Earlier this week we read Old Bear, one of my many favourites by Kevin Henkes. Old Bear lumbers to his den, curls up and falls into a deep winter sleep. He dreams of being a cub again, exploring the seasons. When he awakes, Old Bear is most delighted to find the world awaits him, just as beautiful as in his dreams.
The front cover of the book provides the inspiration for this art project. Large and endearing Old Bear begins his journey in fall, against a backdrop of autumn leaves and falling snow. Before setting off to sketch Old Bear, we looked for familiar shapes in the bear's body. The children saw the body was oval, the head and snout were circular, and the legs were soft rectangles. Once they sketched the body, they added details such as ears, snout and eyes, before outlining their bears in black crayon. We talked about how sketching requires the artist to loosen their grip in order to make soft, sweeping lines. They were encouraged to go over their shapes many times to get the look they wanted. No erasing necessary. They did a really great job! The bears are in the process of being painted chocolate brown and defined in black paint.
For the background, leaves were painted in orange, red and creamy white before being pressed and printed onto black paper. They painted the veiny side of the leaves to pick up the definition and detail. We will be putting the finishing touches on them next week... more photos to come.