Saturday, December 21, 2013

Art Around the World at Preschool!

The most wonderful thing about 2013 has been bringing my classes to a local preschool. Our first session was ANIMAL ART followed by ART AROUND THE WORLD.  It brought a lot of new challenges. First of all, the kids were coming to me as an Enrichment Program so they'd all had a full morning of school AND stayed for lunch. Sometimes they arrived thinking it was time to head home.

So I learned that to keep them really interested.
My solution was to break up the classroom into stations!
  • We often read a related book first. In Art Around the World it was often a folk tale. 
  • The largest table is the place for the most involved and time-consuming art project.
  • The smaller table is for projects that are somewhat less structured.
  • We end each class at the Experiment Table.
  • Egyptian Necklaces

    Ancient Egyptian Headresses
    Mexican Painted buses had wheels that turned!    
    Swedish Dala horses

    African Shakera instruments
    Russian nesting doll next to Onion Dome collage
    Nesting Doll with mini dolls that fit inside!
    Glue some crayons on cardboard and let the kids take turns holding the hairdryer!

    Q-tip Paintings
    It's been a busy Fall and I'm excited that this Winter I'll be bringing my classes to an additional preschool as well. I hope I can repeat some of these projects with the new classes and work in a bunch of new projects as well.  But no fear, there is so much art to create that no class will ever have to repeat a project they've already done!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Self Portraits with Frida and the Scouts

I've been lucky enough to have worked with several Boy Scout and Girl Scout troupes in the past couple years. I've done a variety of programs with them but lately I've been helping several Girl Scout troupes earn their painting badges. Perhaps helping is probably the wrong word. I would have to say it was more like Guiding. These girls could clearly all draw and paint. My job was really to find a fun way for them earn a badge and perhaps give them a new way to look at themselves.

In an hour.  After pledges and snack. Easy? With THESE bright talented girls it was beyond easy!

  • Introduce them to Frida Khalo's self-portraits.
  • Give them all mirrors.
  • Talk to them about really looking at themselves: have them inspect the real shape of their heads. Are their eyes really dots or circles or perhaps more almond shaped? 
  • Ask them to think about composition: is their head in the middle of the page the only way to go? 
  • How about colors? Skin is not one flat color. Hair usually has different shades and tones in it. How can their artwork reflect that?
And more. Keep them looking. Keep them thinking. Lots to think about in under an hour. 

You might notice that these aren't your usual paintings. Because I never know what the setup will be in the various locations I often avoid actual paint with these projects. So here we worked with oil pastels and a medium that would help them use them in a painterly manner: BABY OIL! That's right, the entire room smelled like the beach in the 1980's.  (Some of you might remember those days. The days before we were told about sun damage and baby oil was our choice of tanning lotion.) But I digress...

Did I mention that they had to add the stuffed animal of their choice? Who better to accompany them to their meeting!

Excellent work, girls!

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Leave it to me to forget to update my blog with information about my MAKE AND TAKE CRAFT FAIR. Which is TODAY! Yikes! Our area is about to be blanketed with snow and events all over have been cancelled. But I'm from snow country. 4 inches of snow? BAH! 
We are on!

We have enough for 70-80 crafters! 


Thursday, June 20, 2013

INSECTS- Upcycled!


This Spring it was hard to walk anywhere in my neighborhood without seeing THIS

We were overrun by the 17 year cicadas coming up to say hi, loafing on our plants, enjoying the sun and making my dog very very full. Depending on how you feel about cicadas this was either a good time to hide in your homes or to venture forth as the local welcoming committee. At my house we welcomed them with open arms (or in the case of my mini-schnauzer, open mouth.)

So it was only natural to turn to art as a way to honor the little guys. Of course the 5-6 year old class preferred butterflies. Close enough! I got to use up my lemon juice containers to make insect bodies and we added little pieces of hardware and pipecleaners and cut cardstock wings. Sharpies work wonders on carstock. The insect goggles (thank you to my friend Eileen who donated a bunch of avocado cartons) were more free-form-insect-style. 

Pipe cleaners made great legs, antena, and even proboscises, their tubelike feeding structures!

 In any event, it was a really fun project and all the insect artists had great time! Aren't you impressed that I didn't try to make any insect puns? 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Picasso's Basement Parties!

Project #1 was all set up beforehand!
I'm happy to share that the party end of my Picasso's Basement venture is really taking off. I'm amazed at how much fun it is to bring cool art projects into someone's celebration! Each Artist is different and each party is different and these past few weeks have been chock full of 'em!

I went from a casual outdoor party to doing crafts for the kids at a 5K race, to a garden party where the guests became The Decorating Committee and helped create the coolest of birthday banner upon arrival! Even better, the Birthday Artist gets to keep it as memento to remember the special day!

The Glitter Station
I ran two parties this week for 6 year old girls and they were both so different! Framable Oil Pastel resist art and  Tissue Paper Stained Glass candle holders complete with tea lights and ribbons at one party. 
Alphabet Canvases at another  followed by butterfly masks at another. When I suggested painting symmetrical butterflies or making masks the Birthday Artist requested a combination and it was a huge success! Thankfully an outdoor party allows for use of the GLITTER STATION which I probably would have avoided indoors!

Painted Canvases Wait to have their Tape Letters Peeled

They look really cool, don't they? 

Take a look at the amazing cake that the family had made for them! Turns out it was baked by a mutual friend so if you're local and looking for a great baker please let me know.  Even more incredibly, it was delicious! And I think all the kids had a wonderful time. 
Guest with her art!
I'm happy to say I have a bunch of parties coming up! A couple have themes so watch out!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Make Your Own Comic Book Class!

After drawing our figures to show volume the artists strike a pose.
Here's what I've learned about teaching comic book classes. Kids who like comic books are not just your usual run-of-the-mill kids. First of all they like to read. They are smart. And I mean SMART.

Exaggerating expressions. A little too much?
They also tend to be FUNNY. Some of them are outwardly funny. Some are quiet and you don't even know how funny or clever they are until they start writing. As a teacher that's part of the fun. It's a fantastic surprise to find out what stories they have in their heads.
The proper use of a speech bubble

 I love teaching all my classes but I have to say I laugh A LOT in comic book class. The kids seem to have boundless energy and an incredible amount of energy for discussing comic books.
Look frustrated!

But they never stop surprising me. For one thing, they don't just draw comic books. They tend to be gifted artists with a wide range of skills.

                                       And in the end they produce these amazing books!

These are just a few of the books that have been printed in our class. 

More have just gone to the printer!
Stay tuned, dear readers,  to see what new printed comic books will be coming your way!

And to think...the next session of MAKE YOUR OWN COMIC BOOK CLASS starts next week!