Thursday, November 1, 2012


There are some projects that stand out as a rite of passage in a K-12 Art curriculum... by this time, I have become pretty familiar with the elementary staples such as the 2nd grade pinch pot. Four of my seven years I traveled to the High School for part of the day, and my drawing students mastered the requisite cow skull still life. Now, in my first year as a junior high art teacher, I was SO EXCITED to teach mandalas for the first time!

We viewed examples in Eastern Art as well as the rose windows of Gothic cathedrals, discussing the technical aspects of radial balance. We explored the use of a circular format rather than the traditional rectangular painting. A mandala can be representative of cycles, as a circle has no beginning or end.

After reviewing design concepts, students began by sketching a rough idea of a mandala format, then carefully drew one "pie slice" on templates I had prepared (proof that geometry comes in handy for art teachers!!). Students were encouraged to make both a border and central shape. This template was traced forwards & backwards on a 12x12 sheet of watercolor paper. After some Sharpie work and watercolor painting, we have some fine-looking mandalas! 

Many students embellished their work with custom motifs in different slices to create a theme... what creative kids!

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