Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dots and Lines/ Warm and Cool Collages

A couple of weeks ago I went with a friend to the Rosamund Felsen Gallery at Bergamot Station here in Santa Monica to see Kim MacConnel's paintings. The colors, the lines, the design -- FABULOUS!! What a great inspiration! MacConnel is a San Diego artist and I am so happy to have discovered his work!

So, using this inspiration, this week 2nd graders will be creating abstract dimensional collages using warm and cool colors. I have a collection of images from Google that I will be sharing with them, along with paintings by Kim MacConnel on display here. Students will make warm and cool mini-art using markers and then arrange them (overlapping) on a black illustration board.

I'll have them use small blocks of foam core board to raise the art to different levels.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Some Styrofoam Print Results

Here are some of the pieces kids finished today, working on the borders of their styrofoam prints of "Blue Dog". A few of these snuck in some marker work on the border (I'd have preferred cut paper collage only) but most were pretty diligent trying to make opposite sides symmetrical. The large dog contour drawings were from students who were absent last week for the printing process. I may have some more on Friday if you check back.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Nice Surprise!!

This morning I opened my blog to find a surprise blogger treat called "Stylish Blogger Award" from Mary at Marymaking:    Thanks, Mary!! It was a real compliment to read that you think I try to think "outside the box." I don't think I always succeed, but I do try. I love your blog, too!!

The three requirements to receiving this "shout out" are to
     1) Link back to the person who awarded you
     2) List 7 things about yourself
     3) To pass the award along to 5 other blogs that I enjoy reading.

I thought about the later two for awhile. First, I didn't think I could come up with 7 things (that proved wrong, I could actually think of quite a few things!). The second was REALLY hard because I enjoy far more than 5 blogs and, since I am fairly new to blogging, I don't know which blogs have already received this award or would want to participate again. Oh, well, here goes...

7 Things About Me:
1. I have family living in Montana, so I visit the Bitterroot Valley every summer.
Looking toward Totem Peak above Victor, Montana
2. One of my favorite things to do to relax is to cook or bake.
Mom's apple crisp just before going into the oven

3. I am currently participating in The Sketchbook Challenge and having such a good time with it. You can click on my sidebar to read all about it, but basically they post a new "challenge" or topic each month and folks draw and post sketches (paintings, etc.) on a Flickr account and you get to see how everyone else interprets the topic. One of the best parts is that everyday one of the artists that host the challenge posts an article about some technique or idea. I look forward each morning to reading these. It is really a fun experience. Here is one of my pages for the theme "opposites":
Opposites - Sweet and Sour
4. I seem to progress from one craft to another: quilting, watercolor, beading, ... who knows what is next!
5. I am new to blogging and am loving the range and access to creative people!!
6. The blogs of others have got me interested in investing in a better digital camera, learning how to use it and maybe even exploring Photoshop.
7. I am a HUGE basketball fan, so this is my season!!

I am passing this award on to 5 Blogs I enjoy (This was REALLY, REALLY hard because I really love all the blogs on my sidebar and the others that I follow.) I am choosing a variety of blog types and perhaps a few newer blogs that have not had one of these awards yet (although I can't be sure). But I really think you all deserve an award and pat on the back!!

    Rachel has some cool projects using LINE and COLOR. I also liked her recent post
    using cafeteria styrofoam trays!!
    Jacquelien has been blogging for a bit longer and often has clever or unusual  
    applications that trigger ideas.
    Kate has fabulous photos that provide great inspiration. (and the cutest dog, George)
    I found this blog via Chronicles of a Country Girl (above) and the very first photo
    of the sun rising on Maine had me hooked!! It just started (a few weeks ago, I think).
   Jane La Fazio is a San Diego artist who does fiber art, mixed media, etc. I love seeing
   her sketchbook work and am signed up to take a workshop from her in May. I'm really
   looking forward to it!!

I have to throw in one more creative blog that I love reading. It's There's a Dragon in My Art Room  Phyl was my first blog follower when I started in September and didn't have a clue as to what I was going to do on this blog. Just having her sign on gave me the confidence to forge on and figure it all out. Thanks, Phyl.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Art Tools Still Life (revisited)

I had planned for 2nd graders to draw and paint the tools they work with this week, but I am not sure that we will get to it. I decided to post my plans anyway, just in case... I was planning to use Jim Dine's sketches of tools to introduce this lesson. A couple of weeks ago kids were learning to use shading to give depth to cylinders, so I plan to use a cupcake in my example. I'll  start by having kids trace around their watercolor tray and brush.

They'll sketch their water bowl and use pencil to shade.

Next, they'll sketch a still life object on another paper.
Then students will use watercolors to color the watercolor pans, the brush, the water dish and their "sketch." If the day warm, we cab probably cut out and glue everything onto a 12" X 18" piece of construction paper the same day, but with the rainy days we've been having, that step may have to wait for another day.  We'll see...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Prints in Progress

This week 2nd graders made their styrofoam printing plates of "Blue Dog" and printed 4 times on their prepared paper.
I made a couple of small adjustments in my original plans (last post). Before tracing over their drawings to transfer to the styrofoam, I had the kids tape their line drawing to the plate on top. I had pre-torn small masking tape pieces and placed them on the "table person" at each table. That saved time of kids trying to tear the tape, and it helped the kids keep their drawing from moving around when they traced. I also asked them to trace the lines on their styrofoam again (directly on the styrofoam) to make the lines deeper.

We used brayers to apply the colored printing "ink" but stiff brushes to apply the black paint. It was interesting. I used regular, washable block printing paint on one day and black acrylic paint the next day. Actually, I found the results better with the acrylic because it was lighter and easier for the kids to spread thinly with the brushes.
Next week, students will use markers to add some color to their prints and cut paper to add a border. Check back for the results.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Styrofoam Prints

I'll be starting this week's 2nd Grade lesson with the book, Why is Blue Dog Blue?, by George Rodrigue.

