Category: Art Education

I have been immersed in the art education field for a number of years, and as a high school art teacher and daughter to a 30+ year elementary art teacher, I have compiled a number of my favorite art lessons. Here I will share my lessons, experiences, how tos, and examples of student work.

As an art educator, I am constantly on the lookout for new ideas, materials, and techniques. I have found countless lessons on other people’s websites and I hope this will be a way for me to give back.

If you have an amazing lesson you would like to share please e-mail me at [email protected] You can also check out my teaching products at my Teachers Pay Teachers shop here.

Gelli Printmaking Crash Course From a Self Taught Printmaker

This year I taught myself how to create gelli prints a few days before I started teaching it to students. I had been interested in trying it for a couple of years, especially after seeing a demo of it at the New York NAEA conference in 2017. When it came time to plan a quick, easy, and pretty looking project for an annual art fundraiser my school participates in, it all clicked in place.

This process is so easy, fast, and fun! It creates beautiful results with little risk. It’s perfect for a fundraiser project because generally every student will create a successful print. After playing around with the process I decided I wanted to take it a step further and incorporate this process into my intro to watercolor assignment.

But let’s start back at the beginning with a little how to.

Gelli printmaking supplies

For this project you need a gelli plate. I had enough plates to pair up my students, but it helps to have at least a few to pass around. Don’t cheap out! I tried buying two more at the last minute at an arts and crafts store. It was easily half the thickness and the paint didn’t transfer as solidly from the plate. I highly recommend the Gelli Arts brand. I especially loved the round print shape.

You will also need…

  • High flow acrylic paint (or the cheap craft store paints or slightly watered down acrylic paint. Open acrylics work really well because they are slow drying)
  • A brayer
  • A barren (or a wood spoon or flat object)
  • Thin watercolor paper (if incorporating the watercolor portion of the project), drawing paper works fine if not doing the watercolor addition
  • Printer paper
  • Leaves and other natural materials
  • Stencils and texture plates to add additional texture as you print.

For the watercolor portion:

  • Watercolor paints
  • Paint brushes
  • Rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle
  • Salt
  • Waterproof pen, or thin Sharpie
  • Masking fluid

HOW TO:

Leaves and pinecones you can use to print with in gelli printmaking.

STEP ONE: Collect materials to print with. You can press textures, such as pine cones, into the plate and place flat objects on the plate to print with to create negative space. Look for leaves with interesting shapes. Large, simple shapes won’t print well. Think little leaves, ferns, interesting contour lines.

The natural objects don’t last well overnight. You may end up needing to collect new natural materials before every class. You can try pressing the leaves between flat, heavy objects to keep them from curling as they dry.

STEP TWO: Set up your station with your paint colors, paper, texture plates, and natural objects. You will need a sheet of paper for the first print and a sheet of printer paper for the ghost print. A ghost print is a print taken after most of the paint has transferred during the first print. The ghost print helps clean up the plate for the next print, no need to rinse these off in between, and it creates a beautiful second image that can be displayed or used in collages, visual journals, etc.

A gelli plate with acrylic paint rolled on top.

STEP THREE: Apply the paint. Put 3-4 dime size dabs of paint on the plate. Try to keep similar colors together, don’t scatter random colors all over the plate or you will get a messier look. Consider color theory, what colors work well together? What happens if the colors you selected mix? Remember, complementary colors (yellow/purple, red/green, and blue/orange) create grays and browns when mixed. Roll over the paint with the brayer, roll over the plate until the entire plate is covered. If you see paint “peaks” where the brayer leaves texture behind, you might have too much paint on your plate. The above plate is a little heavy with paint.

TIP: Place one color on one side of the plate, another on the other side, and roll the brayer up and down until the colors start to mix in the center.

How to press a textured plate into a gelli plate.

STEP FOUR: If applying a texture through a stencil, stamp, pine cone, or similar, do that before placing your leaves. Press your texture object into the plate, then lift it off. Paint should pull up with the object, leaving signs of the texture on the plate.

Gelli prints with brushstrokes.

You can also add paintbrush texture by adding a few drops of paint onto the already rolled plate and spreading it out using a paintbrush. This texture will also transfer to the plate.

See how to print with leaves using a gelli plate.

