2010 #4

February 24, 2010

the growing tree...30x40 acrylic on canvas and paper...23 Feb 2010

The Growing Tree is a collaborative painting I did with my son’s first grade class.  Instead of fundraisers, the PTA at his school has an annual banquet and silent auction at the local country club.  Each class is responsible for providing a class gift and so “The Growing Tree” is the class gift for this auction.

 The concept for this tree is similar to my winter tree series.  Specifically this one here.  The scale is much larger.  It went from an 8”x8” panel board to 30”x40” canvas. 

Here is the process of how this was created:

 Step 1 – Paint the Background.  I met up with about 10 students who were able to stay a bit after school one day.  I brought in the blank canvas, and easel, a bunch of paints, and cheap brushes and an old bed sheet to protect the floor.  I split the students into groups of two.  I would then squirt some blue and white and maybe mix-in another color onto the canvas the group of two would spread that paint around for a few minutes.  Then it was the next groups turn to repeat that process.  Each group had about 3 or 4 turns.  I encouraged them to paint on top of the previous work and to use big broad strokes…squiggle, circles, and to ride it like a roller coaster.  This created a pretty neat layering of color and gave the background a uniform look rather than 10 individual looks.

 Step 2 – Paint the Circles.  We passed out 22 random pre-cut circles on different colored construction paper to the 22 students in the class.  There are 3 different size circles on the painting – 3”, 3-1/2”, and 4”.  At first I was going to use the same size, but I felt the painting would be more dynamic if the circles were not uniform.  The students were sitting at tables in groups of 3 or 4 and I passed out plates that had the basic colors and paint brushes.  The instruction was that they could paint whatever they want – crazy color designs or more concrete like something you would  find in a tree, but the most important instruction was that they were to paint over the entire circle so that the original color of  paper was not visible.  This was really fun and they all had a good time.

 Step 3 – Paint the Tree.  This was my only visible contribution to the project.  Everything that is black was done by my hand.  Basically, I painted the tree on to the canvas.

 Step 4 – Add the Circles to the Tree.  Once the tree was painted, I used a gel medium to apply the circles onto the canvas.

 Step 5 – Varnish.  After the piece was complete, I added a gloss varnish.  This really make the colors POP!

 This morning I took the painting to the classroom for the kids to enjoy before it is auctioned off this weekend.  I took the above picture with my hand held camera, so I am sorry it is not the best quality.  This was a fun project.  Kids love to paint and I think it turned out well.

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4 Responses to “2010 #4”

  1. katy said

    Really cool Sam! It turned out great!

  2. Dad said

    Mom wants you to come and do this with her Kindergarten class asap!:) It would be a wonderful Mother’s Day gift!

  3. Joanne Suther said

    Sam, What a wonderful class collaboration painting. I am sure each student has a wonderful memory of the process. You gave them a unique creative experience. Excellent!

  4. Jami said

    This is beautiful! What a great idea and great execution.

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