I am planning a short directed lesson on drawing a dog. Students will be working on a small piece of paper (4 1/4" X 5 1/2"). They can make line or shape patterns around the border.

Children will place their drawing on a piece of styrofoam cut to the same size and transfer their picture by tracing over their lines.

Next, it's on to the paints and printing. I know I want the kids to make multiple prints and I know I don't want 500 little prints all over the room for me to organize later, soooooo... using the same size as noted above, I pre-cut newspaper and some great colored printing paper I found in a cupboard (oh, boy!!) and glued them onto a piece of regular copy paper in diagonal corners. Yes, gluesticking to prepare 150 printing papers took a little while (as I watched TV), but I think it will save me a BUNCH of headaches next week, and allow me to finish this project in one day. If I were doing this as a regular classroom teacher, I would probably have the kids print each small print, let them dry, and gluestick their own prints to the larger sheet on a following day.

At any rate, kids will then ink their plates using brayers (and brushes) and pull their prints. I plan on having set ups of black and one other color at each table.

Since we will be using more than one color of ink, I'll have buckets outside for the kids to wash and dry their plates, brushes and brayers before printing their second color. Unfortunately, I hear we are expecting rain, so I'll have to move the buckets from the patio to our hallway  -- a little less desirable, but "Oh, well."

When these are dry, if I can work it in time-wise, I'd like kids to add detail colors using markers, something like this:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cupcakes, YUM!!

This week 2nd graders practiced using tints and shades to create VALUE in their cupcakes for our "bakery." This is the first time I have seen these classes this year.

Monday, February 7, 2011

2nd Notan Project

For this project, 5th graders began the same way as my previous post, applying strips of a musical score for their first layer. However, cutting the square is different, and while it seems more complicated, was actually easier for the kids. This was a VERY directed lesson during the first part where they made their initial folds and cuts. But after that, once they understood the process of light against dark, the kids were on their own to make creative cuts however they wished.

First, here are some results (you'll see they are a bit different from previous notan results):

And here is how I taught it:
"First, fold your square in half."

"Then, fold it in half again."

"Open it up so you are looking at that first folded square, with the fold part at the top. Starting at the bottom, near the side (but not right on the corner) start to cut diagonally up. Before you get to that top fold, at the midway point, curve and come diagonally back down. It is important that you end your cut on the same side as you began it. The shape is sort of like a mountain. Save those 2 mountain pieces."

"Next, open your original shape . . .

". . . and fold it down the other way. It will look like this. Be sure to keep that little fold piece at the top."

"Now, we are going to cut another little mountain shape, only with curvy lines." I did this so that all the mountain shapes wouldn't look alike and it would be easier for kids to tell them apart later.

At this point I had the kids use gluestick and glue the X- shaped piece down in the center of their paper on top of the music paper and loosely place their mountain shapes in their matching places. They DO NOT glue the mountain shapes yet!!!!!!!!!

"Starting with ONE mountain shape, make a cut, following the line of the mountain, so you now have a little mountain and a mountain strip above it. Put some glue on that strip on the side facing up (not the underneath side)."

"Now, flip that strip to the outside and press the glue down. Line up the two ends of that strip with the line of the outside square corners."

"Going back to your little mountain shape, make another cut -- wiggly lines look pretty good here."

"You are going to flip that littlest shape out, gluing, and then glue the other mountain shape where it is, to the inside. Again, the base lines should line up on that same imaginary line that extends from corner to corner." (Not all students got that concept right away -- it is what I helped most with.)

After the students did this first side, with me checking and helping those who needed reassurance, they were on their own to complete the other three sides and worked without much help from me.

This was a fun project and the possibilities are endless for variations. Hope you give it a try and enjoy it!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011


I've been thinking about a post I read the other day on Phyl's site, "There's a Dragon in my Art Room" -- the one about someone blowing snow on her instead of helping her shovel snow. It reminded me of my friend who often bemoans the lack of civil greetings as she takes her morning walks in her neighborhood. It used to be that fellow walkers would smile and say,"Hello" or even stop to visit. She is finding that to be less so as years go by. I rarely address personal stuff here on the blog, but . . .
The other day I had a day off and was walking to school to teach an extra lesson for a friend. It was a gorgeous morning, sun out, birds singing and all that. Lots of people out for their morning walk. I'd say I passed 15 or 16 people. Only 2 responded to my smile with a greeting. One was a man moving a heavy sofa into a moving van, who stopped to let me go first and said, "Good Morning." Another was a lady walking her dog. Kudos to them!

Then there were the others. OK,  2 couples were walking together engrossed in conversation -- they get a pass. Two were cleaning up after their dogs, they, too, get a pass. One man looked deep in thought and probably didn't even know I was there -- I get it, I've been there, too. Then there were those who looked straight ahead and never made eye contact, even though we were the only two people on the sidewalk. Were they shy? Did they not speak English and feel self-conscious about speaking? Did they not know how to smile? Hmmmm. Not so sure about that. Then there were the rest, the ones who looked me right in the eye (remember, I was smiling, looking friendly, ready to say "good morning") and instead of acknowledging my presence, deliberately looked away without the faintest hint that they had even seen me. What is it with that??? Am  I invisible?

Good thing I was going someplace where I was greeted with enthusiasm or I may have taken all those minor "encounters" as rebuffs. I think it is too bad when, as a community, we seem to have lost some of the niceties that we used to take for granted. Don't get me wrong, I still can find those little, anonymous connections here and there, but they no longer seem to be the norm on walks around where I live. Too bad, I miss them!!