Wednesday, December 5, 2012

New Class Starting in January!

After Monet's Waterlilies Series
After Mondrian's Broadway Boogie-Woogie

Art Explorers (Age 3 - 4)
Process-focused class for the youngest artists who want to explore their abundant creativity.

 Thursdays 1:00 - 1:45 pm

$40 per month Jan. through May
$20 one-time materials/registration fee due the first class.
10% Discount for Church Members OR Siblings


Room 312, Ghent United Methodist Church - 531 Raleigh Ave., Norfolk

Contact Melanie at 757/472-6483 or to register!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Show Me The Mona Lisa!

Mona Lisa fresco - Age 11

One way I get little artists' attention is by calling out "Show me the Mona Lisa". The kids respond by folding their hands in their laps or on the table, smiling sweetly since they love art class SO much, and putting their eyes on me. (Mona Lisa's eyes follow you where ever you go. This is a source of infinite fascination to the 6 - 10 set.)

I didn't make this little trick up. It's a technique many art teachers use. This little prompt works extremely well, I suppose because it's more like a game than a command. Today I found a really cool   Mona Lisa Expressions Game to share with you. You can even choose to play in a different language!

Friday, October 12, 2012

How We Spent Our Summer Vacation - A is for Abstract

A starts Abstract, Art and August, so what better way to start the last month of summer than to learn about non-representational art?

After learning the difference between figural and abstract art, we created a little of both. When parents arrived they were challenged to tell what they saw in our abstract paintings. Of course, nobody saw the same thing.

Tuesday was Circle Day. We concentrated on that shape by making our own versions of Rachel Whiteread's 2012 Olympic poster design.

This was a great tie-in because the Olympics were ongoing at the time!

And you can't have Circle Day without a little Kandinsky!

Action Painting Day! You know we flung some paint...

...and got VERY messy...

...but the results were well worth it.

After painting our individual masterpieces, we each mixed our own color of chalk paint and did a collaborative action painting in the parking lot.

(Please try to ignore the tire marks. Nothing lasts forever, and alas, our art barely lasted an hour!)

Throughout the week we enjoyed A is for Art: An Abstract Alphabet by Stephen T Johnson. It was especially fun finding the letters in each work.

Superman is totally proud of his Nevelson sculpture. He used his super patience with the gluing and painting.

Finally. Rectangle Day! We learned about Josef Albers and spent some time planning our compositions using our favorite colors...

...then we assembled the finished products.

We ended Rectangle Day, and camp, with a quick Rothko composition.
I suppose I should have emphasized smudging and smearing a little more, but for 5-year-olds I think they did really well. 

Clearly, what I did NOT do on my summer vacation was blog about camp. One more to go. Maybe by Halloween?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Just make a mark...

I love, love, love Peter Reynolds' books: The Dot, Ish and Sky Color. They neatly address issues of creative self confidence in terms children can understand. The art teacher in The Dot is my personal hero. Actually, she shares that distinction with Harold, of purple crayon fame. My favorite part is when Vashti arrives in art class to find her dot displayed above the teacher's desk "framed in swirly gold." That's the kind of art teacher I want to be. So I decided to start this art year with a dot inspired lesson and lo and behold, it turns out September 15th(ish) is International Dot Day! Apparently it's been celebrated for years. What fun!

First we "signed in" by making a bingo marker dot and signing our names. This poster will be displayed all year.

Together, the older classes (aka the Bigs) created a collaborative dot from a pizza board. Wednesday's class collaged it and Thursday's class added paint.

The mixed-media theme continued with our individual projects. After using several gallons (each) of glitter glue to create our "swirly, gold" frames, the artists made dot themed works using whatever media they chose. Paint, oil pastel, collage, name it, we used it. The only commonality was dots. Then we signed the finished products.

And here they are, all framed is swirly gold. This is only a portion of the wall, but you can see our collaborative dot in the middle.

Sadly, I don't have a picture of me in my polka-dot dress. I looked pretty great. My daughter and I spent an afternoon thrifting and found the perfect thing for less than a gallon of gas! It is actually quite lovely, though it got a little old after three days.

Peter Reynolds' books are coming out in a "Creatrilogy" on October 20th so you can get all three in a nice little boxed set!

Monday, September 10, 2012

How We Spent Our Summer Vacation - All About Me

When you are a kid in the summer, it is truly all about you. No school to suck up your precious time. No parents nagging about bedtime. The days are long and there's plenty of time for introspection. Who are you? What will you do? Where will you go? What makes you special? Artists have asked these questions since time began, and they've used self-portraiture to find the answers. This was our focus during the hottest days of July.

We played a portrait game to get to know each other better.
Albrecht Durer 1471 - 1528 - Durer created his first self-portrait at the age of 13 and went on to make at least 10 during his lifetime.

We began with a straight forward self-portrait.

Lots of improvement after a lesson on proportion, 
Vincent van Gogh 1853 - 1890 - Van Gogh suffered from mental illness and addiction and may have used self-portraiture as a way to untangle his mind.

Tracing hands and feet for "falling back" portraits,

It's all about perspective.

Self-portrait Go Fish is cut throat, I tell you. Too much drama for me.

Jim Dine born 1935 - Represents himself as a bathrobe in his art!

What clothing represents you?

Eventually the weather cooperated and we got to spend some time outside.
This was a fun project. We created the backgrounds then
traced our photos onto acetate to lay over the top.
Frida Kahlo 1907 - 1954 - Kahlo was nearly killed in a bus accident as a young woman. She was crippled for life and used self-portraiture to deal with her constant pain.

What's in your head?

On the last day we put all we'd learned into action,
creating any kind of self portrait we wanted.

This one includes the artist in her
favorite place with her best friend.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

How We Spent Our Summer Vacation - Art Around the World

Summer started with a trip around the world! Within the two weeks we visited five countries and learned about their art and culture. 

First stop - INDIA: Namaste!
We made menhi by tracing our hands and adding designs...
...then we helped our friends decorate their actual hands.

Diwali lamps ready to paint.

The finished products.
Rainy day plus Indian music equals Bollywood style dance party!
On beautiful days we found ways to create outside.

On to Japan: Konichiwa!

Cherry Blossoms: Step 1 - Remember to blow OUT!
Step 2 - Add flowers
Step 3 - Add your chop.
You can't visit Japan without making origami.

And drinking out of your own paper cup.

The bigger kids tried their hands at Sumi-E.

Along the way we made new friends.

Next stop: Botswana - Dumela!

Ndbele is funny to say but painting with feathers is hard!

African masks are always a hit, though.

The little kids visited Australia: G'day Mate!

Aboriginal bark paintings. Good thing my neighbor has a birch tree!
And the big kids ended their travels in Mexico. Hola!

Another kind of bark painting - Amate.
 In the end, we traveled for real - to The Chrysler Museum of Art.

Actual Sumi-E tools. Cool!

Reading about art is almost as fun as making it.

Stay tuned for the next installment of How We Spent Our Summer Vacation.