Wednesday, May 30, 2018

World Cup Art (South Korea): 3D Lotus Flowers


During July and through the early weeks of August (at the edge of the monsoon season) it’s the time to enjoy the blooming of the Lotus flower. Either pink or white, it can bloom in even the foulest water; retaining its beauty without letting its environment taint its pure nature.

The lotus is a very important symbol in Korean culture. Not only the blossoms, but also the roots, the leafy pads – the whole flower. It shows up in literature, in art, in architecture, in pop culture, and in food and of course in Buddhism.

The lotus flower grows in muddy water and rises above the surface to bloom with remarkable beauty. In Buddhism this is a symbol of the true nature of beings, which remains unstained by the mud of the world and is realized through enlightenment. The flower closes and sinks underwater at night, to rise and open again at dawn. Untouched by impurity, the lotus symbolizes the purity of heart and mind.

Many in Seoul, South Korea, celebrate the birth of Buddha at the Lotus Lantern Festival. At the festival, you'll see lots of painted faces, parades, fireworks ... And lots of beautiful lotus flowers!

Today we are going to construct our own lotus flowers - and they're going to be 3D, not just flat on the page! 

3 sheets of watercolor paper per artist
Liquid Watercolor Paint: Pink, Purple, Red, Green, Oranges, Yellow, Turquoise, Blue
Paint Brushes
Paper Towels
Water Cups
Paper mats for desks

Step 1 - The Petals. Using the first piece of paper, paint the flower petals in reds, pinks and purples. (Docents: Add a few drops to each artist's paper and have them paint). Set aside to dry and clean brushes.

Step 2 - The Leaves and the Center of the Flower. Paint 2/3 of the page with different shades of green for the leaves, and the other 1/3 with oranges and yellows that will be used for the center of the flower. (Docents: Start with the greens and instruct the artists to paint in the area indicated in the picture. Then add orange and yellows). Set aside to dry and clean brushes.

Step 3 - Background. This is where our lotus flowers will be mounted. Paint with a blend of blue watercolors. Set aside to dry and clean your brush and empty your water containers.

Step 4 - Cutting out the Petals. Go back to your pink paper and cut out 4-5 large petal shapes, then 5-6 smaller petals, then even a few smaller petals until all of the paper is used. A good guide is to have the artists cut their paper into 1/2, 1/4 and 1/4 strips. The first half should be used for the large petals, the second 1/4 should be used for 5-6 smaller petals and then the last 1/4 can be used for smaller petals (and extra large ones if needed). Demonstrate how to cut a petal - with curvy lines.

Step 5 - The Leaves. Using all of the green area of your paper, cut out lots of leaves in various sizes - use all of the paper! These are going to be a similar shape to your petals (see above). Place your yellow/orange part of the paper aside - we won't need that yet.

Step 6 - Arrange Your Flower! Arrange the largest 4-5 flower petals evenly so that their centers overlap in the middle. Put a small amount of glue on the end of the petals - only where they overlap in the middle. Do not glue them down on the paper you're using as your mat ... Just a little bit of glue in the centers! We want the petals to pop up which will give them the 3D look! Continue layering the smaller petals in the center - again with just a little glue. Continue until all of the petals are arranged and glued into place. Allow to dry.

Step 7 - Adding The Leaves. Use the leaf pieces and arrange them evenly - peaking out from UNDER the edges of the flower. When you like how they are arranged, put a small amount of glue on the leaves and attach them to the flower ONE AT A TIME. Continue until all the leaves are used.

Step 8 - Create Center of Flower. Cut out the center of the flower in a scalloped pattern. Then cut out the yellow and cut little "fringes" - kind of like a sunshine. Glue the "sunshine" on top of the orange scalloped piece. Finish with a small round yellow circle in the center. Add to the center of the pink flower (this will cover up where you have glued the pink petals together).

Step 9. Add the Flower to Your Blue Background. Glue the completed flower onto the background piece of paper. Beautiful!

Let's finish up by watching a quick video about the short six day life cycle of a lotus blossom ...

Thursday, May 17, 2018

World Cup Art (India): Watercolor Indian Elephants

Credit: Art Projects for Kids

Your World Cup country is India! We are going to be learning about the country and going on an elephant safari! Then we'll draw and paint our own Indian Elephants!

Which country comes to mind first, when talking of elephants? India! For some reason, people have always connected elephants with India when surprisingly enough, its not even the country’s national animal! This is perhaps because only in India elephants are elaborately decorated, painted and celebrated like nowhere else in the world.

In China, India and Africa, the elephant is a symbol of beauty, power, dignity, intelligence and peace. The elephant is generally considered a symbol of good luck and the animal is a symbol of good fortune.

In Asia elephants symbolize the divine and certain ceremonies even occur in which people make offerings to elephant and wash and anoint them with special oils and colors during various festivals. It is a way of asking for their family or the community to be blessed with luck and good will because elephants also symbolism strength, good health, and longevity.

Many communities still consider the Elephant to be a strong symbol of luck and good fortune and the famous saying goes “keep a lucky elephant at the door to your house so that you can get protection from bad luck and only invite inside the good”.

