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Saturday, September 01, 2012

Kids Art: Chalk Pastel Study of Birds

Ever since Lang Elliott's The Songs Of Wild Birds came into our lives, the kids and I have been sighting birds everywhere just for the fun of it.

After Glue-resist Chalk Pastels and Mondrian-inspired chalk pastel works, kids have been using the brilliant chalk pastel colors on and off for various ad hoc in-house art work over the last couple of years.

And then, one weekend, inspiration hit us and we wanted to draw birds - close-up of them in brilliant colors from the photographs published in Lang Elliott's book.

Oggie is still working on his drawing skills but loves coloring, so, we teamed up so that I draw the bird and he colors it in - and as I draw I point out the shape, the colors, the background, and then leave him to it.

Items Used: Drawing/Sketch Pad papers, Pro-Art student grade chalk pastels, fixative (optional) - I use Blair® Clear Matte

First was the ubiquitous American Robin. Next came the Thrush (Swainson's Thrush was the inspiration). "Notice how it is lighter at the horizon and gets darker blue as we go up in the sky." "Notice the white breast and the brown spots on it."

He noticed I am sure, but decided to color it in as he pleased anyway, which is just fine. Actually, more than fine as this is my favorite of all the ones we did as it embodies Og's spirit, his passion, his zest and gusto.

Then, he picked the Rose-breasted Grosbeak. This time, I colored in part of the bird as he pointed out the parts and the color. "Some grey here, mama. Black here. Red here on its chest." He took charge of coloring the background - blue for the blue, blue sky, green for the grass and leaves.

And then the gorgeous Scarlet Tanager. This time, he was more precise with the colors and I added the finishing touches.

Ana decided to work independently.

She chose the American Robin first, just as Og and I were working on it together.

Her touch was to add the clouds in the sky using a technique we had watched in youtube: use an eraser to lift off color to reveal the white of the page.

I adore this Robin, she has character and spunk, and the clouds are quite whimsical.

Next was the Wood Thrush. "Notice the sort of squarish head; notice the big belly; notice the spots on its white breast..." was all she heard from me.

I like the way this wood thrush's tail is all cute and curly, very much Ana's signature.

In order to simplify it even further, my suggestion was to place each bird such that we don't have to worry about precisely showing its feet - foliage covers it strategically.

Of course, I would have preferred to frame each and every one of them. But, satisfied myself by laminating them and using them as place mats for everyday meal time and enjoyment.

I did spray a fixative (outdoors) and let it dry so the protective coating will preserve the work and the chalk pastel won't rub off on our fingers as we handle them.

All in all, a very entertaining, delightful, and satisfying weekend spent studying a handful of birds in their full glory as we listened to their bird song in the background thanks to Lang Elliott's CD that came with the book, and looked them up in the computer.

Now, will I remember much about the birds? I doubt it, my memory being what it is. Will I remember this experience of basking in their joy in creating these colorful treasures? Of course!

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At 8:21 PM, Blogger Praba Ram said...

Hugs to the budding birders! Totally wowed by their love for art and birds. Love the little bird love we share, and you know my connection to the native birds. Will email seply on stuff that's close to my heart. You can share with Og.

Did you do the outline for them and they colored in with chalk pastels? LOVELY!!! Kudos to you, dear.



At 8:31 PM, Blogger Sheela said...

Thanks, Praba! Ana did her own drawing and coloring :)

Chalk pastel is my favorite - easiest to use (though a bit messy) but produces stunning results.

Ana has done a few more chalk pastels - just what she fancied, not birds - will email.

At 12:07 AM, Blogger Vibha said...

Wow! These are amazing Sheela. Og and Ana have done a wonderful job here.

Chalk pastel is my favourite too, easy to mix and smudge.

At 11:22 AM, Blogger Sheela said...

Thanks, Vibha! I am thankful that some days it seems like things just align themselves to facilitate such experiences...

Birds, Fish, Flowers are favorite themes with kids, using chalk pastel. Will have to share the fish study Og did with me.


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