Monday, February 27, 2012

1st grade self-portraits!

How did I forget to post these?!

By the way - the girl in the middle is not Mickey Mouse; she had frizzy fuzzy hair and it was up in two tight pony tails on her head and it looked just like two furry reddish-brown spheres!

I always tell my first graders they are 'real artists' and therefore will do real artist things. So they made sculptures, they will do life drawing, and recently they drew these wonderful self-portraits using mirrors.

The pencil drawings were traced with a thin Sharpie, then colored with "Color Sticks" - a sharpenable, and somewhat erasable crayon product. Then students cut them out, and selected a piece of wallpaper to back their artwork. Finally they picked a value of brown paper to 'frame' their artwork. The only challenge was that the glue sticks would NOT stick to the wallpaper. In the end I re-glued every single one of them, with a low temp hot glue gun.

Here's a display of some of the portraits all together. There's another bulletin board also filled with the portraits that I neglected to photograph.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fellow Bloggers attending the NAEA Convention!

So it appears there are many of you attending the convention, and I think it would be a shame if we didn't get to meet each other in person. I've been thinking about how we can make that happen, in a huge sea of people and a zillion workshops and options for how to spend our days, especially when we may not recognize each other too easily.

The obvious way to stay in touch at the conference - cell phones. If you want, in the next few days, send me an EMAIL with your cell phone # and I'll reply with mine. You'll find my email address here at my profile.

However - and it's a BIG however - I have to admit that I'm having some problems with my phone, and it will be replacing the dinosaur in a couple of weeks when an old contract finally expires. I unfortunately can't make the fix before then. So - first of all - I do not have a text plan on this phone, so DON'T TEXT ME. I won't read them and I won't respond to them. Second of all - if you call and I don't answer, LEAVE A MESSAGE. My phone is having random sound problems and periodically the ring tone is silent. There is absolutely no pattern to the problem so I will just cross fingers that it will work. Third of all, it is not a smart phone, and I do not have the capability checking email, reading QR codes, etc, and I do not have an iPad.

I will bring my laptop with me - so I will certainly check my email at night but it will be unlikely throughout the day.

So the big question - do we want to organize some sort of bloggy meet-up? What are your thoughts? Getting together for a meal? A museum visit (since so many are offering free admission)? A stroll through the vendors? A drink or two in the evening? Do you want to wait until you are there and get the 'lay of the land' and then figure out what will be best? Let me know your thoughts. I'll be arriving Thursday, and going home Sunday, and I'm assuming something Friday or Saturday will be best?

I'm not too great about initiating phone calls, especially if I have to call a lot of you, but don't be afraid to leave me a comment on the blog or to call me at the conference. If you call me, I WILL call you back. BE SPECIFIC about what you think we should do, since I'm not good at making decisions!!!!!!!

And if you see me at the conference, stop and say hello please! (I think I do look like my profile pic, EXCEPT my hair is now about shoulder length.) To see what I look like right now - here I am yesterday with my (cute) son, standing on a rooftop in Boston.
I hope I get to meet you - I'm looking forward to it!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"The Sidewalk Artist"

I just finished this novel. While it's not a monumental book, and won't be added to my 'top 10' list, it was a delightful vacation book to read on the train to/from NYC.

It's a sweet romantic story, involving a young woman vacationing in Europe and her mysterious romance with a sidewalk artist named Raphael that she meets while there. It has a parallel story about the artist Raphael, and while I've never been a big Renaissance fanatic, I learned a lot about him and found a new appreciation for Raphael's lovely artwork while reading this book.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Another day in NYC

Will the real Statue of Liberty please stand up?

Today we played NYC tourist for a while, taking the ferry to visit Ellis Island to visit/tour the immigration museum there (with the ferry first stopping at Liberty Island to drop off and pick up passengers). I was born in the Bronx, my parents were both New Yorkers, have been there more times than I can count, but somehow this was my first trip to Ellis Island. Here's a couple of photos from inside the museum.

