Sunday, November 28, 2010

A few more 6th grade altered books

I had a few more altered book photos I wanted to share, but for the 2nd night in a row blogger is giving me error messages every time I try to upload these photos. I can't for the life of me figure out why, so I'm giving up for now. Maybe I'll try again some other time, or maybe not, since I have other projects getting finished to share with you too!

Sunday Comics #3

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Work of Art (and it tasted good, too)

Here's to a lovely Adirondack Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Charcoal Leafless Trees by grade 4

Fourth graders learned to draw branching trees. The medium was charcoal pencils (both black and white) on a choice of gray or black paper.
The kids added all sorts of fun details and individuality.
As usual, some kids are still not done. What do you do when you are ready to move on and there are still kids who need to finish? Especially annoying to me is when kids are absent because parents take them out of school on extended vacations, and then expect you to bend over backwards to get them caught up with the rest of the class. Sigh...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Toothpaste batik again

Last spring I posted the instructions for making "toothpaste batik" here:
It is such a fun project. This year the paint colors didn't come out quite so vibrant, but I had warned the kids this was a highly experimental project and that however they turn out will be OK in the end. There are so many variables - paint brand, consistency of the toothpaste and lotion, weave of the fabric, etc.

We again mixed $1 store toothpaste and lotion in empty glue bottles (appropriately labeled "NOT GLUE"), and did the "shake-shake dance" to mix them thoroughly. This year we drew the designs in Sharpie on paper which was taped to a piece of tagboard. The fabric was taped over it so there were no pencil lines on the fabric when we traced with the Not Glue. It worked out great. Our paints this year were some Sax Versatemp and Crayola Premium Tempera; the concentrated temperas that were so wonderful last year are no longer made. With lighter colors resulting, we did more outlining & highlighting with colored Sharpie markers and the kids are very happy with their results. Some kids are still finishing up. I'll post a few more when they are done.

By the way - the design motivation was Matisse, but the images chosen to create by the kids are a very "loose" interpretation of the Matisse theme. Some made fish bowls, some used design elements found in the still life, some used organic shapes, etc.

Monday, November 22, 2010

NY State Art Teachers annual conference-Wow!

What a weekend! I have so much to tell!
As I told you a few days ago, I was in Rochester NY from Thursday evening to Sunday, for my state conference. I absolutely LOVE going to the conference, and the random images in this post are mostly of student art that was displayed there. As the lone elementary art teacher in my district, I relish the opportunity to dialogue and share with other art teachers, and find out what others are doing. I especially love the people I see every year, my NYSATA friends - ladies, if you are reading this, you know who you are and YOU ROCK! It would be lonely coming back every year if I wasn't going to see you all.

I was teaching a workshop Saturday morning, as I have done for several years now. I've been to wonderful workshops over the years, and honestly, I've been to some absolutely awful ones too, and I resent having my time wasted. So my goal in presenting a workshop is to make it a worthwhile 50 minutes for attendees, not a waste of anyone's time. I spend a lot of time preparing in order to meet this goal. Anyhow, it went great, with 57 people attending!

Later in the afternoon I planned to attend a workshop I had been looking forward to, getting there early so I wouldn't get closed out, along with about a dozen other art teachers. We waited... and waited... and the presenter never showed up, and nobody could find her. By that time, the other workshops had all been closed out, and there were people lined up outside their doors for the next session. Somebody said "I heard your workshop this morning was really good; I wish I could have gone to it." The workshop coordinator was hustling around trying to find a replacement workshop for the bunch of us, and finally I offered to present it again. I had about 20 people attending the second time around, and I think it went really well, considering I wasn't planning on teaching it twice!

Meanwhile, I had brought a work of art to enter the member art show. The mat was sort of warped so I almost didn't bother to enter it, but I figured that since the entry fee went to the scholarship fund, it was worth it to enter even just to make that donation. So imagine my surprise when I won FIRST PRIZE!!! The piece that I entered I had previously blogged about here: Because of the emotional significance of the piece, I am especially proud that my work was noticed.
Then on to Sunday, time to go home. I had plans to have breakfast with my son, go to a show of psychedelic art at the college's art gallery, and drive home before dark. But my car was DEAD. Evidently I had left my map light on and drained out my battery. Neither my son nor I are particularly mechanically inclined, nor did we have jumper cables, but a wonderful valet helped us out, loaning us cables and walking my son through the process of jump starting my car. Very stressful, since I was a 4-1/2 hour drive from home! I promised my husband I wouldn't play the radio (difficult for this public radio addict!) to avoid battery drain, and I wouldn't turn off the car for any reason (in case it wouldn't start again), so I sang old Beatles songs to myself, planned some lessons in my head, and got home safe and sound and VERY tired.
And I still am. Tired, that is, but I'll make it through tomorrow at school and then can catch up. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Classroom visitor

Today a student found this little critter on an art room table. He wasn't moving much. We scooped him up with a pop stick and put him outside on the windowsill. But it was cold and rainy outside and several minutes later the kids noticed he still hadn't moved. Feeling protective, we brought him back in to warm up and placed him on my purple passion plant, where he immediately felt happy and at home. He walked around the leaves, posed for pictures, and eventually disappeared into the foliage. Thanks, little ladybug, for visiting!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Comics #2

I hope this is readable.

The punchline: "Hey, art teachers live in their own weird world". Yeah, I guess we do!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


That's my son Ben at Sticky Lips, a yummy barbeque restaurant in Rochester, packing up his leftovers to take home. Lucky me, I got to take my boy out for dinner! There was even a gypsy band from Bulgaria playing a few lively songs while we ate - what fun, and it was great visiting with him for a bit.

I'm in Rochester for the NY State Art Teachers Association annual conference, which starts tomorrow morning. I left school at lunchtime today so I could do the 4-1/2 hour drive before dark (a long but lovely drive through places filled with curvy roads, rapids flowing over rocky stream beds, gorgeous lakes, cows, and isolation). I drove through villages and hamlets with names like Pleasant Lake, Oxbow Lake, and Speculator, and also Rome, Russia, Geneva, and Ohio! The second 1/2 of the drive was a more boring highway drive, but it went fast. I arrived in time to have dinner with Ben, who goes to the University of Rochester. Now I should be working on updating my PowerPoint presentation for the workshop I'm teaching Saturday morning, but I thought I'd explore blog-world a little while first while I relax in my hotel room.

My workshop is about altered books, and I'll post a bunch about them soon, but I'll show you a few photos for now:
Those first two pics are folded books, and the ones below are glimpses of "cut, collage, and paint" books.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Comics

Over the years, I've collected a handful of art and art-teacher related comic strips. I saw this classic Peanuts strip in the paper yesterday, and it got me thinking that it would be fun to share the ones I have. So (if I can still remember a week from now) I'm going to try to post one every Sunday for a while - until I run out - call it our Sunday Comics!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Beautiful Day

Hard to believe just a week ago I was blogging about my drive home in snow, sleet, and freezing rain. Yesterday was lovely and with the day off I decided I wanted to get out the kayak one more time before winter sticks. So off hubby and I went to our comfy lakeside cottage for the afternoon. The air was cool, but the sky was clear and and the sun was bright. I was the only person on the lake (except for the few minutes my husband spent in our little rowboat).

I thought the wiggly reflections of birch trees in the water looked like it would if you pulled a palette knife through thick oil paint.