Friday, September 23, 2016

Dragon Eyes on Roofing Felt!

 Let me say up-front: I did not invent this project!  Renee Lentz posted pics of her student work in the Facebook Art Teacher group, and I asked if I could "steal" the idea (she said yes!) for my DragonWing Art students.  Our theme this fall is masks and crazy faces, but I thought eyeballs could be a good intro.  Thank you Renee - I only changed the project a little... 

 Renee's students had painted on canvases that were primed black.  Instead, I chose to let my three students use some scraps of roofing felt that we had left over from prior projects.  This was the first time I met with my after-school students this fall, and we were going to be starting a large papier-mache mask project, but I wanted to first get out some paint and do a quickie warmup project.  These dragon eyeballs perfectly fit the bill, and we completed them in about 45 minutes, start to finish. 
We first drew the circle for the eyeball (tracing a roll of masking tape), and then drew the shape of the pupil, using a piece of chalkboard chalk, which will easily wash off.  We painted a white highlight with a Q-tip, and then painted the eyeball with rows of blended color, leaving the pupil black. I suggested analogous colors, but ultimately I let the students make their own color choices.  Then we used rows of colors to make the "scales" on the dragon skin.  The students preferred to paint the scales like ovals, and they look great to me!  My demonstration sample is the painting in the upper right in the pic below. 
 The paint we used was acrylic.  The paintings are now dry, and we will be mounting them on a background that won't be completed for a couple of weeks, as we are now concentrating on making the masks.  I'll show you when they are done!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Goodbye, old friend

 About 1/2 mile away from our little lakeside "camp" on the side of the road, stood this  old phone booth.  Year after year it quietly sat there, long after the restaurant on the hill behind it had closed. 
More than 20 years ago, long before the day of portable phones (unless you were watching Star Trek or some other sci fi), I had driven to the camp with my sister-in-law, with, I believe, our pre-school children in the back seat.  We were meeting our husbands there later in the day.  We arrived at the camp and realized we'd forgotten the key.  They drive back home is about 40 minutes, so instead, we drove back up the hill and down the road to the phone booth, and called home.  My husband told me which window I'd be able to get open to crawl in and open the camp.  The phone booth saved the day!

Year after year, we'd drive by the phone booth, and as cell phones became popular, we wondered whether if would be taken away or whether it had been long forgotten by the phone company.  The phone book hanging inside was more than a decade old, and the booth was overgrown, inside and out. 
Last spring, I tried putting a dime in the slot, and nothing much happened.  A few days later, we stopped again, and this time I tried a quarter instead.  Dial tone!!!  I called my cell phone, and discovered the phone booth actually still worked!  What a surprise! 
I've photographed it in all seasons (though I can't seem to find the winter photos) and had planned to set up my plein air easel this fall and paint it when the leaves had begun to change.  Unfortunately, when we drove by yesterday, this was all we saw:
The phone booth quietly had disappeared sometime within the past week.  
Goodbye, old friend.