Friday, May 18, 2012

Negative Spaces

 When you go to art school the teachers really like talking about negative space. It's a biggie. And rightly so. If an artist is aware of negative space--the space around the subject--then he's more likely to create an interesting composition. Kids and grownups alike tend to put their subject matter smack in the middle of the drawing or painting and call it a day.

I came across the designs of Florent Bodart on Threadless, a really wonderful website where designers and artists can submit designs for t-shirts or vote for other designs that have been submitted. The winning designs are sold on shirts and the artists get a percentage of the fee.

Florent's work is bold and delicate at the same time. He works with a variety of styles but the one that grabbed me was his animals. They are drawn simply or silhouetted against black. Then he applies lines of patterns to fill the animal's shape.

Florent Bodart rocks his negative space!

What a great opportunity to teach the kids about using negative space to help the composition.

VOILA! Merci, Florent!

My apologies to my students, I seem to have only saved one photo from last week. Lucky for me it is a fantastic one! Congrats to the artist!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ode to a Mini Schnauzer

Getting a dog is one of the best things my family has ever done. And maybe one of the worst. But I think you'll see why we decided to see our canine glass as half full.

Here are some of the dog-related problems:
  • He smells. Bad.
  • He eats everything. Rocks, garbage, shoes, my student's mom's bag. In 6 months he's had a billion vet visits, 2 xrays and 1 overnight hospital stay with a $3000 endoscopy to get a rock out of his stomach. 
  • He gets all the furniture dirty.
  • Waiting for the Picasso's Basement Kids to arrive!
  • Did I mention that he smells?

Here is what he has given us: 
  1. Unconditional love.
  2. Smiles from my kids when I wake them for school. Including my 13 year old. Enough said.
  3. A mascot for the Picasso's Basement classes. He sits at the childrens feet and watches them make art. Then he eats some erasers. 
  4. Unconditional love.
  5. Moments of unbridled cuteness, particularly when playing with his toy Hulk Hand.
  6. Companionship.
  7. Unconditional love.

AND a constant source of drawing material! Here's what my 8 year old created: 

Once my son draws you you know you are really part of the family! 

Sunday, May 13, 2012


We go through a lot of paper towels at our house. I wish I could say I was able to find something better and more environmentally friendly in my kitchen and my art room but I have yet to do so. But I try using tiny pieces when I can and I reuse all the paper towel cardboard inserts. My drawer of towel rolls was starting to overflow and I thought it time to put some to good use.

A lot of people cut theirs down (or use toilet paper rolls instead) and press in the tops to create animal ears for crafting. But when I say I had a LOT of rolls I do not exaggerate. So we had to find some additional use for the cardboard so I could clear out more of the drawer. Not to mention the drawer of frozen food trays that are not accepted at our local recycling center but do make great paint palettes and water bowls.

I set my Preschool kids to the task of using these supplies and they loved following the steps.
Cut one of your two rolls! Crush in the top!
Poke holes in the side of both rolls!
Crumple that green paper!
That's right, shove the stick in the hole! I promise it will turn into something!
Don't touch that glue gun, it's hot! Just show me where you want the glue...

              VOILA! OWLS FROM TOWELS! 

And I was even able to clear my yard of some sticks!