Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Xerox Portraits

This is hands down my favorite high school art project to date. At the start of class, I walked all the students upstairs to the xerox machine to take photocopies of their face! Some students were reluctant while others could not wait for their turn. Students then drew their xeroxed portrait on a 9x12 sheet of black paper using white charcoal pencils. This project was assigned following the completion of the manikin drawings, which can be viewed HERE.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

White Charcoal Manikins

student example - white charcoal artwork
For these artworks, students drew artist manikins from observation using white charcoal on black paper. Artist manikins are a great tool for practicing figure drawing. The figure has already been divided into distinct shapes which enables every student to draw the manikin with a large degree of success. After rendering the manikins, students developed a creative way to incorporate their background. Some students chose to use white charcoal while others used chalk pastels.

paper airplane drawing and value chart
Before drawing the manikins, students completed a few practice studies using the white charcoal on black paper. First, I had students complete a value chart. Next, they created a paper airplane and drew it from observation. While drawing with pencil on white paper forces students to focus on building the dark shadows, white charcoal on black is the reverse - now they need to focus on building the highlights. This can be a little tricky for students at first, practice will help them get used to this before starting on their final artwork. 

Student Work
white charcoal and pastel art project

student artwork

example of student artwork

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Low Fire Glazing 101

When I started the pottery program here at school, the world of commercial glazes was totally new territory for me. Up to this point, I had always mixed my own glazes. I knew this was not going to work for many reasons - proper venting, time, storage space, safety, did I mention time? I knew I needed glazes that were fool proof and I wanted glazes that would come out looking great even if painted by a kindergartner.

After some (google) research, I ordered a classroom pack of Amaco Liquid Underglaze.The classroom pack included 12 different color pint jars. Below I have shared several tips and tricks, as well as general knowledge, that will help students to be successful when using this underglaze.

Tips and Tricks when using Amaco Liquid Underglaze
  • 1 coat will be light and brushstrokes will still show.
  • 3 coats will be dark and solid.
  • I always instruct students to complete 2-3 coats. 
  • Paint dark colors on top of light colors.
  • Each coat needs to dry completely before the next coat is applied.
  • A coat is dry when it is light, chalky and no longer cool to the touch. 
  • I usually set up a designated "drying table" with a fan on it to speed up drying time. Students will place their clay project on the table and then return to their seats to free-draw until their piece is dry and ready for its next coat.

Amaco LUGs are dinnerware safe once covered with a dinnerware safe clear glaze. They should not be used alone on surfaces which come in contact with food or drink. The best clear glaze I have found is Duncan Pure Brilliance Clear Glaze.I buy the 3.5 gallon bucket of dipping glaze and it works like a charm everytime! I never have trouble with crazing, crawling, or pinholes. When the Underglaze is dry, I have my students take turns dipping their piece into the clear glaze (I will the dip the K/1st). Unless a piece is super heavy, the bottom of every piece is glazed and then placed on a stilt in the kiln. I fire the kiln to Cone 06 at medium speed, holding at temp. for 15 mins.

What do you think? Do you have any tips or tricks of your own?

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