SchoolArts Magazine

October 2017

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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A utumn is a special time of year for young students. They love jumping into piles of leaves, collecting them, and admiring their beauty. The colors are vibrant and the leaves make an excellent sub - ject for students to draw and paint. For this project, I wanted my stu- dents to capture the color, saturation, a nd texture of the fall trees using the single medium of wax, but as both a liquid and solid. Using wax melters, we would melt down old crayons and turn them into liquids with which students could paint. They would also use solid crayons to add color to their backgrounds, contrasting the effect of the wax. Observing Leaves and Trees We began with a walk outside around the school to examine the leaves in the trees that were chang- ing color. We looked at the variety o f leaves and noticed that each one had its own marks and colors. Students carefully selected some of the leaves that had fallen to the ground, choosing ones with inter - esting colors, marks, and patterns. W e then brought the leaves into our classroom where we talked about how and why they changed color. The next step was for students to develop pencil drawings of trees, based on their observations. We dis- cussed how their trees did not have to be located at our school. I asked, "If you could put your tree anywhere you wanted, where might it be?" Safety Measures When the drawings were finished, I talked with students about how to carefully use the wax melters. Before students began melting the crayons they chose, I made sure they under - stood how to safely use the melters AUTUMN Aileen Pugliese Castro by asking them to repeat the safety procedures we discussed. I arranged my tables within the classroom so that they were against a wall with an outlet. I assigned small groups to work near a melter while others worked on their backgrounds from their desks. This way, students won't trip over a melter electrical cord. If a melter falls, hot wax can splash and cause a pain - ful burn, not to mention a huge mess. Van Gogh and the Nature of Wax While the melters were warming up, we examined and discussed the paint- ings of Vincent van Gogh and identi- fied the short, thick brushstrokes f ound in his paintings of trees. I explained how painting in wax is simi- lar because students would need to use s hort brushstrokes when painting with the wax since it becomes solid quickly after it is applied to the paper. Given Trees E A R L Y C H I L D H O O D Kayden M., final tree. 42 OCTOBER 2017 SchoolArts

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