Friday, June 8, 2018

Three projects, all complete!

This spring, my DragonWing Arts students completed three projects in a 7-week after-school session.  There were toothpaste batik pillows and puzzle paintings (one of each, pictured above), and stocking sculptures, which you'll see later in this post! 

 I've done toothpaste batik with my students many times before, but this time I think we lost a little more color than usual on the final products.  But still, the kids were happy with them. I gave them lots of ideas, encouraging them to add borders, to use full-strength vibrant colors, and suggesting abstract designs.  But they had their own minds and because this isn't 'school', I feel like I have to let them do what will ultimately be what they want.  If you want to know more about the toothpaste batik process, and see some other student toothpaste batik projects, you can find posts HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE. (And HERE, for my toothpaste batik shirt!)  Above are pictured the painted fabric, mostly complete, before washing out the resist.  Below, finished pillows.  Due to time considerations, I sewed the pillows on my machine, and the kids stuffed them and sewed up the openings. 
Here's my painted sample, ready to wash.  Sorry no pic of the finished product.

For the puzzle paintings, I was given a bunch of wooden frames, each inset with 9 wooden squares.  I made an example that was a design where the pieces were interchangeable and matched up no matter what.  I thought they'd want to do that, too.  Both of the boys in the class did.  But three of the four girls had different ideas, and again, I let them roll with it! 
 We started by priming all the parts with gesso.  Here's a picture to help you understand what it looked like prior to painting.
 Here's 4 of the finished products.  There's one more in the pic at the top of the post, and I'm missing a pic of the 6th project.  I still have LOTS more of these boards and I'm going to experiment with other ideas for how to use them.

 Many of you have made the stocking sculptures, so I'll give just a very brief explanation.  You can read more about this project in a prior blog post, HERE.
The sculpture structure is a nylon sock, which has been pulled over bent and twisted pieces of wire that are inserted at both ends into a wood block.  We primed them all with gesso before painting. White house paint works well, too.  Basically, the paint stiffens up the nylon sock, making them easy to paint (we use acrylics).
 Here's some of the finished products.  I'm again missing a pic of one of them. I had several finished samples to show the kids, but I let them choose how they wanted to paint theirs. I painted a demo piece with organic faces that fit onto each side.  Sorry, no pic of it!

 One more toothpaste batik pillow before I end this post. 
OOPS the pic is upside down...

DragonWing Arts is now on summer break, but the blog is not.  Still more art stuff to share, including my own artwork!  But when I'm not blogging, I can be found paddling in my kayak with my camera in my lap, or sitting on the dock with a good book, or with my easel set up outdoors for some painting!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

A few weeks of nature photos and such

Ugh.  I'm failing at blogging.  Here's a bit of an update on life since my last blog post.
We made a visit to Boston to visit our son and his fiance on Mother's Day.  Behind our hotel was a nature park where there was a pair of nesting swans!
On Mother's Day, we strolled around "Porchfest" in Somerville (where our son lives).  Lots of live music of all genres on porches and front yards all through the neighborhoods.  Free and fun. 
We took a leisurely drive home (ever since our car accident on the Mass Pike two years ago, we prefer the 'scenic route'.)  This time we made a pit stop at the lovely Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls MA.
Since then, I've been in my kayak a few times, and of course brought my camera with me.  I've seen loons, both real and wooden, and a brand new dragonfly emerged from it's nymph casing on my kayak.  That's the dragonfly below, and also at the top of the post.  It is brand new!
And I happened on a nest of redwing blackbird eggs, when I was rescuing bottles and cans I saw in the reeds near the lake shore.  I hope mama comes back to these eggs!
 On a walk near our camp, I came across this oddity, below.
I've taken some strolls around Hovey Pond, a mile from my home.  
And a few days ago, my husband discovered a baby bird living in a tree in the abandoned house next to our home.
We saw it's mama feeding it.  But as of today, it appears the baby has spread its wings.  The tree is vacant.  I hope the fledgling is doing well!
Moose sighting in North Bennington Vermont....
Meanwhile, I set up my easel in the backyard where I've been experimenting with my oil paints, trying to get to know the properties of my colors better.  It isn't done.