Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Bottle Cap Drive is On!

I've started a plastic bottle cap drive for my art studio! I'm taking the plunge and coordinating some mural projects with the kids for our spring and summer workshops. Then I hope to propose a mural project to donate to a local venue.

Does anyone have any learning experiences or advice on a smoothly run operation? Any construction troubles? I'd love to hear from you! Here's an inspirational link if you are not familiar with these amazing projects. Visit: http://www.artgrange.com/LittleBottlecap.html

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Potato Print Patterns

My youngest students and I explored themes of color and pattern while learning about printmaking. The simple act of cutting a few potatoes in half and in quarters, gave us some lovely organic ovals to create our works of art. We talked about creating patterns by repeating a series of color choices on our papers. It was messy, squishy business and the children loved it! I loved watching them feel paint in between their fingers, touch raw potatoes, and choose which colors to paint and press. Here are some of their potato masterpieces.

We used 12x18 paper and tempera paint. I added a bit of white to each color before working for a more opaque appearance. Make sure to rest the cut potatoes on a paper towel to absorb excess moisture before starting to work. You can also cut notches on the top to have something for little fingers to grip as they print.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Great Art Sites for Kids — Matisse!

I've decided every now and then to feature an art-related web site for kids. I keep saying to myself that I will create a blog roll and list them all, but then I visit one site, and have too much fun just being there! So let's start with one, shall we? Now at least I know I've started!
My first feature is:

Raoudi the dog leads you on a tour of Matisse's paintings. The tour is filled with quotes from the artist, puzzles, and lessons about color, pattern, props and more. As you read along and play, you collect items to add to your portfolio. Then you get to assemble your own online collage using the items from your portfolio. Here is my Matisse inspired masterpiece! I hope you get a chance to make one of your own, and to share the experience with a young person you know.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Our Trip to the Getty Museum

Part of my recent trip west included a trip to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The last time I was there my girlfriend took me to the Getty Villa, and it was incredible. But while I was there I found out that van Gogh's Irises was at the Getty Museum and I was determined to see it!

My opportunity arrived this month, and of course I went with family in tow. When we entered the main galleries, my daughters were excited to see a large Giacometti sculpture. They were tugging on me, and shouting "Mom, Mom, it's Giacometti!" I have to say, this was a great moment. We had created sculptures inspired by Giacometti, and they were proud to be able to recognize it, and to get a closer look.

 We checked the daily schedule and my older daughter found that the museum was offering a family sketch class, so we signed up for it. The theme was nature, so we were guided through a gallery of tapestries to sketch, and then out into the gardens of the museum. It was great fun, and the museum provided sketch books, drawing and watercolor pencils for us all to keep. It was such a great experience and so generous of the museum. Bravo Getty!

And yes, I did get to see van Gogh! Along with other great painters like  Pissarro, Degas, Renoir, Cezanne and Monet. It was a great day for art, family and children. I can't stress enough how enriching a trip to a museum can be! Make time to visit and enjoy it with children.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

More Tree of Life Inspirations

My older students created works based on Gustav Klimt's Tree of Life as well. I decided to let them work on watercolor paper and used Dr. Martin's watercolor inks. The children were amazed by how different the experience was compared to using Prang watercolor cakes and all-purpose paper. Now, don't get me wrong, I think Prang watercolors are exceptional, and great for young learners. I just wanted the older children to get a glimpse of a greater color range and paper that would absorb and stand up to a lot more use.
Their paintings became deep, rich, and organic. Although the assignment was based upon Klimt, I feel they also worked toward creating original pieces. I warned that although nicer materials in general can achieve better results, they aren't the only part of what makes a work great. The final step was the option of using metallic tempera/metallic paint markers, to mimic Klimt's use of gold leaf in his works. Some students opted for it, and others not. More evidence of confidence and creating an original piece inspired by a master, instead of just copying one. Well done!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Young Artists at Work!

In honor of Youth Art Month, I would like to share this slide show of projects past, classes in action and wonderful works by the young artists I have had the pleasure of teaching. Share your talents. Guide and learn from those you teach. Praise your students, children and friends. Enjoy and keep making art!

Your pictures and fotos in a slideshow on MySpace, eBay, Facebook or your website!view all pictures of this slideshow

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Postcard Paintings

I just had a long trip with my family to CA and AZ, and we had many adventures together. If ever there was a winter to get away, this was it! Whenever I take a trip I love to pack watercolor postcards, pigma pens, and watercolor pencils. This way I get to paint and draw while away, and sending a hand made postcard is always special for family and friends to receive. On this trip, the entire family made postcards art as part of our vacation.

Things are back to normal here in NJ. I'm still working as a substitute teacher, and getting requests to sub for the art rooms— YAY! And my Spring classes at the studio have just begun. More art lessons to come, and a few more art related vacation posts as well.