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1st Grade: Chinese Brush Painting!

9 May

In Mrs. Johnson’s Art Room, 1st Graders are learning the fine art of Chinese brush painting! We took a look at the artwork of the famous Chinese brush painter, Wang Yani (who began painting at the age of two!).

Wang Yani creating her artwork using Chinese brush painting.

Wang Yani loved to paint monkeys!

Students then practiced creating their own paintings using a Chinese bamboo brush. Students experimented with three traditional Chinese brush strokes to create things like flowers, dragonflies, bamboo, and water. These brushstrokes are: the straight hold, the 45-degree angle hold, and the horizontal hold.

Take a look at how we practiced our strokes!

Then, students created fans and decorated them using all three Chinese brush strokes they had learned. They included the Chinese character for the season featured in their fan.


1st Grade: Figures in motion!

12 Jan

In Mrs. Johnson’s Art Room, 1st Graders have been studying the human figure. First, we learned how to draw a stick figure! We worked in partners – one student posed, and the other student drew… then we switched roles. The kids loved trying out all sorts of crazy poses to challenge their partner!

Then, we learned how to add “skin and muscles” to our stick figure skeletons… we call this “Tornado Man” because we drew tornado-like spirals to fill out our figure!

Finally, we drew two or three of our favorite poses on black paper, cut them out, and added bright colored lines to show movement! This method of using both oil pastel and watercolor paint is called “Oil resist painting“. It creates very bright combinations of colors!

1st Grade: Line Sculptures

25 Jan

In Mrs. Johnson’s Art Room, 1st Graders used their new knowledge about different types of lines to create three-dimensional line sculptures!

The first challenge was to move from drawing in 2D to sculpting in 3D. Students worked with a partner to create thick and thin lines with a ruler, and use these paper strips to sculpt an imaginary playground!

The second challenge was to create contrast within their playground by using warm and cool colors. We identified the differences between warm and cool colors, and how they are used in artworks to make the viewer feel a certain way. Then, students made their choice: warm-colored background, cool-colored lines OR cool-colored background, warm-colored lines.

Check out how 1st Graders created imaginative playgrounds using line sculpture, and warm/cool color schemes!

1st Grade: Kandinsky Compositions!

24 Nov

In Mrs. Johnson’s Art Room, 1st Graders viewed and discussed the abstract artwork of Russian artist, Wassily Kandinsky.

The Russian painter, Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)

Students identified lines, shapes, and colors found in Kandinsky’s artworks. Here are some examples of artworks we viewed:

Kandinsky, "Improvisation 7" (

Kandinsky, "Small Pleasures" (

Brainstorm: Can you identify some of the lines you see in these artworks? What does this artwork remind you of?

Then, using different types of thick and thin lines and blended colors, students created their own Kandinsky-inspired compositions! Here are some examples of student work: