Monday, April 30, 2012

A little this, a little that...

It's just 2 weeks until my final student art show. I have a lot to do. But here's a few quick glimpses.

First, here's a sample of 1st grade dragonflies a la Eric Carle (we made their wings with painted paper). I admit it, I actually had the kids use a template for the body and wings. Somehow, it just wasn't the point; the painted paper was really it. They will be hopefully hang near the garden that we are hopefully creating for the art show. You'll see. Hopefully.

And some more 6th grade tooling foil dragons:

And a Chihuly "rainbow tower" in progress:

I will NEVER do this again. I've discovered that the kids have trouble putting their bottles on the tower, which means that I need to put EVERY BOTTLE on myself. Not good. We're talking between 200 and 300 bottles here. Painted and cut bottles are being made by the 4th graders, and tissue covered bottles with twisty tails were made by grade 5. These were a challenge - how did you make these look so easy, Mr. E? Our tissue paper often fell apart in the process.

Meanwhile, the 3rd grade garden gnomes are getting lots of character - about 1/2 are completely done, and the rest need one more class to finish. The gnomes have brooms, rakes bows & arrows, braids, baskets, and more, and are are so cute! Here's a sampling:

Love the fishing pole, and that's quite the beard, no?

Uh, sweetie - I think you are done, right?

And so am I for tonight.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A little high school talent

As I've told you before, we are a Pre-K through 12 school. So today when I left school I stopped by and visited the high school art teacher. These oil paintings were on display outside her room. The two paintings above are by Megan. The 'lips' painting is small, maybe 9" x 14", and the portraits I think are all 18" x 24".

The paintings below are Johna (left) and Dakota (right). These paintings, and Megan's above, are all self-portraits, in homage to the work of Chuck Close.

Since these lovely gals are all my former students, I'm proud to be able to share their work with you.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Toothpaste Batik - this year's batch

I've blogged about this insane process before, here and here and here. As a matter of fact, the first link is my most popular blog post of all time, by a landslide, and also one of my first posts on this blog! Go figure...

This year I gave the kids the challenge of coming up with an image based (loosely) on the theme "Fantasy". The results included dragons (yeah!), castles, mermaids, unicorns, wizards, a phoenix, and more. If the kids hadn't just finished those Laurel Burch papier-mache cats, I think I would have used her work as our motivating theme. Oh well. Last year the batiks were based on Matisse, and the previous year's inspiration was architectural images.

As always with this project, it is a delight walking into my classroom each morning, as it smells delightful - and minty fresh, as our batik resist is a mixture of toothpaste and Aloe Vera lotion. Not everyone is done, but here's a sampling of the work:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Three Little Kittens - a morning surprise!

Today started with sweet 2nd grader Vivi coming to my room to show me her creations.

Let me back up. When Vivi came to kindergarten, from Mexico, dressed like a little princess in homemade dresses with lace and bows, she didn't speak a word of English. As a matter of fact, she didn't speak a WORD her whole kindergarten year in art class. I was worried, but she always drew beautiful pictures so I knew there was a child inside the beautiful exterior.

Beautiful, shy, artistic Vivi seems to enjoy art class, but even now, she is still soft-spoken, and rarely initiates any conversation with me. So today's visit was a surprise. My morning began first with a phone call from her teacher, telling me Vivi was on her way to my room to show me kittens she had made from boxes. He called me in case she couldn't/wouldn't actually verbalize why she had come to see me.

Simple and cute, these kittens were made from tiny boxes. I asked her questions, and SHE ANSWERED!! She said that she made them herself and nobody showed her how! Don't you love the little paw sticking up on the kitty on the right?

Below is momma kitty.

And here's the kicker: the two kittens fit INSIDE of momma kitty!

Vivi told me she had two more boxes, pink and purple, and she was going to make a kitty for ME! Her visit got my day off to the best kind of start!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Doodling is healthy!

I am a compulsive doodler. I admit it, and I think it's a healthy compulsion. So today on I somehow found this wonderful video, talking about the value of doodling:TED talk: Doodlers, unite!
OK, so I can't seem to get the image for the video to post here, but trust me, it's worth it to click on the link and watch it. It will only take a few minutes of your day.

Here is a definition for doodling proposed in the video: "to make spontaneous marks to help yourself think". I like it!

I found it on this interesting page I got to through somebody's pin on Pinterest: Doodle Lab. I definitely will go back there and explore some more. I'm not really sure what it is all a part of, but the page contains links to all sorts of provocative articles on doodling that confirm what I've been trying to tell people for years: If I am doodling when in a meeting or at a lecture (I basically am always doodling at these times) it does NOT mean I'm not paying attention. It does the opposite - it helps me focus. Without a pen and paper to doodle with, I guarantee my mind would be wandering elsewhere.

As a matter of fact, I posted some thoughts about doodling here as part of a rant about Zentangles. (If you go read this now, please enjoy my doodles and my thoughts but don't get too upset about my Zentangle opinions. It's just that: an opinion. You are free to call your doodles whatever you like. I happen to like the SHAPE of the word doodle, so I wouldn't call it anything else. As a matter of fact, I have doodled the word doodle many times. Weird, I know....)

Anyhow, here are some 5th grade student doodles-in-progress. They work on them when they are listening, or when they have a few minutes to kill.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Recycled Art Show

The high school art teacher learned about a Recycled Art Show and we both decided to enter our students' work. There is an outdoor and an indoor show, with the openings earlier this evening. The show was co-sponsored by the Hudson Crossing Park (located at a lock on the Champlain Canal on the Hudson River, in Schuylerville NY) and the Saratoga National Historic Park.

Here's high school seniors Caitlin and Johna with their sculpture called "Edison's Tree". It is hard to photograph, but it is a willow-type tree made completely from recycled electronics and other scrap materials.

Look hard at the photo on the right below, and perhaps you can find the hidden man (hint: he is made out of black tubing).

On the left below, a comfy recycled chair, and on the right, a piece called "the Social Alien". Note the beer can in his hand....

My favorite piece in the outdoor show:

And my favorite from the indoor show, called "Watching Copperhead"

On the left, a student piece, and on the right, an adult piece lovely in its simplicity:

On the left below, a high school piece, and on the right a fun bottle-cap piece:

There actually were several bottle-cap pieces, but my favorites were the ones where the actual STRUCTURE was made from recyclables. The bottle-cap pieces seemed like an easy gimmick.

By the way, some of my students' papier-mache cats were also in the indoor show, but you've already seen enough of them in prior posts.

One more thing - This post has taken me FOREVER. I tried desperately using the new Blogger format that showed up today, and all my photos turned sideways in different directions, and the text wouldn't go where I wanted it, and photos and text were jumping all over the place making the post unreadable and a total disaster. Photos were grouping together in haphazard fashion and wouldn't un-group; text was a mess.

You may not know this about me, but I am an editing FREAK. I do not like losing control over my layout or having posts look messy and I finally found a way to revert to the old-fashioned Blogger format and start over completely with a new post. And all my photos entered right-side up so you can now see them without having to turn your head this way and that!

Have you had better success with the new Blogger than me? Or are you equally frustrated? Anyhow, thanks for taking the time to read through this post.
My photo, Caitlin's foot.