Monday, March 19, 2012

Hokusai Watercolors

My older students learned about Katsushika Hokusai, a Japanese artist most famous for his series of woodblock prints titled "36 views of Mt. Fuji." His most famous image is The Great Wave, but I gave my students a several images in the series to take inspiration from. We worked in watercolor and tried to capture Hokusai's style and attention to detail. We also had to have patience to create washes and let them dry before adding more elements to our paintings. I love the combination of pencil lines kept, and ones painted over in small brush strokes of watercolor.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Reflections on NAEA Convention: Classes

As part of my convention experience, I decided to try two classes for a small fee. Overall I had a good experience. My first choice was a class on Sumi-e Painting. Although it was a challenge to teach this technique in one class, I did learn a lot, and was given lots opportunity to practice. Here are some of my attempts at various subject matter. I know, I know, I need practice! But I do think I would be better equipped to give a lesson to the kids having had this experience.

The second class I chose was Creating with Beautiful Stuff. It was based on a book by the same name. This is something I have already done with my students in various ways and thought I might get a bit more insight by taking the class. I was mistaken, but I did take this class with a friend, and did have a good experience overall. Below you can see some works in progress, my abstract collage, and a beautiful figurine created by my friend and fellow teacher Paula.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Chinese New Year Lions

The kids and I have been working on a great project for Chinese New Year. I designed a puppet that takes inspiration from Chinese New Year Lions. My family and I visit Chinatown in nearby NYC for the Chinese New Year celebrations and have followed the lions through the streets as they visit shops to collect small red envelopes and to give the shopkeepers their blessing.

It began with the idea of cutting a plastic plate in half and hinging it to make the mouth of the lion and it developed from there. Here we are creating the mouths and feet.

We created the bodies of the puppets with Smart-Fab who coincidentally were another exhibitor at convention. A little while back, they sent me some fabric to try and blog about. This was the first project I used it for. It's easy to cut, and we used tacky glue and hot glue guns to construct our projects. The Smart Fab stood up to it all. Thanks to the company for giving me an opportunity to try it out!

 And here are some of our final creations. It was hard to keep everyone still to take pictures! As you can see, I had a large age range and everyone was happy with this project! When I have older kids and younger kids together, the older ones always love to help the younger ones. It is a nice place to be. Not to mention that I even get to be in a picture!

Can you see all of the parts to construct these lions? A plastic plate, a plastic bowl, egg carton cups, paper tubes, and Smart-Fab. We used tissue squares and Mod Podge to cover the head, felt for the ears and tails, yarn, gems, pom poms, wiggle eyes, and jingle bells. I love this job! Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Reflections on NAEA Convention: Exhibitors Hall

At the risk of sounding like a free sample addict, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the Exhibitors Hall at the NAEA convention in NYC. There were a lot of great companies with make & takes, great displays, discounts and knowledgeable representatives willing to talk about their products. And of course, samples!

Here are some of the highlights...

Mayco had some wonderful displays and a very generous tile make and take. I got to try rubber stamps, sprig molds, and their Stroke and Coat glazes. I did wind up having to maneuver carefully with greenware that day, but I had a lot of fun at that work table! Thank you Mayco!

Here was part of a display at the United Art & Education catalog booth. To me it looked like a row of art teacher awards waiting to be handed out! I must make a Scream statue for my studio.

The Crayola Company had a super-huge area in the hall, and lots of goodies. Here is a display of white Model Magic mixed into different colors by coloring it with markers and kneading the pigment into the clay.

There were all kinds of sculpture and 3D projects using Model Magic as well. My favorite was the tortoise shown below. The marbleized layers of the shell and the scaled skin were just awesome. It just goes to show that you can make some sophisticated work with materials made for children.

The bottom pic is of a window set in front of black board to show off all of the different window markers. They even had some that would look like they turned to frost after coloring with them. This window was blank and over the course of the convention was filled bit by bit by attendees. Great job fellow art teachers! And thank you Crayola!

I had the chance to try some Yarka watercolors at the Jack Richeson booth. I am a faithful Prang customer, but I have to say that the Yarka worked very well! I also liked that the pans were so big. Little hands holding brushes have a lot more wiggle room for loading their brushes with paint. Nice!

One other vendor I wanted to mention was Michael's. They gave me a lovely canvas tote with more products than anyone else at convention. I know they are a large chain and can afford that sort of thing, but it was still most appreciated. Also, their reps were the only ones who asked me what I liked about their stores and what I thought they could do better.  I do order supplies via mail order, but I also do visit chains like Michael's. It was nice to see them and know that they value art educators as their customers. Thank you to Michael's.

And now for a picture of loot... Woo hoo!

 More convention reflections to come.