Abstract Art Cat

Turn a simple drawing into an Abstract Art Cat by just dividing the page into quarters, and changing colors accordingly. Neat coloring is called for, as even a little bit scribbling will not have the same effect as this amazing young student’s art. Not up for the messiness of pastels? Markers are another option, if you … Read More

Maple Leaf Drawing, Kandinsky Style

Here’s a maple leaf drawing idea that uses colors, Kandinsky-style. Kandinsky was one of the first artists to make abstract paintings that celebrated ideas as simple as rings of color. I followed my Maple leaf drawing lesson seen in the diagram below and then used some new Prang crayons for the vivid color. They really do … Read More

Modigliani Self Portrait

This Modigliani self portrait project seems to work surprisingly well every time I try it. Something about the distortion frees students up from getting overly fussy, and thick pastels are the perfect media for imitating Modigliani’s rich dark look. MATERIALS • Black construction paper, 18″ x 24″ • Oil pastels DIRECTIONS 1. Cut the paper to … Read More

Self Portraits, Modigliani Style

This Modigliani self portrait project seems to work surprisingly well every time I try it. Something about the distortion frees students up from getting overly fussy, and thick pastels are the perfect media for imitating Modigliani’s rich dark look. MATERIALS • Black construction paper, 18″ x 24″ • Oil pastels DIRECTIONS 1. Cut the paper to … Read More

Oil Pastel Hearts

This project actually did triple duty last year: continued the student’s study of warm and cool colors, taught them about a Pop artist named Jim Dine, and provided a colorful picture that I think will work for our annual fundraiser with Original Works. 1. After viewing some of Jim Dine’s painting to see his style, students … Read More

Easy Kinder Painting

I’ve tried many projects for new kinders over the past ten years, and this is now my favorite. It’s simply drawing stars with oil pastels and then painting a wash of liquid watercolor over them. There are always a few students who are still figuring out how to draw and hold a brush, so they need … Read More

Circle Pastel Sun

If I’ve learned one thing about oil pastels, it’s that the best results come from working with very simple shapes. They also allow for more experimenting with layering, which most students tend to overlook. And when that happens, all the lovely possibilities of overlapping colors are lost.

NEW! Mini Master Murals 2

This Mini Mural Set consists of three smaller versions of these popular murals: “Sunflowers” by Van Gogh, “Red Room” by Matisse, and “Tree of LIfe” by Klimt. FINISHED DIMENSIONS: • Sunflowers: 23″ x 31″ • Red Room: 31″ x 24″ • Tree of Life: 30″ x 30″ To purchase and download for just $5, visit My … Read More

Cheap Scratcher Sticks

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I’ve found some of the best art supplies at my local Smart & Final (restaurant supply) store. If you ever need scratcher sticks, be it for scratch art paper or clay projects, etc., try using wooden skewers instead. You can get 500 for about $8, versus 25 wooden stylus for $4. I’m sure Amazon carries them … Read More

Color Study, Paul Klee Style

Paul Klee (1879 – 1940) was an modern art master who fell in love with color after a visit to Tunisia. I love his “Ancient Harmony” painting that twinkles with light and dark patches of color. Students can follow his idea for a fun color study by choosing two groups (light/dark, warm/cool colors) and have one … Read More

Super Scratch Art Mitten

Making scratch art with oil pastels is not new, but have you tried making different color combos on one piece of art? Or tried coloring three layers to see what happens? Many different textures are possible, including this fuzzy-looking mitten that was first colored yellow, then purple, then scratched with a stylus, then colored again with … Read More

Patterned Mitten

I often see students use oil pastels like crayons, as in lightly coloring and shading with them. Unfortunately, that doesn’t let pastels show their “true colors” (sorry!) which come about with pressure and density. Here’s a very simple winter-theme drawing that has lots of pattern possibilities. Older students should be able to draw their own, but … Read More

Kandinsky Leaves

Here’s an idea for mixing art history with the season, filling in a leaf drawing with Kandinsky-style circles. I followed my leaf drawing lesson HERE, and then used these great crayons that Prang let me sample. They are called Color Wands, are a pleasure to color with, and keep little fingers from getting really messy. I … Read More

Student Gallery of Murals

I’d like to thank Ms. Sterling’s 5th and 6th grade class at Orangevale Adventist School for sharing their amazing artwork with me. They have used my murals for the past three years with these beautiful results. The finished art is mounted on a canvas with Modge Podge before hanging them in the art room (which looks … Read More

Indian Symbols

Brown packing paper and oil pastels are great for making a simulated rawhide drawing. I never throw my paper away after I get art supplies. The pre-wrinkled surface works too well, and it’s free. 1. Tear a 20″ or so section from the packing paper. Draw an Indian symbol in pencil. 2. Trace the art with … Read More

