Saturday, March 29, 2014

San Diego day 1

Nik de Saint Phalle sculpture at the Mingei museum in Balboa Park
The conference doesn't officially start till tomorrow, but nevertheless it was a busy day, with breakfast with my son and girlfriend, a visit to beautiful Balboa Park, Coronado Beach and the grand Coronado Hotel, and a meet and greet co-sponsored by the Art of Ed and Artsonia. And now, I should be sleeping... But I'll leave you with a tiny sampling of today's photos before I close my eyes. 
My wonderful hostess, having an Audrey Hepburn moment on Coronado Beach
The Coronado Hotel
One of many flower photos from Balboa Park
Look!  It's Mr. E!  It's Jessica Balsey!  at the Art of Ed / Pinterest meet & greet
another Niki De Saint Phalle at the Mingei
 Stay tuned - lots more convention and San Diego photos to come!!!

Friday, March 28, 2014

NAEA here I come!

Goodbye east coast...
Hello west coast!
I have arrived!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Goin' to NAEA in San Diego!!

Oh my gosh, I'm so excited!  I'm packing up my suitcase and getting ready to flap my little old dragon wings to fly to San Diego for the NAEA convention in just a few days!
  I'm looking forward to meeting so many of you that I've gotten to know through our bloggy network over the past three or four years.  As a matter of fact, I'm way more excited about meeting people than I am about going to workshop sessions, though once I'm there I know I'll be excited about the workshops, too.  But how in the world are we going to find each other?  Here's a couple of ideas. 
 Jessica Balsey at The Art of Education (AOE) contacted me today (Thanks, Mr. E; evidently you suggested she include me). She explained that AOE will be hosting an “Art Ed Blogger Meet and Greet” on Sunday, March 30th from 11:00-12:00 am at their exhibitor booth, #310, and she wanted to invite me!  
Jessica's post says "This will be an informal event where art ed bloggers will gather and have a chance for you to meet your favorites, ask questions, and connect in person. Some of the bloggers attending are:  Nic from Mini Matisse, Patty from Deep Space Sparkle, Ted from Art with Mr. E, Ian from Art of Apex High, our best dressed blogging buddy,Cassie Stephens, and Phyl from There’s a Dragon in my Art Room. Hope you can come chat!"  Did you see that?  My name is included!  I almost feel like a celebrity!  And to be included with my hero, Patty from DeepSpace Sparkle, is a real honor.  She is, after all, the reason I started my blog in the first place.  Now I'm really sorry I never actually started that diet like I planned...  
Anyhow, you'll know me when you see me.  I'll probably be the shortest person there at the booth by far, a little chunkier than I'd like to be, and I have a mane of silver hair 1/2 way down my back (though it may very well be in a pony tail to keep me from getting stuck in doors.  I'm a klutz.)  Please please come say hello!  
Another way to find me, or other people you want to locate at the convention, is by using the convention app.  If you make your profile public on the app, others at the conference can see it and contact you, and vice versa.  You can even invite people to be your friends on the app!  How cool is that?
 So now, my fingers are crossed that the snowstorm heading up the east coast doesn't mess with my travel plans, or those of my son who is flying from Boston (where the storm is supposed to hit with a vengeance) also to California on his first ever real vacation after becoming an adult with a real job!
Meanwhile - I'd better get back to my packing...  I hope to see a whole bunch of you this coming weekend!

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Shalom Mural underway!

SHALOM is the Hebrew word for PEACE, and also means Hello and Goodbye.
'Shalom' in Hebrew
So, when my Temple religious school approached me about having the children paint a mural with on the school hallway, the word SHALOM came to mind.  After all, I had also worked with these kids back in September, when we made pinwheels to participate in Pinwheels for Peace.  It seemed a theme worth continuing.
The religious school is very small, currently only 16 children from pre-K through grade 7, plus a few young teens who help out.  There are three teachers; our congregation's Rabbi teaches the older students, and the younger kids are taught by two young women, one who was a religious school classmate of my son! 

Once we got the go-ahead to do the mural, I blocked out the letters on the wall, in Hebrew first, and then in English.  In between the two words, we decided there should be a dove..
 And today was our first painting day!  The kids were terrific, and a teen helper, a parent, a teacher, and the Rabbi all pitched in to paint!  It will be two weeks before we can work on it again (since I'll be in San Diego at the NAEA convention) next weekend.  
This young man (above) was a meticulous painter.  And he's just a kindergartner!!
 The girls above and below are sisters.  The older sister (below), remarked that the paints we were using (Blick acrylics) are indelible!  Pretty impressive vocabulary for a 5 year old!  loved watching the kids make decisions about what colors to use where.  By the way, the lovely letter O above was painted by a young teen who helps out in the religious school. 
 There were several absences in the school today, but the kids who were there all worked very hard.  I loved watching the younger and older children all work together. 
 Below, our Rabbi!

