Saturday, May 30, 2015

Japanese Cherry Blossom Art

Inspired by these collages and these lovely paintings, we decided to do a combination of the two and make some multimedia pictures of Japanese cherry blossoms (or sakura.) We liked learning about the significance of sakura to the Japanese, and its symbolic associations with the samurai and the fragility of human life. This video tells more about cherry blossoms, and we also liked this book about the cherry trees Japan gave to the United States.

Utah actually has a similar story: Boy Scouts in Japan donated some cherry trees to the International Peace Gardens in Salt Lake, but they had to be burned because of quarantine issues. You can read that story here.

We made these paintings by first washing a thin coat of blue paint onto watercolor paper (cut into long rectangles to look sort of like a Japanese scroll). Some of the children put a paper cup over their paper and painted around it to leave a white "moon" in the background.

Then we put lines of very watered-down brown tempura paint onto our papers and blew along the paint with a straw. This was supposed to move the paint organically down the paper and make it fork into natural-looking branches. It worked pretty well, though it was hard not to blow down and make a big blob on the paper. We got better at it as we went along. We also kept getting light-headed, so if you try this remember to take breaks every now and then.

Last, we put little squares of pink tissue paper around the eraser side of pencils, dipped them in glue, and pressed them onto the paper. I remember how much I liked doing this in kindergarten, and I STILL like it. It's just fun.
Some of the children wanted to write things on their pictures, so they looked up kanji characters and tried to copy them.
Junie's cherry tree. She did this all by herself. I like it.

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