STEP FIVE: Place your leaves on the wet plate. Don’t move them once you place them, otherwise you may create unwanted lines and texture.

TIP: Try to move through these steps as quick as possible, unless you are using slow drying paint the paint may start to dry on the plate.

STEP SIX: Lay your printing paper on top, press the leaves down with your hand before rubbing over the back with the brayer. Make sure you move over the entire plate with the brayer, ensuring all the paint is being pressed to the paper.

STEP SEVEN: Lift the paper and enjoy your print! Set it aside to dry.

Gelli print and ghost print.

STEP EIGHT: Remove the leaves and place a sheet of printer paper onto the plate. Rub over the back with your hands or a brayer, lift the paper, and enjoy your ghost print! This step also cleans the plate. After this the plate is ready to be reused right away.

TIP: The above ghost print shows the correct amount of paint was used because the majority of the paint stuck to the first sheet of paper, leaving only the paint blocked by the pine needles and leaves behind for the ghost print. If your students have messy prints and a lot of paint left on the plate after printing, have them cut the amount of paint by half the next time around.

If you aren’t adding any watercolor to your print you are done at this point! Cut the extra paper off to center the print in the paper, try to leave a border for display. Mount the prints and display them. OPTIONAL: Display the prints with the ghost prints.

Gelli print supplies to add watercolor.

STEP NINE: Add watercolor to the negative space of the print. For this assignment, I had my student print until they got three successful prints. They selected two to test out 12 watercolor techniques and selected one to leave as is.

I have a watercolor handout and an instruction sheet that I give to my students to reference as they work. Both of these are included in my gelli print lesson plan. This lesson is now serving as my introduction to watercolor before moving into a more in-depth watercolor assignment.

Gelli print with watercolor.

This example shows the wet watercolor painting to the left and the painting after it dried with ink added. The ink helped define the fern and add texture.

Gelli prints

Display the three gelli prints together. Cut the excess paper off, mount them, and enjoy!

How ghost prints and gelli prints can be collaged into a visual journal.

If you have sketchbooks or visual journals in your class, encourage your students to save mess up prints and ghost prints to collage with in their journals. I will blog about collaging my ghost prints in the near future!

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Help me spread the word about art lessons, printmaking, gelli prints, and visual journaling by sharing with others.Interested in more visual journal stories, tips, and how tos? Check out my visual journal blog page here and my visual journal bundle on TPT here. Interested in other printmaking lessons? Check out a relief printmaking blog post here and my printmaking lessons here. Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Help spread the word and get involved with visual journaling by following, sharing, and commenting!

I’ve been sharing a lot of my day to day activities, student work, and art and yearbook lessons on my Instagram. Follow along here!

TPT Bonus Back to School Sale!

I have been terrible at blogging this summer, surprise, surprise, this reflects no past patterns whatsoever (insert eye roll here). Even though I plan to get back into regular blogging, I wanted to drop a quick note about the Teachers Pay Teachers back to school bonus sale!

I just found out this was happening at the end of last week, and I am so excited because I don’t remember participating in a bonus sale in past years. So many schools start back in September, so this a great way to give those teachers a sale day if they weren’t in school mode and back to school shopping at the beginning of August.

The bonus sale is one day only, August 21st (2018). My entire store will be 20% off with an additional 5% provided by TPT at checkout. I have still been posting regularly, although not as often as I was over the summer. I am back to school and my time is now spent 90% art teachering and 10% TPTing (with being a mom, wife, dog and chicken mom, and homeowner lumped somewhere in those two).

I have been working so hard getting my classroom set up and ready to go. I have done a good bit of clearing out, organizing, and rearranging this year. I plan to post about my classroom transformation soon!

I also reprinted and laminated my elements of art and principles of design posters. These are available at my TPT store and will be included in the 25% off on Tuesday, 8/21.

I felt like my life revolved around laminating for a few days. But I also got my brand new “Save the…” poster series laminated and hung. I will be posting pictures to my instagram about these sometime next week. You can find these posters on my TPT store here.

If you missed my post recapping all the TPT products I made over the summer and the new bundles I am working towards, read about them in my back to school TPT post here. 

