I was contacted by a parent who is coordinating many amazing community projects with our students. I don't know how she orchestrates all of these inspiring projects that connect students to their community but I am so thankful for all of her efforts!
I am very pleased to have been able to help the 2nd graders create their collaborative horse portrait paintings. They will be auctioned off this month and the money will go to a wonderful "faith based equine assisted therapy center committed to the restoration and transformation of people struggling with psychological, emotional and physical challenges." I think it's great that these kids will be able to truly see and feel the positive impact their actions (and their artwork) can have on their community.
We have worked a LONG time on these, and I am proud to share them with you all. I will also share with you the "hows" so you might adapt this into your own lessons. We used acrylic and canvas, but this would also work with paper/tempera :)
First, we practiced EYES in detail, including how a horse eye has an almost rounded rectangle pupil, and that to REALLY make it look real you need white reflection marks. Then, students drew and painted their eyes on small pieces of watercolor paper. This forced them to focus in on the details rather than get lost in the big picture. It also adds a nice touch when you glue them to the canvas for a texture change.
So, students made 2 eyes and one nose on the small paper. We then had them glue them to the canvas and sketch in the face around it (There are 6 horses per canvas, give it a pop-art/folk-art feel!). Finally - the paint! We encouraged them to use vibrant colors and patterns for the horses, but all agreed that if we did the same with the backgrounds that it would get too overwhelming. As much as I want students to do everything on their own and make their own artistic choices, we had time constraints and needed to be sure that the horses all flowed together as a larger piece, so I laid down a simple background for them. I am happy to see that some added polka-dots and subtle designs in their backgrounds.
They are looking so darling! And to think, I was nervous about it in the beginning. Ha! All good things pull together eventually.