Aren't they beautiful?! Let's make our own Indian elephants!

Watercolor paper
Black Sharpies
Crayons - Classroom Pack (including white)
Liquid Watercolors Paint (Gray and Orange)

Directions: Follow my instructions with this guided draw! Please do not work ahead. Please put your name on the back of your watercolor paper. Watch me draw and then you can draw. We want our elephants to take up the entire sheet of paper, so if you need to practice the first step with your finger, you can do that now.

Step 1. With your pencil, draw the beginning of a large letter "G" on the left half of the paper.

Step 2.  Add the straight back line.

Step 3.  Draw the rest of the trunk.

Step 4. Add the cheek. The line should stop at an imagined neck.

Step 5. Draw the front leg.

Step 6. Add a curve for the belly.

Step 7. Draw the tusk coming out of the cheek.

Step 8. Erase the lines inside the tusk.

Step 9. Draw a large ear and erase lines that end up inside.

Step 10. Add a small eye and toenails.

Step 11. Take your Sharpie and go around all of the lines that you have already completed. Then, use a white crayon (shown in gray below) to add wrinkles to your elephant. Make sure to press hard!

Step 12. Use warm colors (red, orange, yellow) to draw adornments on the elephant with color crayons. Make sure to press hard!

Step 13. Paint the elephant gray and your background orange with the liquid watercolor paint. Beautiful!

Now that we've completed our elephant art, why don't we watch a video about an elephant creating art!

World Cup Art (Argentina): Watercolor Resist Fossil Dinosaurs

The students will learn about Argentinean fossil digs and will complete a watercolor resist dinosaur fossil art project.

Suggested timeline:
15 minutes – Introduction of lesson; draw dinosaur lightly in pencil then outline in white pastel
30 minutes – Paint and add details to dinosaur “fossils” and let dry.
30 minutes – Watch video, discuss excavation, conduct mini-excavation exercise, discuss and wrap-up

9x12 sheet of watercolor paper
Dinosaur Template (use as a template or outline for guided draw)
White crayons or pastels
Liquid watercolor paint in earth tones
Foam brushes (1" flat and round foam stippling brushes)
Green, black and white tempera paint
Leaf stencils
Ultra-fine Sharpies
Paper plates
Water containers
Old toothbrushes and box for splatter painting

For “excavation” lesson: Chocolate chip cookies, paper plates and toothpicks

The World Cup country that you are studying is Argentina. This country is rich with dinosaur fossils and is home to one of the largest dinosaurs ever found, the Titanosaur.

We are going to talk more about dinosaurs in Argentina in just a moment (and you'll even get to do your own "excavations"!

Today, we are going to be making our own watercolor resist dinosaur fossils. We will draw a dinosaur, trace over it with our white crayons or oil pastels, and then paint over the pastels so that it will “resist” the paint, making it look like the Argentinean dinosaur fossils. Let’s get started.

Step 1. Hand out a sheet of watercolor paper and a dinosaur template to each student. Have the students lightly pencil in a dinosaur fossil either as a guided draw or using the template (provided in above) as a guide.

Step 2. Using a white crayon or oil pastel, have the students outline their dinosaur skeletons, pressing hard. Outline all areas and then color in the outline of all of the bones (except the eye - leave that blank).

Step 3. Once the pastel work is completed, use liquid watercolor paint wash to paint over the resist - just a few passes over the pastel should do it. If the students want different colors (or to deepen or lighten a shade), let the paint dry and paint over it again. A good combination is to do a warm brown, let dry and then do a black wash over the top.

Step 4. To make the background look like rock or stone, splatter cream and black onto the page. Using an old toothbrush (and adult supervision) place the picture into an old cardboard box, dip the toothbrush into paint, remove excess and spatter using your fingers on the brush or by tapping the toothbrush with another paintbrush.

Step 5: Encourage the students to add details. Using the black ultra-fine Sharpies, include “cracks” in the rock to make it look more like a fossil. Using the stencils, foam stippling brushes and green paint, add leaves.

(Use Sharpies instead of paint).
(Use stencils instead of stamps).

Argentinean Dinosaurs and Fossil "Excavation" Activity.

Discuss with students why Argentina, particularly Patagonia, is a good site for dinosaur research. A land bridge connected North and South America in the beginning of the Cretaceous period about 144 million years ago. When it disappeared later in the Cretaceous period, dinosaurs on the two separate continents evolved in unique ways. In addition, the terrain in Patagonia is ideal for fossil hunting. The area is rocky, with many layers of sedimentary rocks, such as shale and sandstone. Paleontologists tend to find most fossil remains in areas such as that. We can learn a lot about these dinosaurs and the environment in which they lived by studying dinosaur fossils.

Imagine finding something that lived on Earth millions of years ago. Like we saw in the video, that is what paleontologists do. These scientists look for fossils. A fossil is what is left of an animal or plant that lived long ago. Many fossils are the bones of animals that were buried. Over many years, they got buried deeper, and the bones and nearby soil hardened into rock. Then paleontologists dig up fossils to study.