Happy bonus sale day, make sure you mark your calendar! Thanks for reading this quick note, I look forward to sharing some of my projects more in depth soon. Thanks for stopping by!

My Summer of TPT + TPT Back to School Sale (8/1, 8/2/18)

I can’t believe it’s that time of year again. It’s BACK TO SCHOOL! Where did summer go? My summer went to pools, beaches, baby snuggles, and a ton of TPT ing.

My little family enjoyed a much needed out of town vacation in Hilton Head Island, SC. One of my favorite parts of being a teacher is the time I get with my sweet babies during summer. I ate up every minute of it while the babies were awake. But, every minute their little heads were on their pillows I was at my computer getting ready for today. The back to school sale!

I have seemingly endless ideas for TPT products, and my ever growing to do list certainly reflects this. I have hit it hard since the start of summer and have put together a bunch of new products and some major bundles. August 1st and 2nd my entire store will be 20% off, plus an extra 5% from TPT added at checkout. This is huge especially for my 5 curriculum, $300.00 bundle. See details below.

This is a goal I have been working toward for a couple of years. When I first started working on curriculums, with my Intro to Art curriculum, I realized there was a market out there for these types of products. That motivated me to post my personal curriculums for drawing, painting, advanced 2D, intro to sculpture and ceramics, and AP art. My goal has always been to build each curriculum individually then create a mega bundle, a complete high school visual art course load. Originally I wanted to also include 3D, but it will take more time to get there. Instead, I went ahead and put together my 2D high school mega curriculum bundle . It includes:

I have this listed for $300.00, a $35.00 discount. This is everything you need to teach every single day in 5 different art courses. With 25% off this bundle will be just $225.00, a lot of money for an art teacher, but a steal for the amount of content.

I already wrote about my AP Art curriculum here, so I won’t repeat myself. But I am so proud of this bundle. This would’ve been a huge help to me as a 1st year AP teacher, and I hope it can serve that for someone else. I have already gotten a number of questions about this curriculum vs. my advanced 2D curriculum. They are totally different and if you teach both I recommend getting both. That way you won’t have to redesign AP once your advanced kids move up. This will be just $75.00 with the 25% discount. 

After completing my 5 curriculum bundle I decided to return to a project I started last year, a save the brushes poster. It was a quirky way to show students what happens if you don’t care for supplies and tips on how to prevent ruining brushes. As an art teacher I have many supplies at risk of student abuse. Over the school year I made it a point to photograph supply disasters as they happened in my room. I then turned those photos into save the glue, palettes, markers, paint, paint pumps, paint tubes, sinks, erasers, and pencils. I now have a poster bundle of “Save the…” posters. This is bundled for $17.60, and will be marked down to $13.20.

In my advanced 2D and AP art curriculums I made it a point to develop critiques to go along with every project. That lead me to the idea of creating a critique bundle. This includes 20 general critiques that could go with any type of project at any level. They are fun. get kids moving, thinking, and verbalizing their opinions. This lists for $37.60, but will be marked down to $28.20 on 8/1/18 and 8/2/18.

In addition to my own massive to do list, I have also decided to team up with my amazing coworker, Meagan Brooker, and my amazing mom, Anne Ward. Meagan teaches drawing, photography, and AP art at our school. She is also a professional photographer on the side and is responsible for all our family photos for the last six years, many of which are proudly printed on our annual Christmas cards. Photography is a hobby of mine, but professional, manual photography is totally out of my comfort zone. I know there is a need out there for good digital photography lessons, so that is where Meagan comes in. She hands over her awesome lessons and I TPT ify them: adding detailed lesson plans, PowerPoints, and clarifying instructions so anyone, professional photographer or not, can follow them.

Meagan and my first collaboration is an introduction to photography lesson. This focuses more on setting up a successful photograph from step 1, rather than relying on editing later. It emphasizes the elements of photography and rules of composition. This has two projects in one. It lists for $8.00 but will be marked down to $6.00 the 1st and 2nd of August.

My mom is a retired art teacher of over 30 years. She has a ridiculous wealth of knowledge in this subject area and still teaches private lessons, summer camp, and consults in her former school county. She specialized in printmaking in college, which is why I am so excited that the first bundle we are working towards is a K-5th printmaking bundle. It will not only include amazing lessons, but also how to set up your classroom to help printmaking run as smooth as possible. We will be working over the next year (or more) on a comprehensive K-5 yearlong curriculum. Our first printmaking lesson is a kindergarten fish monoprint. More is coming soon!

