Friday, November 22, 2013


First order of business is to show the results of the projects started in September by the Bigs. Here they are:

after Jasper Johns' Zero-Nine - William, Age 10
after Wyland's Whaling Walls - Grace, Age 10

Quite impressive, don't you think? This group of older kids really takes their time and pays attention to detail and it shows. It may take them two or three class periods to finish up, but I think the results are worth it.

Now on to October:

Using a q-tip to put our designs onto the plate.
Ideally, we learned about Mary Cassatt who was famous for her impressionist painting and dry point etchings. But really, we covered her very quickly and got right to the printmaking. Printmaking is like magic for kids, and they love that you can make them over and over again. The Littles were encouraged to choose Mary Cassatt-like subjects (i.e.families and babies) but they could make any designs they wanted.

Drawing what we see, not what we think we see.

Emma, age 5
Next we tried observational drawing. This is ambitious for the younger kids, but I really feel they can do more than we think they can and it's never too early to introduce a concept. Observational drawing is a big focus for the older kids throughout the year, but it's a little early for the PreK and Kinders. Still, they did an amazing job!

Warhol stole the flower image (and got sued for it), so we stole it from him!
Colin, Age 4

Back to printmaking! The Littles really enjoyed learning about Andy Warhol (and his 25 cats, all named Sam). We set up our studio like his Factory, using factory techniques to product our handprints.

As Halloween approached, our thoughts turned to pumpkins and the Bigs created pumpkin farms using one-point perspective. This is a technique usually taught in middle school, but you never know which kids will really "get it" and incorporate the concept into their arsenal of art skills.  We learned about regional painter Grant Wood as part of this project.
Mateo, Age 7

My intention was for the week of Halloween to just be a fun class for the Littles, but once we were done, I realized we'd covered all the art bases when approaching our subject of pumpkins. We painted, drew and sculpted pumpkins, and threw in a little spooky music and a scary story or two!
We painted pumpkins...
… sculpted pumpkins...
… and sketched pumpkins! (& other things)
And on to November!

Carter, Age 4
The Littles enjoyed an old favorite - string painting. We learned about the Dada movement which was as silly as it sounds. Then we explored the concept of "happy accidents" by dropping paint covered string from a height onto our papers. You'd think this would be messy, and you'd be right.

More observational drawing!
 Our next subject was Georgia O'Keefe. Finally, the Littles and Bigs are aligned with the same artist each week! I doubt it will last long, but it does simplify things.

Laurel, Age 7
 Both age groups did big, O'keeffe flowers in oil pastel and watercolor. The Littles also made their own interpretations of her Ladder to the Moon
Teddy, Age 4

PreK Inventions
 Which brings us to Leonardo DaVinci! I like to read an art related chapter book to the Bigs as they work each week to help with noise level and focus, and our first one this year is Monday with a Mad Genius, part of the Magic Treehouse series. This project was a nice tie-in and worked for the Littles as well. Both age groups learned that Leonardo was not just an artist, but also a scientist and inventor. We designed our own machines (above) and did other activities like backwards writing and building and testing parachutes based on Leonardo's design!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

SEPTEMBER in the Studio

Play Doh sculpting  is a popular warm up activity.
Ahh, September. Summer's over, the air cools and we go back to school and art classes. Time to reconnect with old friends, welcome new ones and make some ART! 

Working on our sketchbook covers.
We started off with a "getting to know you" activity where each artist filled out an info sheet giving vital information like favorite color and what they like to draw. These are posted on the wall just inside the studio door. Check out our talented artists next time you drop off or pick up from art. 

Adding dots to our dots.
The Littles read The Dot by Peter Reynolds and made their own dots which are now "framed in swirly gold" in the studio. The Bigs read Dog Loves Drawing and prepared their sketchbooks for the year. We used lots of art materials to design decorative covers for the sketchbooks we will use to record what we learn.  