Fractured Heart

Layering oil pastels to make smooth gradations takes practice. This project will let students do just that. 1. Starting with a square paper, students draw a large heart in the middle, and then use a ruler to draw at least four lines completely across the paper. 2. Using smooth oil pastels, like my favorite Portfolio® brand, students color in … Read More

Layered Winter Landscape

I found this project at www.artsonia.com, a wonderful source for creative ideas. Materials: • Art paper • Pencil • Oil pastels, Portfolio brand recommended 1. Each student draws three lines that tilt a little to each side on a horizontal sheet of paper. These sections will each represent foreground, middle ground and background in the picture. … Read More

Jim Dine Style Hearts

This project is actually doing triple duty this week: continuing the student’s study of warm and cool colors, teaching them about a Pop artist named Jim Dine, and providing a colorful picture that I think will work for our annual fundraiser with Original Works. 1. After viewing some of Jim Dine’s painting to see his style, … Read More

Ode to Picasso Mural

Pablo Picasso was born in 1881 in Malaga, Spain. He created thousands of paintings, prints, sculptures and ceramics during his lifetime. Many consider Picasso the greatest art genius of the twentieth century. This mural is compilation of some of his most famous paintings. It has 25 pages and measures 36″ x 48″ when complete. To purchase … Read More

NEW Matisse Mural $5

The Dessert: Harmony in Red is a painting by French artist Henri Matisse and considered by many to be his masterpiece. You can make your own large mural (48″ x 36″) by purchasing my pdf template, coloring in all 24 pages, and taping them back together. Visit my PDF Shop to purchase and download for just … Read More

How to Draw a Klee Portrait

Here’s another project that I believe works well with a kindergarten Common Core Math Standard. This continuous line drawing is made by following the “up” and “down” and “over” directions shown on my diagram page. The fact that the finished art will look a lot like a famous Paul Klee painting means a little art history … Read More

How to Draw Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter, who is best known for her self-portraits. Here’s a way to draw her with her hair up with flowers and classic heavy eyebrows. 1. Fold a sheet of black construction paper in half twice to get the guidelines shown in my diagrams. Follow the steps to first make a drawing … Read More

In Your Face Cow Drawing

This idea comes from a funny painting I found in a home decor catalog. I love how it exaggerates the proportions of the cow. 1. I started with a 11″ x 14″ drawing paper, and folded it in half four times to get a grid of guidelines like those shown on my diagram. Have the students … Read More

Tiger Drawing

Henri Rousseau was a French artist that lived in the late 1800s. He tried to paint in the schooled manner of the traditional artists, but it was the innocence and charm of his work that won him the admiration of many avant-garde artists such as Paul Klee.  1. If possible, show a poster of Rousseau’s “Surprised! … Read More

Divided Heart

Layering oil pastels to make smooth gradations takes practice. This project will let students do just that. 1. Starting with a square paper, students draw a large heart in the middle, and then use a ruler to draw at least four lines completely across the paper. 2. Using smooth oil pastels, like my favorite Portfolio® brand, students color in … Read More

Chinese New Year Mural

The 2013 Chinese New Year is celebrated on February 10th, which is the year of the Snake. I made this paper-cut style mural to celebrate this holiday and learn more about the amazing Chinese art culture. To purchase and immediately download this pdf file, click the image and you will be directed to my new PDF … Read More

Close Cropped Snowman

Drawing closeup and cropping out what is unnecessary can make just about any artwork more interesting. Many students tend to draw really small with lots of extra space. If you are trying for dynamic images for special uses like greeting cards, this approach will make a big difference. 1. Students may use a ruler to trace … Read More

Pastel Tigers

Henri Rousseau was a French artist that lived in the late 1800s. He tried to paint in the schooled manner of the traditional artists, but the innocence and charm of his work eventually won admiration of many avant-garde artists. 1. Students trace a 6″ circle in the center of a 9″ x 12″ sheet of paper. 2. … Read More

Fall Oil Pastel Tree

I found this project on Artsonia.com. I love how it makes students think of trees as a series of branches, and not just a fluffy shape that sits on a stick. 1. Students draw a large “Y” on their paper. 2. They add smaller “Y”  on each side, alternating as they go up each branch. To make the “Y”  the … Read More

Kandinsky by Matson

If you need a simple oil pastel project that works for many grade levels, try my “Kandinsky Colorweaver” project. I had prepared the paper with the center horizontal and vertical pencil lines so the students could jump right in making the colored diamonds. Thanks to Matson, a talented 1st grader for letting me share this beautiful artwork.

Draw like Renoir

Auguste Renoir, a French Impressionist painter, was famous for his use of vibrant light and saturated color. This scratch art project is one way to play simulate that look of bright light on a sunny day. 1. I used the 24 pack of Portfolio brand oil pastels as they provide the soft covering needed for scratching away layers … Read More

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