Thursday, April 30, 2020

Modern Japan: Pumpkins and Robots!

It is our second week of art from JAPAN!  We will learn about a Japanese artist who loves polka dots, and then we will look at some fun robot designs in Japan.  

Begin by watching this short video about Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.  She is sometimes called "The Princess of Polka Dots" because of her love of all things spotted.  She has become famous for polka dots!  She thinks of herself as one dot in a universe of dots, so a dotted pattern can make her "disappear" among lots of dots.  It's kind of like one person disappearing in a huge crowd.  She calls this obliteration.  That's a big word that means to make something go away.  

Watch here:
Read here:

Another way to make things disappear is to camouflage them against a similar background.  If you put a spotted object in front of a spotted background, it is hard to see.  
We would say it is camouflaged.    
Kusama would say the object has been obliterated.  
Look at this picture of Kusama with one of her pumpkin sculptures.  Her dress, the pumpkin, and the wall look similar.  They all blend together!

This week's art project challenge is to make a polka dot pumpkin and then to obliterate it!  You will create a little sculpture and then design a background to make it camouflaged.  Look at these examples by Prescott students, and then watch the video for directions. 

What about the ROBOTS?  If you would like more art lessons (optional), here are some ideas!  Robots are a big deal in Japan!  Since Japan has more robots than any other country in the world, let's watch this video and then design some robots of our own!

Click here for Nat Geo Kids video!

Then choose a project below, or make up your own robot-themed art!
Shape Robots:
Marker Robots:

To upload art, go to and enter WCCP-WSTF

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Gumball Machine Value Study

In this project, you will use what you know about creating value scales to transform a circle into a sphere.  You will practice this skill as you draw and color a picture of a gumball machine!  

Three Gumball Machines, by artist Wayne Thiebaud
Begin by practicing shading a value scale on a circle.  Trace something circular from around your house.  Choose a spot on the top of the circle to be the spot where the light hits the sphere.  Draw a small circle, and then draw a few larger circles around that circle.  Shade these areas like you shaded your value scale last week.  Blend them with your finger or a paper towel.  Erase the highlighted area if the smudges made it too dark.  
Once you feel like you have had enough practice, follow along with me on this video to draw your gumball machine.  Don't forget to upload your completed work to Artsonia!

If you would like to read more about artist Wayne Thiebaud, who painted the painting Three Gumball Machines (above),  Read this!

To upload art, go to and enter WCCP-WSTF

Color Wheel Perspective

In this week's project, we will:

  • Practice one-point perspective.
  • Review the color wheel.
  • Continue to work on value and shading.

Follow along with the video (below) for instructions, but try to spend a little time each day on your work. This schedule is a good way to pace yourself:  

Monday:  Watch the video(below) and lightly draw your scene.
Tuesday:  Finish drawing details and trace your scene.
Wednesday:  Color your scene.
Thursday:  Finish coloring your scene, making sure you have value scales in each building.
Friday:  Upload your work to Artsonia and write an artist's statement on Artsonia. Directions below!

Follow this link for some helpful slides reviewing perspective:

Follow along with Ms. Ammons for instructions!

To upload art, go to and enter WCCP-WSTF

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Spring in Japan

Each week, first grade students learn about a different country through making art.  For the next two weeks, we will focus on JAPAN.  There are so many fun things to learn about Japan that we can't fit them into just one week!  

We will begin with some activities about Children's Day!  On May 5, families raise the  koinobori, which are fish-shaped windsocks.  There is a legend that a carp (fish) that swims upstream becomes a dragon and flies to Heaven.  Each member of the family is represented by a carp.  By hanging them where they can be blown by the wind, it looks like they are swimming!  

This week, begin by watching this short video about Children's Day.

Then follow along on this video to do a fun koinobori craft with Ms. Ammons: 

Here is a fun read-aloud about life in Japan:  I Live in Tokyo

Here are some other (optional) art activities if you would like more!
Don't forget to share your work!  
Enter this code:  WCCP-WSTF

Friday, April 17, 2020

Perspective in Space

This week, you will use what you know about value to create a new project.  As we learned last week, value can make a shape look 3-D.  It can also create the illusion of depth in a scene.  As you approach the horizon in a scene, the value of the background color typically gets lighter.  Notice, in this photo, the blue sky is darker at the top edge, and it is lighter at the horizon.  It is a blue value scale! 

 Follow the directions for each day so that you can finish your work by Friday!

MONDAY:   For this week's project, you will begin by creating a background for your scene.  This background will be a value scale that fills the page.  The darkest value will be at the top, and the lightest value will be at the bottom.  You can use any cool color:  Blue, Violet or Grey.  Color EVENLY and smoothly!

Ms. Ammons's Example
TUESDAY:  Today you should find some items around the house that you can trace to make circles.  Trace 4-6 circles, of differing sizes, on a new sheet of paper.  Use what you know about value and blending to shade these circles and make them look like spheres.  (Just like we did for your sports project earlier in the year.)  These can be any colors you choose.   You can keep it various values of grey if you don't have color pencils.  Don't forget to make them different sizes!  They will become planets.

Ms. Ammons's Example

WEDNESDAY:  Today you will create a simple room using perspective.  Watch this video, and I'll lead you through it.  You will need a ruler or something with a straight edge, a new paper, a pencil, markers (or crayons), and a credit card sized card to trace.

