Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Busy girl; random thoughts on painting prep and more

I've been busy, and as a result have been a very bad blogger.  
'Gulliver' - installation at SUNY New Paltz
I may be retired, but somehow I seem to fill up my calendar ridiculously fast.  Between teaching my weekly after school class (I currently have just three students), and enjoying the magnificent autumn, and prepping for four (yes, four; I'm insane) workshop presentations at my state conference next month, and working on sewing projects and beading projects, attending meetings for this and that, and prepping and freezing the remnants of our garden, and attending my 40th college reunion, and subbing a couple of days ago for the gal who replaced me, it's a wonder I have any time to do anything else, but, on top of it all, today I attended my first Beginner's Yiddish class (and I think I'm in WAY over my head), and somehow I still find time to eat too much, sleep (not enough), read, watch trashy reality TV, exercise (once in a while, anyhow), and figure out how to use my new laptop.

Below, a few views of SUNY New Paltz, my alma mater, 40 years after graduating
Wow.  I'm tired just re-reading what I wrote in the run-on sentence/paragraph above.   If you didn't quit reading after the exhausting first paragraph, I actually do have some things to share.
 
 Above and below, views from the Tang Museum at Skidmore College.  That's me above wearing stripes.  The cups in the pool made awesome sounds as they bumped into each other.  And the work below?  Look at all those matches!  Cool, or what?!?

Anyhooo  - A couple of days ago I subbed in my former classroom.  She warned me ahead of  time that her schedule is so crazy that she was afraid that after I subbed once I would never return.  And yes, the day was pretty zany, but I had a great time and will be happy to come back.  My former students treat me like a celebrity when they see I'm in the room, even after 2 years.  But when I came home, I felt half dead.  My voice was shot, and so were my feet.  Luckily, we had reservations at the local dinner-and-a-movie place, where we saw The Judge (excellent) and had a nice dinner while we watched, that I did not have to cook. 

But about subbing - I'm prepping a workshop for the NAEA conference in New Orleans this spring, called Designing Your Program to Say Yes to the Mess (or something like that).  My subbing day definitley helped remind me of certain points I will be sure to make.
  • First is what I call 'curriculum choreography'.  Sequence your day and year to make it easier for you to manage the materials of a multiple art classes/grade levels/projects.  For example, while it may SEEM to make sense to have everyone painting on the same day (after all, the brushes and paints are already out), it's really a BAD idea.  Your drying rack will be full with no place to put the wet work after a few classes.  So mix up your day with some grade levels painting and others using dry media that don't require the drying space.  Same thing goes for sculptural work.  If everyone is building something 3-D at the same time, where will you put them?  Mix it up!
  • Second, remember that not everyone who paints needs to use a brush that needs to be washed. Paint with old sponge bits, Q-tips, cardboard scraps, cotton balls, and other things that can be tossed in the trash.  Or, if everyone needs to use a brush, put just one color or color family on each table, with brushes that stay with them.  Limit the color choices for the kids to use, or rotate them to different tables.  Brush washing only has to be done when all classes using the paint are done.  And then, make sure the kids wipe the excess paint off the brush and put them into a soaking bucket.
  • Maintain a sense of humor.  Spills happen.  But, when the kindergarten students were using liquid watercolors to paint over their crayon pumpkin drawings, I should have thought to put the cups of paint into little trays (I like those little flat black dishes from TV dinners) on each table.  Then, when the paint got knocked over, as it did on 3 tables out of 5, the paint would have gone into the tray, instead of all over the table, and none would have been wasted.  Duh!  I guess I was a little rusty and forgot to do this!
Please note - I do realize my day of subbing was not 'typical'.  Most people do not leave plans for a sub that include four totally different painting projects, each using completely different paints, plus one collage project incorporating sequins and jewels.  But my sub knows me, and knows that I'm  willing and capable, and much prefer this to showing videos all day.  (Yuck.)  At the end of the day, the drying artwork was organized, the paintbrushes were clean (not by me; some early finishing 5th graders volunteered and did exactly what I asked), the tables were clean, and I think the art teacher was satisfied and appreciative.
At the Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs NY

Wow.  I'm tired out from reading what I've written, so I'll show you a few fall photos, and sign off.  In a day or two, I'll be able to share two fun projects done by my DragonWing Art students!  In the meantime, this is enough, I hope, to convince you I'm still blogging. 
 Above and the two pics below are the Betar Walkway/Bikeway along the Hudson River, just a few miles from my home.  The river is just to the left of me in these three photos.  That's hubs in the green jacket.  He evidently doesn't realize that I've stopped to take pictures (which I think I do about every 20 steps).
 

And a little 'wildlife' along the walkway...


9 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh that cat picture is awesome. I also love those two dogs!! Good tips for painting and managing medias between grade levels.

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    1. Oh Marcia, I love that you noticed that silly cat pic! She was sunning herself in the middle of the path, and followed us for a little while, and had great time fooling with my husband. A real cutie pie! I think her home was nearby. She just sort of trotted off and we didn't see her again on our way back.

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  2. I want to take your workshop! I need a paint-handling intensive. See you in NOLA!

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    1. Rina, I remember you saying something similar a couple of years back, when I wrote a post about painting procedures, so hopefully I'll be able to help! I think it would be great if the scheduling is such that we can all attend each other's workshops. We can all learn so much from each other!

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  3. I just registered for my first NAEA! I'm super excited for a lot of reasons and since I've never been it took me forever to choose sessions all the ones I wanted were all at the same time!!! Yours sounds perfect for me but I totally missed it when I signed up, bummer!

    I'm still very excited to be going. Its my first conference and will be my first trip away from my two year old (yikes!)

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    1. Claire, the only sessions you preregistration for are the special speaker ones and the paid hands-on ones. There will be a zillion free workshops, like mine, that are not hands-on. You don't need to preregister for these (actually, you CAN'T preregister for them), and I can't even tell you when it is yet, because I don't even know myself!! You will have SO much to choose from when you get there. Ahead of time, there will be s phone app, and you can organize and schedule your whole convention from the phone. All the workshops will be listed and it's amazingly convenient.

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    2. Thank you so much! I have no idea what to expect I'm just super excited!

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  4. Did you also stagger clay projects? That's the one medium I try to coordinate all at once because my room gets so dusty! Or maybe it's dusty because they're ALL working with clay?

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    1. Carissa, I did not have a kiln, so I only used air dry clay. And yes, I also staggered them because otherwise I don't know where I'd put them all the clay projects at once! If you have a kiln, I imagine it can be a firing disaster trying to get everything fired and to the right kids , if you do everything at once, but I do understand the dust issue. I guess you have to do what suits you best!

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