July 19

Grade 4 Foot Zentangles

Grade 4 footangle 55 2015

As mentioned in my last post, I went a bit crazy with Zentangles at the start of this 2015 school year.

Grade 4 foot zentangle 25 2015

Grade 4 Foot zentangle 25 2015

These are the foot zentagles – and we shortened the name to footangles – that my grade 4 students did.

Grade 4 footangle 26 2015

Grade 4 footangle 26 2015

I had done this activity 20 years ago in the art room, way before Zentangles had even been invented, and it always went well.

Grade 4 footangle 56 2015

Grade 4 footangle 56 2015

The students started with taking off a sock and a shoe and getting a partner to trace around their foot and yes, in between their tickly toes, with a grey lead pencil, on A3 cartridge paper.

Grade 4 foot zentangle 13 2015

Grade 4 foot zentangle 13 2015

They then had to lift their foot and reposition it with their foot overlapping somewhere.

Grade 4 foot zentangle 8 2015

Grade 4 foot zentangleangle 8 2015

The tracing was repeated until their arrangement of traced feet looked balanced and enough. Their decision, not mine.

Grade 4 foot zentangle 11 2015

Grade 4 foot zentangle 11 2015

The partners then reversed positions and did it again so they were both ready to start drawing.

Grade 4 foot zentangle 5 2015

Grade 4 foot zentangle 5 2015

I suggested they do this with a partner so they would get a decent traced shape of their foot with their full weight on it, rather than leaning back and tracing their own. Plus, it was the start of a new school year so what better way to get to know a classmate better than getting up close and personal with their feet!!!

So after a giggly 20 minutes or so everyone was ready to start in on those patterns.

grade 4 foot zentangle drawing 2015

grade 4 foot zentangle drawing 2015

They had looked at patterns and amazing zentangles the week before and filled in at least 5 spaces on their own pattern ideas sheet of 20 squares that had been glued into their art journal, so they were all set to go.

Grade 4 footangle 47 2015

Grade 4 footangle 47 2015

These students were also the only year level I had done Zentangles with in 2014 when they produced a name tangle.

Grade 4 footangle 44 2015

Grade 4 footangle 44 2015

And when they were in Grade 2 we had looked at the brilliant pattern work of Queenland contemporary artist Dave Behrens.

Dave Behrens self portrait

Dave Behrens self portrait


Dave Behrens painting the spoken word

Dave Behrens painting the spoken word

Dave Behrens painting Crossroads

Dave Behrens painting Crossroads

So I was confident that the pattern work they did would be good, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Grade 4 foot zentangle 35 2015

Grade 4 foot zentangle 35 2015

So now it was time to forget they were feet at all but just look at their paper as being covered in random, organic shapes, all of which needed to be retraced with a thick black texta and then filled with a different pattern with a black fineliner.They weren’t allowed to repeat a pattern once it had been used.

Grade 4 foot zentangle 32 2015

Grade 4 foot zentangle 32 2015

When they were finished they then had to fill the background with stripes using warm or cool colours.

Grade 4 foot zentangle 37 2015

Grade 4 foot zentangle 37 2015


  • Students we re so proud of their finished work!
  • stunning pattern work
  • students were so encouraging and enthusiastic when we did our “studio walk” around the classroom to look at everybody else’s work


  • Again I was way too ambitious with what I thought the students would be able to achieve over a few sessions However if they had used A4 paper the completed work wouldn’t have been nearly as impressive as there wouldn’t have been room for as many traced feet so less spaces to fill with pattern?!?!?
  • less children were certain about warm/cool colours than I thought
  • some students struggled to persevere to completion
  • I would definitely get the students to paint the backgrounds next time as coloured pencil or crayon backgrounds just dragged the work out even more. I cannot think why I didn’t get them to do this anyway?!?!?

Thanks for looking and I’m sure the Grade 4 students would love it if you left a comment,


December 5



As mentioned in previous posts, the Grade 2 children were inspired by the work of Queensland artist Dave Behrens. We looked at his website on the projection screen and even watched a video of him in his workshop.


The children were itching to get started after looking at the amazing squiggles, lines and symbols that go together to make Dave Behrens amazing paintings.


We started off small with each child decorating a rectangle to add to a whole grade piece of work.


They then chose a template to trace from a heart, a circle or a person. Some children found looking at the whole empty shape daunting so they used rulers to break the space up into sections to fill.


