Archive for the ‘art education’ Category

More Lessons from the Coloring Books – Part 1

Throughout all the stress of medical issues this winter and early spring, I resorted a lot to coloring at night – one BIG take-away from the coloring is that it controls my appetite….no small thing. But I’m learning something almost every piece I do. You can catch up with what I learned so far here.

So here are some pics – and lessons learned.

Color2A

One of the things I’ve been playing with is amount of white space. You can see in the above that not everything is colored. Pus, I was trying to play around with oranges and color combinations, like mixing colors that are close together. I love the way the turquoise is accented. No point in doing the edges – I was concentrating on the center – which is an interesting move for me – to just let things “be” without having to “finish” everything.

Color2B

Again with the reds, oranges, purples, but I decided to add an unexpected color – my fiber work tends to lack strong focal points – so I added the blue – makes the piece. I also rotated the scan because the “bottom” was too heavy when on the “top.”

 

Color2C

Here’s where I figured I really need to spend some time with colored pencils, especially when I can do shading – which I love doing with regular pencil. And again the oranges and reds.

Color2D

I left white space with this, and I discontinued finishing the design – it was getting too busy. Here’s where I kept hearing Tim Gunn’s voice to “edit.” The yellow in here really glows.

Color2EThis was playing around with oranges and blues – a combination I am starting to like a lot. Lots of white space, and I used the designs on the edges to play with color combinations. The lower right looked too much like a super-hero costume for me……

Color2F

Christmas colors – meh. These were better than some I tried. The colors – for me – need to be true, but I am happier with mottled shades of reds and greens.

Color2G

Interesting as I was working with what colors glowed – the yellows, but especially the purples in the center. I also discovered differences in black – flat and shiny, which I should know because of all the black fabrics out there. Overall a fun design, but it bugs me that the books consistently cut off complete designs.

Color2H

Blues, reds, greens and white space. I am finding not everything needs to be colored. I find this quite pleasing.

Color2J

Love the delicacy of this one. Even though the design is completely filled in, there is an airiness to it.Color2K

Same for this design – and I really like the colors – very vibrant.Color2L

Again oranges and greens – would make a great wall paper.COlor2M

Nice and lacy – I like incorporating some of the zentangle motifs when I feel there is too much white space.

Color2N

The original dominant color here was going to be the pink-purple, but yellow won out. Interesting to me how that happens.

Really need to spend some time with colored pencils, but I SO like the intense color of markers. Like I said before, surprising for me, since they are so unforgiving.

I definitely can see some of the effects of the coloring in the most recent fiber work – more on that to follow.

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another edition of Top Ten Tuesday….never know what you’re going to find! Plus I love reading about what people are doing. And blogs about history – but I’m staying away from current politics – makes me too angry and depressed, and I just don’t need that! So here’s just the cool stuff….

Speaking of politics (and this will be the last time, I promise), when I do look at headlines, I scan Al Jazeera in English. If you depended on just the US media, you wouldn’t know nearly 75% of what is actually going on around the world. Forget your previous conceptions of Al Jazeera – this is good all-round news.

From Cool Hunting – a really interesting take on working with crystal – including rings and weapons….

From Cool Hunting this week also comes where to play on Bora Bora. I REALLY want to go on vacation now!!

From the JPG Blog,  a new contest – photos are FABULOUS!!

Antelope Canyon, Abstract #1 by Linda Clifford

Also from Cool Hunting, a short video of an art show in Mexico:

Cool Hunting Capsule Video: Liquid Sculptures from Cool Hunting on Vimeo.

From MAD Magazine, a look at the class of 2015 (hey, it’s the teacher in me…..).

Seven Steps that May Dramatically Boost Your Happiness from Dumb Little Man – some good ideas here. One step? Follow your bliss.

If you have not discovered fractals yet (and forget about all the math involved – just go for the beauty), you need to look at Fractal World. Here’s their fractal of the week:

Shopping more at Farmer’s Markets more? If you follow Summer Tomato, you will be able to tour farmers’ markets around the world. Here’s Shanghai….

Mix zentangles, ATC’s and color, and you get Enthusiastic Artist‘s  gorgeous work!

