Positive and Negative Space Birds

As an art teacher, I am always thinking ahead to the next cool project.  The idea for this project actually came to me during the regular school year.  I just knew it would be a wonderful summer camp project.  And these kiddos did not disappoint!  So I thought I'd share this lesson with you.  Because now, my wheels are spinning with other subject matter to be the negative space!  I can totally see silhouettes done this way!  And hope you can find a use for the idea as well.  So here goes:

MATERIALS NEEDED:  surface board (in this case we used 11x14 canvas boards but you could use wood or cradled canvas as well), contact paper, acrylic paints, white heavy body acrylic paint, texture makers, brushes

STEP 1:  Using a variety of materials cover your entire surface with paint.  Be sure to use fun materials like bubble wrap, q-tips, cotton balls, paint brushes, cardboard and more for a variety of textures.  We used cool colors only to not mucky the canvas.  I suggest having 4 colors on the palette.  It would also be fun to create one cool and one warm color canvas to hang as a pair.
STEP 2:  Allow to dry overnight.  It is very important that the bottom layers be very dry before moving on.  You run the risk of the white paint being contaminated if the paint is not dry completely.
STEP 3:  Using contact paper (Be sure to buy plain color contact paper so the kids can see their positive spaces well.), cut branches, birds, leaves and more peeling the backer off and sticking them to the canvas.  Some of the little kids had trouble grasping the positive/negative image idea.  But had a blast making their own stickers and putting them on the canvas!  I had several finished samples on the board as well as demonstrated the entire time step by step.  It's always important with kids to take it one step at a time as well as showing them the finished products.
The process was fun to see as the kids were working with materials not normal to the art classroom.  I love showing kids that to make art you don't have to just use paint and crayons.  Art can be fabricated from all sorts of materials just around your home!   We had to remind the children that everywhere the contact paper was placed would be the only color showing.  Everything else would be white.  So we encouraged and encouraged more branches and leaves!
STEP 4:  After the canvases had dried we then applied heavy body white acrylic over the entire surface.  Now, for some crazy reason the purple we used decided to illuminate through the white heavy body paint.  No matter how many coats we tried.  It turned out nice, but not as white as I wanted.  So I suggest steering clear of purple hues should you want a nice white space!
 STEP 5:  Allow to dry completely.
STEP 6:  The revealing was the coolest part.  The kids were oooing and aaahhhing....it was magical!  The contact paper pieces were carefully removed and voila!  A gorgeous positive.negative image revealed!!

And funny enough, Jennifer my adult assistant all week, was in Kohl's the day after art camp and they had a chair that literally looked JUST like these kids artwork.  We are very fashion forward in the art studio this summer!


Melissa I. said...

Those are beautiful! I want to do that with my niece! So fun!

Sunshine Girl said...

I love this! I am going to try it at my art camp next week.. Hope that's ok!!!

Dianne said...

This is so very cool! Love the way they turned out!

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