Monday, April 7, 2014

Henri Rousseau and The Tiger

This post is for my niece, Adi…I wanted to introduce her to the paintings of Henri Rousseau and share a few of the projects that I've been working on with my art students. The book, "The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau" written by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Amanda Hall, tells the story of Henri Rousseau with beautiful pictures inspired by his style of painting.
"The Fabulous Jungles of Henri Rousseau"
tells a nice story of Rousseau's life and shows
beautiful interpretations of Rousseau's paintings.
To color your own illustration out of the book, you can check out this link and download one of the illustrations of Henri Rousseau riding a tiger!

Henri Rousseau coloring page
I've divided this project into three sessions, but you can do it all at once if you feel like it. Don't rush through it, though! Take your time and practice your techniques to make the best art that you can. If you get tired of working on it, take a break and come back to it later. Remember that after each session, we need to clean up our workspace, so make sure to schedule at least 5 minutes for clean up!
Rousseau's Tiger

We're going to create a tiger that could live in one of Henri Rouseau's paintings!
At the end of session 1, you'll have a tiger that looks like this.

For the first session, you'll need a sheet of construction paper (yellow, pink or light blue), a pencil, & black oil pastel (or black crayon). First, we need to make our tiger. To create the outline of our tiger body, you'll want to draw a big "X" on the yellow construction paper with a pencil. Is your "X" big so that it almost fills the paper? If the "X" looks good to you, then we can grab our black crayon or black oil pastel and trace the "X."
Session 1 ~ Drawing a tiger with black oil pastel (or black crayon)

Next, draw a line across the top of the "X" to make the head of the tiger. Fill in facial features: ears, eyes, nose, mouth, whiskers, and then fill in the tiger's stripes.
We're only using the black oil pastel (or crayon) for this first part of the project. Once we color in all the parts of the drawing that are black, we can move on to the next step: Creating a color wash.
Session 2 ~ Adding a color wash
For the second session, we'll be creating a color wash. You'll need: the tiger drawing you made, a palette for mixing paints, a wide, flat paint brush, blue, red and yellow paints, a bowl of water and an old rag, paper towel or damp sponge.

A "Wash" is a very light coat of paint that we apply to our paper. We should still be able to see a bit of the color of the construction paper behind the paint wash. To make a paint suitable for a wash, grab your palette, a bowl of water, a big, flat paintbrush and your blue paint.
Steps for mixing blue paint into a wash.
Squeeze a drop or two of the blue paint into one of the dips in your palette. Now, add some water: Dip your brush into the bowl of water and then mix the paint with your brush. The water from your brush should thin out the paint. Without cleaning your brush too much, dip the brush in the bowl of water again to pick up more water. Mix the blue paint again, so it's very watered down. Now, you can apply the blue wash to the background of the painting. Try to stay outside of the tiger lines because we will apply an orange wash in the tiger.
Applying a wash: Don't dip your brush into the paint after every stroke.
Spread the watery paint around until the brush is dry, then load the brush
with more paint. If you run out of paint, mix another batch. Try to keep
it about the same consistency as the batch of paint you just used.
Notice how I'm holding the brush in the above pictures. The flat edge should follow the lines of the tiger's head and body. Only dip into the paint after your brush is almost dry.

What is the background of your painting?
What is the foreground of your painting? 
Is the subject of your painting in the foreground or the background of your painting?

video

Time to clean our brush before mixing up some orange paint. Make sure that you've cleaned your brush thoroughly of the blue paint. Wash your brush by pushing it gently against the bottom of the bowl with water in it. Be gentle so you don't send water flying everywhere and so that you're nice to your brush. If you're nice to your brush, it will last a long time! After tapping the brush along the bottom of the bowl, dab it dry by pulling it along the rag, paper towel or sponge. This will get rid of any blue paint still in your brush.

Making Orange Paint from Two Primary Colors

Now we need to mix an orange paint. Do you know what colors we need to mix to make orange? There are two colors that we'll use to make orange, and one of them is lighter than the other one. When you're mixing colors, you want to start with a little of the lighter color in your palette and then add a bit of the darker color and mix. If the color isn't dark enough, add just a bit more of the darker color and mix again. (If you start by adding the light color to the darker color, then you end up mixing a lot more paint than you need.)

video

After we've mixed a little of our orange paint, we need to add water to make it watery enough to be a wash. If you want to get clean water, you can rinse your bowl out and get fresh water. Otherwise, you can use the blue water to mix water into your orange paint. It will make it a little less bright, but it will still look good.

video

Apply your orange wash to the tiger, trying to stay inside the outlines, so you don't mix blue and orange paint washes. Now, we need to let the painting dry before continuing to add more elements to the painting.

Time to let the paint dry so we can add the next layer.
For the third session, we'll finish off our tiger painting by adding leaves of the jungle that the tiger is hiding behind. For this session, you'll need: green construction paper, bright green foam, scissors, black oil pastel and black chalk pastel, and a glue stick.

Session 3 ~ Materials: scissors, glue stick, oil pastels, chalk pastels,
green construction paper, green foam

We'll start by cutting out some leaves from the green paper and foam. What shape is a simple leaf? Cut the green construction paper in half. You can fold the paper over on itself to find the middle and then cut along the fold line. Cut the green foam roughly in half lengthwise.

Cutting and coloring leaves: Fold the green construction paper in
half hot dog style (lengthwise). Cut along the fold line.
Cut each strip into triangles. Draw in the leaf veins.
Cut the green foam in half. Cut almond shapes out of the foam.

After cutting the green construction paper and foam in strips, we're ready to cut out our leaf shapes. You can cut triangles out of the strips, or perhaps almond shapes. Once the leaves are cut, it's time to add the leaf veins with the oil pastel. If you want to use the green oil pastel instead of the black, you could do that, too. What does a leaf look like? Maybe you can find a leaf outside to study. Then, draw the leaf veins where you think they should go.

video

 If you used black crayon instead of black oil pastels, you may want to go over some of the black lines with black chalk pastels to make them stand out more. Then, the next step is glueing the leaves to the tiger painting so it looks like the tiger is hiding behind the leaves ready to pounce!
Glue the green construction paper leaves, first.
Then, glue the foam leaves on top.
At bottom, you see two different tigers, one on blue construction paper
and one on yellow construction paper.
The tiger in the bottom right corner above has chalk pastel outlines added. He also has some dimensional leaves made out of toilet paper rolls added, too.

Hope you had fun making your tiger! Make sure to take a picture and share it with me?
Love, Aunt Carrie

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