Art Making Beyond the Classroom

The Art Teachers at Spartanburg School District Six love and care for your children. We want to encourage your creativity and artistic development while you are learning at home. Please see the daily art lessons below for fun and learning with visual art! 
Check back daily for new lessons! Parent, there is no need to go purchase supplies for any of the lessons. These lessons all use basic materials you can find around your home!
Click below for our first lesson about Dr. Seuss!
This month marks the 116th Birthday of Dr. Seuss.  To celebrate, let's look at some Dr. Seuss characters and then create one of our own.  
Click here for a read-aloud version of Dr. Seuss'  There's a Wocket in my Pocket .


Click here for a drawing instruction sheet to draw your character.


For Elementary Students

Follow the directions on the attachment "Seuss Style" above to create your own character.  Add a background to show what your character does and where he or she hides.  You can even write a rhyming poem about your character.  Don't forget to give it a name.


For Middle School Students

Think of something in your home or classroom that makes a weird noise or a place you avoid.  Draw a picture Seuss Style of the creature who causes the noise or lives in the place you avoid.  Give plenty of background details to show the setting.  Add a short poem that explains what the creature does, and give it a name.


For High School Students

What Seuss like character lives inside your most recent tech purchase?  It could be a gremlin in the phone, an appliance, your laptop....

Create a detailed sketch of the character, where exactly he/she/it hides, and what he/she/it does to wreak havoc on your life.  Do not include words in your drawing.  You may give it a title.



Extra Fun:

For Directed Drawing Seuss Characters:


student drawing of a character student standing with drawing of a character


Did you know Beatrix Potter, the highest selling Children's Book author and illustrator of all time, was quite the rebel?  What did she do?  She put clothes on animals.....Shocking!  To learn more about this forward thinking and innovative artist, click the link below.


Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter       

For Elementary Students

Look outside – what signs of spring do you see? Write about your observations (what you notice) and draw them. Add color to your drawings and complete your landscapes with all the details to share with me when you return to school and the art classroom.  
Look at the illustration above to draw your own version of Peter Rabbit.
For Upper Elementary and Middle School Students
Draw pictures of the animals that you see in your neighborhood. What wild animals and insects do you see? What pets do you see?  Do you have any of your own?  Draw all that you observe then add details and color.  You can even add clothes!  Bring your drawings to art class when we next meet.
For High School Students
Beatrix Potter's style was unique for her time because she gave human characteristics to animals.  Sketch an animal or inanimate object giving it human characteristics.  Is it mischievous like Peter Rabbit or naive like Jemima Puddleduck?  What visual characteristics can you give your object or animal to show its personality?  Give your character a setting/background for context.

For Elementary Students

Robots are becoming a valuable tool to make life easier for humans. The robots we have today are not like the ones we see in the movies. In the movies robots have personalities and feelings and can think on their own. This is completely fictional, but fun to pretend. Watch the video Real Life Robots.  Your assignment is to use the robots in the video for inspiration only. Don’t copy them. Come up with your own robot. First, think about what you would need the robot to do. What is the robot's job?

Next, design a robot in a way that would help it do its job. If your robot’s job is to repair the bottom of ships while they are in the water, how would that robot need to be made? What if it was a nanny robot? So, decide on the job, then design the robot. Use your practice paper first. Try to make the robot fill the page.


For Middle School Students

Design a robot using the instructions above.  Try to give your robot some personality and expression. Think about its face and its body language. Draw your robot to fit the size of paper you have. You may want to add a background.  Watch the video Outlines, Edges, and Shading and try to shade your robot to give it form.


For High School Students

Is it important for robots to look a certain way?  Of course it is!  Design a marketing campaign for the next big thing in robotics.  What does the robot look like?  How will it be sold, and to whom?  You can create a sketch for a logo, the actual robot, the print or web ad, the copy ("Just do it"), or all of the above.  What is the role of the artist in marketing?