Have a great week – send me cool stuff you find online!

Taking Online Classes

One of the things I promised myself with retirement is that I would take some classes, whether at the community college or on line. I found a new class at Quilt University by Lyric Kinard – The Artist’s Toolbox. This is my third class at QU, and I have been very pleased with the courses – good instructions, lots of great ideas for projects, and really helpful instructors. I actually completed almost all of the small sewing projects that practice the various elements of art, and I am learning a good deal. Part of what I am seeing is why some of my work really comes together and what’s missing in some other pieces. Very valuable, and I have a few studies left to complete.

Lyric Kinard, one of the instructors at QU, has a great website. Her fiber art demonstrates all of the principles she teaches in The Artist’s Toolbox – I am hoping she offers a part 2 to this class. Plus, she keeps a running list of art shows to enter, so you can always check and see what’s available.

I also just finished a class on Multiple Streams of Income, since I am focused on building my business. Laura Bray  did an excellent job in not only presenting resources, but also in having a lot of guest speakers who do on a daily basis what needs to be done to build additional sources of income. Sign up for her newsletter so you know when she offers classes, and sign up to read her blog. The “focusing” piece, as well as the “goals” piece were absolutely invaluable to me. I was getting bogged down in marketing, but it wasn’t furthering what I actually wanted to accomplish. Until I did my 90-day goals, I didn’t see this. Now I can be much more focused on my individual goals, rather than the hit-and-miss of before. Click here to visit katydid designs.

Online classes really work for me, especially since I am no longer driving myself. I can work at my speed, have access to all my materials, and can correspond with loads of people. I keep myself motivated easily, so this form of instruction works for me. Your mileage may vary. I also enjoy reading blogs that have tutorials, as I usually like trying out something new. I plan on doing lots of that during retirement!

Top Ten Tuesday

Wow, it’s been a few weeks, and a lot has happened in that time. Once again I ave fallen behind on reading blogs, so I’m sure I’ll have more goodies next week. In the meantime, there are some gems here!

From The Best Article Every Day….If the Internet Existed Years Ago – Facebook in the 70s and Twitter in the 60s…..and more….

Aslo from The Best Article Every Day – Top Astronomy Shots of 2010

From a blog Open Seed Arts, a time-lapse of the creation of a work of art.

SAQA – Studio Art Quilt Associates – online magazine. Eye candy galore!!!!

Blurberati – Picking Your Best Photo in a Series – some really good info on using the Golden Mean to help determine cropping and other great tips….

Great tutorial from C&T Publishing on making thank-you cards.

From JPG Magazine, their Best of Storefront pictures. Some very interesting juxtaposition….

A trip down memory lane with some of the first commercials for common products – interesting to see how the technology changes. From The Best Article Every Day. Here’s a sample of one…

From The Personal Excellence Blog (some really good reading) comes inspiring graduation speeches. Here’s one opf my favorites – Randy Pausch.

And…from The Best Article Every Day, to round out the group, the fact that we are getting old……things that will be obsolete……

Revisiting China – Part 1

One of my projects as a result of our recent move is to sort and organize slides and pictures: one because of the need for the extra space, two to eliminate anything that still has smoke from our fire 20-plus years ago, and three to find a way to enjoy all these memories. Now that I have a home for “recycling” slide mounts and boxes, I am ready for this project. Slides are sorted into a slide box we had been given years ago and never used; there’s one drawer of China slides and a second drawer of personal slides. I’m starting on the China slides.

How to organize? One of the most impressive memories from this trip in 1978 (before normalization of relations with the US) was the visits to the schools, so that’s where I am starting. Some background: I was teaching middle school science at the time in Phoenix, Arizona, when I became involved with the US-China People’s Friendship Association, a group working to bring about normalization (the recognition of “Red China”) as a legitimate country. This has been a passion of mine for years, since early high school, and especially influenced by a book by William Lederer (senior moment – lost the name) about the “truth” about Chiang Kai-Shek. I won a number of debates in high school based on the strenghts of my pro arguments, which didn’t make me any more popular. Oh well, I WAS right.

