8th Grade O’Keefe Shell Mixed Media Lesson

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8th grade okeefe shell lesson 8th grade okeefe shell lesson 8th grade okeefe shell lesson
This week I had some fun with the 8th graders doing this O’Keeffe shell project.  I was inspired about 5 years ago on a trip to Hawaii by and artist (who is also a lifeguard) that used sand and sometimes black lava on his pieces.  They are beautiful and someday I might be able to afford to buy one 🙂

Let me know if you use this in your classroom 🙂

Happy Sunday!

Skills Learned:

Sketching with charcoal, working with mixed media material.

Materials Used:

  • Large beach shells, sea stars and anemones
  • Canvas boards 12 x 12
  • Charcoal pencils and erasers
  • Watercolors
  • Small brushes
  • Oil pastels
  • Water cups and paper towels
  • Sand and glue
  • Seal them with glossy spray paint

Start by discussing Georgia O’Keeffe and her larger than life pictures. Show them her shell pictures and discuss that the students drawings can go off the canvas. Have students pick the shell or item they want to sketch and then begin drawing. After they finish drawing have them use a matching oil pastel to trace the drawing (outline) and the water line (between sand and water). This will create a barrier for watercolor so it will not mix when wet. Then have them paint with watercolor and finish with sand and glue to make it seem like it is on the beach.

Eighth Grade Rothko Inspired Lesson

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rothko inspired 8th grade projectMaterials Needed:

  • Acrylic paint primary colors plus white (so they make their own)
  • 18 x 24 student canvas or water color paper 18 x 24 cold press 140 lb.
  • sponges (I get mine at trader joes they are dehydrated come 10 to package)
  • paper plates for paint
  • Bucket of water or sink with water to wet sponges

Skills Learned:

  •  How to paint without brush marks like Rothko.
  • Mixing colors from primary paints and white.
  • Using color to show expression or feelings.
  • Using dark and light colors to make a statement.

Begin by showing students some of Rothko’s paintings and work.  Discuss the colors and feelings of each piece. Wet 3 sponges for each student and let them choose the color they will work with.  Have them mix the dark color first and using one of the sponges paint a portion of their piece.  Then have them add white and mix the lighter version of their color.  Then have them use another sponge and paint the rest of the piece.  Use the third sponge for wiping spots and smoothing.  If time permits have them use white in some form around the edges being careful not to push or mix too hard then the white will just mix in.  The most challenging part of this lesson is using the sponge to get rid of marks etc.  Let dry and then spray or put a gloss finish to seal.