The colors of fall make it an irresistible time of year to add art to your days. Oranges, reds, yellows, browns and greens against the brilliant blue sky – fall scenes are so much fun to capture! You can use any art medium to enjoy fall art. However, I want to share with you our favorite, chalk pastels. Chalk pastels offer a beautiful palette of colors. But there are many more reasons for you to consider this art medium.
Why Chalk Pastels?
There are a few basic reasons we love chalk pastels. First of all, as a larger homeschooling family, we simply do not have the funds for a long list of art supplies. A starter set of chalk pastels can be purchased for around $8 and shared among the family at the kitchen table. Besides a set of chalk pastels, you can simply use a stack of printer or construction paper.
Secondly, chalk pastels are so very successful for all ages. Chalk is familiar. Children love to hold a chunky piece of chalk and draw in the driveway. Chalk pastels are just a step up from there. They are pure pigments that you can paint with. We began using chalk pastels when our youngest was just two years old. As the children have grown, we’ve continued to use them and discover their varied uses. Chalk pastels are easy to layer color upon color, often called an under-painting. Older children can spend more time on a painting, add details and learn techniques.
Chalk pastels are also forgiving. If you make a stroke that you decide you don’t like, simply layer over it with another color. You can also smooth it out of your picture and spread a new color.
Don’t Like the Art Mess? We use chalk pastels at our kitchen table. You might want to have an inexpensive, plastic tablecloth or newspaper to cover your table. We simply wipe away any chalk residue with wet paper towels or baby wipes. Yes, baby wipes or soap and water get all chalk off of your artist’s hands.
You are an Artist
You might think that you are not artistic or the thought of teaching art may be overwhelming. Here is some encouragement. I am the daughter of a master artist. I thought that I had not inherited the art gene. But my mother, Nana, came and taught us all. And through watching my children, then practicing myself, I found that I am an artist as well. All I needed was chalk pastels and practice! You simply need practice to build your confidence as well. Nana says…
“All of us are born with talent…an inbred wiring to create. As parents, grandparents and teachers, tapping this talent and helping students reach a rich satisfaction with the creation of art is our goal! If you pick up a brush, pen, pastel chalk or use your finger for glorious finger painting – you become an artist.”
Hence our motto, you ARE an artist!
Simple Art Ideas
One way to have a successful art time is to combine art with another subject, such as literature, science, or history. Last year, we created beautiful space art along with our astronomy studies. I never knew how gorgeous a comet or nebula would be with just chalk pastels and black construction paper. (For a Nebula Chalk Pastel Art Tutorial go to: http://homeschoolingtoday.com/article/nebula-chalk-art-tutorial/ ) We have had art time based on the books Cranberry Thanksgiving, Madeline, Cat in the Hat, Lentil and more. We have even used chalk pastels for Bruce the shark from Finding Nemo, Angry Birds, Star Wars and many more. It is always a delight to follow nature study time with a sketch using chalk pastels. How about a beautiful dandelion in chalk pastels?
To encourage you, I am sharing an art tutorial you can do with a favorite fall book, Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert.
- Red construction paper
- Chalk Pastels: Red, yellow, black & orange
With your red construction paper turned horizontally, start with the red leaf. With your red chalk pastel, draw your leaf shape. No need for it to be an exact maple leaf shape because you will be layering several red, dark red and yellow leaves. If you would like to look at a maple leaf, simply look at the cover of Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf, look in a reference book or on the internet.
You will use your red chalk pastel to make the vein through the center of the red leaf. Carefully color in your red leaf. The chalk stands out even on the red paper. Then use your finger to carefully blend the color. See how smoothly it spreads? Take your black and add the stem of your leaf.
Next is your yellow leaf. It is prominent at the top of your paper and almost – but not quite – overlapping the red leaf. Follow the same steps for your yellow leaf, the vein, and filling in the color, then blending.
After creating these two leaves, red and yellow, you can simply make impressions of the rest. The rest do not need to have exact outlines unless you want them to. You are the artist! While you have your yellow, add another yellow leaf on the other side of the red leaf. Then take your orange and add an impression of an orange leaf.
Finally, use your black chalk pastel to add a shadow on the right hand side of your paper. You can do this by simply turning your black chalk pastel on its side and pulling the color across just a bit of space. It may look a bit bumpy at first, but you can blend and smudge the color with your finger. Take a clean finger and blend in the other orange and yellow leaves as well.
Lastly, take your black chalk pastel and outline the red leaf then the yellow leaf. This draws attention to the focus of your painting.
You may want to sign your name in the corner, because you ARE an artist! Try chalk pastels and we know you will love them too!
Free for You
See how you can get started in three, easy steps plus get your free copy of Getting Started in Chalk Pastel Art http://www.chalkpastel.com/get-started-in-chalk-pastel-art/
Enjoy 100+ Art Tutorials for All Ages www.hodgepodge.me/2014/12/100-free-art-lessons-ages/
Now in her 16th year of homeschooling, Tricia Hodges celebrated her first homeschool graduate last May! She faces a daily dose of chaos with five children. She is author of art curriculum (www.chalkpastel.com) for all ages and helpful homeschool habits at www.Hodgepodge.me. She and her husband, Steve, are also owners of www.thecurriculumchoice.com.