In 1978 I was selected as one of 20 people from the western part of the United States to travel for 3 weeks in China. I had never been anywhere, and China was at the top of my travel list. I was in heaven! I was gone for nearly a month, have a full notebook of interviews and impressions, and probably well over a thousand slides (all of which are being weeded down to the best. Each place we visited (fron Guangchou – the “old” Canton” to Beijing) we were able to meet and ask questions. I was in charge of all the school stops, since I was the only teacher in the group. It was the most amazing adventure.Our first visit was an elementary school, and the playground looked suspiciously like the typical US school ground. Teachers were wandering around, organizing activities, like tug of war. Notice the blues and grays for colors, especially on the adults. We were there at the end of the Cultural Revolution; the Gang of Four had just been imprisoned. Bright colors were a “western” problem, and we had been asked in doing our packing to look at basic browns, blues, and grays for colors, pants, no dresses, to respect the Chinese. We only saw bright colors on the children, until we hit Tokyo on our way back – our senses were literally assaulted with color.

If you notice make-up on the children, it’s because many of them were going to be performing for us during our visit. We were treated to amazing displays of arts and athletics, and at the time China was not a player in sports on the world stage. We all know that has changed.

I was particularly taken by the blackboard at the end of the playground, with all the announcements. It was pristine; no damage, vandalism, or the like. One of the questions I asked at our first meeting with the teachers and administrators of the school was how they dealt with vandalism. I ws asked to rephrase the question, and then asked to define vandalism. The teachers looked at each other, not understanding the word…or the concept. The reply was “why would anyone want to destroy what they need?” Why indeed….

We saw all types of entertainment, from the little singers, singing songs of leading the good life according to Chairman Mao….

…to guymnastic displays of all ages. Look carefully at their equipment. Floors covered with skinny rugs, bare walls – nothing like we would expect for building athletes.

Some performances were more formal. This was a group of young ladies performing basic magic tricks for us, and they were very good. Stage presence was something I remarked upon at the time, and I still think it’s pretty amazing how poised they all were. I know how difficult it is to develop that in young children during theater.

This dance/song number talked about importance of water and work to develop a good cotton crop.

This is the classroom that sticks with me so many years later. Sixty students in the classroom, no textbooks in sight. If you look closely, you will see double-digit multiplication problems on the board. No paper visible among these second graders. Students would raise their hand with a solution they had worked out in their heads, be called upon, come to the front of the room, and respond. We don’t even begin teaching basic multiplication facts until third grade….

We had certificates made up of our trip before we left the United States. We brought along a Polaroid camera to take pictures of our hosts and the group, which would then be affixed to the certificate. This is still one of my prized possessions. (I’m second row on the left….)

The children crowded around us to watch the picture develop – absolute magic!

Shanghai, as well as most other cities, had what were called Children’s Palaces, a place for students to go after school for more activities. A good many of them were focused on the arts, but many others were practical. Here’s one of our group members playing – of all things – Chinese jump rope.

Lots of musical instruction, as well as impromptu concerts for us.

The needlearts are very strong in China at that time, especially needlepoint.

Lots of martial arts demonstrations….

…and every where we went we were sent off to applause. For so many people we were the first Westerners they had ever seen.

Ballet had been banned during the Cultural Revolution, so it was encouraging to see this, and then one evening a classical ballet performance.

This is going to be wonderful, retracing this amazing trip. I will be culling the best of the slides to put together in a photo book so that I can look at these images more often. I’ll post more as I proceed with this project…and a glimpse of a China just beginning to modernize and embrace capitalism.

Our Own Art Educations

Like so many of you, I am a regular reader of Robert Genn’s Twice Weekly Letter. This latest one looked at the traditional master-apprentice role in the arts, and I was particularly taken with some of the thoughts, especially since marbling has always followed this road. Apprentices worked with masters for years, learning and absorbing every trick and skills through watching – and later on by doing.

This made me think of how we get our own art educations, a topic near and dear for so many of us. I’m self-taught in virtually everything I have done artistically. I would hazard a guess that this is true for most of us baby boomer women. We were encouraged to go into paths that would support us or provide for families, with little thought as to what would make our hearts sing. As we’ve gotten older we have become more expressive.

Self taught. It seems to be fine in so many fields to say you are self-taught – tutored in life. But not in art. At least for me, I still feel intimidated when I see in a CV of someone in an art show all their schooling and formal coursework in the arts. My own art education early on consisted of a few art projects in elementary school and then a “class” as an elective in high school where we churned out particular projects. But nothing in creativity. Which ties in to a recent article in Newsweek on the dearth of creativity in modern classrooms and education.

I’m rambling, I know. But I’ve had to learn how to be creative, to break through the “OMG, what will it look like?” phase of making art. Would working with a master have helped this? I don’t know, but it probably wouldn’t have hurt any.

Who are our masters in the arts today? From whom do we study and learn? Enter the Internet, the cheap equalizer to getting an art education. The joke in our family always was that if my dad wanted to learn how to do something new, he would read a book. Well, I got that gene. I read everything I can get my hands on if it’s something I am really interested in. But that can get to be expensive, although still cheaper than a formal education or coursework.

The internet has opened up huge resources for us. I started on TV with Sewing with Nancy and Eleanor Burns and Kaye Woods. I picked up all kinds of hints – and reasons why something I was already doing (through guesswork) wasn’t working. Like many of us, I have taken workshops when I can afford it. Jennie Rayment and her muslin creations still stick in my mind – such possibilities for texture!

Just one of Jennie Rayment's books

The first professional workshop on marbling was with Galen Berry (over a year ago) and it was wonderful – lots of questions answered, problems solved, and energy renewed. We started to zoom ahead in our skills.

Galen Berry

Then I went to the School of Threadology with Superior Threads. Yes, I know I rave about their threads, but the professional education I received over the three days with Bob and Heather Purcell was priceless. My work has taken a dramatic turn for the better – and I don’t break thread anymore….

School Of Threadology

Now I’ve discovered Interweave and their dvds on quilting and other artistic endeavors. Better than a book because I can see things actually being done.

Interweave

I watched a leaf tutorial by Heidi Lund and already picked up a bunch of hints to try something totally new for my bamboo piece. Carol Taylor’s video on her Arc-i-Texture techniques had me making a new quilt last night to try out the ideas…and I must say I’m loving it! And Susan Brubaker Knapp’s video on machine quilting corrected a whole bunch of errors I have puzzled over.

Carol Taylor

Susan Brubaker Knapp

Heidi Lund

And of course we can’t forget YouTube. I have been devouring and studying very closely the wealth of marbling videos on line.

So my question to you is: What’s the best professional development you’ve ever attended – the one that has changed how you do your art? I want to know!

PS – all of these recommendations are unsolicited – they’re just stuff I have learned from and appreciate – nothing comes to me as a result of you checking these out! (OK, FCC – happy?)

GIVEAWAY!!!!

GiveawayGiveawayGiveawayGiveawayGiveawayGiveawayGiveawayGiveaway! I’ve done 400 Blog posts – who knew I could keep going this long! I hated journaling as a kid, but with the advent of the computer, my writing took off. Now I love keeping track of and processing life.

When I started, the blog was solely a place to record my Photoshop work, as I was taking an online class and needed a place to dump my work. I started January 20, 2007, and I was so pleased with my ability to even set up a blog to begin with. And…if you’re interested, you can see the very first thing I actually created with Photoshop here. I periodically go back and look at the earlier posts to remind myself (when nothing seems to be working in Photoshop) that I really have come a LONG way.

These are some of my more favorite posts:

Quilting Like Crazy

Ansel Adams Exhibit

Left-Overs

Absolutely Fabulous Glorious Day

My Wonderful Seventh Grade Art Class

The Spring Art Show

Over the years I have met some wonderful folks through blogging and the accompanying social media, for which I am very grateful. Staying in touch with other creative souls is such joy. So to say thank you, hubby and I have put together an assortment of goodies, most related to marbling, but the occasional nod to the math geek in me.

