Visiting Artist: Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson of Paper Paintings

Her cows are my favorite!
Total awesomeness!  Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson of Paper Paintings came to one of my schools and talked with my fourth graders!!!

Okay, lets back up to before the awesome visit and talk about how we prepared for the event!

A couple of weeks before Mrs. Nelson came I passed out a bunch of pictures (from a calendar) of her work and asked students to look at them - notice them.  We then talked about things they noticed, what the pictures had in common, what was different and even came up with some questions for the artist.

Next we watched this short video:

After the video the kids were pumped and we set off to decorated some collage papers with crayons, tempera paint and watercolor.  I assigned tables a specific color so that we had the correct color combinations when we went to collage later.

The following week we watched a DVD that Mrs. Nelson sent me.  In the DVD she went through her process from beginning to end - making papers, sketching, under painting, and then collaging.  After the video students did their own "sketching" and under painting.  Normally I am against making all the students do the same exact thing, but this time I decided the students needed to focus on the visiting artist along with the collage process - so I decided they would do our school logo.  We have a die-cut of our logo in two sizes, so I made a bunch and let my students pick which size and where to place it on their 6" square pieces of wood.

Back to the amazing visit:

Mrs. Nelson began by talking my students about her love of art, her journey to where she is now with art, and specific techniques to her collage style - and maybe most importantly she explained that making art is her job, she gets paid to make art! After her powerpoint she demonstrated how she works - she impressed the kids with her ability to work on her artwork on planes, in doctor offices and anywhere she can sit for a few minutes! The students "ooo-ed" "aww-ed" and whispered "this is awesome" "so cool" "best day of art ever"!

So, after Mrs. Nelson demonstrated how to directional rip, placing glue UNDER and OVER each piece, correct mistakes, and all sorts of other tips and strategies - we passed out glue, paint brushes, collage papers and their block of wood.

The students TOOK OFF! It was AMAZING to watch them work.  They totally understood and went for it.  Some students used too much glue, others too little - but everyone learned by trial and error and their projects look amazing.  When we had to clean up all I heard were complaints and moans - which is always a good sign.

I think one of the best things about the day was how much my students loved her right from the beginning.  They brought paper for autographs and gave hugs left and right.  Hopefully Mrs. Nelson had a great day just like my students and I did.


sue said...

This is great! Could you possibly leave her contact info if she is available to visit other schools? I’d LOVE her to come to our district! Thanks!

Ms Novak said...

I linked her name and 'paper paintings' at the top to both her blog and website! All of her contact info is there. Hope that helps!

Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson said...

Thank you for having me Ms. Novak and to all the wonderfully talented fourth grade students. I really enjoyed myself and appreciated your enthusiasm! Keep on making art and dream big!