Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Autumn interlude, and an art lesson too!

This is an interlude from my usual posts, but if you read to the end, there's still an art lesson to share!  And I'll share some photos from the past couple of weeks. 
Autumn is my favorite season; I love the lipstick reds, vibrant oranges, glowing yellows, and more, of peak fall color in my part of the country.
 I love the fog on the lake on a crisp morning, and water with barely a ripple.
I love the amber glow of light, and the brassy/coppery look everywhere when the leaves start to brown, especially when the sunlight is just right.  
I love crisp fresh air and wearing cuddly sweaters and scarves, and I love the sound of leaves crunching under my feet, and milkweed seeds flying about.
 And I love interesting surprises, like these yellow berries.  Or are they bubbles?
I love the rich color after a chilly rain, and the smell of hot cider or squash soup.  
And another smell today, as my husband cut down the garden - the chives let loose a delightful oniony - garlicky smell that was totally unexpected.  It made me want to cook!  He does most of the yard work, but I like to rake, and sometimes I'm inspired to have an Andy Goldsworthy moment.
You can get imaginative in the woods.
Case in point, the Jabba the Hut tree roots below.
And I promised a lesson.  You will have to use your imagination, because this is one project I do not have photos of.  I always liked having my students create autumn landscapes or leaf collages, and we've used various mediums. But my favorite for autumn using sponge painting, because  you can so closely re-create the look of autumn leaves.

I cut sponges into 1" or 2" chunks, and "grabbed" each one with a clothespin.  These become paint stampers and spreaders.  I mixed tempera paint into various autumn colors - no colors straight out of the bottle; I would pre-mix varieties of red-orange, yellow-orange, olive green, yellow-green, ochre, tan, amber, and red-violet (yes, some trees turn this color) and put little paper muffin cups of these colors on the tables.  (Disposable after the mess is done!)
The students could further mix these colors by dipping a stamper in more than one color.  Sometimes we might draw tree trunks and ground with crayon and then stamp our leaves.  Other times we might stamp pages full of leaf colors, and then cut them out to collage.  Or we might paint watercolor sky and water, stamp leaves/trees along the shore, and fold horizontally to create a reflection of the colors in the water. 
There are so many possibilites, but sponge painting is one of the easiest for autumn leaves.  At the end of class, the mini sponges all go into a bucket, and are replaced with another set of sponges for the next class.  At the end of the day, soak the sponges in the bucket, and find some student who wants to rinse and squeeze.  It is so wonderfully messy, the kids will fight over the job!  They don't have to be perfectly clean.  Let them dry, and put them away to use another day!

 Autumn colors are fleeting; if you live in an area that is as glorious as it is here, the students will be excited to represent them, and the projects can be completed in one or two art classes.  Do you have favorite autumn lessons?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

At the Hyde Collection

The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls NY is both an art museum and a historic house.  I've been there so many times over the years, I sometimes have to force myself to go again, because I think I've seen it all.  But the basic collection of Renaissance and Medieval-era art has some incredible gems that are worth the trip.  Case in point, the two images below.  And so I agreed to tour the Hyde with some out-of-town company.
I think our small city (really more of a town) is very lucky to have an iconic image like this incredible Rembrandt portrait of Christ with Arms Folded.  The painting has a light from within; so sorry I cannot get a better image.  And look at this expressive El Grego below, St. James the Less, ca. 1595.
And anyhow, the idea that I've seen it all is simply not true.  While the original collection of art and furnishings in Hyde House doesn't change much, there are often subtle changes, in location of certain pieces of artwork, or with pieces on loan, or pieces brought out of storage.  The minute I saw the piece below, The Blue Veil, by Edmund James Tarbell, 1898, I knew I'd never seen it before, and I was totally wowed.  It is in the museum on loan. 
And not all of the basic collection is hundreds of years old, either.  For example, I always love seeing this radiant painting Geraniums by Childe Hassan, or this Picasso, Boy Holding a Blue Vase.
By the way, I did not have my camera with me, so I was stuck using my poor-quality phone camera, and with the low light in the rooms combined with some chiarascuro artwork, these photos aren't up to my usual standards.  Oh well.  Here's another piece that really wows me - Abbott Handerson Thayer's Mary: Portrait of the Artist's Daughter, 1894.  Look at the expression on her face!  It says so much!
I have always been fond of this painting Head of a Moor, ca. 1620, below, by Rubens.  To me, it looks like something that could have been painted in the 1900's, not 300 years earlier, with it's expressive brush strokes.  Same thing for light and airy Madonna and Child with St. Catherine and Infant St. John the Baptist, ca. 1755, by Tiepolo, also below.
And, when teaching the grid process to students, isn't it cool to be able to show them this Degas Dancer Tying Her Scarf, an 1879 charcoal sketch using a grid? The museum owns another lovely Degas, not currently on display. 
Below, Yosemite Valley by Alberet Bierstadt, ca.1865.
The lovely painting below is Waterfall at Ornans, ca.1874, by Gustave Courbet. 
I just adore this Angel, ca. 1350, by Niccolo di ser Sozza Tegliacci.  How many modern teenage girls have you seen wearing this EXACT expression on their faces?  I feel like I know her.
I don't know much about this painting St. Peter Enthroned, but it always makes me smile. It is French (artist unidentified), ca.1474-1500.  I've enlarged the king for you.  It makes me think of one of those collages where you stick a different head on a body. 
The Hyde House is also full of historic furnishings.  This is a favorite of mine; a folding chair! ca.1650, Italian.