Have you ever wondered how artists come up with their ideas?  Some artists are inspired by events and people around them.  Some artists love to draw everything they see.  Many artists are inspired by nature.  Almost all artists keep a book or journal for their drawings and ideas.
For Elementary Students
Make a small sketchbook from a single sheet of paper.  Use your favorite ideas from the 30 Day Drawing Challenge to fill it with your own unique drawings.  Then check out the video below about author and illustrator of the Wimpy Kid books, Jeff Kinney, and his process for generating ideas.     (How to make a book from a single sheet of paper)   (Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid)
For Middle and High School Students
Artists use sketchbooks to brainstorm, to plan, to doodle, and to document events and their feelings about them.  Create a sketchbook or journal that documents your experience this past week schooling at home.  Use the ideas in the 30 Day Drawing Challenge to get started, or sketch your own ideas.  Don't have a sketchbook?  The video above shows how to make one from a single sheet of paper.
For even more inspiration, watch the video below from the Tate Museum about sketchbooks of famous artists.
30 day drawing challenge prompts
30 Day Drawing Challenge by Ellen McGee, Mrs. McGee's World
book image: Pocket Full of Colors

Mary Blair was an American female artist, designer, and animator.  To learn more about Mary, watch a video about her career and projects for Walt Disney.  Read about her in “Pocket full of Colors,” by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville, then create one of the assignments below.


Read Aloud

  • Elementary: Draw a castle or large building that you imagine visiting, or have visited. Using bright colors, decorate the outside of the building with geometric shapes, like squares and circles, and organic shapes, like flowers and leaves.  Add a background with sky and clouds.  Draw people in the foreground (large because they are closer to you), even yourself!
  • Middle School: Imagine creating a ride for Disneyworld – what would you include? Plan by sketching the ride then add contrasting colors, like Mary Blair, to emphasize images that you think about most.  Then use values of blues and greens to complete the composition.  Use paper or recycled materials to construct a small scaled sculpture of your ride.
  • High School: Mary Blair and Walt Disney created a ride for people to experience what it might be like to travel around the world. As students of District Six, we represent many different states and countries. How would you portray your family’s origins?  Would it be a tour of Spartanburg, Mexico, or Eastern Europe?  Plan on paper, sketch, write about it, create a song or dance to go along with it, create a collage of images (digitally or on paper), and even create a 3D version.  Feel free to combine media to achieve the desired effects.
toucan image

Rain forests are forests that are extremely wet because of the large amounts of rainfall they receive.  These forests are important because of the large number of unique plants and animal species found there.  Rain forests also contain many unique bird species found nowhere else in our world.  Hundreds of rain forest plants are used in many medicines and many food sources have been discovered in rain forests as well.

Click here for a read-aloud version of: “Secrets of the Rain Forest”, by Danielle Taylor. 
For a virtual field trip of the Amazon Rain Forest
Click here to explore South Carolina's NEW Z-learning at Riverbanks Zoo

For Elementary School Students:

You can gather ideas from the picture above and also from the video on, “Secrets of the Rain Forest” to write down some animals you recognize.  Pick an animal or bird that you would like to sketch using your paper and pencil and share some of your ideas with others.  Have fun talking about rain forests with others.


For Middle School Students:

Right outside your window you can see trees that are beginning the growth of new leaves and grass that is changing to a wonderful green color.  You can also observe some birds that may be outside near your window.  Look at the picture above of the rain forest bird – the toucan, and check out the video.  Draw your version of a rain forest bird and share it with others.  Use your pencil to add more details or give your art some color.


For High School Students:

Choose your favorite rain forest animal or bird to sketch.  Consider what the animal's habitat looks like from the perspective of the bird or animal.  What does the tree look like to the tree frog?  To the bird? Create your composition from the perspective of your chosen animal or bird.