School starts for me 8/6/18, I am equal parts ready and not ready. But, I am making some changes in my classroom and can’t wait to share them here. I am hoping I can keep my summer stamina going and keep posting almost as frequently during the school year.

I have new motivation as my husband quit his job in May to pursue building is own company. This is something we have discussed for years, and TPT has made it a reality. I am so proud that my hard work is paying off and I can support my family in this way. TPT has provided a space for teachers to share their ideas with others, and I am so grateful I discovered it, gave it a try, and stuck it out.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Don’t forget to check out the TPT sale 8/1/18-8/2/18. If you are reading this after the fact, I promise my products are still worth every penny even at full price! Thanks for stopping by.

Teachers Pay Teachers: AP Art Curriculum including Breadth, Concentration, and Quality

For the past year I have been working crazy hard to get a comprehensive high school art curriculum put together on my Teachers Pay Teachers site. I started with my Introduction to Art curriculum, and it quickly gained popularity. I realized there was a market for complete curriculums so teachers can worry about focusing on their students and whats going on in their classrooms, rather than the lesson plans.

After the success of my Intro to Art curriculum I formulated a plan. I would create a curriculum bundle back for all the high school art courses I have experience with, then bundle all of those into a mega-super-TPT-art bundle. As of last week I completed my AP Art 2D Design and Drawing curriculum, which completed my 2D focused high school art curriculum. This huge bundle includes year-long intro to art, advanced art, and AP art curriculums and semester long drawing and painting curriculums.

This was a HUGE accomplishment for me and a goal I’ve been working towards for a year. However, for this blog post I am going to focus on the details of my AP Art bundle, and save the high school art curriculum for a later post. Check out the details of my AP Studio Art course below.

I taught AP Art for a few years at my last job, and loved it, but it was an overwhelming task to take on. It’s difficult to motivate students to produce the amount of work required for the AP art portfolio. After taking a break from teaching it and a lot of reflection, I began developing some material that would have helped me a lot in the beginning.

I did go through an AP certification course, but it’s a single week in the summer. I get a ton of good information and head start on the year, but the things we covered quickly left my brain as we got into the grittiness that is spring semester. If I make my way back to teaching AP art at my current job, I am excited to now have these resources to help me, and my students stay on top of the rigorous schedule.

In addition the meat of the AP art portfolio, projects for breath, concentration, and quality, I also include a yearlong timeline, printable calendar with every deadline, homework assignments, AP Art application, syllabus, parent and student agreement, summer work, supply list, sticker chart, and so much more. I have specifics that go along with each portfolio section as well as lesson plans, presentations, and evaluation sheets to go with each project.

BREADTH ASSIGNMENTS:

The breath section requires 12 works of art submitted (for 2D Design and Drawing portfolios), which can include details. I lay out 14 breadth assignments to be completed in semester one. This may seem like a lot, but some take longer than others, and it’s important for students to be able to select their best works of art, which means ideally more than 12 are created. In my breadth bundle in addition to project information I include lesson plans, handouts, evaluation sheets, critique sheets, PowerPoints, examples, and more for every project. Below are details on the 14 assignments:

Semester Long Canvas:

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • A focus on working on a work of art for an extended period of time, encouraging creativity and problem solving.
  • The ability to take breaks and work on it when inspiration hits.
  • Artist exemplars: Gustav Klimt and Pirkko Makela-Haapalinna

Bones and Exoskeletons

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • A focus on technical ability, value, and object studies.
  • Putting their own spin on a traditional subject matter.
  • Artist exemplars: Albrecht Durer and Jason Borders.

Perspective

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • A focus on technical ability, foreshortening, and displaying understanding of perspective in art.
  • Artist exemplars: M.C. Escher and Stephen Wright.

Design

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • A focus on design elements in both the 2D design and drawing portfolios.
  • Show an understanding of using the elements of art and principles of design in a work of art.
  • Artist exemplars: Jasper Johns, Leonardo da Vinci, and Barbara Kruger.