 And below, a parent of two boys; she has been doing a lot of organizing and planning for the religious school. 
 The teacher painting in the photo below, is also the mom of the two cutie-pie sisters. 
Hard at work, making decisions together.
 By the way, the warm/cool color idea was mine, as a way to let the kids paint however they wanted and still be able to see the words.  The older boys decided to paint wall blocks in solid colors, but in our next session they will be able to paint patterns and designs on top of the solid colors, still within the designated color framework.  I'm really happy with the way it is working out!!

Friday, March 21, 2014

On shaving cream, coffee filters, color, and imagination!

"Mrs. Brown, WHY are you taking our pictures while we have such a mess going on?"

 Yesterday, two of my DragonWing Arts students finished up a passel of projects, including one using  marbled papers, and another using marker-dyed coffee filters. And of course our flying pigs...

 First, the marbling results:
 I recently shared the process I used for marbling with shaving cream, HERE.  

My students used photos that I had taken of them and printed for them, and added shapes they cut out of some scraps of previously painted paper, and also used a little Sharpie marker to enhance.  We didn't have a lot of time left in our class to work on these, but they were enthusiastic about just diving in!  The girl on her left was not wearing her glasses when I took the picture (they were broken) and I love that she added them in (along with a bracelet and earrings) with a Sharpie.

 And look at those flowers they are holding in their hands along with showing off their marbled collages!  Let me tell you about them, as well.
 In a previous class, we colored large coffee filters with Crayola markers (NOT the washable ones; I like the regular ones way better).  Another filter was placed underneath the colored filter, and the whole thing was sprayed with water.  The water blended the colors together, which soaked through the filter and colored the one underneath as well!  So each girl colored two filters, but ended up with four to use. Here's a sampling of what some of the filters looked like when drying.
 Two of the filters (and a little colored tissue paper, and some pipe cleaners) were used to put together the flowers that you saw in the girls' hands above, and here close-up in my hand.

 The other two coffee filters were used to make dragonflies or butterflies (you decide; I'm not sure which they are!)  The filters were each scrunched in the middle and wrapped with a pipe cleaner, and then wrapped together.  The girls cut out a body of 2 pieces of colored foam, cut pipe cleaner legs and antennas, and hot-glued them to the backside of the front of the body.  Then, the whole thing was hot glued together, and was embellished as desired, with eyeballs, beads on the antennas, Sharpie and/or glitter glue on the body, and a ribbon or yarn to hang it if desired. How stinkin' cute are these?
The proud artists!
 I'll share the flying pig results another day, along with the results of these projects with my third student, who unfortunately was sick yesterday.

By the way, this was there last art class of the winter session, and one more project (using more photos I took of them) was sent home with the kids to finish in their leisure, since we simply ran out of time.  I'll be curious to see what they do.  Here's what I gave them:
Wonder what they are dreaming about, or imagining?  So do I!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Butterfly Conservatory experience

Hubby and I recently spent a couple of nights in NYC.  From our home, we drove our car for an hour to catch a train, and then another 2-1/2 hours later we were plopped right in Manhattan.
View from the Amtrak window - the partially frozen Hudson River
At least once a year we like to get there, and usually pick an art museum for our main activity.  In recent years I've told you about visits to MoMA, the Metropolitan, and the Brooklyn Museum (where two sculptural pieces by my grandfather are on display).  This year, at my request, we spent a day at the Museum of Natural  History to visit the Butterfly Conservatory exhibit.  Imagine!  Swarms of butterflies in the middle of Manhattan in the winter!  I wasn't disappointed.  I'll tell you about the rest of our NYC visit in a different post, and even about the rest of the museum, but this post is just for butterflies.  With the exception of the photos of me, all photos were taken by me in the exhibit, with my trusty Sony point and shoot camera.
The exhibit was crowded with families and field trips, so getting photos was a challenge, especially since the butterflies don't pose on demand!  You  have to be patient.  At first, it was a real problem.  My photos looked hazy and I didn't know why.  The light was harsh, but my photos looked the opposite of harsh.  Then I realized, because of the cold outside and the warmth in the exhibit, my camera lens was totally fogged up!  I cleaned it on my sweater, probably not a good idea, but I guess it worked.  It took about 10 minutes or so before the camera warmed enough to stop fogging.
The 'Starry Night' butterfly as shown by an exhibit employee
 While I was there, I had an amazing experience.  I was approached by a young girl to tell me I had a butterfly on my head.  The next thing I knew, people were snapping photos of my silver hair and its new orange and black ornament!
The butterfly stayed on my head for longer than a 1/2 hour; so long, in fact, that my husband got bored of the whole thing (and claimed he was too warm in the 80+ degree exhibit, which I thought was heavenly since it was in the 20's outside) and left me to sit in the lobby and wait.  Crazy man.
 The butterflies sometimes landed on my hand, too, though most often they landed on the hand holding the camera.  So I'd struggle to get my phone out and use my non-dominant hand to take a photo, but that wasn't exactly successful.
 And a few more butterfly photos...
Could this be my butterfly, finally off of my head?
 It was a great day at the museum and the butterflies were just one part of our day!  I'll save the rest for another NYC post, in a couple of days.