For Elementary Students
miscellaneous objects color wheelA color wheel is a chart that helps artists use color families in their work.  The colors of the color wheel are organized in the same order as the rainbow.  Look around your house for objects in primary and secondary colors.  Then arrange them in a circle in the correct order.  (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet)
Click the link below to learn a fun dance and song about primary colors with OK Go
Feel like a story about colors instead?  Click below for Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh
For Middle School Students
Marker color wheel
Create a radiating design using primary, secondary, and intermediate colors.  Try to mix the secondary and intermediate colors using only the primary colors.  For instance, to make yellow orange use only yellow and red crayons.  Or if you prefer, use any media you have.  This color wheel is marker on aluminum foil.  Be creative!  Have fun!  A radiating design is one that is the same all the way around from the center outward.  
(red, red-orange, orange, yellow-orange, yellow, yellow-green, green, blue-green, blue, blue-violet, violet, red-violet)
For a cool science experiment about color check out the video below from Sick Science
Cheryl Brickey color wheel quilt 
For High School Students
Local artist and quilter, Cheryl Brickey is both an engineer and quilt pattern designer.  Her understanding and knowledge of color is essential to her designs.  Create a radiating design, quilt square design, or mandala using your favorite color family or color relationship.  Complementary colors are across from each other on a color wheel.  Analogous colors are located next to each other on the color wheel.  Use any media.  Check out Mrs. Brickey's website for more of her cool designs.
Design from leaves and rocks      Nature Mandala by Shelly Pruitt Johnson
All Grade Levels
Radiating designs are patterns that radiate or are the same from the center outward.  Yesterday we made color wheels which are a type of radiating design.  Today, spend some time outside observing the wonderful patterns and colors of spring.  Create a radiating design from the things you find outside.  
Check out this radiating design made by artist Jon Foreman:
15.  Play with your food!  Make art next time you're eating a pop-tart, slice of pizza, cookie, or toast.  Bite away the negative space (background space) to reveal an animal, object, or even a face.  See if your family can guess what you made.
14.  Research an art career.  What does a food stylist do?  How about a set designer, animator, graphic designer?  There are tons of fun ways to have a career in the arts.  Find out what you would do in the career, what education is required, who you could work for, and how much you would be paid.
13.  Design your dream house.  Now that we've all been cooped up in our homes for a while, think about some things you love about your house and some things you don't.  Design a dream home with all the things you love.  Create an elevation (exterior front view) and a floor plan (diagram showing where all the rooms would be).
12.  Draw in the dirt with a stick.  So simple, and yet so satisfying.
11.  Research your favorite artist or art work.  When did the artist live, and where?  What obstacles did they overcome?  Who inspired them? What makes them famous?  Where is their art work now?  
10.  Plein Air Painting  --is simply painting what you see outside in the fresh air.  Don't have paint?  You can draw or even sculpt.  Making art outside is fun and inspiring.
9.  The Great Shape Hunt:  Instead of hunting for eggs, choose a shape and see how many things you can find that match.  You can make a list instead of actually collecting the items.  Can be done inside or outside.
8.  Make some fruity craft dough.  Combine 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup salt, a package of unsweetened drink mix, a tablespoon of vegetable oil, and 1/4 c. hot water in a large ziploc bag.  Knead the sealed bag until a soft dough forms.  You may need to add more water or flour by the spoonful to get the right consistency.  Dough should be elastic and not sticky.  Store in an airtight container for up to a week.  (GROWN-UP REQUIRED)
7.  Create a Spring Fashion Show:  Design a few silly, gorgeous, or outrageous outfits for spring.  Have access to Grandma's clothes?  Even better.  Design a retro outfit.  Model your creations down the runway (hallways are perfect for this).  Be sure to have Grandma MC and explain those retro styles!  Fashion History is Art History.
6.  Become a nature photographer.  Take a walk outside and notice all the new growth.  Birds, blossoms, sunlight, and plants all make great subjects for photos.
5.  Flipbook Animation:  Create an old school animation by drawing a sequence of simple drawings in an OLD (read: Ask Mom first!) paperback book.  Start with something simple, like a bouncing ball or walking stick figure.  Draw a small picture in the lower right corner of a paperback page.  On the next page, draw the same picture in the same spot, but change it slightly.  On the next page, change the drawing slightly again.  After about ten drawings, you should be able to see some movement in your art by flipping the pages with your thumb.  Research old Disney animation and marvel at the skill and dedication of animation artists before computers.
4.  Recycle Rescue:  Choose something used like detergent bottle, aluminum can, or cereal box.  Create a sculpture using junk that would ordinarily be thrown out.  You can do some Google image research for ideas, or think like an artist and make your own creation.
3.  Mirror Selfies:  Look in the mirror and draw yourself making a silly face.  Or a serious face.  Or  with your most beautiful smile.  You get the idea.
2.  Spring Still Life:  Arrange several objects on a table that remind you of spring.  Draw them from observation.  Add the colors of the season.
1.  Emoji Eggs:  Draw your favorite emoji expression (or create your own) with crayons on a hard boiled egg.  Be sure to use white crayon for the eyes or teeth.  Even though you won't be able to see the white crayon at first, the wax will resist the dye, leaving the eyes white.  Dye your creation in a cup of hot water with 10 drops or so of yellow food color and a tablespoon of white vinegar.  (GROWN-UP REQUIRED)
Have fun doing artful things over Spring Break!  Your D6 art teachers miss you and love you!