Undersea "Mural" after Wyland - Reese - Age 5
 Next we dove right in to creating undersea scenes after muralist Robert Wyland. The kids were very excited to discover one of his "whaling walls" is right here in downtown Norfolk! All age groups did this project, but the Bigs are still finishing theirs. They'll be posted next month.

"Blue Letters & Numbers" after Jasper Johns - Michael - Age 4
The Littles finished up the month by learning about Jasper Johns' obsession with numbers. He created many, many works based on that theme. We studied his textural piece, White Numbers, and then did our own versions! The Bigs are doing work based on Johns' number series as well. That, too, is coming next month so stay tuned!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Art Show 2013

Outside the Lines Young Artists' Studio Presents:

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
An Exhibition of Student Art

Sunday, June 2nd
4:00 - 5:00 PM

Third Floor - Ghent United Methodist Church

This year, a suggested donation of $5 per person will be collected for the Harper family.
Former student and summer camp assistant Wesley Harper's father has been battling pancreatic cancer for three years. As you might expect, the financial burden of such a fight is considerable. All proceeds of this year's art show will be donated to the family to help offset medical expenses.

Light refreshments will be served.

Here are some photos from last year's show:

Art hung from the ceiling...
...and lined the walls.

Parents, friends...
... siblings ...

... grandparents and students all enjoyed the art.

The food table; popular as ever.

Monday, April 15, 2013

MARCH in the Studio

Miniature Still Life Montage
ACRYLIC MINIATURES: Painting a vase of flowers? Easy. Painting a 4"x4"vase of flowers? Hmm...but that's exactly what we did. Each older elementary student created a still life in acrylics, using the tiniest of brushes and a pretty small canvas. We tried to indicate form and show our brushwork. 
ART WORDS: Acrylic, canvas. gallery wrap, miniature, form
Mondrian Collage - Emma - Age 6
PRIMARY COLLAGE with Piet Mondrian: Meanwhile, the PreK - 1st Grade classes responed by making some very flat artwork. We talked about Piet Mondrian's style and how it evolved, then used construction paper, scissors, glue,paint and cardboard for printing bold lines.
ART WORDS: Primary colors, square, rectangle

ASSEMBLAGES with Louise Nevelson: The Art Explorers love to glue! They were presented with a table full of found objects like bottle caps and popsicle sticks and a bottle of glue and that was fun. Then it was suggested they could squeeze all the glue out if they wanted. After a split-second's hesitation it got way funner. The end results were spray painted black to resemble Nevelson's work

Process art at it's best!

"BLUE" DOGS with George Roderigue: Louisiana artist George Roderigue made quite an impression on the elementary age artists with his iconic Blue Dog. They loved hearing how Blue Dog was born from the Cajun legend of the loup garou. We used templates of Roderigue's Blue Dog to plan out our own versions, which could be any or all colors.

Planning our "Blue" Dogs.

PAINTED PAPER COLLAGES with Eric Carle: Everybody loves The Very Hungry Caterpillar, right? So the Art Explorers and PreK celebrated Very Hungry Caterpillar Day (March 20) by making painted paper collages in they style of author Eric Carle. Flowers, caterpillars, butterflies, ladybugs and a chrysalis were all created!
ART WORDS: Author, illustrator, collage

Watercolor Technique Seascape - Emma - Age 4

WATERCOLOR MAGIC SEASCAPES: The PreK artists experimented with watercolor and salt to make some lovely seascapes. When salt is sprinkled on wet watercolor, it soaks up the pigment and makes a wonderful, crystalline effect. Once dry, our painted paper was ripped and glued down to resemble the surf at the beach.

ART WORDS: Seascape, horizon line
Discussing a video on Faberge eggs.
 FABERGE EGGS: All age-levels learned about Russian court jeweler Peter Carl Faberge and his marvelous, jewel-encrusted eggs. They especially loved the story of how the egg tradition began as an Easter gift from the Czar to the Czarina. We made our own versions of the eggs and hid something inside for our families to find on Easter!

Monday, March 25, 2013

What do we do when we're done?

"Ms Melanie, I'm done."

