Posted on 11/26/2018 at 08:32 AM by Blog Experts

Continuing on my classroom journey to implement Teaching Artistic Behaviors (TAB) in my classroom and Competency Based Education (CBE), I am always looking for new materials to allow my students to experiment and experience the joy of art making.

This summer, I had a conversation with my daughter, who is also an art teacher, and we discussed the application of new media with more affordable materials in the art room. One material came to mind because of its durability and affordability: tar paper!

A huge and heavy roll of tar paper was only around $15 at Menards, and provided many options with materials I had wanted to try. So two bottles of Dawn dish soap, several cans of spray paint left over from a summer project, and nice weather for this outside activity, and we were set.

We cut the tar paper into 16x20” pieces and started the process of experimenting. By brushing, smearing, dripping and pouring the liquid dish soap, students started creating a base on the tar paper. Then they took the paper outside and randomly applied spray paint, in layers to the soapy surface.

They waited until the spray paint was no longer tacky, and took the pieces over to the art sinks to wash off the liquid soap gently with soft brushes, hung the tar paper to dry and came back to them the next day.

The tar paper was amazingly durable, and the students were so excited to see the results of the soap and paint as a surface texture. I grabbed my example and started drawing with pastels, oil pastels, white charcoal and markers, demonstrating what the material could do, looking for happy accidents worth keeping, and exploring options.

My students had a conversation for a few minutes where they brainstormed what they would like to try on their individual piece and then it began. A full blown art explosion of creativity as each student grabbed materials from all around the room, to further the creative process on tar paper.

Some students were back outside applying the soap/spray paint process to continue to develop their background, others started applying acrylic paint blocking out light and dark values.  It was one of those days that my students said where did the time go? None of us wanted to quit making art on this day!

In reflection, the biggest joy for me as a teacher was watching my students get so excited about a new art challenge!  My goal this year is to continue to find new materials that allow my students to apply their previous knowledge in the art making process, and reflect on each experience in an artist’s statement. When they create out of joy and curiosity the value of their learning is immeasurable!

Chere Fox-O’Reilly
West Monona HS Art
Advanced Art Students: 10-12th


What an awesome application of creativity from you and your daughter and then your students! Keep thinking outside the box and sharing your inspiration!
Cherri Richardson | 11/30/2018 at 10:37 AM
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