For all grade levels

Pop Art is a style of art that began in the 1950's using everyday objects, simple forms, and bright colors.  For a cute, quick overview, check out this video from the Tate Museum:

Warhol Colored Campbell's soup cans

Andy Warhol used everyday objects as the subject of his work.  By repeating the same drawing in different colors he was making a statement about mass production and consumerism in his time.  Choose something from your pantry like a soup can, package, or cereal box to draw.  Use paper, pencil,  or whatever you have available to add color. Be creative and have fun.  You can even repeat your drawing in different colors like Warhol.  




Soup Can Challenge

ancient ostrich eggEgg decorating is a part of many cultures around the world and dates back thousands of years.  The ancient Egyptians traded decorated ostrich eggs from Africa with the Greeks and Romans.  Fossils of this sort have been found in many parts of the world, though not intact.  Some of the oldest fragments of decorated ostrich egg shells were recently found in South Africa and are thought to be 55,000 years old. (Wait--even cavemen decorated eggs??!!) This decorated ostrich egg was found in Spain and is thought to be from 250-400 BCE. 
Chinese Red EggsIn China, chicken eggs are dyed red to celebrate a baby's first birthday.  There, the red eggs are a symbol of good fortune, and are made by wrapping the boiled egg in red paper.
In Iran and Iraq, painted eggs are a part of the Persian New Year, or Nowruz Celebration which occurs at the Spring Equinox, or March 20.Persian New Year Eggs  
Pysanka egg
Ukranian Easter Eggs are called Pysanka and are some of the most intricately decorated eggs.  Though these designs look painted, the artists actually use a wax resist and multiple dye baths (similar to batik) to create the multi-colored patterns.  
German Easter Egg Tree   In Germany, decorated eggs are hung from trees outside to celebrate Easter.
Faberge eggSome of the most famously decorated eggs are not eggs at all, but pieces of delicate jewelry.  Faberge' Eggs were commissioned by the Tsars of Imperial Russia, Alexander III and Nicholas II for their mothers and wives.  The eggs were designed by Peter Carl Faberge' and opened to reveal a surprise.  Only around 50 were ever made, and fewer than that exist today.  The most recent Faberge' discovery was made in the USA in 2015 and sold for 33 million dollars.  
If you are decorating eggs this week with your family, try something new from around the globe.  You could paint a design on top of your dyed egg like the Persian eggs, or leave your egg in the red dye for a long time to make a bright red egg of good fortune like the Chinese eggs.  For a Pysanka egg, you can draw a design with a crayon before dipping your egg, which will resist the dye.  You could even hang your eggs from a tree outside like they do in Germany.  Want to be a Faberge' protege'?  Try using glue, glitter, paint, or metallic sharpie to decorate a plastic egg.  Want to decorate an ostrich egg?  Ummmm--Good Luck getting your hands on one of those!Angry Ostrich
(Photo from The Daily Express, UK 2013)

Robin Mead SeascapeFor Elementary:

Today, we are focusing on line variation and color gradation.  Look at the landscape by Robin Mead.  Notice the way she uses lines, colors, and shapes to create emphasis.   Use different types of lines to draw a scene from outside (a landscape) or something inside (a still life).  Vary the width of your lines.  Make some lines thicker than others.  Use warm colors (reds, oranges, yellows) for the sky and cool colors (greens, blues, purples) for the water.   Include some pattern and try to make your colors blend into another color.


For Middle School:
Let’s take a look at the artist who inspired this lesson, Robin Mead. Please look through her incredible collection of art and read about her life. Think about how she has used art to express hope and joy. Do you think her previous job impacted her style of art? In what way? Examine her use of line and color. See how many times you can find line variation and color gradation. Choose one of her pieces and describe her use of line and color. Does the piece create a mood? How does it make you feel? Does it remind you of a particular time or event in your life?  Create a landscape or composition using bold colors and varied lines.


For High School:
Robin Mead's work has become very commercialized, meaning that her designs are sold to be reproduced on lots of products you can buy. This is different than buying an original work of art. An original work of art can cost thousands of dollars, but reproductions can be found for just a few. If you were a famous artist, would you sell your designs to be reproduced? Why or why not? If so, what type of products would you want to see your designs on?  Create a design or composition specifically for a commercial product like a phone case, notebook, or greeting card.  Experiment with  bold color and line variation.

Pitchford Tree house

The Pitchford Tree House in Pitchford, UK is possibly the oldest tree house in the world, dating back to the 1600's and residing in a 500 year old Lime Tree.


Tree Houses are fun for all ages!  Today, notice the trees in your neighborhood and design your dream tree house.  Here's how:


Check out the links below for some really cool treehouses.

