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.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Art ON!

Open Studio 
(5th through 8th Grades)

For highly motivated artists who want to work on their own, self-selected pieces at their own pace. Each class begins with a quick sketchbook activity. Students choose an artist to learn about and emulate, then create their own, individual masterpieces. We all learn about the artists chosen and encourage each other in our work.  

The class operates on a punchcard system to accommodate older kids' busy schedules. Need to miss a class or two? No problem!

Open Studio students enjoy many perks, like set-up parties for exhibits and a special gallery in the end of year art show. Visits from local artists and field trips are planned too!

Tuesdays 5:30 - 6:30 pm beginning Sept. 11

$130 Punchcard good for any 10 classes 
One-Time Materials/Registration Fee of $30  for New Students
10% Discount for Church Members OR Siblings

Contact Melanie at