In the main museum gallery, there is currently an exhibit called Pulled, Pressed, and Screened: Important American Prints.  Again, forgive the photo quality/reflections/etc.  Below, by Andy Warhol, Birmingham Race Riot, 1964, is an appropriated and manipulated image from Life magazine.  Why doesn't the photographer of the original image get any credit for this?
And by Robert Rauschenberg, this 1970 piece Signs (below) reminds me of magazine collages we've all made with our students.  Except the collage has been taken and reproduced in some printing process. 
I feel like I've seen every one of these iconic images from the 60's.  But I'm not sure how I feel about Rauschenberg getting all the credit for the assembling of images into his print.  I haven't worded this well, but perhaps you understand my point?

I'm not much of a print-maker myself, but I know what I like (and don't like, of course!).  I rather enjoyed this piece below because I can tell it's an etching, and I like the expressive line and movemen in the drawing. I have inadvertently deleted the names of the artists in the pieces below.  I apologize. 
My favorite pieces in the print show were these:
This piece below (poor quality photo;sorry) fascinated me because it looked like the paper was rippled and poorly glued, or perhaps torn and layered, but it is all an illusion created by subtleties of shading.  Very cool.
In the smaller gallery is an exhibit of work titled Audrey Flacke: Heroines.  Here's a sampling. 
I had to smile at the glitter and sparkles used in some of the colored pieces. 
Oh, to prove I was there - here I am with hubs in a cool mirror in Hyde House.  I love the asymmetric design of the top. 
Downstairs in the museum is a studio used for classes and workshops and such, as well as an auditorium.  In the stairway hangs this large acrylic painting, Asking, by Sam Gilliam, 1972.  I don't know the process used, but many years ago, at an art show, an artist was displaying work with a similar feel.  I learned that his process included blobbing liquid-y paint on the canvas, and then using a vacuum with the hose attached at the wrong end (or something like that; to blow rather than to suck), he blew the paint around the canvas.  I went home and tried it, very unsuccessfully.  This painting below looks like a successful use of the process; colorful and fun. I wonder if it is actually done that way?
Anyhow - if you are ever in my little hometown, block out some time to make your way to the Hyde.  You won't be disappointed! 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

It's an Artsy Pajama Party!! *edited*

Pop the popcorn, heat up the cocoa, open the wine, put on your bunny slippers and your favorite jewels, turn up the volume on some tunes, toss some pillows on the floor, and get out your most colorful nail polish, because we are having an artsy-fartsy art teacher pajama party, and you are invited!  Your age doesn't matter, all you need is a smile and some fabulous artsy PJ's!
So let me introduce you to everyone who has joined the party, starting with Jennifer Love Gironda, pictured above and below:
 It appears Jennifer might just be the life of the party!  Jennifer teaches at Lake Worth High School, in Lake Worth Florida, and she definitely knows how to accessorize for a pajama party!  As you look at the other photos in this post, you'll see lots of other fabulous choices for accessorizing.

By the way - if you are wondering about the pajamas everyone is wearing to the party, they are made by Nick and Nora and are for sale at Target, but this post is not any sort of promotion for the pajamas or for Target.  But, they ARE fabulous pj's!  They are silky soft comfy and roomy, and covered with images of lots of art supplies.  A photo of the pajamas was shared by someone on the Facebook Art Teachers group, and the next thing you know, dozens of art teachers all over the country were running to Target or going online to buy their own pair!  (There's also a really cute pinkish design with sewing supplies pictured, and another design with sock monkeys.)  Anyhow, I thought a pajama party sounded like fun, but since it's pretty hard to physically get us all together, we are having a cyber-pajama party instead!
Some fellow bloggers are among the virtual pajama party attendees, starting with this cutie above, Kelsey Lapin.  Look at her infectious smile (and fabulous red earrings); I want to be in her class! Kelsey teaches K-4 in DeForest, Wisconsin, and blogs at The Artsy Fartsy Art Room

Next is Marcia Beckett, above, a long-time blogger friend who teaches K-6 art in a small private school in Wisconsin.  Since they are both from Wisconsin, I wonder if she and Kelsey know each other?  Marcia's art education blog is called Art is Basic, and she also has a personal art blog that you can find here.  It looks like one of her adorable kids is photobombing her picture!

