Saturday, July 21, 2012

In the Art Room: Let's Go to Paris!

Having haphazardly cleaned my art room at the end of the school year, I managed to hide all of the paintbrushes from myself. Seriously, I've no clue where they are. So this here window mural was painted in sponges, paint rollers, fingers, window paint markers and a sumi brush. 
Each year, students, their parents and faculty friends ask me the same question: "So, where are we going this year?!" I began this tradition of decorating my room around our theme of study many years ago. I'd say I do it (in my best Sally Struther's voice) for the children, but the truth of the matter is, I just love doing it. The bonus is they love it as well.

I'm so excited for them to see this year's theme: Traveling Europe. As you might have guessed, we are starting off our journey in Paris! Which is just a pinch different from where we traveled to last year...
This time last year, we were heading back in time to Ancient Egypt. I painted the windows, sponge stamped those dollar straw mats and created the batiks in the window and behind my chair. All of that's now packed away. Somewhere. Possibly with some paint brushes. 
I did learn something having lost my brushes: painting goes a whole lot quicker if you use a paint roller to block in the background. Another lesson learned: beware of paint-roller-splatter. Especially when wearing vintage, argh!
I began with a really rough sketch of how I was hoping the windows would turn out. The left bank of windows proved to be the easier side as I had a clear idea of where I was going: Eiffel Tower, some hot air balloons, a background of buildings and some flowers in the foreground. Not quite three hours later, done.
Remember I told you I was on a poodle kick?
This side proved to be a pinch more difficult. I knew I wanted a street, a bike and a poodle. I created an extremely rough sketch on my window with a washable marker and just went for it. Thankfully, I had plenty of photos from our trip to Epot and their version of Paris to help me out.
I love Epcot. There is nothing to do there but shop and eat. Which go together like hot fudge and ice cream, says moi.
Knowing that I'd be creating my room around this European theme, hubs and I went to Epcot on our trip to Disney at the very beginning of the summer. Can you spot my inspiration in these photos? Hello there, street lamp.
Another thing I love about Epcot is that they hire folks from the actual counties to work in that portion of the park. Or they manage to find people with really great accents. Either way, it's very cool.
Table for two? Oui, s'il vous plaƮt.
In between and above my windows are concrete blocks. Not exactly the Euro-vibe I was going for. In my search for paint brushes, I found that I had a mountain of French painting reproductions. So, I set about mounting them and creating some faux advertisement posters. I was inspired by the post of adverts I saw at Epcot...
From Epcot's Paris.
FeeFee and her suitcase, ready to travel the world.
Because my art room used to be a library, I have an enormous book shelf beside my windows. Normally I fill the shelves with treasures from the countries we are studying, but my stash of European souvenirs is pretty slim. So I scooped up this old plastic Samsonite suitcase at the thrift store and covered it with some royalty -free travel images I printed off the interweb.

Which was inspired by this display at Epcot.
My new favorite spot in the room. Now where is that waiter with my cappuccino? I hope he's not buried under paint brushes some where -- I'll never get my coffee!
So one area of my room complete! Notice I'm not sharing with you photos of the rest of the place...in my mad hunt for paintbrushes, I opened every cabinet and pulled out every drawer. It looks like a poltergeist swept through my room.

Au revoir, Jes! Do you remember our school mascot? He's traveled to Germany and the Netherlands and this week he was shipped out to France! I cannot wait to share photos of his travels with the kids.
It's such a relief to have one portion of my room complete. Now I'm just down to moving tables, prepping first week supplies and hanging up my class rules. I've already started to rewrite my rules:

Rule #1: Find Mrs. Stephens paint brushes.

Rule #2: What? Have you found my brushes yet? Then you need to revisit Rule #1, kid.

(Thanks for dropping by!...Cassie)


17 comments:

  1. Wow. I really love your classroom design, and I practically snorted at your new classroom rules. Thanks for the laugh!

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  2. Thanks for reading! And your kind words on my classroom...just have to get the rest of the place lookin' as spiffy :) ...Cassie

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  3. What a wonderfully magical room! How I wish I had a similar room to work in whilst I was in school. Ours was rather industrial and utilitarian :S

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  4. Wow, really, that is so cool. I have four windows that look out into the hall and the kids like to walk by and make funny faces and distract the student's in class...I think I would love to do something like this (if my principal ever gives me permission that is...not likely) How did you do the batik hieroglyphs from your Egypt them? Wax and dye?

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    1. Hiya, Mrs. Art Teacher -- You know, when it comes to things like painting windows and principals, I like to operate under the "do it now, ask for forgiveness later" policy. Especially once they see your awesome windows, they'll forget all about the fact you painted 'em without their permission. At least that's been my experience ;) As for the batiks, I used one part paraffin and one part bees wax in a double broiler on the stove. I painted the wax on with a stiff bristle brush and then used procion dye (not Rit dye -- it's terrible!) for color. After that, the wax was removed by lots and lots of irons. Hope that helps...and thanks for following my blog! ...Cassie

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    2. Ahem, that would be lots and lots of IRONING! Not irons, silly me.

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  5. Lost all my scissors a couple years ago. I knew I put them somewhere safe when I cleaned up at the end of the year. Scrambled to find more in the retired teacher stockpile! Never found them until 2 years later when I had to move rooms! Now I have tons of scissors! Hope you find your paint brushes! Great windows! :)

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    1. That is hilarious! So I'm not the only crazy art teacher out there, that's good to know ;) Here's hoping it doesn't take me 2 years to find my brushes! ...Cassie

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  6. What brand of window paint did you use? Will you keep it on all year? It looks awesome!

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    1. Hey Jacqueline - Well, in the past I've had great luck with this brand called Window Chalk...I bought it several years ago at the Parent Teacher Store and it lasted a good long time...but I finally ran out. When I went to Hobby Lobby they had something called Window Paint (very original name, right) and it worked well but was not as opaque as the other. For the rest of the window (the parts that look translucent) I used regular washable tempra paint. And, yes, I'll be keeping this bad boy up all year. Thanks for commenting! ...Cassie

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  7. Excellent room and your students are blessed to have you as their teacher. Good luck on your search for paint brushes we can always ship you our extras.

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    1. Hey Earl! I just might have to take you up on that...not sure how long the 4th graders will finger paint before they grow suspicious! Enjoy your last couple weeks of summer!

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  8. This is absolutely gorgeous. I want to be in your art class! I hope you find this to be a flattering comparison (because it's meant to be) and maybe I've said this to you before already, but you remind me SO MUCH of Miss Frizzle from the Magic School Bus books. Do kids read those anymore? I always loved those books (and the television cartoon!) as a kid and I loved Miss Frizzle's awesome outfits that coordinated with whatever she was teaching at the time, right down to the shoes. SO fun. It's so nice to see a teacher having such a good time with her job.

    p.s. Wanna come over and paint a mural on my living room wall please? I can pay you in trips to the giant Salvation Army and Goodwill stores here in town and raspberry herbal sun tea. :o)

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    1. Oh, Best Compliment EVER! Thank you! I love Miss Frizzle and her matchy-match ways, total inspiration for a teacher like me. Thank you for the compliment!

      Trips to giant Salv-Army and GW are mighty tempting...!

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  9. Lauren (and Jack because of Lauren), is dying to know what the theme this year is and I won't tell her. She's DYING! I told her it would be a surprise. She's lucky to have such a great art teacher! Thanks so much. See you soon!
    Jen

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  10. Do you use acrylic paint? I tried tempera once but it flaked off and was a terrible mess. How do you clean it off?

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Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)