Those are quite possibly my second-least favorite words in the universe; second-least only because they are always followed, immediately, by my very least favorites:

"What do I do now?"

I don't think I'm alone in this. I expect art teachers the world over agree. "But, I can't draw a _________." doesn't even come close.

So what do we do when we're done? Nobody ever seems to finish their art at the same time. Every kid has a different pace and kids in general do not like to wait. 

Thus, the I'm Done Center!

Ta da!

I created this center for the older kids. Here they can find plenty of artistic things to do to fill time. Their sketchbooks are available along with lots of ideas of things to draw and how to draw them. Art related puzzles and creative activities are there too.

Pumpkin Sketch  - Age 11
The I'm Done Center has been a BIG hit with the older crowd since it was introduced last month.  Before it was added, the cool kids congregated around the Chalk Table. 

The ever popular, often dusty Chalk Table.
If you're not a fan of chalk dust, there are always dry erase boards and plenty of paper and crayons for free drawing.

Tandem drawing in pink and purple with Crocs.
The younger kids have favorite "I'm done" activities too. These are more often social endeavors. Sharing and turn-taking are skills we use in the art studio daily. 

Wiki Stix are a fun way to "draw" or create 3-D art.

Wiki-Stix "Drawing"
Gifts of fabulous jewelry are appreciated.
Cardboard "blocks" can be used to create anything from Star Wars T.I.E. Fighters to abstract sculptures. (More often, the former. *sigh*)

This sculpture was a group effort,

Art-related puzzles are available for all age levels

We have a selection of artist finger puppets. You have to know the puppet's name before you can play with him/her.

You never know when a puppet show will break out in the middle of art class.
And since the puppets have magnets in their heads,
we sometimes mix a little science with our art.

You can make art from anything.

Playdough is a go-to activity, but creative minds don't even need the play dough. The tools are enough.

And finally, here is Ms Melanie's favorite answer to "What do I do now?": 

"Read a book."

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Time to Register for Camp!

Here we go again! Summer camp info is available below (for snazzy, jazzy flyer) and 
in the Art Camps tab to the right.  Registration is OPEN!

Monday, March 4, 2013

FEBRUARY in the Studio

ICE CREAM with Wayne Thiebaud: We started off the month by finishing our yummy, pop art treats. Oil pastel details were added to the painted cones.
Art Words: Pop Art
Hungry yet?
HATS AND EYES with Rene Magritte: I found a marvelous book at the VMFA called Magritte's Marvelous Hat, in which the famous Surrealist painter finds that his bowler hat is the key to his painting success. With his hat he paints like a master. When he looses it, his ability to paint is lost too. The PreK/K classes tried on lots of art hats to see if the same would be true for them. Sure enough, they felt their art was better when created while wearing a hat. The Elementary classes used Magritte's famous painting The False Mirror as inspiration for their own surrealist takes on what can be seen in the mind's eye.
Art Words: Surrealism
Everything is better in a hat.
OP ART HEARTS: Around the middle of the month our thoughts turned to love and we created various heart artwork. We made hearts that seem to pop out at you, hearts that seem to move, heart-shaped valentines and used hearts as stencils for fingerpainting. It was a lovely week!
Art Words: Op Art, Stencil
Valentines for our valentines.
COLLAGES after Reggie Laurent: Atlanta artist Reggie Laurent uses layer upon layer of paint to create his colorful, abstract shape paintings. We didn't have quite that much time, so we used colorful paper shapes and oil pastels for a similar effect.
Art Words: Amorphous/Organic/Free Form Shape
Hearts make another appearance,
ABSTRACTS after Sarah Morris: The last week of classes was catch up time for the older kids, but the PreK/K classes continued their focus on shape with Sarah Morris. Tape was used to block off rectilinear shapes which were then filled with bright oil pastels.
Art Words: Resist
AND... the Art Explorers were busy as usual! So... very...busy. We created an extensive project using yarn relief then earth tone paint, then sponged on gold and silver accents. The aforementioned finger paint hearts were joined by finger paint trees and we also started a work based on Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night. And we did some of it in hats!