Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Progression (Painting)

These paintings were created with help from a few talented 6th and 7th graders. 
We were asked to do these canvas paintings to hang in St. Paul's Episcopal Day School.
We used the school symbol- a cross inside a circle- as our inspiration for these sybolic-season paintings. We used monochromatic color schemes to create the sections of the cross, both inside and out side the circle.  The painters were able to experiment with color mixing, changing light to dark, and dealing with intesifiying and neutralizing colors.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Spirit Houses

Spirit houses are mainly found in S.E. Asia: Cambodia, Laos, Thailand. They are placed outside of homes and businesses as a place to provide shelter and honor the spirits.
I am fascinated by this tradition. To me, it makes life more mystical, more fantastic, a reminder to daydream about the forces at work in nature.

I look for opportunities to do workshops about Spirit Houses. I love referencing ideas of magic and the unknown into the creative process. Dealing with spirits and teaching, well... that's a little tricky. I will talk about the tradition of Spirit Houses, and then loosely use nature and nature spirits/fairy houses- things fanciful, as the intent for our project.

These large groups of houses were created by 60 first graders at Shepard Elementary. These houses were displayed outside the school for a week. This gave the students the opportunity to create a piece of a whole for an outdoor installation.

This house was one of my favorites, it has wings!

This smaller group of houses is in my yard. My daughter and I made these houses during a small workshop I hosted this summer.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Teaching Painting with Monet

Monet is one of the artist I use to teach painting to young artists. His loose style and use of color makes his work the perfect inspiration for young painters.

When teaching painting I always give the students several sessions to work on their paintings. This shows how an artist builds a painting and the progression of work through time.

With younger artists I use specific paintings, for example Monet's Waterlilies, shown here, painted by a group of children 6 and under.

With older artist's, this group being 6-7, we used photographs as our subject and Impressionism as the influence for our style.
I like the students to be able to take their own photos; this makes them photographers and painters.

Painting is learned, just like riding a bike. Think of Bob Ross, he could teach anyone to paint.
I love being able to give children the experience of making a beautiful and successful painting.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Looking at Christo

You may know Christo and his partner Jean Claude, the eccentric artists who have wrapped everything from a building to a coast line. Their work is easily recognizable: large sheets of pink nylon fabric floating around Islands, his orange Gates in Central Park, NY, and his large yellow and blue Umbrellas.

To celebrate Christo and his work we did our own wrapped form- homage to

Wrapped Monument to
Leaonardo da Vinci Piazza Scala,
Milano, Italy 1970

Wrapped Table and Chairs,
St. Paul's Episcopal Day School,
Kansas City MO 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009

Andy Goldsworthy

The kids loved looking at Andy Goldsworthy. They were amazed at the different ways he manipulates natural materials. We talked about the sculptures being temporary, that weather, and wind, the sun and water would change or destroy the work.
For this project the students were broken into two teams to design and create their environmental sculptures.

Alexander Calder

The Star, 1960

During my summer sculpture class we looked at some of my favorite sculptors. I love Alexander Calder. Calder is a great artist to introduce to children because of his simple shapes and sense of humor. If you are not familiar with Calder's circus or the toys he designed they are worth checking out. It is Calder's whimsical side that makes me love his work so much.


Where do fairies live..... under mushrooms, in trees, discarded shells, and among the rocks.

This is a fairy tree we made this summer. We created tiny, delicate fairies with wire, pipe cleaners, silk flowers, beads, yarn, and bits and pieces from my found object treasure box.

This project is an adaptation to a fairy project made by my friend Levi at Lee Expressive Arts School, in Columbia MO.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Treasure Box Collage

This is a simple kids collage project that has beautiful results. Start with an inexpensive frame, I painted this one black, and discard the glass. I use a very thick hand made paper (because I like the texture) to hot glue to the back of the frame. You could also use cardboard or any other strong backing.
I have a treasure box, my box of found objects, little odds and ends, sequins, buttons, shells, coins, etc....
I hand out a small pile of items to each child, then while they are working I let each of them come and pick out a few special pieces from my treasure box.
White glue works to hold the objects.
I like to accent with a little glitter.
The glitter is sprinkled on the collage and sticks to the extra glue on and around objects.

Georgia O'Keefe Water Color

Using real watercolor paper is essential when doing watercolor paintings with children. It is important to use good materials to get good results.

We looked at Georgia O'Keefe's paintings to inspire our work. My young artists did a beautiful job.

Wayne Thiebaud - Yummy Cakes!

Looking at painter Wayne Thiebaud, we painted colorful cupcakes with thick frosting and lots of sprinkles.
Wayne Thiebaud is know for his use of repetition, texture, and simple shapes. His paintings look good enough to eat.