Now imagine you could design your very own tree house any way you wanted. Describe some of the things you would want your tree house to have. Check out the link below about architects and what they do. Then draw some pictures of how it would look from the outside.

Then check out the link below to see how to draw a floor plan of the inside. Decide how you want the inside to be arranged and draw a floor plan to show where everything would be.


Beekle Cover


The Caldecott Medal is awarded each year to the most distinguished children’s picture book by the American Library Association.  Some famous Caldecott winners are Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg, and more recently, Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems. 





Dan SantatDan Santat, the author and illustrator of  Beekle, The Unimaginary Friend, received the Caldecott Medal for this beautiful book in 2015.  Santat is the author and illustrator of many books, but you may know him as the creator of The Replacements, a Disney cartoon. 



Read or watch the story of Beekle here:


Pay Close attention to the colors and patterns of the creatures in the story.  Notice when the illustrations are full of color, and when they are black and white.  Do the pictures tell a different story or more of the story than the words?


For Elementary:

Imagine what your imaginary friend would look like.  Would he or she be more like an animal, or more like a person?  Draw a picture of your creation.  Use bold colors and patterns like Dan Santat. 


Draw Beekle or your favorite character from the book.


For Middle School: 

In Beekle, what is represented by the black and white illustrations?  Why do you think the artist made this choice?  Look at the many expressions of Beekle.  Notice that Beekle’s face is simply 2 dots and a line.  Practice recreating several of Beekle’s expressions.  Then, create your own character using simple shapes and multiple expressions. 


For High School:

What shape is Beekle?  Why do you think the artist designed Beekle this way, and in contrast to the other imaginary friends in the story?  How does Beekle’s design match or mimic that of Alice?  Watch the two short videos on shape language in character design.  Then use what you’ve noticed to design your own original character.
Weaving is an art form found around the world in almost every culture.  Traditionally, artists use the resources available to them. 
Navajo BlanketNavajo Weavers from the American Southwest use sheep's wool to make geometric patterned blankets. 
To learn more about the history of Navajo weaving, click here:
Kente Cloth
Kente Cloth from Ghana, on the west coast of Africa is woven from strips of silk and cotton cloth, and was traditionally reserved for royal garments. To learn more about the history of Kente weaving, click here:

sweet grass basketGullah basket weavers from the coast of South Carolina use sea grasses to weave sweet grass baskets.  (Technically speaking, sweet grass baskets are not woven.)  To learn more about the history of sweet grass baskets and Gullah culture, click here:


loom weaving with plarnFor Elementary:

In the video below, Ms. Jackie Weeks, art teacher at our own Roebuck Elementary shows us how to use materials we can find in our kitchen to make a beautiful weaving.



circle weaving plarnFor Upper Elementary and Middle School:  

Prefer Circles?  Ms. Weeks demonstrates a more complex weaving in the video below:





Chihuly glass weavingFor High School:

Modern textile artists use unconventional materials and methods.  The famous glass sculptor, Dale Chihuly began his career weaving fused glass into his tapestries. For more information on Chihuly's use of weaving in his work, click below:




Toshiko Horiuchi -  Macadam
For more unconventional methods and materials in textile arts, check out the Met's website below:             


Now think about what you might find around the house that could be woven together to make a sculpture.  You can use traditional weaving methods, or even create your own.  Ms. Weeks teaches how to make "plarn" in the videos above.  Above all, Have Fun!

