Saturday, December 14, 2013

Advent Day 14 - Cycle 1 Michelangelo Flashback Fresco and Sculpting Christmas Projects

Advent Day 14 - Cycle 1 Michelangelo Flashback Fresco and Sculpting Christmas Projects

We are venturing once again back to Cycle 1 Artists!  We did a fresco and then we did a sculpting project, reviewing Michelangelo from Great Artists we studied last year (Cycle 1).  You all remember Michelangelo...that fresco painter that did that little ol' thing called the Sistine Chapel.  He was around in late 1400's to mid 1500's.  He is also known for sculpting - we probably have all seen his David sculpture and the Pieta.  As we ponder Advent, the Pieta is the fullness of Christ's 1st coming to earth as represented by Mary holding the body of the crucified Christ.
Our fresco and sculpture were a little lighter in subject and not quite as gifted in form, as the Pieta =) but we had fun!  We did a candy cane fresco and an angel sculpture using an Ivory soap bar.  The fun is in the doing and not necessarily the outcome =) - it's just nice to be taking these days of Advent to do projects together that can look how they imagine and not have to be a specific way or cover a specific set of memory words!  I just supply the materials and explanation of ways to use them and then they take off with what they want to do with them to focus on the Season.

Fresco Supplies:

Plaster of Paris
Paper Plate with sides - like a Chinet plate (this can make a nice "frame")

Mix the plaster of paris according to the directions on the box.  Then pour it in your paper plate "mold".  When it's most of the way dry you can begin to work with it.  My daughter decided what she was going to paint (we discussed Christmas themes and she chose a candy cane) and penciled it lightly on the plaster. Then she began to paint on it with the paints.  We used tempura paints today.  We've also used watercolors previously -but they do fade quite a bit in the plaster -either would work though.
She tried pastels to see if they would work on the plaster but it doesn't, really.  Good thinking though =)  She was so hopeful she discovered some new artistic medium!  Love the ingenuity!

Sculpture Supplies:

Ivory Soap Bar
Butter Knife
Wooden Skewer

Then we did a sculpture and picked our Christmas theme for that as well - first a manger was tried but it was a little hard to work with for a kid her age and it ended up being broken.  So, we decided on an easier to carve Christmas theme of an angel, for our second try.  We talked about how detailed and difficult it is to sculpt.  Makes you have a real appreciation for what Michelangelo could do!  Sometimes we learn more from our failures then our successes - I think this was true today.
I drew with the wooden skewer point into the bar of soap to give the girls an outline to carve around. Then they traced that quite a few times to really get the imprint strong and deep in the soap.

After that they began to work at it whittling away very carefully and continually keeping an eye on the design, to make sure they didn't exceed the borders.

It was a difficult carve for not having done it but one other time before, but they did very good.  You can see my post on when we did a fish back during Cycle 1 Michelangelo week (which is a very good image to start with for sculpting since it's fairly simplistic) you can see it here.
Have a blessed Advent Day 14!


  1. Hi Colleen! This is a great idea! I love how you're incorporating a review of Cycle 1 Great Artists and their techniques in your advent activities! Thank you for submitting to the CC Blog Carnival. I will try to also remember to include a link to your Ghiberti activity, which I thought was great, too!

    1. Hi Brandy! I'm so happy to hear your good news by the way! What an awesome gift for the coming year. So glad you enjoyed the activities. Many blessings - Colleen

  2. What great projects, and they turned out so well!! Thank you for sharing them!!

    1. Thank you Kristi! Hope you are enjoying this Advent season! Blessings - Colleen

  3. Love the projects! That angle is so cute =)