Now to be eligible for the giveaway – you need to subscribe to our new newsletter. I am exploring a brand new format to our monthly newsletter (which has been “yearly” for the last three years), complete with pics and video about marbling. Subscribe and I promise you won’t be disappointed (and if you are, you can unsubscribe…). Just fill in your email on the box to the right of this entry. You have till July 13 to subscribe, and then I will use the Random Generator to choose a subscriber. Feel free to let others know about the giveaway.

Giveaway Goodies

Now let me explain what you could receive (and the pic is just a sample – not everything is photographed):

* A remnant package of 100% pima cotton, hand-marbled with assorted colors and patterns – 6 pieces.

* Three postcards for mixed media collage of digital marbling (TN).

* A few pieces of marbled papers, again for collage.

* A 10% Off coupon for anything on our website.

* A Polynomial Quilt Pattern, which would make a great present for the math teacher in your life, if not for you!

* 14 small pieces (about 2 x 5 inches) of some heavy-weight colored (not marbled) silk, again for collage or some crazy quilting or piecing – it’s all for your imagination!

* A set of digital marbled notecards (four cards, with envelopes)

So – it’s up to you now – the count-down to July 13 begins….sign up and spread the word!

So What Have I Learned?


Art has been an unexpected gift this year. Once I stopped moaning about having to do it, I began to see all the advantages.

I didn’t have to worry about teaching something that was being tested. This was a chance to what I love – develop an idea to fruition and encourage kids to explore and try new things.

It gave me the opportunity to learn more about art, and I discovered an amazing website that I can use over the summer to do more practical exercises – Window to Art.

My special ed kids really turned out some great art – I challenge you to be able to pick their art out of the show – the work fit in wonderfully, and the kids even sold some. Several of them have a great eye for color, and they are very free with what they do – not nearly the self-censorship the “regular” kids had,

I learned how to teach art – I still have a long way to go, but I can see the skills needed to teach this discipline. There is a fine line between “cookie-cutter” art and giving students a model to follow. Without realizing this, the perspective rooms wouldn’t have been nearly as great, as would any of the other assignments.

I learned just how critical math and art are together. Intellectually I understood the connection, but until I was knee-deep in trying to help kids with an assignment, I truly didn’t understand just how much math we were doing.

Part of me will really miss this next year. I will miss Amy who in January said she couldn’t even draw a straight line, and yesterday took home eight pieces of art for her mom. I will miss Di, whose talents are just beginning to emerge, and now I own one of his pieces – a wonderful dragon. I will miss Ivan, who didn’t want to be in art class at all, but whose leadership and art skills made him a valuable member of the class – I hope he gets to art school.

Now to just finish cleaning the art room……

And Now – The Spring Art Sow


For your viewing pleasure – and my memory of a year teaching art – and learning how to teach it – the spring art show – over 180 pieces of art – the silent auction is still going on.

The hallway in the electives wing seemed the best place for this – I wasn’t able to get more panels, since the ones I had were for the museum. Plus, I was thinking of ordering 15 panels – 5 more than the fall – and about 4 times the art.


The hallway probably isn’t the most optimal one, but we were able to have decent security, since the teachers were out in the hallway between classes. We have only had one piece written on, and the show has been up about 8 school days. Not as many adults see the show, but the kids are always stopping – biggest problem? “Don’t touch the art!”

The illuminated letters have been the hit of the show. Almost every student chose theirs to be on display. I just wasn’t able to get artist statements done from every student – which would have been a great addition, but I just didn’t have the time.








One of my seventh graders did a solo show – kids and teachers had trouble realizing he is not an adult artist – still a student. He did a great job, used a variety of media from class, and sould be absolutely amazing as an artist.














Then there were the color studies we did at the beginning of the semester – the kids voted on the ones they wanted that met the qualifications of the assignment.

The dream rooms – learning how to use perspective – was an extremely successful assignment – for some students it was the only assignment they completed.


The doodles were the very first assignment, and again the kids voted on the ones they wanted displayed.

We did a type of contour drawing that held the kids’ attention, except for those who couldn’t handle finishing all the details. Each piece started with two letters, two numbers, two shapes, and some object.

I’m really pleased with the mandalas, although there is less of a “personal” feel to these, as opposed to last semester. The kids really got into working with lines, so the work is just as good, just different.


