Animal Zentangles

My Year 10 students in the Drawing, Painting and Printmaking class have started off the year in great fashion with these Zentangle Animals.  In the past I have always followed the original Zentangle intention of abstract images, but I wanted to give the students more than just random patterns to focus on – this variation of the task requires them to plan how the ‘tangles’ or patterns can enhance the design, creating texture and detail that supports the animal design.  Some did that more successfully than others, but they all look great, especially en masse – but some of them are absolutely stunning as individual artworks!



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Many directions from one starting point

I am really pleased with how my year 11 studio art class are getting stuck into their first prac. We had a bit of a confusing and rocky start, as the subject has run for years as Photography, and we are trying to open it up to other mediums.  Many of the students expected it was once again photography, but despite initial claims from about half the class that they wanted to stick to pure photogpraphy, most of them have embraced the intention with their first piece, to explore their ideas and concepts, and see where they lead, rather than deciding on the final product before they begin. Much to my (and their!) surprise, we have mediums ranging from watercolour to wood carving going on, which is exciting.

We started this topic by looking at how various artists have responded to the idea of suburbia. We looked at the work of John Brack, Howard Arkley, Louis Porter and Stephen Haley and discussed how different people view ‘suburbia’ and what it means to the students, as they all live in the suburbs. From there, their ideas have exploded and I’m excited to see what they come up with, although the important part of this task is their exploration of sources of inspiration, and material and techniques. I’ll post pics when they are done!

Short and Sweet

One of my goals for this year is to work in more short projects into the Junior Art curriculum.  I was just browsing art blogs and I found this post over at the Becker Middle School blog .  My kids love zentangles, and I like the idea of combining a landscape or still life with a zentangle.  Because alone, they look fantastic, but dont really tie into many other art skills or terminology we are trying to teach. This still life task allows you to combine observational drawing, tone and use of pattern and line in the Zentangle component.  I do wonder how those projects get done in a week though – how many classes do they have?  Our year 7 classes only have a double lesson and a single lesson per week…. and the single is often used for theory.

Looking back – year 10’s

Before I post current projects from this years class, I thought I’d showcase some of the work I have done at this level in the past. The subject is Drawing, Painting and Printmaking, and usually I try and do 2 tasks of each medium. Last year we completed a mural project for the school yard, so we had to cut right back on individual tasks, and the students have voted to do that again this year. Its great they can leave a lasting legacy of their work at the school. One of the fun projects I have introduced at this year level is Zentangles – almost unheard of in Australia, I stumbled across the concept online and have used it with year 7’s also. This year we are building on it again, doing figurative drawings of animals with zentangle details, but originally we stuck to the abstract concept… We also do Heidelberg School (Australian Impressionists) paintings and both lino printing and dry point etching.


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Heidelberg School Paintings

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Printmaking – Lino Cut and Dry Point Etching

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Collaborative Murals – These are displayed around the school in Locker Bays and on the wall of the Canteen.

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Colour Wheel activity

Usually with my new year 7 students I do a painted colour wheel activity. It’s a good chance to see what their painting and colour mixing skills are like, and teach them what my expectations are regarding packing up properly etc.  This year however, in my quest for some short, snappy activities to make each class more fun and teach the art concepts at the same time, I was inspired by a Pinterest post regarding this Crazy Colour Wheel lesson plan. To keep thing short, we worked in coloured pencil, as I was hoping to keep it to one double lesson. Next time I might try pastels – still quick, but more intense colours. While using pencils doesn’t reinforce the colour mixing concept behind secondary colours, but they did learn about complimentary colours and this task did allow me to include an observational drawing component.  I bought a few packets of cheap plastic animals, so students could have one each to draw, and encouraged them to do so as accurately as possible.  Many of them had never tried to draw from observation before, and they had to try hard not to fall back on familiar schema’s. For a first attempt, I think they did pretty well….  They were certainly engaged, and the task was short enough that it was completed before they got bored.IMG_0188 IMG_0189 IMG_0190 IMG_0191 IMG_0192 IMG_0193 IMG_0194 IMG_0195

Looking back

Well, we are a couple of weeks into the year, and  today was the first time I have thought about the blog – it’s been busy! So before I write my first post about the work we are doing this year, I thought I might do a few posts highlighting some of my favourite student work from my classes in the last few years.

So today I want to look at some Year 7 work.  In the past, we have tended to concentrate on just a few major projects throughout the semester, but this year I want to include more fun, engaging, educational short term tasks as well.  So there will probably be quite a difference in the Year 7 work I post this year.  But here is some of my favourite work from previous classes……

The first project was a Pop Art inspired painting that we worked on during a transition task based on the book ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’. The Linocut Prints were designed under the theme ‘The Fish That John West Reject’, and were inspired by photographs of freaky deep sea fish. The final paintings were from a Post Impressionism unit.