Sunday, November 20, 2016

We Built This City

Ok, so the other night I woke up and had to jot down an idea;  it had to do with this song, which I couldn't get out of my head.

What if we built a city?  On rock and roll?




Lemme take you WAAAAAY back:






Stay with me!


Step one involved a review of painting with watercolours, the ole wet on wet technique.  We were going for a standard landscape - varying shades of sky blending gently into green land.


After that dried overnight, we added some neutral tissue paper bits for interest and texture.


...painted an opaque grey and green watercolour wash on
some regular copy paper printed with - you guessed it -
rock and roll!


Once dried, the musical paper was turned into a city and some greenery surrounding.  Some young artists turned their spare green paper into leaves that popped off the page.  A+ !


As a final touch, we coated our finished works with a gloss acrylic medium.
Super stylie!

Once we'd finished and had tidied the studio space, we did our usual show and tell.  

I couldn't resist but show the kids the kitty version of this song...my FAVE!





Life's too short not to have some fun while learning classic art techniques.

I hope you are all enjoying your individual processes and acting on your inspirations as well!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Lest We Forget

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada.

We go to a local ceremony to remember the sacrifices made for the country we love.

Every year, Oliver and Charlotte seem to get more out of the event than they did the year before.

Walking back to the car afterwards, we paused to admire the historical neighborhood as well.


Oliver and Charlotte, watching the regiments pass by.

This was an intriguing abandoned house.  We all agreed, haunted, for sure!

A mossy late-autumn tree.

A lovely jumble in this garden.

Many houses in the neighborhood shared in the character of this home.
 


Hoping everyone else had a chance to pay their respects on this important day!


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Project: Clay Mexican Folk Art for Kids

We wrapped up the school year in the art room with this fun colourful clay project!





Supplies

Air-dry clay (white is best)
1 drinking straw
Multi-coloured Sharpie markers
Acrylic finishing medium in high gloss
Paint brushes

(this project was completed in two parts on two different days to allow for drying time)


I handed out small amounts of the clay and the students (varying in ages of 5 - 8) flattened the mound with the palms of their hands, forming a circle.  With a sharp pencil, they drew a circle with a centimeter margin on their clay.  Then with scissors, snipped sun rays.  The kids then made imprint marks for eyes, nose and mouth, again with a sharp pencil.  Smoothing everything out with fingers dipped in water was the last step on day one of this project.  When they were layed down for drying, I pushed a drinking straw through the top of each, so that the suns could be hung with string as ornaments.




I left them to dry on the racks in the studio for a full week.

On the second day of this project, the kids were encouraged to use as many colours as possible.  We applied a thin coat of high gloss finishing medium and then they were ready!

These were some of my favorites:








The perfect project to welcome the start of the summer with!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Lovely Days

Some snapshots of recent adventures!

We recently had a chance to get away from town to discover a sweet coastal community, Sechelt.

We could hardly believe this beautiful playground we discovered overlooking the ocean:






One sunny Sunday, we roamed around Main Street in Vancouver, were I got lots of new ideas and inspirations for art lessons.

This picture we took of Oliver and Charlotte on the walk astonished me...they are growing so quickly!




Teachers in BC recently took some time out of the classroom to learn a new curriculum.

The Parks Board in our town arranged for various camps to keep the children busy that day.

Oliver and his oldest friend (they have known each other since their birth!) Hudson, canoed the local lake.





Being a stay at home mom (mainly) has its perks;  the local library pulls out their bins of lego on rainy days...we spent more than half a day there recently, building little magical worlds and special memories:





I had the privilege of being invited as guest art instructor at the Rhododendron Festival at the Lake last Sunday.  There must have been a hundred people who tried their best to draw a bee with the graphite pencils we had on hand...I managed to get some photos!






Hope you have all been well too!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Discoveries

This a has been a lovely month.

One full of  joyful times with family and also creative moments, as always.


We beachcombed locally, just the four of us.






I led my class (these students are 10 years old!) at the studios by the river, in painting a local icon, the Samson V.  