Above is blogger Beth Carter.  I've followed her terrific blog, It's Art Day for a long time, and found lots of great ideas there.  Check it out!

Sheryl Depp is a newer blogger that I met in New Orleans last spring.  We share the same maiden name, so I think perhaps we are secretly related somehow!  She teaches elementary art k-5 at Shady Hills Elementary in Pasco County Florida, and blogs at Primarily Art with Mrs. Depp.

Theresa Gillespie tells me that she retired from the classroom after last school year. She taught over 20 years at the Elementary level and continues to a be a part of the Art Ed community as a graduate level instructor for The Art of Education, so she is now officially in Higher Education.  But I'm looking at this photo and can't imagine she's old enough to have taught for more than 20 years!  Art teaching obviously agrees with her.  She blogs at Art With Mrs. G!.

Some of the pajama party attendees brought a companion:
 Christina Yocca teaches K-5 at Sherman Elementary in Eau Claire, WI, and brought her husband!  He may not be wearing pajamas, but in that fabulous suit, he certainly will fit in just fine with all of us crazy jammie-wearing art teachers!

And  then there's the pets -
On the left above is Dianna Burns, an elementary art teacher of about 20 years, who works in northern Illinois.  Looks like she brought some lovable canine companionship!
On the right is Claire Ross, an elementary art teacher to 530+ kids, who is snuggling with her cuddly ball of fur.  Looks comfy.

And the essential accessories - 
Heidi O'Hanley, on the left, certainly came jazzed up for the party, accessorizing her pj's with an arsty hair ornament!  Doesn't it look fabulous? Heidi teaches art to grades K-6 at Brodnicki Elementary in Justice, IL. And guess what!  She's another blogger! Heidi blogs at Tales from the Traveling Art Teacher
And Marla Kenney remembered to wear her bunny slippers!  Marla teaches at Hoover High School in Hoover AL, teaching Art 1, 3, 4, and AP Studio.  I'll bet the bunny slippers are nice and comfy after a busy day at school!

On the left above is Lisa Redditt, who has chosen to accessorize with a beverage.  Lisa teaches K-5 art in Mount Juliet TN, and tells me that this picture was taken after a LONG day - she had taken 120 third graders on a field trip to Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Art Museum in Nashville, TN.  I think I'll put Lisa in charge of bringing the party beverages!
Pictured on the right is Holly Uecker-Herman, who is definitely bringing some fun to the party!  Holly is from Comstock Park, Michigan, where she teach young 5's-5th grade.

Look!  A man has joined us for the pajama party! (I wonder how he'll feel about the nail polish activity?)  This is Mr. Lynn Smith, who is a Visual Arts Specialist for 9th - 12th grade at Parkview Arts/Science Magnet High School in Little Rock AR.  Lynn teaches Drawing 2 & 3, Painting 2, and Advanced Placement 2-D Design.  I think he totally rocks his artsy pajamas! In this pic he's just trying them on in the store (pretty gutsy, I think!), but he actually did buy them!  I wonder what his high school students would say?

Is it my imagination, or do these two gals above look like they could be twins?  Laurie (left, above) teaches high school (grades 9-12) on Long Island, NY.  Lindsey Foushee (right) teaches at Zebulon Gifted & Talented Magnet Middle in Wake County, NC.   

On the left is M. DeBolt, who teaches grades K-6 in Illinois, and on the right is Linda Schmale.  Another set of look-alikes, I think!

 On the left above is Heather D., who teaches preK-8th Grade art in Antioch, IL. It seems a lot of Illinois teachers have gotten these jammies, in preparation for a chilly windy winter!  If you like interesting statistics, count how many Illinois teachers have participated in this pajama party!
On the right is Kimberly, who teaches Visual Art in Chicago.  Since the NAEA convention is in Chicago this spring, maybe I'll get to meet these two ladies!

Carolina Arroyave (left) teaches K-8 art at Pulaski International School of Chicago in Chicago, IL. (Yup, yet another from Illinios.)  I'd be interested to hear more about her school.  If she's going to be at the NAEA convention this spring, we should definitely look for those bright brown eyes.   
Melissa Durel-Porter (right) runs a kids creative arts center called The Big Red Barn in Ponchatoula, LA. She says "it's not big, it's not red, and it's not a barn- but it is a lot of fun!"  She teaches art to kids ages 3-12 and sewing to kids ages 8 and up.
I think these gals both look so young and enthusiastic!  I bet their art programs are wonderful; but are they really old enough to be teachers?!?

