Sunday, December 24, 2017

Doodle gifts

It is no secret that I'm a compulsive doodler, and I love a good challenge and a reason to do a large doodle.  So I recently made three gifts by/for family relatives.  One was a gift from me, and the other two were 'commissioned' by a family member for her adult children.  I wanted to share the results with you.  Sorry the photos aren't great; I don't really have a good setup for photographing artwork in my home and its frustrating. If I try to make the mat look bright white (which it is), the drawing colors look washed out to me.  Plus some of the markers are metallic, which is tough to photograph.  Anyhow, the pics above are a couple of closeups.  The entire pieces can be seen below.  For the first two below, I was given a list of items and names to include, and the rest was up to me.  The required items were a challenge!  Celtic knots and crosses, unicorns, lions and tiger - none of these things are typically in my 'wheelhouse'.
 I did the one below for my adult stepdaughter and her family as a gift from me.  Because it's already framed in this shadowbox frame, it doesn't photo well at all. 
 And here's the other two, in their frames.  My medium of choice for these sort of doodles is Flair pens, a black Sharpie, and some wonderful metallic gel markers.  I don't usually pre-draw with pencil, but I did need to do that for the Celtic knot and cross, the lion and tiger, and the unicorn. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Let the Force be With You this Holiday Season!

Yes, it's Princess Leia in gingerbread.

Let me explain.  It is that time of year, when I spend a good deal of time focusing on a major art project, knowing that the results will all be eaten within a little more than a week's time.  I broke out the cookie cutters (I even bought a couple of new ones), got out my husband's mother's gingerbread recipe, and turned our kitchen into a gingerbread cookie factory. After more than 7 hours of decorating over 7 dozen cookies, the cookies are done.  Before baking, I cut some windows out of some of the houses.  I didn't know what to do with the leftover teeny hunks of dough, so I baked them.  When the cookies had baked, it was obvious that a couple of the hunks of dough looked just like Princess Leia's hairdo, so with a little royal icing, Leia became a gingerbread reality!  Another lump became the blond beehive (below right) and a weird-shaped piece became my favorite, the crazy orange hairdo on the left.

The windows were cut out of some of these houses and also out of the train locomotive.  It's hard to see in the photos, but crunched up Life Savers were baked into the openings, and they melt and harden into little stained glass windows!
The train, by the way, is made from some new cookie cutters that I purchased on a whim.  It's my first time using the cutters and I rather like the result. 

My other new cookie cutter is a snowflake.  I went gung-ho with blue and white icing and sugar sprinkles, and they are so very elegant-looking next to the ridiculousness of most of my other cookie decorations. (Note below, with the snowflakes, a couple of little green alien men and what we fondly call the "diaper-babies".) 
I also used the snowflake cutter a week ago while making Hanukkah cookies.

I have a giant gingerbread man cookie cutter I used to make the three dudes below.

Below are the more 'usual' size gingerbread menfolk.  Note the kid with the curly red hair - his hair is also an add-on of an extra hunk of dough.  The shape of the dough could also have become an awesome football helmet, now that I think about it.  Oh well, maybe next year I'll decorate with professions - football players, doctors, ballerinas, explorers, teachers, artists, pirates, firemen...  Ooh I really like this idea!

And here's all the womenfolk.  The white bun on the gal in the bottom row is also a dough add-on. 

My small 'boy' cutter can be turned upside down for cute reindeer faces, as well as the little boys.  By the time I got to decorating the boys, I was out of patience and time.  I have no idea why the baby on the upper left appears to be wearing a diaper made out of a double-ended carrot.  It definitely wasn't intentional!

Below are a few more houses, a couple of feet, and hands posed in the Vulcan salute. (We need to be sure to give equal exposure to both Star Wars and Star Trek!)
Let the Force be With You, and Live Long and Prosper!  

 Thanks for stopping for a visit.  I hope you have some artsy things planned for this holiday season!  If you would like to see last year's gingerbread ridiculousness, including a gal in a polka dot bikini, you can check out the last year's post about them, HERE.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Get Stuck on Papier-Mache!

I've been slow to finish telling you all about my state conference.  In the pic above, I'm about to present a tell-all workshop about my favorite medium for working with kids, papier-mache, which I'll be talking about in this post.  Notice that in every photo, my name tag is turned around backwards so that all you can see are things like my dinner tickets and such.  Which is a shame, because I put a lot of effort into making it pretty at the Bling Your Badge table.  But at least you can see all the eyeballs on the neck strap, and the ribbon for participating in the member 10x10 show.... 
This post isn't actually about the Bling table, but I can't write about the convention without mentioning this activity.  I'm proud to say that the Bling Your Badge table was my brainchild about 1/2 dozen years ago, when the convention was going to be in our region for the first time in a while.  I thought art teachers would like something to occupy their hands during their spare moments.  And boy was I right.  The table has been so immensely popular that we sponsor it annually, no matter where the convention is held, and I'm the gal in charge.  It is so popular that, before dinner and the evening events I'll unplug and hide the glue guns and power strip, and clean up the mess of spilled rhinestones and pipe cleaners and wiggle eyes and close the containers, and I'll come back an hour later and find the glue guns all plugged back in, with the containers open and feathers and sequins sparkly foam stickers and such again spilled out all over the table.  Art teachers are persistent about wanting to fancy-up their badges!  It's hard to get angry when you've made so many people at the convention have a happy smile.

Anyhow, back to my workshop.  I shared my unique methods of doing papier-mache and avoiding wads of drippy gooey paper that take weeks to dry.  We talked about using the benefits of using paper bags and plastic bags as armatures, along with many other options, and I gave my usual warning about the potential problem when using balloons as armatures by telling the story of my late afternoon disaster, when I was alone in the school and thought I heard gunshots.  It wasn't guns after all; it was the sound of one-after-another balloon, covered with fresh papier-mache, popping.  About half of the 50 balloons had to be replaced in a hurry, and I spent the next hour (when I should have been home for dinner) inflating new balloons inside a couple of dozen collapsing messes of gooey wet newspaper.  Not fun...
The masks pictured above use a paper lunch bag armature, and the cats below use a plastic grocery bag armature.  The bags are, of course, stuffed with crumpled newspaper.  And of course that's me with slightly blue hair doing my presentation.  If you want to know about the eyeball in the background, you can read about them in the blog post you'll find by clicking HERE. By searching my blog you can also find info on the various projects pictured in the images bleow.
The delicious ice cream cones pictured below are made from a newspaper ball armature, on top of a paper or oaktag cone.  Easy papier-mache project and oh-so-fun!
We discussed much more in the workshop, but since I wasn't the person taking the photos, this is all I've got.  But that's OK, because if you want to know everything about the workshop, my handouts and PowerPoint are available for you, with all sorts of advice and instructions for using papier-mache successfully!   Here's a link to my papier-mache handout from the convention workshop:  Get Stuck on Papier-Mache - handout.

For  links to my PowerPoint from this workshop, or various other documents uploaded from previous workshop presentations, including instructions for several papier-mache projects presented in a workshop at NAEA 2016, you can find them by going to my 'Document Weblinks' tab, which is located HERE.  The PowerPoint document has not been uploaded yet, but hopefully will be tonight.  In the meantime, there's a link to my PowerPoint from NAEA 2016. 

The documents available through these links are available for your benefit and to help inform your teaching, but I ask that you please acknowledge my ownership of them and not copy or share them publicly.  You are NOT free to share my PowerPoint in a class or workshop without my permission. Thank you.  

Note: I still have more to share about the convention in another upcoming post!