Sunsets Are Awesome-Right?

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This week I had fun with the fourth graders teaching them about building on colors 🙂  Although now as I write this I forgot we were supposed to do their mission project paintings.  Will have to talk to teacher and see if I can do it as an extra day this month?  So much fun watching these take shape.  Something about sunsets and their beauty.  Hope you all see some great ones this weekend.  xo renee

Laura Milnor Iverson-Seagulls at Sunset 4th Grade Art Lesson

I am a native Californian and my greatest inspiration comes from the beautiful natural landscape of the San Francisco Bay Area. I express my love of nature in both Dreamy Realism (realistic landscapes and seascapes with an impressionist overtone…the imprint of a scene on the mind, with the soft edges of memory) and Contemporary Zen (botanical abstracts in a modern Asian style, such as autumn leaves, florals, cherry blossoms, and so on).

Skills Learned:

Layer painting, landscape and using mixed media to add dimension to your artwork. Continue Reading »

Fourth Grade Valentines Project-Happy Hearts Day

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fourth grade valentine art projectHad a really fun week teaching during my favorite month 🙂  This weeks favorite besides the really cute kindergarteners was fourth grade.  We got really messy with chalk pastel, watercolor and powdered tempera.  I taught them about warm and cool colors and the projects turned out amazing!  Directions are below.  Message me if you need help with supplies or directions and Happy Hearts Month!  xo  renee

happy hearts art lesson2

Skills Learned:

  • Sketching and cutting out hearts.
  • Warm and Cool color contrast.
  • Working with chalk and powdered tempera paint.
  • Blending and working with chalk pastel.


  • Watercolor paper to cut out several heart shapes
  • Pencils and erasers
  • Taped 18 x 24 watercolor paper
  • Various liquid watercolor (I use colorations by DiscountSchoolSupply)
  • Powdered tempera in warm and cool colors
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Large brushes
  • Warm and cool color chalk pastel

I started our discussion with the color wheel and how I correlate warm and cool colors. Then we talked about how using the opposite colors makes them pop on the paper. I passed out watercolor paper, pencils, scissors and erasers to sketch and cut out hearts. We varied our shapes and sizes to make the overall appearance of our piece. We laid them out to make sure they fit on our background then we set aside to work on background. We then chose our background color and painted that. Then we added another same warm or cool color by sprinkling powdered tempera paint on wet background. Set aside background to work on the hearts. We then took chalk pastel to color and blend our hearts with opposite (warm or cool) color of our background. Then glue them down remove tape and sign. These came out amazing!

4th grade Redwood Trees Art Lesson

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4th grade redwood trees 4th grade redwood tree art 4th grade redwood tree art 4th grade redwood tree art


Wow time is just going by so fast the end of the year is quickly approaching 🙂  I had some fun this week with my fourth grade students. I taught a lesson by Alain Thomas who takes these amazing photographs of redwood trees.  We started out talking about what it feels like to stand in the middle of a forest of large redwoods how small it makes us feel.  Then we discussed the time of day and shadows, leaves in the background etc.  Then finally we talked about what the trees feel like.  The bark is uneven and rough.  Had a bunch of fun with these students.  Take a look and let me know if you use the project.  Happy Sunday!

French painter Alain Thomas, the founder of Primitive Naïve art, creates kaleidoscopic, ornate works populated by a magical menagerie of toucans, parrots, panthers, kangaroos, koalas and peacocks. Primitive Naïve art, which Thomas has been painting for 40 years, is a style in which untrained artists produce charmingly innocent works lacking technical constraints. He has created delightful illustrations for numerous publications, including art books, children’s stories and bestiaries as well as a 1,350 square foot mural fresco of a toucan in Nantes. His work has been featured in magazines, on television shows, and on enamels, porcelains, silks and tapestries.

Skills Learned:

How to create depth and perspective in a landscape piece using oil pastels, water-color and joint compound. Also creating shadows with black or dark colors.

Materials Needed:

  • Oil pastels
  • Lime and Green water-color
  • Joint compound
  • 2 tree cut outs one stump and one large
  • forks for making pattern in tree
  • Large brushes
  • Black glitter
  • Brown paint

Start by having students use oil pastels to draw brown and black trees as well as greenery and light (in background) with green and white pastels. Then have them paint the background shades of light and dark green water-color. Start with light on top and then build the black on the bottom. Then set aside and mix brown tempera in joint compound for three stumps. Paint tree stumps with brown tempera and then cover in joint compound. Finally sprinkle black glitter on top of joint compound and glue on two trees to background.


Valentine Chalk Pastel Art Lesson Grades 4-5th

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Thought I would share with you a fun chalk pastel lesson that I did with fourth grade last year. I brought those sweetheart boxed candy and all the students picked a few to put on their pieces. It was fun and easy and they learned about shading to create depth. Happy Valentines Day 🙂

Skills Learned:
Shading and sketching to create depth.
Materials Used:
Chalk pastel set of 16 colors
12 x 12 canvas board
Paper towels or blending sponges/sticks
Colored sharpies for words
Scratch paper

Start by passing out sweetheart candy and discussing words on them. Walk students through drawing one heart amd show them how to leave space for word with sharpie. Also show them how to create depth with shading on one side. Be sure to remind them that sharpies will not write over chalk so write word then u can blend a little chalk over it. Also don’t over crowd board with hearts. 4-5 hearts depending on their size is plenty 🙂 When finished spray board with fixative and you are done.

Fourth Grade Georgia O’Keefe Flowers

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georgia okeefe collage 1 georgia okeefe collage 2

Just love doing this every year 🙂  Finished with the 4th graders and now we are using them for a card set for the school auction.  Never get tired of Georgia O’Keefe.  It is amazing what these students can do with inspiration from this great American artist!

Skills Learned:  Students will work on their sketching skills and also how to make object look larger than life as O’Keefe did so well.  They will also practice blending and mixing hues and tints and well as contrasting colors so the art pops off the page.

Materials Needed:

  • Pencil and eraser
  • Flower pictures
  • 20 x 20 watercolor paper (student 140 lb cold pressed)
  • Oil pastels
  • Watercolors
  • Color wheels (contrasting color work)
  • small brushes


  • Discuss Georgia O’Keefe and her larger than life philosophy and how she captured details of flowers in large off the paper ways
  • First have students bring flower pictures in that they are going to sketch.
  • Next have the students practice sketching on scratch paper and discuss how to draw the image large and off the paper.
  • After practicing a while sketch the flower on the water-color paper being careful not to press too hard and indent the paper.
  • After the sketch is completed then use the oil pastels to color the flower.
  • Talk about using their hands and tissue or Q-tips to blend.
  • Also discuss making tints and hues with the colors
  • After they complete the flower with the oil pastels have them use the color wheel to pick a contrasting color for their watercolor background.
  • Use water-color to paint the background.

Fourth Grade Golden Gate Bridge

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tori ggbI have to say one of my favorite grades for art is fourth grade.  There is so much beauty in California and so many artists to choose from for examples of art.  This piece is fun and a little easy for my fourth graders but the Golden Gate Bridge is such an iconic beauty that I cannot pass it up 🙂

Skills Learned:

Blending water-color and using salt.  Working with watercolor. Using lines to make patterns for bridge. Continue Reading »