Portrait with Words

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • A focus on value, line quality, portraiture, and a connection between text and imagery.
  • Artist exemplars: Leslie Nichols, Jamie Poole, and Michael Volpicellis

Ordinary Behavior

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • Focus on elevating the ordinary subject matter through the composition and medium.
  • Artist exemplars: Henry Mosler, Ralph Goings, and William Wray.

Action Portrait

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • Artist exemplars: Edgar Degas and Nikunj Rathod
  • Focus on using the elements of art and principles of design to create a sense of movement.
  • Creating a dynamic work of art.

Abstract Acrylic

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • Artist exemplars: Piet Mondrian, Wassily Kandinsky, and Mark Rothko
  • A focus on line, shape, color, balance, unity, and focal point.

Unusual Interiors

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • Focus on light, perspective, and overlooked or not typically seen as “beautiful” interior spaces.
  • Artist exemplars: Edward Hopper and Richard Estes.

Layers and Mixed Media

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • Focus on layers, mixed media, and blurring the lines between the figure/ground relationship through stable, reversible, and ambiguous figure/ground.
  • Artist exemplars: Juan Gris and Christina McPhee

Satire in Art

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • Focus on a current issue through satire and humor.
  • Artist exemplars: James Gillray, Nate Beeler, and Paul Kuczynski

10 Interesting Photographs

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • Turn one of the student’s 10 interesting photographs homework assignment into a work of art.
  • Artist exemplars: Student selects one through research.

Scan & RepurposeEverything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • Take a work of art from earlier in the semester or a previous art course and turn it into a new work of art.
  • Scan the old work of art into the computer and digitally manipulate it or scan, print, and complete a transfer onto a new background.
  • Artist exemplars: Student selects one through research.

Visual Jourmal

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • Eight visual journal pages are due by the end of the semester.

CONCENTRATION:

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

The concentration section of the portfolio requires 12 works of art (for 2D design and drawing portfolios) that all fit under one theme. My concentration bundle pack includes 2D Design and Drawing specific introduction PowerPoints as well as lesson plans, handouts, information sheets, evaluation sheets, critique reminders and more. This bundle is meant to serve as a guide for how students can pick a topic that can last through at least 12 works of art.

QUALITY:

The quality section of the AP art portfolio has the students select 5 of their best works of art to be physically mailed in to be evaluated. My quality bundle pack includes details and information sheets to help guide the students, a PowerPoint, lesson plan, submission guidelines, teacher tips, planning an AP art exhibit, and so much more.

The AP Art bundle is my largest curriculum undertaking to date. I have spent endless hours putting it together, and I must say I am very proud. Since it was posted last week, I have already sold a few, and I can’t wait to hear feedback.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog. Help me spread the word by sharing with others. Check out my other TPT and art education blog posts here. Check out my other TPT products here. Thanks for stopping by!

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.
Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.
Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

Teaching Abstract Art: When the Simplest Concepts are Actually the Most Complex

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

Abstract art is one of my favorite types of art and it’s an art form that I always include in my high school art curriculum. It can be hit and miss, some years they get it and run with it, other years it’s like pulling teeth. Despite my mixed results I am committed to always including it in my lessons because it can be under-appreciated by those who don’t understand it. AKA, please don’t tell me “I could’ve done that.” Because guess what, you didn’t.

Abstract art may look simple, but it is in fact one of the most complex forms of art and reflects a much higher level of thinking (yes, there is a lot of thinking that goes on in art making). Because of this fact I was very wary of doing an abstract art project with my advanced class this year. They are a wonderful group of kids, but overall their technical ability and creativity level is lower than what I typically have in my advanced classes. My tried and true projects were very hit and miss this year, and I felt like a failure of a teacher. I just couldn’t figure out my “in” with them.

So of course, knowing all of this information I decided to develop a new abstract art project that was bigger than ever and more open ended than over. I was convinced it was going to fail miserably, but I continued down the path anyway.

I attribute the formation of this new lesson to watching cartoons with my two year old. We were deep into watching Inside Out for the 1000th time when the abstract thought scene came up. If you have never seen it, Google it, it’s an amazing explanation. The characters show the progression of abstract thought through verbal and visual explanations. The characters literally abstract before your eyes. The light bulb turned on.

