait, a picture of one of their favorite things, or write a short note or story. They were also welcome to play with abstract designs. I figured the colours would unify the finished work even if there was lots of variety in the imagery.

I set up shop in the stairwell at the elementary school for the last couple of mornings so a door could be propped open to ventilate the area. The Chartpak pens worked beautifully for my purposes but were not suitable for use in an enclosed space. My twins to work collecting groups of kids and returning them to the classroom when they had finished making their drawings.

Some of the boys were a little put out that there was no blue pen to work with. I think I should call the finished piece "Why No Blue?"

I hope these close ups will give a bit of an idea of the variety of responses the children had to the challenge. This group was a true pleasure to work with. They were eager to experiment with the materials and most of them made several drawings, giving me lots to choose from when it came time to make the final composition.

To adhere the drawings I smeared the canvas with a liberal layer of gel medium and wiped the excess on the back of each drawing before placing it carefully on the canvas. More gel medium was then brushed on top to seal the artwork and to try to smooth out most of the bubbles.

The gel medium made couple of the pens smear a little. I'm going to experiment on a test piece to see if once the piece has dried completely I can go over some of the smudges with a white paint marker.

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