2nd Grade American Gothic

Art Parent sample

Famous artwork? Check.  Showcase for children’s creativity? Check.  Popular culture?  Fun?  Low prep for busy Art Parent in December? Check, check, check.  MaryAnn Kohl’s “Gothic Paste-Up” lesson in Great American Artists for Kids may just be the perfect art lesson.

Inspired by Ms. Kohl, 23 second-graders and I immersed ourselves in Grant Wood’s iconic work, American Gothic, yesterday.  A photograph of the actual house Wood used as a model for his painting is downloadable for free here.

Lesson Explanation to take home

Lesson Explanation to take home

I brought in one photo per student that was pre-mounted on black paper with an explanation of the lesson on the back.  Before the children went to work on their figures, we read portions of Grant Wood (Getting To Know the World’s Greatest Artists), defined parody and looked at examples of American Gothic parodies.

Our Favorite Grant Wood Facts
1. As a child, he drew pictures with burnt sticks that his mother gave him from their wood stove.
2. His job during World War II was to paint camouflage on the tanks.
3. The models for the figures in American Gothic were the artist’s sister and their family dentist.

As the children worked, I encouraged them to think of a title for their art (“______ American Gothic”), which they added, along with their signatures, to the black  frames with Sharpie Metallic markers.  Once finished, each child received a box of Newman’s Own raisins (the Newman’s Own logo is an American Gothic parody) and scratch paper for doodling with a stick, as Grant Wood did as a child.

Check out their masterpieces below.  Had the two figures in Grant Wood’s original painting seen these, they’d certainly be smiling!
Puppies American GothicSnowman & Girl American GothicGumball American Gothic Tangled American Gothic

Grem & Acer American GothicJunk Food People American GothicLadybugs American GothicNight of the Living Donut American GothicToy Story American GothicWinter American GothicBest Friends American GothicTurtle American GothicWebkinz American GothicElves American GothicNorth Pole American Gothic

Pumpkin Pie Fruit Dip

Easy, different and addictive.
Great for Thanksgiving or Fall parties.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • apple slices and/or gingersnaps

Or, to cut sweetness, increase cinnamon, decrease sugar and substitute pumpkin pie puree for pumpkin pie filling.

Directions:

  1. Beat cream cheese and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.
  2. Add pie filling, cinnamon, and ginger, beating well.
  3. Cover and chill 8 hours.

Makes 3 cups.  Awesome with apple slices.  Delicious with gingersnaps, too, but a little too sweet (even for me, a certified sugar-aholic).  I found several versions of this recipe at food.com.

Better-Than-Fancy Napkin Rings

When my children were 3 and 5 we sat down together one afternoon
and made these toilet paper roll napkin rings for our fancy Thanksgiving table.

We cut out pictures of each guest, along with paper strips that read, “We are thankful for you.”
The children painstakenly glued them on, along with anything else they found in the craft drawers.

They were so proud to contribute.

And the napkin rings, which go beautifully with Williams-Sonoma linens
and a Waterford stainless pattern, by the way, were the hit of the table.

Native American Portraits (by 5 and 6-Year-Olds!)

19 kindergarteners were so proud today when they made these Native American Indian Portraits, based on a drawing in Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Faces.

Ed Emberley’s books are a wonderful way to approach drawing with young children.  He breaks down all of the things that kids like to make – faces, animals, fire trucks – into basic lines and shapes, making drawing fun and giving kids lots of confidence.

Lines & Shapes ArtLines & Shapes IndianI showed the kids these shapes and lines and asked them what they saw.  Thought I was being cute when I wondered out loud if anyone could see a Native American face.  When several of them said, “Yes!” it kind of messed up my big reveal :) – this guy I’d made on a Word document just using the shapes toolbar:

Anyway, the kids started with an 11×15 piece of watercolor paper, a black Sharpie and a rectangle cardboard template for the face, just to give them a starting point for size.  They followed a directed drawing lesson (step-by-step instructions with me drawing at the same time), and then colored in the hair with their Sharpies.  Next step, they had fun with washable colored markers.  (Any washable marker will do, but my own children insist that Crayola Pip-Squeaks work best).

I encouraged them to keep their marks big and loose, reminding them that the colors would smear in the next step.
Step 1 - black Sharpie drawingStep 2 - Color in Hair with SharpieStep 3 - Color with washable markersStep 4 - Add water with brush

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, with a brush and water, they turned their drawings into beautiful watercolor art.  Each child had a brush and folded paper towel.  Their work was dry enough at the end of our 45 minutes to mount on black paper (12×18 trimmed for a frame).

Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Faces Art LessonAn explanation of the lesson was attached to the back of the frame and the kids added their names in silver metallic Sharpies.

A great art-themed companion book to this lesson would be When a Line Bends…A Shape Begins.

I am so pleased with these results, as were the young artists.  Thank you, Ed Emberley!Native American Watercolor #6Native American Watercolor #5Native American Watercolor #2Native American #1Native American Watercolor #3Native American Watercolor #2Native American Watercolor #8Native American Watercolor #18Native American Watercolor #18Native American Watercolor #11Native American Watercolor #10Native American Watercolor #4Native American Watercolor #7Native American Watercolor #13Native American Watercolor #14Native American Watercolor #17

Native American Watercolor #16

Purple People Eater Art & Dance

This painting by a 7-year-old is just one reason I love being an Art Parent this week!  Scroll down to see many more.

I based this art project for 21 second-graders on the novelty song “Purple People Eater,” released in 1958 by Sheb Wooley.  After they listened to the song, I asked them to raise their hands if they could describe the monster.  After a lively discussion, they started drawing.

Drawing around the eyeI passed out a 40mm wiggle eye to each child, and told them to draw their monster around it with a black Sharpie.  The eye helped ensure nice, big monsters and the Sharpie prevented wasted time erasing (which tends to happen if they start in pencil).

Beforehand, I’d made cheat sheets for various monster body parts and hung them around the room.  There were a few specific requests – how can I draw a wing? – but, really, these monsters are completely these children’s own.Monster Hands & FeetMonster HornsMonster  MouthsMonster Wings

 

 

 

The children had the option of adding color with crayons, but the real color stars were liquid watercolors.  A lot of effort to carry these in and out of the classroom, but with an hour-and-a-half for this lesson, it was so worth it!  (One child complained about an accidental drip, but after it was pointed out that she’d made a cool-looking planet, she happily added more.)

Dance to Purple People EaterWhile the paintings dried, I borrowed a lesson from one of my other favorite pasttimes, Zumba® Fitness.  My daughter and I taught the class simple dance steps to Purple People Eater, which I found here on You Tube.  Thank you, Zumba Gold instructor Brenda Holcomb!  (This routine has also been a hit at a 7-year-old’s birthday party and a family Zumba® fundraiser – perfect for pre-Halloween.)  The kids – boys, too – were proud to to do it for their teacher when she returned to class.

But, those paintings – WOW!
Monster 2 MonsterNick's Monster Blue Teeth Monster Space Monster Kara's Monster Grace's Monster Spiky Monster Pink Monster    Rosemary's monsterSaraJacobMonsterMonster 2