WET-ON-WET LEAVES Early Childhood
The Art Problem
Students explore the changing
leaves of autumn and the unique-ness of each one.
Students will explore wet-on-wet
painting and show how the thick
crayon lines resist the paint. They
will review repetition, as well as
thick and thin lines.
6 x 12" ( 15 x 30 cm) or 9 x 12"
( 23 x 30 cm) white paper, crayons,
optional leaf stencils, watercolor
paints, brushes, water
1. Integrate art and science by
discussing the changing seasons.
Let students touch and hold actual
leaves. If time permits, allow them
to go outside and gather their own
2. Trace at least three leaves (to
increase eye-hand coordination), on
white paper with any color crayon.
Create internal vein lines inside the
leaf shapes and repeat.
3. Using crayon, make some lines
thick and keep some lines thin for
4. Using crayon, touch the edge of
one leaf and draw a line-type from
the leaf to the edge of the paper to
divide the negative space. Repeat
on each leaf with a different line
5. Demonstrate the wet-on-wet
method of using watercolors. Stu-
dents will create their own colorful
leaf designs by painting the entire
6. Allow to dry and then mount on
black construction paper.
Did students create at least three
completed leaves? Did they show
knowledge of the wet-on-wet
effects and use a combination of
thick and thin crayon lines?
By Marisa Main, art educator in
Huntington, West Virginia.
DESIGNER FOOTWEAR Middle School
The Art Problem
I challenged my eighth graders to
create a decorated shoe in a Pop
Students will transform a shoe using
paint, plaster, and found objects
using Pop Art style.
old (clean) shoes, plaster craft strips,
containers of water, acrylic paint,
feathers, pompoms, glitter, beads,
ribbons, sequins, and recycled
materials, different kinds of glue
1. Introduce the work of Pop Artists
such as Andy Warhol, James Rosen-
quist, and Claes Oldenburg.
2. Brainstorm with students ideas of
how they can decorate shoes using
Pop Art style.
3. Have students bring in shoes or
ask for donations from the school
4. Students each choose one shoe
and cover the outside with several
layers of wet plaster craft strips.
5. Once the strips are dry, students
cover the shoe with acrylic paint.
6. Once the paint is dry, students
can add desired materials using
To what extent can students discuss
and explain their inspirations and
reasons for the choices they made
in decorating their shoes?
By Cathy Claggett, an art
teacher at Our Lady Queen
of Peace School in Madison,
CLAY TILE NAMEPLATES Elementary
The Art Problem
This clay activity teaches upper
elementary students how to create
tiles that can be used as name-
plates. Making clay nameplates is
an engaging activity that encour-
ages students to think about the
structures and functions of art to
create a personal expression.
clay and clay tools, glaze or paint,
Bas relief: A sculpture that is con-
sidered low-relief; a coin is consid-
ered bas relief.
1. Ask students to think about
characteristics that define who
they are. Tell them that in this les-
son they will create a bas-relief
nameplate out of clay. The name-
plate will show characteristics or
symbols about the student.
2. Demonstrate rolling the clay to
a uniform thickness and then dis-
3. Measure and cut the clay into a
geometric shape. The tile shown is
3 x 5" ( 7 x 12 cm).
4. Use a pencil to punch two holes
in the top portion of the tile.
5. Use leftover clay to create a fan-
ciful, low-relief sculpture. Provide
additional clay if needed. Show
students how to cut designs from
the clay and how to attach the
pieces by scoring and using slip.
6. Draw other details and add tex-
ture to the clay.
7. Bisque fire and then paint or
8. Thread yarn through the two
holes, tie double knots, and display
Have students write a fifty-word
story with a beginning, middle,
and end that tells about the char-
acteristics they have shown in their
By Pam Stephens, Northern
Arizona University, Flagstaff.
VELLUM EXPLORATIONS High School
The Art Problem
Students will create classroom envi-
ronment studies using colored pen-
cils and vellum. Students will learn
how to layer and burnish color pen-
cils to create depth and value.
vellum, colored pencils
1. Begin by allowing students to
move about the room to find an
2. Ask each student to create three
thumbnails of the classroom space.
3. Choose the strongest and most
daring view and ask students to
create a scale drawing of the envi-
4. Once complete, tape the draw-
ing to a drawing board and place
the translucent vellum on top of the
drawing. This will allow students to
work through the vellum to their
5. Students should begin by laying
in the middle values. Remind them
frequently that they must layer a
variety of colors. For example, in
the image of the fire extinguisher,
the student used a variety of reds
with blue and violet for the darks,
and yellows and creams for the
6. Once complete, take the vellum
off of the board and explore what
colors look best behind the vellum
to showcase the drawing.
Once you have completed your
interior environment, take the stu-
dents outside to create a non-
traditional landscape using vellum
and colored pencil.
By Nicole Brisco, TAEA secondary
division chair, contributing editor for SchoolArts, and teacher
at Pleasant Grove High School in