The work on perspective and shading really paid off – in their final exam last week, the amount of drawings with shading and texture increased ten-fold.


And finally – additional pieces the kids wanted in….

The Month Got Away….


…and what a month it was. Busy with moving, opening the museum, entering shows, creative festival, daily plans and kid issues – there are 13 school days left- not that I am counting….

The art of moving – oh, yes, it is an art. I figured out that in the almost 32 years that we have been married, we have moved…Vermont to Camelback in Phoenix, changed apartments in Phoenix, moved into a house, moved to Maryland, moved to Vermont on Pine Street, then into a motel because of the fire, then to Ledgewood, then Raceway, then Sleepy Hollow, then back to Tucson in an apartment, changed apartments, bought a house, sold the house, moved to a rental, moved back into an apartment, and this move – just changed a new apartment location. Not to mention the moves when I was in Hawaii – teacher cottage, house, apartment, second apartment, house, then back to Vermont to home, old crummy apartment, new apartment, and then the first move to Phoenix.

So I think I’m probably good at this. But this time – ai…I used to be able to set the place up in a weekend – in four years I have really slowed down! Two weeks later and we still have boxes, but I got the spare bed set up, the closet set, the bathrooms, finally found the iron…but still need to work on setting up the studio.

The Importance of Art Education


I have always believed in the importance of the arts in education. Having done theater with kids for so many years, I know how kids can grow with those experiences. I always intellectually believed in the visual arts, but I gotta tell ya, now that I am teaching art, especially these last few months, I have a whole new appreciation for art education.

I think there are a couple of reasons why I am seeing this now. First, I have taught lots of subjects. In history you can always pull in the art work and music to demonstrate life in a particular period. In math you can talk about line and shape, yet there is more to those concepts. You’re not actually teaching the art, however.

Secondly, I am really trying to break the art assignments into easy segments so the kids can be successful. So it forces me to, one – do the assignment, and two – look carefully at how it goes together. My conclusion this week?

Parallel lines, Parallel lines, Parallel lines, Parallel lines, Parallel lines, Parallel lines, Parallel lines, Parallel lines, Parallel lines, Parallel lines, Parallel lines, Parallel lines, Parallel lines, Parallel lines, Parallel lines…

As we are doing all the boxes and perspective, the amount of math I am reinforcing is just amazing. I really had no idea.

And I don’t think a lot of art teachers realize this. I’m not trained in teaching art, so I am fumbling along and learning. Art educators have specific goals in mind, and probably don’t always see where the assignment is going, in terms of other disciplines. The only reason I can is because I have taught other subjects.

The other realization this week was the inability of kids to copy, or work with a set of directions. The kids weren’t (for the most part) able to transfer from a small grid to a large grid, going step by step through the instructions. My Somali girls interpreted the assignment by drawing a different grid (and the arrows for directions on the grid) each time. Being able to look at a small piece of a design and analyze where and how those lines were created was very difficult.

This is an amazing skill that kids can get through visual art classes. Taking care in completing an assignment – I’m seeing that now that the kids are having success creating the basics – they are willing to spend the time finishing their work. This is so different than taking care in completing a math assignment – but it’s bound to carry over.

So by cutting the arts – both visual and performing – we continue to short-change our children and their development, as well as that of our country. I think it was John F. Kennedy who said the mark of a civilization is in its arts. If you read earlier posts on this blog from the beginning of the school year, you will read my frustration at having to plan for yet another class. Yet this has been a blessing to understand on such a personal level just how valuable art is to children.

PS – I brought my own art supplies home this weekend – I want to do some of these assignments!

Random Thoughts 2


I decided to skip finishing lesson plans. I get very resentful when I end up spending almost an entire day trying to get ready for the week. I would much rather go and work out – which I did this morning. Here’s my saga – since joining the new spa at the beginning of January, I have really gotten into doing cardio on the elliptical. I have gone from 11 minutes at level 1 to 30 minutes regularly, today almost all of it at levels 4, 5, and 6. I have been feeling great – I went shopping yesterday, and not only did everything fit,my whole profile has changed and I was in to smaller sizes – by one. I am almost ready to move over to the other side of the store, out of women’s.