Hmmm another set of look-alikes?  On the left is Charlene Lear, a K-5 Art Teacher in Phoenix, AZ.  I think maybe it's been too hot there to wear the pj's very often.  But cooler weather is coming, right?
 Katie Malone-Smith, on the right, teaches grades 5-8 at Monument Valley Middle School in Great Barrington, MA.  I drove through that area a few days ago, and their autumn colors are spectacular right now.

Carol Haggerty, above, says "it's so great to be part of this crazy fun pj happening!"  Carol teaches both digital and studio art at Millis High School in Millis, MA.  She says that being in the greater Boston area, it's big on sports-pride, and her school often supports the teams with "wear your team pride" days...she imagines it feels a little like this.   I agree!  Carol says "Go Team Art Teacher!"  I wonder what's in her mug...

Jennifer Shelton(left)  teaches Visual Art to K-5 students at Oakland Elementary in Clarksville, TN.
Gail Borowski (right) is a K-8th grade art teacher at Plumbrook Elem, Utica Community Schools Immanuel Lutheran School, Macomb Michigan.  That's quite a mouthful!  Are those all separate schools, I wonder?

That's Kim Defibaugh on the left.  She said she was on her way to NJ for the AENJ conference on the ocean front in Long Branch.  She expressed concern about the storm and possible flooding.  I hope everything was OK!
On the right is Miss S. who teaches Art 6-8  in southeastern PA.  I'm absolutely amazed, as I post these photos, at how many of these gals look like they could be sisters. 

On the left is Dawn DeBaere.  She teaches K-5 in northern Virginia.  I'm curious what that interesting image on her phone is, and there's also some intriguing artwork on her wall behind her that I'm guessing might be hers, because I know she is a talented painter.
Alicia, on the right, says she teaches at Bloomington Junior High in Illinois.  She sure looks comfy!
Oh!  I almost forgot... here's me.  I am three years retired, after a total of 36 years teaching in public school, at all grade levels.  I spent the last 27 of those years in a rural school district in the lower Adirondacks of northeastern NY, where I taught elementary and some middle.  I now work with kids in my little private art enrichment business, and am active in my state Art Association.  I caught myself in a totally rare photo moment, because, while I'm wearing the jammies, I have no earrings on.  I own hundreds of earrings, so that NEVER happens!  I love my comfy new pj's, and am especially happy that a camera is included with all the art supplies pictured on them.  Of course there are some omissions... where is the papier-mache goo?!?  

Now - as with any party, there's always some latecomers.  So glad these folks below decided to join the party!!  There still may be a few more to show up...  let's save them some popcorn and a beverage!
I'm sure that Tamara Dawn Daughtry, above, doesn't lay down on the job, but she's definitely in the pajama spirit in this photo!  Tamara teaches at Satilla Marsh Elementary in Brunswick, Georgia. Doesn't she have a gorgeous head of hair? 

And this is Jessica Botello,  from San Marcos, Texas, where she teaches at San Marcos High School. This is her 7th year teaching art. She has two sections of Painting and Public Art (that sounds like an innovative class, doesn't it?), one section of Pre-AP Studio Art and Four sections of Art 1.  Busy girl!  She needs a pajama party!

Above is Susana Hargrave, who has been teaching 6-8th grade art at Indian Ridge Middle School in El Paso Texas for 18 years!  I love the greenery surrounding her in this photo.  Do you suppose she's wearing her jammies outdoors?

 Below, we've got a couple of latecomer Texas gals.  Wow, we've got a lot of Texans at this party!
On the left is Tracy Heath Evans, enjoying her pj's and hot tea in her favorite mug, a gift from a student.  Tracy teaches elementary art in Plano TX.
On the right is Donna Staten.  You might know her as the 'Pinterest Queen'!  Donna teaches K-5 art in Round Rock, TX.  I'm glad someone thought to bring a teddy bear to the party!  But the thing about Donna's photo that intrigues me most is the shoes she has chosen to wear with her jammies.  Donna is definitely stylin' with a pair of heels, instead of bedroom slippers!

This is Deyana Matt, middle school art teacher at Westfield Middle School in Bloomingdale, IL. She blogs at Mrs. Matt's Art Blog, which is one I've never seen before!  Deyana tells me that it might be a little outdated as her school district changed systems, so her blog was not accessible for many months - eeek!  But we can also see her Artsonia, which is up to date, here.  Deyana shared that she was  the Illinois Art Educator of the Year last year!  Belated congratulations, Deyana!

Look at this beautiful smiling face above!  This is Ashley Hammond, who teaches PK-5 at Munford Elementary School in Munford, TN.  She tells me that her students are always excited to see how she will dress up on themed days at school. She says "I won't let them down again this year! I can't wait for Pajama Day! :)"

Anyhow, I'm so glad you were all able to join me for my pajama party, and I hope you enjoyed meeting this happy-looking group of like-minded people!