Moth by Julie Barnstead
If you've been outside lately, I bet you've noticed a lot more bugs.  Here's a cool moth found in my sister's yard:  Yes, even grownups like to look for interesting bugs.  
photo by Julie Barnstead
Dragonfly by Douglas FlorianDouglas Florian is an American artist and poet known for his picture books of poetry for children. This is his poem, The Dragonfly from my personal favorite, Insectlopedia.   
Florian also wrote another wonderful book of poetry about bees.  Click here to hear him read The Worker Bees from UnBeelievable:
For Elementary:  
Step outside and look for bugs in your yard today.  Spend some time observing how they move, their colors, patterns, and even how many feet they have.  Draw a picture of your favorites.  If you want to be super silly, write a fun poem about the bug you draw.
For Middle School:
Douglas Florian creates many of his illustrations using collage and water color on a brown paper bag.  Notice the way he represents the insects in his art.  Are they whimsical, realistic, abstract?  Observe an insect in your backyard, or choose a photo from the web if you have a specific bug in mind.  Create an abstract collage representing something about the bug's behavior or personality.  Use whatever materials you have--paper bags, tissue paper, gift wrap, junk mail, scrapbook paper, magazines or even fabric scraps.  Your insect doesn't need to look "real," but do try to represent an idea about the insect.  Then write a silly poem to go with your creation.
For High School:  
Check out Douglas Florian's Paintings and Collages at
Notice the colors and media he has used to represent an object or an idea.  Then, make your own mixed media collage using whatever art materials you have on hand. (paper bags, tissue paper, gift wrap, junk mail, scrapbook paper, magazines or even fabric scraps)  Your collage does not need to represent anything, but if you are short on ideas, bugs are a fun place to start--and a great excuse to get outside!  Enjoy!
fairy house
Last week we designed tree houses for people, but what other beings live in the trees? 
For Elementary: 
Today we are putting our engineering hats on and designing a home for fairies, trolls, or other tiny beings who live in the trees.  Look around for sticks, rocks, leaves, and any other outdoor materials a fairy might use to build her home.  Then get to work!  Take a photo or draw a picture of your finished design.
For inspiration, check out
For Middle and High School Students:
Animators and set designers create imaginary spaces for the characters of a film or play based on the plot and characters themselves.  Think of a specific character and design a house or even a neighborhood outside for your character.  Photograph your creation using filters and different angles to create a narrative, an atmosphere, or show something about the personality of your character.  
Do the same exercise on paper.  Sketch an imaginary setting for an imaginary outdoor creature.  You can even include a drawing of the wee creature.  What do you think inspired the set of the Dreamworks movie Trolls?Dreamworks Trolls

Mythical and Mystical Creatures

What mythical creatures do you already know about?

Throughout history, many artists have drawn unusual creatures that may or may not have been real.  The story below is a great example of this:





Argus was given 100 eyes by Zeus, so that he could spy on Zeus’ girlfriend Lo. Zeus eventually got bored and sent Hermes to kill Argus. Hermes did this, but was sad at having to kill her friend, so she took each of his eyes and put them on the tail of her favorite bird – the peacock – and that’s how they got their distinctive pattern.





For Elementary:

Art Challenge:

Think about what mythical creature you would like to create and why. 

What kinds of qualities would it have?

Will it be a person, animal, or a combination of the two?

Look at a couple of examples from students at FES –


Hannah K  Art by Hannah K                                 Michael A  Art by Michael A



For Middle School and High School –

Tony Meeuswissen, an illustrator and author, created a book, Remarkable Animals, which lets you change up the animals head, mid-section, and backside.  


Take a look here:  Remarkable Animals


Use your knowledge and drawing skills to create 2 compositions that could be mixed like Tony Meeuswissen's Remarkable Animals.  Include their names in sections like the author.  Tricky!


Create a character (In lesson 14 we looked at the role of shapes in character design) based on a legend, myth, or even a story of your own.  Include details and a background to complete your composition.  Could this be the beginning of a graphic novel or a video game?


Arcimboldo's Vertumnus
Giuseppe Arcimboldo is a 16th Century Italian Painter famous for creating portraits from food, vegetables, flowers, and even books.  Sometimes, he even made portraits that were also still life paintings.  Arcimboldo's The Gardener
For Elementary: 
Learn more about Arcimboldo with Madi and Dada here:
Then create a face with your breakfast, lunch or dinner today--right on your plate!  Or, ask a parent to help you choose foods from your fridge and pantry to create an even more complex composition.  Be sure to wash your hands!funny faces toast
For Middle School:
Did you know some artists get paid to play with food?  A food stylist is an artist who uses creative ways to make food look delicious for magazine and web photos, commercials, menus, and sales flyers.  Check out this video to learn more about this career in the arts.
Then, Style your breakfast, lunch, or dinner to look its very best and take a few photographs of your creation.  Or, with a parent's permission, use food you already have to create a photo worthy dish for a pretend advertisement.
For High School:
To learn more about Arcimboldo and his work, click here:
Arcimboldo fell into obscurity after his death until the late 1800's when he was "rediscovered."  His work influenced the Surrealist painters of the early 20th century to the degree that he is sometimes referred to as the Great Grandfather of Surrealism.   One of the most famous paintings of that movement, Dali's Persistence of Memory, was inspired by a cheese plate left on the table.   Salvador Dali The Persistence of Memory
Create a surreal (dream like or fantasy) sketch or composition using a food item as inspiration.  Try to disguise the item using proportion, context, or scale.
If you'd rather just play with your food, we understand--it's fun for all ages!

origami dragonOrigami is a Japanese paper folding art that originated hundreds of years ago.   Some origami sculptures are complex and intricate, while others are simple and whimsical.  To begin, we will focus on the simple and whimsical.




