Friday, 8 May 2015

Banyan Trees

I know that these have been done a billion times by all your art teacher bloggers, but I've always loved the pictures that pop up on Pinterest and think, "I've got to do that some day!" Today was the day I could finally squeeze this into one of our topics (albeit tenuously). As you know, we are studying mountains this half-term and I am doing all I can to find mountainous artwork projects. I found that the Banyan tree is the national tree of India (where part of the Himalayas stretch into), LINK FOUND! I know it's not the most solid of connections but we can't just draw mountains every week. Also, the results are so beautiful that they're worth slightly bending the rules for.

The Banyan tree project has been taken out of a book called "Dynamic Art Projects for Children" which is currently sitting in my cupboard. One of the amazing art blogs that has features this project is 'Artisan des Arts' run by Aly Marcotte. A link to her results can be found here. Thankfully, she also included a very clear step-by-step process for drawing the tree itself found here. I've copied and pasted the tutorial into this post below too so you can follow along.

I showed the children lots of pictures of banyan trees and discussed their significance to India. They're particularly interesting because roots actually grow down from their branches into the ground.

- Black paper
- Oil pastels (I'm sure this would work with chalk, too!)
- Pencil

1. Every child started with a sheet of black A4 paper in a landscape position. I displayed Aly's tutorial pictures on the board and modelled using my own sheet of paper at the front. Some children drew in white pencil which has come out quite nicely in the end, some used pencil which could then be rubbed out right at the end of the project. Here is Aly's excellent drawing tutorial:

Step 2
I showed the class the colour wheel and explained that analogous colours are colours that are next to each other on the wheel. They were then instructed to fill in the spaces between the branches with 2 or 3 analogous colours blended into each other. They had the freedom to choose any particular colour scheme they wanted or they could just go the random approach.

Step 3
In the space between the branches and the water, children had more freedom for different patterns and designs. Some wanted to go for a misty blue stripe atmosphere, many were keen to do different sunset pictures. 

Step 4
In the water section, I demonstrated how a range of different blues, purples, greens and white could be used to create a watery effect. I then showed how reflections could be made by drawing black zig-zag lines.

I've definitely said this before, but this is a big contender for my favourite art project of the year. As our art co-ordinator, I do everything I can to source interesting projects that the children can be successful with. This ended up being a highly successful activity for all children. Some of the year group got a bit confused in stages (colouring in the tree with colour instead of the background, colouring the tree white etc) but they still turned out beautifully in their own way.


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