They were so proud of their work when it was finished and they looked terrific displayed together at the Art Show.

November 19


These photos are of the hall display I did earlier and the drawings mounted and on display at the Cambridge Primary School Art Show.

I read THE COAT by Julie Hunt to the Grade 1 children as part of celebrating the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book Week in the Art Room. They were mesmerised by the story and the illustrations, by Ron Brooks, are divine. Ron Brooks illustrated The BUNYIP OF BERKLEY”S CREEK as well as lots of other Australian children’s titles. Thhis book went on to deservedlywin Australian Picture Book of the Year 2013!


After immersing themselves in the story and having a great discussion about the fabulous illustrations we talked a bit about how fantastic it would be to fly through the sky in a magical coat. The children then drew their own head and neck onto a coat shape I provided them with. They could decorate the coat in any way they liked and they were so excited to add some sequins to it as well! Such a simple thing but they just thought it was so special! I love the picture below with the flying ponytail!

The next step was to cut their coat drawing out very carefully, ensuring they didn’t hack off the head or the feet, and put it aside to start the background. Drawing from a bird’s eye (or a person flying in a magical coat) point of view is tricky when you are in Grade 1.

 We looked at photos and maps and drawings I found on pinterest and google for inspiration, we talked about what they would see if they flew over their house, or the school, or the MCG (the Melbourne Cricket Ground, an iconic Melbourne institution, where footy and cricket are played, and other events held, in our sports mad Capital city, so it was familiar to most of the children) and most of the children seemed to be able to articulate what they would see and what it would look like when they drew it. I love that you look at the back of his headas he is flying in the drawing below!

 I have to admit, when it came to the execution it was really tricky. Some of them started out with a bird’s eye view but then as they found something tricky to draw they would revert to a straight on aspect. Some of them just drew a picture from a straight on, normal view from the start, even if it was very detailed.

But boy, when they GOT IT, wow, they well and truly GOT IT!!!


I am so proud of all their attempts as nearly all the children said they thought they were the best drawings they had ever done!

October 3



The Grade 2 children made snakes to celebrate it being the Chinese Year of the Snake!




I was surprised at how much the children whinged and moaned about how rolling the clay hurt their hands! And there were more children than I expected that really struggled to roll a sausage at all. We had a chat and it was interesting that most of them couldn’t remember the last time they had played with playdoh. Most insisted that they had never done this at school and didn’t have it at home because it was TOO MESSY! And these days the amount of children that help to roll  out pastry in the kitchen at home would fit in a thimble. So how are these little people supposed to exercise these fine motor muscles? In the Art room I suppose!



I was thrilled with how much effort the children put into painting their snakes once they were all finally fired. I’m sure this is directly related to the detailed work of Queensland artist Dave Behren’s that we were looking at and working on at the time!


July 24


A friend of mine sent me a message on Facebook during first term telling me that she had found an amazing website that belonged to an Australian Artist and I was going to love it. My friend Sue knows me really well and she was right. It’s a great website and DAVE BEHRENS is an amazing artist. He lives in Queensland.

I sent him an email and told him I was going to do some work with my Grade 2’s and 3’s in the Dave Behren’s style. And in the end we sort of spent the whole term working in Dave Behren’s style and the work the children have produced has been absolutely stunning.

Dave Behren’s paintings are incredibly detailed and the” WOW!!!” factor was certainly there as the children all “oohed”, and “aahed”, while looking through the website together and watching a video interview, which was available on his website, on the projection screen in the classroom.

Viewing the website in the main art room 2013

Looking at the Dave Behrens website on the wall in the back art room.


We started off small. The grade 2 children had to decorate a rectangle of coloured paper. The grade 3’s had to do a star shape. I glued them onto a large sheet of black cover paper so they would look similar to the way Dave Behren’s arranges some of his paintings. There was a lot of discussion about what could be drawn, repeating patterns, shapes within shapes, symbols, etc. I drew up some idea sheets BODIES/SHAPES/LINES and asked everyone to contribute one idea  to at least one sheet. Once they were working though they all took inspiration from each other – “Ooh I like what you did just there. I’m going to try that one.”

Viewing Dave Behrens video interview main art room 2013 

viewing Dave Behrens video in back art room 2013

I have lots more photos to put up of this stunning work so keep looking for future posts.