We’re going to do a little excavation of our own while our glue dries:

  • Distribute one paper plate, chocolate chip cookies, and one toothpick to each student. Tell students that they are going to try to remove the dinosaur fossils (chocolate chips) from the ground (the cookie) without breaking the fossil or the ground.
  • Give students about 10 minutes to complete this activity. After students have completed the activity, ask them to explain why removing fossils from the ground might be difficult.

Discussion Questions:

1. How do scientists know where to look for fossils? Sometimes weather wears away the soil and uncovers a fossil. Other times, builders find a fossil when they dig. That is a clue that there might be more fossils deep under the ground. So scientists use bulldozers to dig away chunks of rock and soil.

2. Workers then use shovels, drills, hammers, and chisels to get the fossils out of the ground. The scientists dig up the fossil and the rock around it in one big lump. They must be careful not to break the fossil as they dig.

3. Paleontologists have to keep careful records of the fossils they find. They measure, draw, and take pictures of the fossils. They use this information later, when they work with the fossils in their laboratories.

4. The parts of the fossil that stick out of the rock are sprayed or painted with a special glue. This helps to make the bones strong. Then the fossil and rock are wrapped in bandages covered with plaster. This protects the fossil so it will not break when it is sent to the lab.

5. The fossils are labeled and placed in crates with soft padding. These crates help protect the fossils from breaking. The crates are carefully loaded onto trucks and sent to the lab. There, scientists will use the fossils to learn about creatures of long ago.

Do you think it is important for us to study animals that lived long ago? Why or why not?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

World Cup Art (Brazil): Romero Britto Inspired Soccer Balls

The students will learn about Brazilian born artist, Romero Britto, and his pop art style of art. The students will learn about color and pattern, and will then create their own pop art on inflatable soccer balls!


  • “Colors Around the World” by Romero Britto
  • 1 copy of soccer ball template for each student (below) 
  • Pencils
  • Colored pencils
  • 1 inflated soccer ball for each student (
  • Pump
  • Colored Sharpie markers
  • Black Sharpie markers


The World Cup country that you are studying is Brazil. It is located in South America and was the host country of the 2014 World Cup! We are going to learn about a famous Brazilian artist, Romero Britto, and then we will be re-creating his artwork on a soccer ball to commemorate World Cup 2018!

ROMERO BRITTO was born the 6th of October in Recife, Brazil. He displayed signs of being an artist at a very young age and he taught himself art by painting on newspapers. Britto is a respected pop artist who is known for his vibrant colors and elements of cubism. Britto's work has been exhibited in galleries and museums in over 100 countries, and his works sell for millions of dollars. Britto has created art for a number of corporations for their advertising, including a Britto car!

Aren’t those great cars?! What do you notice about them? What catches your eye?

Britto considers the role of an artist to be an agent of positive change. He serves as a benefactor, donating time, art and resources to over 250 charitable organizations and several boards such as Best Buddies International, and St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. Romero is also an author of children's books:

Let’s take a closer look at Britto’s art. Britto’s style of art is called “pop art.” Why do you think it’s called “pop art?” 

Pop Art began in the 1950s, but became very popular in the 1960s. It started in the United Kingdom, but became a true art movement in New York City. Pop Art uses images that are popular in the modern world. This includes famous celebrities like movie stars and rock stars, commercial items like soup cans and soft drinks, comic books, and any other items that are popular in the commercial world. There are a number of ways that artists use these items to create art such as repeating the item over and over again, changing the color or texture of the item, and putting different items together to make a picture.

Let’s look a little closer at Britto’s art.

Britto creates patterns and dark, bold lines in his artwork, using bright colors. What makes something a pattern? How do the lines in the artwork help to break up a pattern? How do the colors work together in Britto’s artwork? [Show a few examples of patterns to get them started, and thinking outside the usual polka dots and stripes – stripes, squiggly lines, flowers].

Today we are going to create pop art on soccer balls using Romero Britto as our example. Look at the soccer ball – it has a pattern of hexagonal black squares already on it. We are going to fill in the white space with color and other patterns. But before we create on our World Cup soccer balls, we are going to use a printed soccer ball picture to get our ideas down on paper. 

Pre-Prep. Inflate soccer balls with pumps while lead is completing the lesson and the artists are sketching.

Step 1. Hand out a soccer ball template to each student. Have the students pull out their colored pencils and start putting their ideas on paper. Give them about 10 minutes to draw and think about how they want their soccer balls to look. Have the Britto books and examples of art available for the students to draw inspiration from.

Step 2. When the students have completed their ideas, hand out an inflated soccer ball to each of them. The students will be using Sharpie brush and/or chisel markers to create the background of their designs. Encourage the students to use lots of colors – we want these soccer balls to stand out! 

Step 3. After creating the background colors, have the students use black Sharpie markers to create their patterns. Patterns will be very important - encourage them to draw hearts, triangles, lines, etc. like Romero Britto! This isn't just coloring backgrounds, but making the patterns stand out!

Step 5. Make sure that the students sign their artwork!