For Elementary

More-igami by Dori KleberMore-igami by Dori Kleber is the story of a boy who learns to make origami sculptures from paper.  Click here for the Read-Aloud Version;

At the end of the story is a diagram showing how to make an easy origami ladybug.  You will need a small square piece of paper.  Thin paper like notebook or copy paper is best.  For video instructions of the same ladybug, click here:

Just like in the story, the real-life secret to origami is practice.  For more patterns and practice, visit



For Middle and High School:Paper Airplane Book

John Collins holds the world record for longest distance paper airplane flight (227 feet!!!)  What does he use to design his record setting planes?   You guessed it!  Origami.  Check out the record winning flight here:

And then, make one yourself!

How to fold the World Record Paper Airplane:


And for instructions on every paper airplane imaginable, check out Fold and Fly here:

Paper Sculptures and Recycled Creations

Yesterday we learned several origami techniques for creating sculpture from paper.  Origami is an ancient art form, but did you know many contemporary artists work entirely in paper sculpting?    Check out this animation from the National Geographic and the World Wildlife Fund made entirely of paper:

paper sculptureElementary:

Today’s challenge is to create something out of cardboard rolls and colored paper --or any paper that you may have around the house.  Yesterday, we learned different ways to bend and fold paper to make 3D objects and sculptures.  Using these skills, create your own sculpture.   (It need not be origami.)  Add details and other objects.  Have fun being creative!   


paper tube sculpture

Art by Daniel S.  FES
                                                                                                             Art by Elaina H. FES
paper bridgeUpper Elementary and Middle School
Steam Challenge:
Paper can be very strong.  Using what you learned yesterday about paper airplane engineering and ideas of your own, create a structure from paper that will sustain other objects (hold the weight of something else).  
Rhino by Chie HitotsuyamaHigh School: 
Contemporary artists around the world use paper in diverse ways to express themselves.  Check out this grouping of modern paper sculptors from the Met:
Create a sculpture made entirely of paper you find around the house, or even an old book.  Look to the works from the Met for inspiration, but don't copy.  Your work can be relief or in the round, representational, or abstract.  Have fun!
Art by Chie Hitotsuyama
Today is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.  To celebrate, Let's look at a few artists who turn trash into art.  Using discarded materials to make art is not really a new idea.  Artists of every culture use what they already have.  To learn more about earth day and artists for the earth, click here:
Louise Nevelson AssemblageLouise Nevelson (1899-1988) is an American artist who assembled pieces of discarded wood to make sculptures.  That type of art became known as "Assemblage."   This untitled example of her work was created in 1951.
Man Ray Obstruction
Man Ray (1890-1976) is also an American sculptor, painter, and photographer famous for turning everyday objects into art.  His mobile, Obstruction, is made from 63 wooden coat hangers.  This is a 1961 reproduction of the 1920 original.  
Tim Noble and Sue WebsterTim Noble and Sue Webster are a British duo who use piles of garbage to cast very realistic shadows of ....themselves!  To learn more about them, check out Art Works for Change:
El AnatsuiEl Anatsui is a Nigerian based sculptor who creates gigantic tapestries from discarded bottlecaps and wire.  This one is from an exhibit called Gravity and Grace.  You can see the rest of the exhibit here:
Ptolemy ElringtonPtolemy Elrington is a British artist making sculptures entirely of discarded hubcaps.  You can see more of his work here:
Today, think like an assemblage sculptor and create something new from something that you would ordinarily throw out.  Think plastic bottle, aluminum can, cardboard packaging.  There are thousands of ideas on Google and Pinterest, but we bet you have an even better idea.  Have fun!  And Happy Earth Day!
Plastic pollution in our oceans has become a worldwide problem.  How can artists help to solve such large scale problems?  There are lots of ways.  Art helps us to think creatively, work collaboratively, and make connections that solve problems.  
Alejandro Duran Washed UpArtists can raise awareness of a problem by making art. For at least 50 years, artists have been making art from plastics and debris found in the oceans and on beaches to raise awareness of the impact of human garbage on marine life.   The article below from Time Magazine features 13 artists around the globe doing just that.
Alejandro Duran  Washed Up
kids vs. plasticArtists can design campaigns for change in our behavior, like reducing the use of plastics and styrofoam.  Students in Hawaii are working together to create awareness and reduce use of plastics and styrofoam.
ocean cleanupArtists can design solutions by connecting their knowledge of the problem from multiple subjects.  Boyan Slat used his knowledge of ocean currents to design a passive collector of ocean plastics.  At age 18, he invented a device that works with the ocean's natural currents, then started an international non profit to put it to work.  His invention, called The Interceptor, is now working to collect ocean plastic on a global scale.  Watch Slat's Ted Talk explaining his process here: 
adidas shoeArtists can design products that help to solve problems.  You can now purchase all sorts of items made from recycled ocean plastics.  Sunglasses, shoes, skateboards, flower pots, and watches are just a few of the items now being made from plastic collected from the oceans.  Choosing items made from recycled materials helps to solve the problem. 
How can you use your art skills to be a part of the solution?  Today you can draw or paint your favorite marine animal, design a cool product that could be made from recycled materials, create art that raises awareness, or even design an invention.  Think like an artist!


