Thursday, August 8, 2013

In the Art Room: Welcome to Japan!

 So, can you guess where we'll be traveling this year in the art room? If you just guessed "Chexico!" like one of my students today, then, I hate to tell ya this, but you are incorrecto. As they say in Chexico.

However, if you guessed, "We are going to Japanese!" like another student of mine, then, yay! You're getting warmer! We'll be studying the art, culture and people of Asia this year. I decided to go with a Japanese theme for my room decor.
 That being said, I really had no clue just how I was gonna transform these windows into the Land of the Rising Sun. So I uprooted a stash of Hokusai prints (my inspiration for this post) and slowly started knocking it out.

 The kids are always fascinated by the window paintings. My favorite question of all time: "Does the principal know you painted the windows?" My other favorite question comes every year from my custodian buddy who will walk in, stop dead in his tracks and say, "Did you paint that?!" Seriously, every year. When I tell him, "yes!" I always get an "all by yourself?!"
 It took me a couple of hours to wash Paris off my windows and take down all of the art work. Here's what my blank canvas, so to speak, looks like. It's a lovely view but it can be very distracting to the kids when we have wacky weather, friends on the playground or sun shining in our eyes and burning out our retinas.
I began working on this during summer for just a few hours a day. On the morning I came back to this, I absolutely hated it. The colors seemed too bright and garish to me. But I've got a rule about art-making that comes courtesy of Tim Gunn: Make it work.
 At the end of that day, I was getting a little closer to being finished and a little happier with the result. I figured whatever I didn't like I could stick my giant tree in front of. Cuz that's Tim Gunn's other no-as-popular credo: Big a** trees hide big a** mistakes.
 This here's about the time I threw down my brushes, wiped my brow and heard that oh-so-familiar, "Did you paint that?!" And all that was left was adding the tree.
 Now this tree came in at least a half dozen parts from the ever-so-lovely Anthropologie store in downtown Franklin, Tennessee. Wasn't that so super awesome of them to donate it to the art room? I thought so. I had some of my favorite buddies help me put the thing together...and we almost did it. However, my skillz with drillz are seriously lacking. The thing ended up with enough screws sticking out of it that it closely resembled a cactus. When I asked the principal if all the kids had their tetanus shots because, if not, we might have a prob with all those rusty bits sticking out, she kinda freaked a little. I'm not gonna lie. I was woe-is-meing to a wonderful parent at our school who then proceeded to volunteer her awesome husband to come and fix Big Bad Tetanus Tree. And all was happy in Chexico. Er, Japanese. Japan! Whatever.
And while I totally love my Japanese set up, I gotta tell you, I'm gonna miss Paris a bit. In fact, I had one or two students today tell me that they'll miss seeing the hot air balloons and the Eiffel Tower.

 The year before we studied Europe, we covered Egypt. At this time, I was only painting the right bank of windows. Before I went all crazy town and painted the entire ding-dong thing.
Regardless, I'm super stoked for the new school year. This is what I wore today as our introduction to the art room and a tiny glimpse into our year in Asia. Although it appears we might have to have a wee chat about cultural acceptance as I heard this from one of my students today:

"Mrs. Stephens," with a look from head to toe, a sigh and an eye roll, "you look ridiculous. As usual."

Seriously? I get no respect! 

Sayonara, dudes!

22 comments:

  1. Japanese Art... So much good stuff! It is one of my absolute favorites with the printmaking, the ceramics, on and on. Looks like you are off to a great start.

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  2. Wow, Teach, that is truly fabulous! Maybe you can train the little artists to bow to their teacher like they do in Japan. One summer I taught Japanese exchange students and I got used to that in about five seconds.
    Best wishes for another dynamic and memorable year. Be sure to share all the details with your loyal readers out here. We all wanna be in your class!

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  3. Can't wait to see all the art work your classes create using "Chexico" ( Hah! Hah! ) as their inspiration! Japanese art is truly beautiful and elegant! Love your windows! Really love the tree! ( I'm a tree nut ! ) Wish I could have something like that in my art room! The fire marshall would have a stroke if he saw that in my room! He freaked out because I had things all over my door! ( 'cuz you know that the papers on my door are going to make the cinder block walls go up in flames... LOL... ) Have a great year! Look forward to seeing what you are up to and wearing( love the comment from student about your attire! Gave me a good laugh! ) :)

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  4. Anonymous8/09/2013

    I was so excited to see your gorgeous pics on pinterest. My K-6 school in Australia is studying Asia this term so I can't wait to see what else you have planned. Your windows and tetanus tree look amazing - I wish I was in your class too! Jo

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  5. Wow! I think that's your best one yet! I have a few questions: what do you use to paint on the windows? How many of the lessons you teach each class during the year will be culturally-related projects? Thanks!

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  6. I want to be in your art class!!

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  7. I wish you were my art teacher! This is AWESOME and I'm so jealous of all your students right now.

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  8. Love the paintings! Love the kimono and love the attitude! Have a fabulous school and glad it has started off with a great start!

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  9. Wow-your room looks fantastic! Love the painted windows. Amazing!!!!!!

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  10. Wowza! I need to do something like this ... my room looks out onto the parking lot {aka black top/playground/carpool/dismissal/church lot} and it is highly distracting!! What paint did you use??? "I must know" {Inigo Montoya ala Princess Bride ;0}

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    1. Haha, I LOVE a Princess Bride reference! I used a combo of paints. I used to only use that window paint that cheerleaders use on cars. You can pick it up at any ole craft store. But it's got a weird felt tip applicator that makes painting weird. So now I use mostly use the kids paint. For them I buy the Crayola Washable acrylic. The black lines were actually painted on with ink. Hope that helps ya!

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  11. You are so awesome and inspiring! I always look forward to your next post!!! :)

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  12. Super Duper love it. I wish I had windows in my art room to paint. Oh wait we might this year what type of paint do you use?????

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    1. I shoulda mentioned that! I mostly use the same paint the kids do for their artwork -- Crayola Washable Acrylic. I apply that with a sponge or a sponge brush because the bristles of a paint brush seem to wipe the paint off the windows instead of on. I used black ink for the outlining part. And, sometimes, I use that stuff called "window chalk" that people use for writing on store or car windows. Hope that helps :)

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    2. Washable acrylic???? I haven't tried it out (nor heard of it, is that bad for an art teacher?). I would think tempera would do the same job? Not sure it we have the spare room that is ALL window yet. Will have to talk to principal, that is down on painting your room, if it is permissible.

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    3. Crayola does not make a "washable acrylic". We make Crayola Portfolio Series Acrylic and a washable tempera - called Artista II. Just sayin.....

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  13. Cassie - I have discovered your incredible talent via School Arts Magazine. Now I am an avid follower. Working for Crayola, I would love to meet you when I am in Nashville this Fall. Can you email at breinke@crayola.com?

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  14. You are incredible and insanely talented!

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  15. You are brilliant and a superstar!

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  16. I have to just write and say that each and every one of your posts gives me a smile! So much fun..and so much work I bet! I am amazed at what you do!

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  17. These painted windows are so pretty! Very few people actually think of painting their windows when decorating rooms, but these do not just look great but unique in every way! This is a rarely-practiced approach in decorating rooms, and comes in handy when setting up things such as home stagings. You may not be into selling homes now but just allowing other people to see these would be an experience they won’t easily forget.
    Alayna Swan @ Amazing Space NYC

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  18. Anonymous4/14/2015

    Being pretty also helps!

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