Tuesday, October 9, 2018

My Favorite Art Room Materials

I'm retired, and work with small classes of 3 to 8 students, rather than the student load I had when I was teaching K-6 full-time in public school.  But nowadays, it's the same exact materials that matter most to me, just in MUCH smaller volume!  Here are a few of my absolute 'must haves' -

Good quality (Scotch 3M) masking tape.  The cheap 'store brand' stuff will not do!  We use masking tape in building papier-mache armatures, and it is absolutely essential that it really stick effectively. It is worth the investment for the good stuff!

Elmer's Glue-All.  Again, get the good stuff!  Elmer's "School Glue" is NOT the same thing.  If you are building constructions of some sort, perhaps with cardboard or wood scraps, the School Glue does not effectively hold.  The Glue-All is a zillion times stronger!  Check out these teddy bear chairs made with scrap cardboard, cardboard rolls, and Elmer's Glue-All.

Tempera paint.  My favorite brand is Sax Versatemp, because of the creamy consistency and good coverage.  But when we do the 'toothpaste batik' project, I prefer Blick Premium, because the color seems to have strong pigmentation that holds well when we wash out the batiks.  But otherwise, the Versatemp is the better choice.  There are better, more expensive paints, but they would require a huge chunk of budget, and the quality of these two paints is more than adequate for an elementary classroom. 

Nasco Bulk-krylic. I know some of you don't use acrylics with elementary, but I do, for painting papier-mache projects, cardboard constructions, and more.  My feeling is this: if you've spent a significant amount of time building a papier-mache creature, perhaps, use a paint with a permanent finish! 

'Stuff'.  Huh? What does she mean by that???  I'm a big fan of collages and assemblages, and of embellishing papier-mache structures with various materials beyond just paint.  So the essential 'stuff' of my art room includes fabric scraps, yarn, ribbon, buttons, beads, feathers, pom poms, pipe cleaners, and so on.  Art is much more fun when there's lots of colorful 'stuff' with a variety of textures and shapes!

Cardboard.  My favorite free art material!  I save all clean and undamaged cardboard from shipping cartons.  And also the mat board scraps that most picture framers will give away, and also the cardboard from cereal boxes.  There's more uses than I can list here.  Here are a few, pictured.

Black Sharpies.  I don't think any explanation is needed; we all love our black Sharpies!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Doodling for dollars?

It's no secret that I'm a compulsive doodler.  I have been, my whole life.  
Lately I have enjoyed using white and metallic Uni-ball Signo gel markers and Sakura Moonlight Gel markers on black paper, at least until my pad of Fabiano Black Black paper (yup, that's the name; it's awesome stuff) ran out.  I need some more.

Meanwhile, I also have a nice pad of bright white marker paper that I've been using with black Sharpies or black Signo Gel pens, and also with color added (my favorite colored marker pens of choice are Flair pens.  Great colors!)
Sometimes I'm not sure whether I like them better in black and white, or color.

Recently, I posted the black ink 'daily doodle' pictured below, on both Facebook and Instagram, and I debated over whether I wanted to add color to the ribbons and/or the orbs, or whether to leave it black and white.  (I still haven't decided).  A friend (who teaches a mixed class of 5th and 6th graders) asked if she could print out my drawing and color it herself.  She mentioned that her students absolutely loved the drawing.  And I had several friends remark that I should design coloring books. 
But here's the thing.  I like to doodle, and evidently, people like my doodles.  But my reason for doodling has nothing to with making money.  While it sounds lovely to make money from my doodles, I have no desires or skills regarding publication and marketing.  So unless someone miraculously volunteers to figure out how to publish and market my doodles, its not gonna happen, because it is not my personal priority. I doodle because it is a part of who I am and has been my whole life.  But you know, it's not really that hard to do!  I suggested to my friend that her 6th graders could easily do drawings like the one above.

Here's how:
Draw the ribbons looping and overlapping, lightly in pencil.  Figure out where they cross each over each other, erasing as needed where they cross.  Trace over the pencil lines with Sharpie.  Add orbs to further break up the space.  Fill all the shapes created in the negative space, with repeating patterns, a different pattern in each space.

 Or, as I did above, try radial designs that grow and attach to each other.

You can find several other posts on this blog about doodling.  To find them, use view the blog in the web version and search the labels/tags on the bottom of the blog!
Here's one last doodle for tonight!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

I've been a lazy blogger!

I'm back, after almost 2 months without blogging.  This is the first hiatus of this amount of time, since I began the blog in spring of 2010!  YIKES!!
It's been a busy couple of months.  We took our annual trip to Kennebunkport Maine, and this year we drove from there to Bar Harbor and our first ever visit to Acadia National Park. 

I've been working on healing my shoulder from an injury in early July (that I mentioned in a prior post).  I've had a root canal, and I've taken a hot air balloon flight (my first ever, a gift).

The balloon flight ended in a farmer's overgrown field, where I discovered the most incredible spider webs covered in morning dew.

I've taken lots of walks, I've doodled and painted (I'll show you the artwork in a future post), and I've taken tons of photos, of everything from great blue herons and butterflies to mushrooms and spiders. 

And, in particular, my son married his love just a little more than 2 weeks ago. 
 That's the happy couple, above, and me and my hubby below.
And me and my baby at a dual family dinner the night before the wedding.
It was a great time for my family to get together from different parts of the country.
Below, my brother, astrologer Rick Merlin Levine, his talented daughter Faythe, and me.
 And this - my whole family - two brothers, two nieces, one nephew, and their assorted spouses and children.  The last time we were all together in one place was for my dad's funeral, 20 years ago.  This was much much better!!!

And now, my DragonWing Arts class is back in gear, and I'm trying to catch up on everything I've been putting off for the last two months.  Below, two 'teaser' pics from DragonWing Arts.  I'll be blogging about both of these projects as we make more progress on them!

I apologize for making you wait so long for a blog post from me. I promise that I'm back, and that I will have art lessons and more to share in the months to come.  Stick with me; hopefully it will be worth it!