plastic bag braceletHow could common items that are discarded be repurposed and useful?

Could these unexpected results influence the next steps taken by an inventor or innovator?


Thousands of plastic bags are discarded daily on our planet.  Where do they go?  We learned about some of those places yesterday.  Instead of discarding, or throwing them away, think about how you could repurpose it for something else.  Would it be useful?  Pretty to look at?  Something unexpected? 

Experiment with ways that you could repurpose one plastic bag. 


These two videos show you how to make a bracelet using one, or more, plastic bags:


Once you get started, you may want to research about other uses for discarded plastic bags! 



One Plastic BagRead how the women in one village in Gambia turned a rubbish and health problem into a business that cleaned up their environment while creating income too:


One Plastic Bag by Isatou Ceesay
Raphael's School of Athens
Trompe l'oeil, French for "trick the eye" is a style of painting that has roots in the Italian Renaissance. More than 500 years ago, artists were creating the illusion of spaces behind walls and above ceilings. One of the most famous of these is Raphael's School of Athens, a masterpiece located inside the Vatican.
To learn more about Raphael and The School of Athens, click here:
School of Athens,  Raphael
Leon Keer's Rising AgainToday, we find this kind of painting most often on streets and buildings. This example is by Dutch street artist Leon Keer and is a clever twist to the 1974 unearthing of 80,000 terracotta soldiers in China.  For more modern examples, see this article from Writing Cooperative:
Rising Again,  Leon Keer
Today, learn how to trick the eye of someone you know.  
hole in paperFor Elementary:
This video shows how to draw the illusion of a hole in your paper:
stairs in paperFor Middle School:
This video shows how to draw the illusion of a more complex hole in your paper:
For High School:
Choose a space inside or outside your home on the wall or ground and sketch what may be happening behind the wall or under the ground. Look at the examples in the article above for inspiration. For technical help, the video for elementary is a simplified version of the "hole" illusion in the Leon Keer painting above.  
Bridget RileyOp Art is a modern art movement originating in the 1960's that focused on the formal elements of line, color, form.  Many Op art works appear to be moving.  Bridget Riley is pictured here with some of her paintings from that time.  For more on Op artists and their work, check out the Tate Museum collection here:
Sarah Lipoff paintingFor Elementary:
Try creating your own optical illusion with this painting from Sarah Lipoff:
For Upper Elementary and Middle School:
Try this illusion made completely of straight lines at Daily Line Illusion by Jon Harris:
For High School:
Use this distortion grid tutorial by Art John to create an Op Art sphere:
OK Go! uses these same principles in their video The Writing's on the Wall


Spartanburg MuralHave you walked downtown in Spartanburg lately?  It has many different art sculptures and murals.  As a community, many local artists have contributed to the landscape of our beautiful downtown.

Next time that you go downtown, play a game of “I SPY” with your family to see how many sculptures and murals that you can find.   Also, what elements of art are included in the works of art?  How does lettering play into the mural designs?

Look at these downloadable coloring pages from the Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce.  What do you see?  What symbols are included?  Color them as they are done downtown or make up your own patterns and color combinations!

Send a photo of your creation to your art teacher or homeroom teacher to share with your classmates in the fall.



Love Where You Live Mural by Stephen Long, Jeremy Kemp, and others