And the boat ride back to Manhattan......

where we spent a couple of hours pouring through the books at The Strand Bookstore in Greenwich Village. This bookstore is absolutely HUGE. I spent like an hour on the second floor, which is totally art and art related books, and kid books. There were so many I have never seen, and the prices were low. If I wasn't retiring in a few short months I would have brought home a huge armload for the art room, beginning with Eric Carle's The Artist who Painted a Blue Horse and including a wonderful book for children about Hundertwasser.

As it is I had to restrain myself and only bought a book on Giuseppe Arcimboldo,

and a copy of The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey, the most wonderfully subversive alphabet book. If you've never seen Gorey's work, you've got to check it out. Here's A & B: "A is for Amy who fell down the stairs; B is for Boris assaulted by bears."

The book continues with the demise of a child to represent each letter of the alphabet, and ends with a little graveyard. Not PC, I know, but I love it.

And I bought an out-of-print book on making beaded amulet purses, and some cheapo MadLibs books for the fifth graders to use when I have lunch duty. They love MadLibs but what I had was all used up. If you ever get a chance to browse this bookstore, make sure you get to the 2nd floor where the art/kid books are. You may have to be dragged back down.

Goodnight from New York City.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

We're in NYC for a couple of days. Today was museum day for us, and after much waffling, we finally chose the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The alternate choice was the Museum of Art and Design, a charmingly funky little museum, and the American Folk Art Museum, where I've never been. I'm sure they would both have been lovely, but still, we made the perfect choice.

First of all, there's the new American Wing, housing an amazing comprehensive collection of iconic works of art beyond my wildest expectations. The collection is extensive but there is nothing frivolous. This new wing is a collection of art worth seeing, and you can spend half a day there without ever exploring any other part of the Met.

Below, paintings by Mary Cassatt, Thomas Hart Benton, and Thomas Eakins

But oh, there's the contemporary galleries, the 20th Century galleries, European galleries, costume galleries, decorative arts, an amazing Egyptian collection including a whole temple plus mummies galore, Greek & Roman art, Islamic art, arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, Asian art, arms and armor, and many, many special exhibitions.

Here's something fun from the contemporary galleries:

Does a trip to the Met sound overwhelming? It can be. This is a HUGE amazing museum. If you go to the Met, go with a plan, and don't expect to see the whole collection. It's impossible to do in one day. Last time we were there, we explored Egypt for 1/2 our visit, so this time we decided to skip it completely. Except we had to go through the Egyptian galleries to get to where we were going, and my husband had to remind me not to stop. So there's no photos here of the mummies or temple or any other Egyptian artifacts.

I explored without photographing rooms full of: Rembrandt paintings, Van Gogh paintings, photographs, caricature art, Renaissance portraiture, and more. And we saw works by Lichtenstein, Oldenburg, Calder, Pollock, and a heap of other of the most well-known artists. We totally skipped most of the antiquities and decorative arts, and I missed seeing the magnificent Tiffany window. But here's a little more of what I did see today:
George Segal's "3 people on a 4 benches" plus a color field piece; above.

Paintings by Stuart Davis and Childe Hassam

I fell in love with this little Picasso, titled Girl Asleep at a Table (above). And below, here's a couple more fun Picasso paintings: Dora Maar in an Armchair, and Man with Lollipop.

Above, a trump l'oeil piece, a painting by Hans Hoffman (who I adored when I was in college), and a beautiful airy Matisse (my hero). And below, a couple of interesting pieces that caught my eye. The one on the left is a wax encaustic with ink.

Each year we visit a different art museum during our NYC visit. Last year it was the (fabulous, wonderful) Brooklyn Museum, which includes a huge Egyptian exhibit, Judy Chicago's "The Dinner Party", and 2 carved heads by my talented grandfather Harry Levine in the Henry Luce Visible Storage Center. The year before was the Guggenheim (not my favorite, but a nice Kandinsky collection), and before that, MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). But I think the Met might outrank them all, not just in sheer volume, but also in the number of iconic pieces, straight out of your art history textbooks. Wow, wow, wow.

I passed this fun purple and red vacuum cleaner, and this funky foam peacock chair, and this "Kongo Power Figure"

If you also have time off this week, I hope you are doing something fun too!