THURSDAY:  Today you will use your work from Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to make a COLLAGE!  Cut out the circles and the walls of your room drawing, and glue them onto your background.  Use a magazine to add creative details to your work.  Be sure you cut and glue neatly so that you make your work look its best.
My Example:  I was careful when I cut things out and glued them.  I found some random pictures in a magazine to make the scene look a little bit more surreal and fun.  No magazines?  Do some drawings or use photos!  Here are some other images I found on the internet that other students did!  

FRIDAY:  Upload your work to Artsonia, and write an artist's statement on Artsonia.  If you can't remember how, instructions are here:

I can't wait to see your work!

Value Scale Underwater Scene

Now that you know how to make a value scale, you can use blending values to create all kinds of scenes!  This scene is designed to look like you are looking up from the bottom of the ocean!  Press play on the video below, and I will lead you through this week's project.  I hope you have as much fun as I did.  Don't be afraid to get creative with what shapes you add to your ocean.  I love to see everyone's art look different.  You can upload your completed work to Artsonia!  E-mail me if you have any trouble:

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The Art of France


This week's country is FRANCE.  France is a very old country and a very diverse country.  Because of this, it is a country full of art and culture.  Paris, the capital of France, is my favorite city.  It has more art than you can imagine.  Did you know there are 130 museums in Paris?

This week, I would like you to watch this National Geographic Kids video about Paris, and then we will do an art activity, hear a story, and take part in an art challenge!  Be sure you notice Notre Dame Cathedral and The Eiffel Tower as you watch!

Watch a video:  Art we there yet?
Notre Dame Tour:  Tour

Do a fun Notre Dame Art Activity with Ms. Ammons:

Sample by Ms. Ammons

Next, learn some fun facts about the Eiffel Tower!  Fun Facts
Hear a story about the Eiffel Tower!  Madame Martine

Now, I want to challenge you to draw, paint or build your own version of the Eiffel Tower!  You can use any materials.  Be sure to photograph and share your work on Artsonia!  Here are some ideas if you need inspiration:  

Draw an Eiffel Tower!  

I can't wait to see what you make!

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Value Scale Challenge

A value scale is a small chart that shows a series of tints and shades of a single color.  In an earlier exercise, you made your own value scale.  In this project, you will use that value scale as a reference as you create an original composition.  


Your challenge will be to include as many value scales as you can within your drawing.  Be creative and choose a theme that interests you.  Don't simply choose something you think is "easy".  You will enjoy spending time on a drawing you like, and it will seem less tedious as you perfect your even coloring and blending of values.  

Questions to consider:
  • Did I choose something I think is interesting and fun as my theme?
  • Did I fill my entire paper?
  • Did I include a wide variety of values?
  • Did I add as many value scales as I could to my drawing?
  • Did I color smoothly and evenly?
  • Did I upload my work AND an artist's statement to my Artsonia account?  

Watch this video for examples and reminders!

Your work is due FRIDAY.  

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Abstract Value Study

Sample by Ms. Ammons
In art class, we set goals for each project.  Whenever we are using coloring tools, our goals are to color evenly, to blend colors, and to use a variety of values.  In this project, you will practice these goals and you will apply the skills you used to make your value scale.  As you do this project, remember that it would be better to use a smaller paper than to rush through the coloring.  If it takes you a while, you are doing it RIGHT!  You should use your art time each day as a break from using certain parts of your brain as you challenge other parts!  Try putting on music, finding a comfortable spot, and really finding your focus as you work to fill your entire page.  Watch the video for directions, and don't forget to write an artist's statement as you upload your work to Artsonia.  Directions for both of those tasks can be found here:

The Value of Value

Value, or the relative lightness or darkness of a color, is one of the main elements of art.  It is an important skill that makes artwork more realistic.  It is how we change a shape like a circle into a form like a sphere.  

In third grade, Prescott students begin to practice value as they learn to draw Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate, AKA "The Bean".  From that project on, we use those skills in every drawing or painting project we do!  

This week, as you do your 3rd, 4th or 7th grade art assignments, I want you to have a value scale to use.  By creating your own value scale, you will practice some of the shading techniques that you will use in your work.  Watch this video, and create a value scale.  Save your work to reference as you begin this week's assignment!  

Friday, April 10, 2020

Russian Matryoshka Dolls

As first graders continue to learn about art around the world, this week they will learn about the art of Russia!  Please spend at least 30 minutes per day on art, leading them through the following videos and links.  They will probably need help, but try to support them while letting them do what they can.  To submit work, choose at least one project each week.  Try all the projects if you are looking for some extra enrichment!   Photograph the completed masterpieces and upload them to your student’s Artsonia account.  Prescott’s school code is: WCCP-WSTF  If you do not have access, you can e-mail them to Ms. Ammons at

It's hard to find a symbol of Russia more popular than the traditional Russian nesting doll. These decorated wooden dolls "with a secret" are also called matryoshka dolls or babushka dolls. They are recognized even in the countries thousand miles away from Russia. Taking a Russian nesting doll back home is popular among people visiting Russia.  The following video, my FIRST video (please be kind), will show you how to make your own!  Then, hear a wonderful story about some matryoshkas in this video read-aloud.  Finally, enjoy this classic Sesame Street video including the famous Russian toys.

Other lessons for enrichment can be found at:  

American Sculpture: Martin Puryear

Martin Puryear is a 79 year old sculptor who lives in New York.  He has traveled the world to study art and craft traditions, and he has rec...