Saturday, March 9, 2019

Colorful Leafless Trees!

My DragonWing Arts students recently completed these paintings of trees.  We began with this simple method: 
First, draw a land line, dividing ground and sky.  
Second, draw a trunk that extends from land line to top of paper.  
Third, add branches coming from the trunk, extending to the edges of the paper.  More smaller branches could be added coming from these branches.   
Details could be added as desired.  Some of the girls decided they should have branches that were shaped like hearts.  And of course they wanted to add swings, too!  I left these decisions up to them.  
When the drawings were done, painting began.  The kids each selected two colors to use to paint their skies, mixing as desired.  
In the pic on the right below, you can see the the student making use of an 'ugly sponge' when mixing colors.  We use these for keeping paintbrushes clean with minimal water.  The excess paint is wiped off the brush onto the sponge, and the brush can then be dipped into the other color the student is using.  When changing to a completely different pair of colors, the brush is first wiped on the ugly sponge, then washed in the water, and then wiped again on the sponge to remove excess moisture.  The paints stay exceptionally clean with this method!
Then another two colors were selected to paint the ground, and finally, another two colors were used for the tree itself.  White could be used as desired, and other colors were used for various details. 
 
When the paint was dry, some of the kids chose to use black Sharpies to outline and make their colors 'pop'. 
Originally, the plan was to add a few leaves as desired, cutting them from sheets of colored foam, adding vein lines with Sharpies, and gluing onto the trees or ground.  We ran out of time, so the trees stayed leafless!  I think they look great!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Our Collages are Out of This World!!

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My DragonWing Art students have been experimenting with various paint techniques, with the results being made into planets for colorful "out of this world" collages. 
We began by painting large (18x24") pieces of paper with black ink, leaving unpainted borders about the thickness of a ruler. We also used some glittery purple paint on the ink, to add some sparkle.  When dry, white paint was spattered on with a toothbrush, to make more stars in space.
On small sheets of white paper, we used liquid watercolors in several ways to achieve interesting surface texture.
We used the watercolors with salt, 
With saran wrap,
And with bubble wrap.
 plus liquid watercolor and shaving cream for marbling.
We also used bleeding tissue paper applied with water, removing the tissue paper when dry, to create colorful blends.
 And finally, we printed some papers with slices of pool noodles and tempera paint.

 Often, our hands ended up getting printed, too!
 All the papers that were created were used to make into planets and more for our collages. 
We used various bottles, caps, bowls, cd's, rolls of tape, and more as circle tracers for planets.
We used black crayons to add shadows to our planets to make them look round.  This was easy for some of the students, and more challenging for others.
 I showed the students how to cut rings for planets if they desired. 
 And the students began merrily cutting planets for their collages, to glue onto their painted and spattered background papers.
I gave the students strips of holographic contact paper, that they used to create fancy borders for their papers.
I also had strips of glow-in-the-dark contact paper, which was used on the sides of the collage pictured below.
 Finally, I also offered the students some glitter glue.  The bottles hadn't been used in a while, and the glue often squirted out in wonky and unexpected ways, but still, the sparkle really jazzes up the skies!
There are currently 5 students in my DragonWing Arts class; I unfortunately neglected to photograph one of the final collages.  I'll photograph it in a few days, and then add the pic to this post.  In the meantime, here's one last pic.  

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Three fabulous exhibits, no pictures?

Ah, to go to NYC and see 3 fabulous art exhibits was a delight, but to learn no photos were allowed in any of them was a huge frustration!  The three exhibits were: Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving at the Brooklyn Museum, Andy Warhol's Endangered Species at the Ukrainian Museum, and Tolkien: Maker of Middle Earth at the Morgan Library and Museum.

But I'm gonna tell you about them anyhow, and show you some pics I took in parts of the museums where photography IS allowed....
I know lots of people have been VERY excited about the Frida exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum.  And so was I.  It is an extensive collection of memorabilia, including tons of photos, some of her drawings, her clothing, her medical corsets (including plaster corsets that she'd painted herself), a prosthetic leg with red satin shoes, and video clips.  It's a very in-depth look into her life.  But there were only about 1/2 dozen of her paintings, and, while the exhibit was fascinating, I desperately wanted to see more of her actual paintings.  They look very different (so much better!) in person, than in photos.  So - worth going?  It's up to you.  Just don't expect to see an exhibition of her paintings, or you'll be disappointed.
Anyhow, there's so much else to see, while you're at the Brooklyn Museum.  Above is a gorgeous Alfred Bierstadt painting.  If you make the visit, don't miss Judy Chicago's incredible installation, The Dinner Party (pictured below)!
Below, The Virgin by Joseph Stella

There's currently a big Andy Warhol exhibit at the Whitney Museum, but we instead decided to go to the tiny Ukrainian Museum, where his Endangered Species series of prints were on display.  I'd had a set of poster prints from this series in my former classroom, but again, seeing the 'real thing' is so much more impressive!  The exhibit also included some memorabilia from his childhood. 
Elsewhere in the Ukrainian Museum, there are exhibits of costumes and headdresses.  But the exhibit that most intrigued me was RE:CREATE. Christina Saj's Transformative Paintings.  The colorful paintings hung on the walls, and in the center of the room were boxes with a variety of painted shapes backed by magnets, that visitors were invited to use to transform the paintings. I loved the novel concept of this artwork.  I hope other visitors aren't afraid to dig into the boxes and play!  Such fun!
 Below are the 'before' and 'afters' of a couple of paintings that I transformed.

I discovered by accident that there was a J.R.R. Tolkien at the Morgan Library and Museum.  I honestly had never even heard of the Morgan Library, but I'd previously toured and seen exhibits at the New York Public Library (also worth a visit!).  Well... The Morgan Library is a real gem!  And the Tolkien exhibit?  WOW!  I hadn't realized that he was, as well as a writer, also an incredible artist.  And of course he also designed all the maps, and created the languages, too.  If you travel to NYC this spring, the exhibit is there through mid-May, and is definitely worth a visit, even if you aren't a huge fan of The Lord of The Rings books.  (By the way, there's also a fabulous photography exhibit at the Morgan right now, and no photos were allowed there, either.)
The Morgan Library is a gorgeous place, with stunning architectural details.  Above and below, a few pics from the Morgan. Beautiful place!
I also had time for a visit to Mood, the fabric store where the contestants shop for fabric on Project Runway.  Our hotel was only a block away!
Here's a couple of views out my hotel window.