Physically I have been feeling really good, and I am even enjoying spending more time making myself look better – who knew? All these years I never really did the exercises correctly. Now I am – and loving it. Three new tops and a new pair of pants – just need to hem them. If I could only manage the stress as well….

Art class this week will focus on the kids making Valentine’s cards. We worked on water colors last week, and the kids had a ball. I am pulling out a lot of supplies, and I’ve searched the web for sites related to Valentine’s Day – found a couple of cute projects, how to say “I love you” in 50 languages, and an Arabic love story to read. Should be an easy couple of days.

My Somali girls are so into color – they are so free with the tools and supplies – they just want to create and use color! Most of my eighth graders don’t want to be in the class – they would rather cook – and are resisting trying anything. My seventh graders, on the other hand, are doing really well.

We did the edible color wheels last week – everyone enjoyed them, and I sent them on to other classes (including mine) on a bit of a sugar high! Got some good looking color wheels, and definitely an understanding of mixing colors. Again the Somali girls loved seeing what happened.

Art seems to be the only thing keeping me focused and sane….

Room with a View


I finally remembered the digital camera today, so I could document some of the kids’ work, as well as take pictures of my art room. We still have a lot of work to do, with finishing cleaning and storing, but we are making progress! You can see all the windows, with some really great northern light – this is this morning about 9 AM.


You can see the clay room, with the wheel and kiln. I don’t know how to use either of them, so I have incentive to learn how to throw a pot.

My Art Room


It will be interesting adjusting to being in the art room. It is tricky getting set up and then cleaning up and trying to get back to my classroom – since the Promethean Board isn’t working right now, I don’t need to unhook the computer, so that will make things a little easier. But I need to have my folder for emergencies, my attendance book, dry erase markers to get agendas and objectives up – plus set up activities. At least I don’t have to clean up before leaving – I can always set up the first thing.

My two aides have been cleaning and organizing the storage closet – we have lots of great stuff, so I should be able to do a lot of interesting activities. I have the laptop computers in, which was a hassle, but the kids liked to look at the optical illusions, especially my seventh graders. They were so attentive, and they were very careful with the illusions they chose to recreate. These are a couple of good sites:
optical illusions with lots of movement, and more optical illusions that are constantly updated.It should be interesting to see how that kids handle this.

I will use more activities from the Incredible Art site, as I know what I have for materials. I miss not having Photoshop right now, as the kids could do samples of lines. I need to get some pics of the room- lots of great windows, we need to have window blinds put up on one side, because the morning sun right now is pretty strong, especially when using the computers. And I need to get the garbage emptied, so we can continue to clean.

32 more days till Eric Maisel visits the blog. Once I read through Van Gogh’s Blues, I want to start thinking about questions that look at making meaning for adolescents. I am enjoying reading other blogs.

I’m in the Art Room!!!


As of tomorrow I am officially in the art room! We got our stools – they’re not set up, and I don’t have the computer connections, but the kids can help with most of that tomorrow. I discovered a potter’s wheel and loads of clay. I need to have the district check out the kiln to see if that works. The room is wonderfully big, lots of great light, lots of storage…we should be able to do great things!

The doodles worked out really well. The kids started their evaluations today, and they were really looking at the work. Maybe not as critically as I would like, but I need to improve what I am asking them in order for them to be more critical and definite about the work. I need to develop a basic rubric for evaluation, where I can list the criteria for each assignment. This means I need to look at the assignment differently, but now that I am repeating assignments, I have more time to think about the integral components of each one.

One thing the kids seem to be enjoying is the different website each day. Today was Animusic – all computer-generated instruments and music – really cool stuff. The kids all wanted to know how to get the CD. Two of my boys know they can drive me nuts by always saying “This is boring.” Well, they just wanted more and more of the examples.

36 days! That’s not counting today – 36 days until Eric Maisel, creativity coach and author, will be stopping by the blog to take interview questions. He’ll be talking about his new book The Van Gogh Blues, about creative types and depression. I’ll get a link to Amazon posted for ordering. My book is due to arrive any day now!

So stay put for more info!

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