The second artist we talked about was Toni Rhodes. She is a local encaustic artist.
We talked about abstract art and how you can use colors to express your ideas. Ms. Rhodes came in and spoke to the students. They got to see (and even TOUCH!) some of her work. She talked about the process of creating her pieces and the students loved the idea of creating art with a blow torch. We were, however, going to take a less hazardous approach to encaustics; melted crayons.
I brought in an electric skillet to melt the crayons. We peeled the paper off, broke the crayons into several pieces, and put them in small tins that are typically used to make candles.
After talking to students about how to paint safely, I called them over 4 or 5 at a time. They were asked to think about how they could express their animal using only colors, shapes, lines, or textures. What colors are in your animal? What does their skin feel like? Where do they live? (Only having 11 students and another teacher to help, it was easy to safely monitor all students) They had to paint very quickly because as soon as the wax came out of the tin it was dry in seconds.
This was a great experience for my students. They couldn't get hung up on what it was going to look like in the end or how each brushstroke would look. They got to explore a new material, and they had a blast!