Here are some results:







I just discovered Lily & Madeleine...their harmonies have been my soundtrack this month.



Lily & Madeleine


At Oliver's hilltop elementary school, I spotted this lovely group project in the hallway between two classes, symbolizing student and teachers' desire to work with and respect one another.  I can see ribbons with names on them, likely woven into the mix by each individual.  Lovely both in form and function!




Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Midnight Pond

Surfacing to share a lesson from the art classes for children I'm currently teaching!

I've been having such a fun time letting the littles explore texture, colour, and different mediums.  They are open to new ideas almost immediately and quickly learn to manipulate the techniques they've learned to suit their personal style.

Recently, I made these lovely multi-media pieces with my 5 - 9 year old class.  We called the works "The Midnight Pond".  Here's how we made them!


'The Midnight Pond'


First, we made our own patterned paper by using a variety of shades in the same colour family (watercolours work well) on plain old computer paper.  (Sounds crazy, but the texture of hand painted computer paper is perfect for what we are doing here.)





...make one of each, a green-ish one and a brown-ish one...




Let those guys dry.

Meanwhile, with a pencil draw a hatch pattern on some white cardstock  (I cut them to a 8.5 x 5.5' size...more manageable for this age group with the colouring we are about to do).

Then let the children pick a selection of blue shades from piles of crayons, pastels, pencil crayons, markers, you could even let them paint one or two of the squares!  The idea here is to have them explore the various mediums within a structured pattern.

The end effect is just the right balance between order and disorder for visual interest.

I outlined the one square that is going to represent the moon in yellow, to avoid the "I forgot to leave a square for the moon!" cry that is bound to happen with some students.





Once all the squares have been coloured in, your painted papers should be nice and dry.

(Crispy, right?  Perfect for folding and manipulating?  See, I wasn't crazy to use computer paper!)

Let the students cut some tall, some short "reeds" for their pond out of the green paper.

Also, cut one large typha plant (commonly known as cattails) out of the brown.





I had the students fold their reeds in half to add some texture and I handled the glue gun to affix them to the pond.  

They told me where they wanted them, most finding the framing option (both on the right and left margins) most pleasing.  (Before I glued anything down, I added a black stem for the cattail with a black sharpie.)




I put the glue onto one side of the folded leaf, only at the bottom so that there was plenty of surface area to 'pop' off the page, giving visual interest and texture.







I thought these nature-inspired pieced turned out quite well!  They reminded me a bit of the Lily Pad art I did a few years back.  It's fun to switch up the techniques to keep the kids learning and on their toes!

Thanks for stopping by...

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Beware the Kraken!

When the skies are grey and the nights long here in the Pacific Northwest, I often gravitate to the melancholy for inspiration when coming up with themes for art classes.

My English undergraduate degree provides limitless fodder for the melancholic; Alfred Lord Tennyson's The Kraken is one of my favorite examples of this mood.

I read this short poem for my class of intermediate elementary school students, lingering for not very long on the words 'abysmal' , 'shadowy', 'sickly' and...eeeeep!... 'die'!    Rather, I hoped for 'deep', 'enormous', 'slumbering green' to colour the imaginations of these student artists before me.

The plan was multi-faceted: I was going to teach them watercolour grading principles, incorporating minor collage and printmaking techniques also.

Here are the results!


The children did a graded sky, and a wet-on-wet watercolour technique in the sea.

Once the watercolour was more or less dry, we painted the Kraken with a light grey acrylic that I custom blended.  Also, we added colour to the ships (we'd drawn in pencil at the start) with a limited palette of pencil crayons.

A marker cap dipped in some white acrylic paint was our printmaking tool to make bubbles in the ocean.

With paint brushes and white glue, we collaged just a few strips of pastel tissue paper to the ocean, for some interest and texture.

A high gloss acrylic medium washed over the entire image once everything was dry.

Some students decided to go over some of the illustration lines with sharp graphite pencils at the very end.


These works were, happily, very well received by the parents of the students and satisfied my romantic/ melancholic soul this winter...
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