Saturday, December 7, 2019

Funky Fun with Chalk Pastels

I recently taught a workshops at my state art teacher's convention called Funky Fun with Chalk Pastels, and I want to share all about it here!  The hands-on workshop was intended to share unusual and innovative ways of using chalk pastels, especially for people who don't like the dust and are fearful of chalk.  The room was set for about 30 people; about 60 attended.  We squashed people everywhere!  Some were even sitting/drawing/painting on the floor!!
Nevertheless, it was a great workshop, with everyone creating enthusiastically.   All photos in this post are pieces created by the workshop participants.  I was blown away by the work they did!
 In the workshop, we mostly used bogus paper, an inexpensive and highly absorbent thickly fibrous ugly gray paper.  I purchased it through Nasco but it can also be purchased elsewhere.  I soaked the bogus paper in a tub of water.  Workshop participants used a variety of soft pastels drawing directly onto the surface of the wet paper.  The chalk pastels become paint-like on the wet surface, creating luscious vivid color!
A second technique was to paint lines in black acrylic on white (or bogus) paper.  Then, areas of the paper could be painted with water, and colored with chalk. 
Or, chalk could be colored and then blended with liquid starch, using your finger, a paintbrush, or a Q-tip. 
An additional technique is called 'chalk dips', and was done on colored or black paper.  Participants dipped their chalk pastel sticks in white tempera paint and worked in bold strokes of chalk.  The paint 'outlines' the chalk color, as in the photos below.  Any color tempera can be used for this technique.
My favorite thing that happened in the workshop was the way the participants combined the various techniques and materials.  Chalk dips were added to the chalk drawings on wet bogus paper, and on the white paper with liquid starch. 
And some people combined the chalk on wet bogus, the white tempera chalk dips, and also added the black acrylic.  Can't you see some of these pieces, such as the ones below, re-interpreted as giant abstract paintings in oil or acrylic?
When the pieces dry, they will turn chalky again  (unless the colors were blended with liquid starch, which 'fixes' the chalk).  To restore the vibrancy of the colors and prevent the dry chalk from smearing, you can paint over the artwork with Mod Podge, or some other acrylic gloss varnish (or also Sax Gloss Tempera Varnish) to seal them.  But this needs to be done carefully to prevent smearing the chalk.  I recommend painting the gloss over one chalk color at a time, and rinsing/wiping the brush in between colors. 
 Here's a few more pieces from the workshop.
I taught a shorter version of this same workshop three years ago at my state convention.  You can find a blog post about that workshop by clicking HERE.  And click HERE for a link to a post where my after-school students used chalk and liquid starch as part of a project they were doing.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Sunshine Collages

Tomorrow I'm headed to Binghamton NY for my state art teacher's convention where I'll be teaching a couple of workshops. I'll be be blogging about it in the coming week, but here's something else in the meantime. 
Last April I blogged here about how my DragonWing Arts students had made painted paper in warm and cool colors, to use in some sunshine collages we were making.  I never posted the finished products.  As it was, we ran out of time and had to take some short cuts in putting together the final pieces, but I still liked them a lot. I almost forgot to take pics, so I shot these in a hurry in very poor lighting. 
The kids had designed patterns on tracing paper for their suns, and were using them with their painted paper to cut and put together like puzzles.  But their ideas were WAY too complicated, so in the end, with no time left, we ditched the patterns, threw caution to the wind, and just started cutting and assembling!
 It was a challenge, but the kids were enthusiastic nevertheless!
 Here are the (somewhat) completed pieces.
The aftermath!
We've got some really fabulous new projects my students are working on now.  I'll be telling you more about them in the coming month, when the artwork is completed.  Now, I'd better go finish packing!!!  Hope to see some of you in Binghamton!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Stuff that drives me crazy...

A blogger friend of mine recently asked if I was still blogging, because I haven't posted in a really really long time, about 6 months.  It was a good wake-up call for me.  I've had a lot going on in my life (some good, some not-so-good; it all balances out somehow and just takes up time; maybe I'll share some of it down the road) and somehow the blog fell to the bottom of my 'things to do' list.  There's a bunch of other stuff on the to-do list I haven't done either.  Anyhow, I don't suppose I can totally catch up for 1/2 year of missing posts, but I'm gonna try.

I thought for fun I'd start with a quickie post of a few things that annoy me lately, to let you know I'm still the same old snarky blogger I was 6 months ago.  (I think this great blue heron was pretty annoyed that this fish didn't fit in his mouth, and I think the fish was pretty upset that the heron repeatedly picked him up and tossed him around.)  *By the way, all photos in this post are mine exclusively.  So here goes:

1) Crooked horizons on photos, unless intentional for a specific reason.
 It only takes a moment, whether on your phone, tablet, laptop, or whatever, to straighten your horizon, as I've done in the photo above.  You don't need Photoshop to fix it.  Also crooked horizons on paintings.  I have an artist friend who does lovely plein air landscape paintings.  Here horizons are always slightly off-kilter and she doesn't realize it and I don't dare tell her (she doesn't respond well to critique of any kind).  Having one of her paintings in my home would be like having a painting hanging crooked on the wall; it would drive me bananas!  I wish she would notice it on her own.

2) Boomerang videos. 
Why do you think I want to see the same jittery movement over and over and over again?  I don't.   They give me headaches.  Please stop.

3) Instagram stories. 
I mean, I admit I do look at them sometimes (particularly those by 1bike1world; if you've never  heard of him, check him out.  He's a lovely young Scottish man traveling the world on a bike, who rescued a kitten he found who now is his traveling companion). But anyhow, they annoy me so much when there's text and the image flips before I finish reading it and then I can't get it back again to finish reading it.  Or I have to watch the whole damn story again to see the one part with the text I didn't finish.  Ugh.

4) Over-saturated colors on autumn photos. 
Autumn colors are beautiful on their own.  I can understand someone giving the colors a little saturation to pump them up, or even warming the color balance a little, but dramatically over-saturating the colors make them look fake, not beautiful.  The pic above is straight from the camera, unedited. 

5) Profile photos with Snapchat filters.  I don't have a lot to say about this.  The cutesy stuff simply gives me the creeps.

That's enough for now.  Next post will be back to art education stuff, including the finished projects I was posting about last April, and what my students are working on now.  By the way, here's a link to two other posts where I've previously written about pet peeves of various sorts: PET PEEVES POSTS.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Warm and cool colors for painted paper!

My DragonWing Arts students have been making painted paper, to use in sunshine collages we will be creating during late April or early May.  Everybody painted 4 sections of an 18x24" sheet of paper, so there will be lots of choices to use for the sun and its rays.
We painted with brushes, scratched lines with the back of the brushes, stamped with foam circle stampers and also with slices of pool noodles cut in half, among other things.
We also painted smaller pieces of paper (12"x18") with cool colors, to use for our skies.  We used the same methods and tools.
 I found a rubbery waffle place-mat at the dollar store, and cut it in pieces.  The kids enjoyed using them for stamping texture onto their papers.  It was especially fun because their hands got so messy in the process.
 Stay tuned; next month I'll post the process of putting together the collages and the final product.  I've got some fun ideas for them - hopefully they'll be great!