Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Many of my students have a limited comprehensive level but I want them to be as involved as possible in creating their own artwork. This is where these colored crayon cutouts have become endlessly handy. For my students its best to give them a choice between two different colors and have them pick one. You need to learn how each student makes a choice if they are unable to speak. Some students grab the card they want; others turn their head or eyes towards the desired color. And I also have others who will smile when the right color is presented.

These are the simplest things in the world but I use them on a daily basis.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The color field painter Morris Louis inspired this project. I saw a great show of his work last year in D.C. He stuff is so subtle and beautiful; I could stare at it all day.

In my student’s version I taped down normal white paper to larger pieces of cardboard. Large drops of liquid watercolor were then added to the paper. The students raised the cardboard on one side till the paint ran over to the opposite side and then repeated this till the paint was absorbed. The students worked with one color at a time. What I love about these paintings is that each one turned out so different.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Another one from today. This is a painting by N. It might not look like much, but since I started there N. has been a real struggle to work with. But today was a break through. We did this Jackson Pollock type painting with liquid tempera and the medicine droppers. He squeezed and moved them around the paper with a little guidance from me.

It was a good day. When you work in a place like I do you appreciate small miracles.

This was today’s project in most challenging class. It is a fabric collage. I ripped tons of strips of fabric from donated damaged shirts. I then mixed up a paste of Elmer’s glue and water. You could also use a fabric stiffener but this is less toxic. I put the mixture in bowls for each student. The students then dipped the strips into the mixture. At this point I received two different reactions from the children, some loved to touch the glue and got it everywhere. Others refused to touch it and used a spoon to arrange their strips on the cardboard.

The end result was a beautiful abstract textured panel.

In most of my lessons I try to have a sensory experience for my students. This was a great lesson because it has several. The fabric strips had different textures. The glue was different to touch then other liquids they have access to. And finally the end product is really interesting to run your fingers over.

Monday, December 1, 2008

This is one of the first projects I did with one of my lower functioning classes. I almost always work abstract. This I find prevents the aids from taking too much control to make it "look like something." This class of students is all in wheel chairs so I set their paper on the floor. For this painting I thinned down tempera paint so it was a bit thicker than water. They then used large baby medicine droppers (that I got from a friend who works at the Pharmacy) To suck up paint and then drop it on to the piece of paper. The paint spread out in big round dots when it hit the paper. Many students where able to squeeze the dropper with little assistance, and most students needed help moving their arm so they could get paint all over the paper.