He spent the morning looking through the big books. The books that require the paint splattered step stool and a fearless climb onto the work table. He bent back the pages, marking them with torn pieces of paper and gum wrappers. The gum he snuck when I was making dinner. The gum that ended up on the back side of the blue chair. The gum that required a butter knife to get it off. That gum.
"We need to make something good."
His foot dangled from the edge of the table. His pajama bottoms creeped perilously to the edge of the SIZE SMALL tag. And his back made straight by an idea. Finger pointing straight to the sky as if to add an exclamation point to his thought.
"Let's make pugs!"
He climbed down off the table and wandered the studio. Did you know that a pug can't be outside if it's too hot because their smooshed up faces keep them from breathing? And you have to, really need to clean the wrinkles on their faces because they get all yucky in there and don't squeeze them too hard, or hug 'em too hard cause if you squeeze them too hard, well...their eyes can pop out. There is that.
He climbed back up onto the table.
"Owls are nice too."
"Maybe we should just make owls."
So we drew some pictures and made some plans. Blueprints, he said. And we made some steps, because "art class can't have rules." And he practiced saying, "You're awesome" as he pulled his pajama pants up with his curled hand still holding onto his last piece of gum.
And we made some coloring cards and put up some tables and made sure all of the brushes were clean.
So we could have ourselves our very own Hootenanny! Because it's fun to say and it sounds better than art class.
Find an old board to use as your background. We used 1/2" plywood, cut
down to 10" x 12". Use a water based red paint to paint your background.
We spread the excess paint with a paper towel to give it a "stained" appearance.
We used acrylic paper to create a birch tree background for your owl to sit on. Be sure to use the rough side of the paper. Using water based paint in a dark charcoal or grey color, and one dry brush, slowly drag the brush and paint over the paper in straight lined columns. It will create a textured appearance similar to a birch tree.
Draw templates for the body and wings. Trace the templates onto a sturdy board. We used white poster board.
Create templates for the head, eye background and ears. Trace and cut the head from a firm brown board. We used a kraft color poster board. The eye background will be cut from a grey poster board, and the ears from brown poster board.
Eyes: The eyes have three parts, the white circle, the black pupil and the brown eyebrows. All can be created with a thin construction paper.
Play with your expressions. The eyes give the owl his personality!
Finish up your body with two feet and a beak, both made from black construction paper.
Body Feathers: We used some old gray papers we had in the studio. You can use any paper you have around and paint them various shades of gray. Just be sure the paper isn't too thick. Draw a simple feather shape on the papers and start cutting. It was helpful for the children to stack several papers at a time and cut them at once.
To glue the feather to the body, we used a Liquitex Matte Gel adhesive. It's water based and doesn't dry too fast or too slow. A glue stick or school glue would would as well. We started at the bottom and worked out way up the body, stacking and layering the feathers for texture.
Wing Feathers: We used the same technique for the wings as we did for the body. But instead of grey paper, we used several shades of brown. Again, this can be brown paper or painted brown papers you create on your own.
We used a sharpie marker to give the grey eye background more detail. Start with a line straight down the middle. Create two center dots on each side and create a sunburst design for the eyes to sit on.
Glue the face together. Keep in mind again the use of expression. Try different positions for the ears and a slight tilt of the head can create even more drama.
Glue the wings and completed head to the body! Looking good!
Add a little love to your owl. One simple heart. We used a thicker paper for this piece, but construction paper or any recycled paper would be fine.
Hold your masterpiece up for the whole world to see!
It's a hootenanny!