I put together a PowerPoint including a link to the clip (plus a few other video clips) and three abstract artists to show examples of the three main elements in abstract art: Piet Mondrian for line, Wassily Kandinksy for shape, and Mark Rothko for color. The only guidelines I gave my students were it must emphasize either line, shape, or color (all three will be included, but one will be showcased) as well as balance, unity, and a focal point. The three elements are the building blocks and the three principles are what make it a successful work of art.

I was so worried. Typically with my abstract projects I have my students start with a concrete base, such as a photograph of a landscape or an object, and I help them simplify and abstract it before they start painting it. But this project took it to a new level, it was high level problem solving. I set them off to work and as always with a new project I worked on my example along with them.

Each student got a 36″x48″ canvas. This was the largest any of them had ever worked. I sent them off to sketch and I began to work on mine. I decided I wanted to focus on cool colors, with pops of warm, incorporate an acrylic pour somehow and emphasize line. In my head I wanted the organic shapes of the acrylic pour pattern juxtaposed with the geometric lines. First I painted the entire canvas using the cool colors I planned to incorporate into the stripes.

Next, I used a ruler to create a line pattern. I had a loose idea to focus on diagonal lines, but from there I started laying the lines out and made adjustments as I went.

Once I felt confident with my pattern I began filling it in.

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

I wanted the bright orange to help create a focal point.

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

Again, I had a loose idea of the colors I wanted and would scatter them around the canvas before starting another. I would periodically take a step back to make sure the colors looked balanced before adding more.

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

I wanted the background to make up some of the stripes and as I began filling in the lines I decided I wanted to have more of a variety of shapes, rather than the same width lines covering the entire piece. To create that look I didn’t fill in large chunks of the lines and instead left the background showing through.

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

I waited until closer to the end to add more orange stripes to make sure they remained the focal point. At this point I loved the piece. I began questioning whether or not to add the acrylic pour aspect. But, I decided to follow through with my plan. The organic look of the pour would either elevate it, or hurt it, but at least I had photographic evidence of this point in case I hated the final version. Plus, you can always paint over what you don’t like.

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

I didn’t want the acrylic pour to look like a paint spill on top of my piece. I wanted it to look intentionally included. To achieve this I decided to let it fill in some of the strips, but have clean strips cutting through it. I carefully taped up specific sections and tried to visualize where the paint would fall.

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

At this point I had never done an acrylic pour before. One of my students was familiar with the process, and she did some on her abstract acrylic. I read a few how tos, watched a few videos and carefully watched her technique before trying it on my own (once my class had dismissed just in case it was an epic fail). I put my acrylic paint colors in individual cups and mixed it with water, floetrol, and tested some rubbing alcohol on a few. I poured the smaller cups into a larger one, alternating the colors.

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

Full discloser, the first pour was a HUGE failure! I didn’t thin the paint enough and it ended up being a huge glob of paint that would not spread. I quickly wiped all the paint off and had a moment of silence for the wasted supplies. Attempt two went much better. I still sweated a bit as I tried to spread the paint while maintaining the beautiful cells, it’s way harder than it looks.

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

After layer one I decided I wanted a little more, so I did a final pour on the lower half.

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

After letting it dry overnight the moment of truth came and I began peeling off the tape. I was slightly disappointed, the paint still seeped under the edges of the tape, which meant a lot of clean up, but I was excited about the potential. After a lot of cleaning up edges I decided I was very pleased with the end result.

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

And the best part is the tape will make an amazing visual journal page in the near future.

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

In case you are wondering this project ended up being the most successful project of the year. All of my students excelled and these large scale abstract acrylics made beautiful and impressive additions to our annual art show. I don’t know if I can attribute the success to my enthusiasm for it, working along with them, breaking it down into basics, or my Inside Out clip, but whatever it was I will take a win at the end of the school year.

If you are interested in learning more about this project check out my Teachers Pay Teachers lesson plan here. It is designed for advanced or AP art level high school art students, but I believe the basics can be kept and it be sized down for earlier high school or middle school students.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Check out more visual journal pages here and more of my TPT products here. Help spread the word by sharing with others. Thanks for stopping by!

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.
How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.