An oldie but a goodie: Paul Klee’s Cat and Bird. I’ve seen this on Pinterest and Google a lot as a “must do” art project for students. Last year I did Paul Klee, but we concentrated on his use of shapes and bold colors to make cityscapes and castles. This year, we made kitties with birds on their brains. To introduce Paul Klee, we watched Art with Mati and Dada – Paul Klee on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqHJ9gDLkL8
I love Mati and Dada. They focus on the artist, provide some education on elements of art, and show the art from the artist. I learned how to make the cat from the video too. In the video, Paul Klee starts with the eyes. Then he does the other shapes in the face. This is very helpful for students. When I tried to make the cat starting with the oval/teardrop cheeks, the students had more difficulties in making their cat faces symmetrical.
Then I showed a video compilation of his work. I love this video. The music and the art is well done to show how diverse and beautiful Paul Klee’s art really is:
After we watched the videos and talked about his style, we learned how to draw our cats.
I taught the students to draw the cats using two different methods. The first is by starting with the eyes, then you draw a straight line from the edge of the eye and around the other edge of the eye. Hopefully, you get a little overlap between the two shapes. This is where you put in the heart-shape nose. The other method was starting with the oval/tear shape to make the cheeks. You can then center the heart nose and other things around that shape.
Now for the magical amazing part. We used Portfolio water soluble oil pastels. If you have never used these, they are a game changer. Seriously. They are expensive, but oh my gosh, they are like butter.
I got the class set, so not as many colors as what I would have liked, but still, an awesome purchase and I thank my school district immensely. I love them. The kids love them. Now all my second graders want to use in art are these little sticks of goodness. They are fantastic for blending, going on the paper in a silky smooth line. They don’t wreck your fingers up. They don’t feel greasy or leave a residue. AND, the best part…. they become paint when you add water. Who wouldn’t love these oil pastels?
The main thing we had to keep in mind was to make the cat the center of the artwork. The emphasis is on the cat, not the background. We also had to make sure the cat was symmetrical and in the middle of the paper. Students all did a great job with their drawings of the cat, adding their own artistic flair, and had fun making additional designs. Here are the results:
Every time I go into the hall, I am welcomed by these cats. They make me so very happy!