Friday, March 21, 2014

What I Wore #93 and Field Trippin'

Hello, Monday: I know most people hate Mondays but I kinda love them. Mostly because I'm one of those people that likes the idea of having a "reset" or do-over button. I usually try new things on Mondays and, since I've chilled the majority of the weekend, I've got the energy to do so. Tell me I'm not alone in this "aw, Monday's aren't all that bad" feeling! sweater, dress: thrifted; boots: Frye, resale shop; tights: dunno; scarf: Urban Outfitters; belt: Anthro
Hellooo, long lost friends! I hope you've been having a super wonderful week. It's been great here as I'm currently enjoying the last days of my Spring Break! Hubs and I set off on a California Adventure that involved lots of hikes, trips to Disneyland, a visit with a good buddy from college and strolls on the beach. Oh! And shopping. Loooots of shopping. I might have a problem but until they make some anti-shopping pill (that would ONLY be invented by a straight man, mind you), I'm ownin' this problem. All that set me a pinch behind in blogland. So what you see here are photos of what I wore leading up to my break...which seems like forever ago!

When I return to school on Monday, it's gonna be the start of The World's Craziest Week: field trip to the art museum with my 4th grade on Tuesday, new rotation of afternoon sewing club for kids on Wednesday, school carnival on Thursday (where I'm sitting in the Pie in Yo Face booth, joy!) and flying out to the NAEA convention in San Diego on Friday. Just thinking about next week and all that I have to do kinda freaks me out a little. But in a good way.

Since my 4th graders will be visiting The Frist Center for Visual Arts to view their Looking East: Western Artists and the Allure of Japan, I thought I'd share with you some of the pieces they'll be seeing along with a wee background history of the exhibit. Enjoy these beautiful works and I'll be back with you soonish!
Utagawa Hiroshige, Plum Estate from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 1857. So in the late 1850's, after some strong persuasion from the United States (read: we had lots of big boats and weapons), Japan signed trade agreements with the Western nations after 200 years of self-imposed isolation. I can only imagine how the artists of that time most have felt seeing the "exotic" works of art by artists such as Hiroshige.

The Bridge in the Rain, original by Hiroshige (left) copy by Vincent van Gogh (right). One of the most popular pieces of art that influenced such Western artists as van Gogh, Monet and Cassatt where Japanese prints often referred to as ukiyo-e. These works of art were mass produced for the common man and meant to serve as a kind of postcard of a place or event. Ukiyo-e translates to "the floating world" which means that many of the depictions were of the entertainment world in Japan at that time. These prints were created by a team that consisted of artist, carver, printer and publisher. Hiroshige was the artist behind many landscaped-themed prints. Apparently, in Japan, one could not simply travel within the country without passports and permission from the government. For that reason, landscape prints were created to give folks a view of other parts of Japan.
What Does the Fox Say? Tuesday: So, who's tiptoed into the felting pool since my little video? Anyone? Ya'll won't believe how incredibly easy and addictive it is! Just watch out for those fingers. Like, seriously. sweater: DIY here; dress: Anthro label, found at Buffalo Exchange; necklace: gift; shoes: Dolls by Nina
Père Tanguy, by Vincent van Gogh. Oil on canvas, 1887. After discovering Japanese prints, van Gogh seemed to also discover color. Don't believe me? Google that nuthin' but brown painting Potato Eaters and tell me I'm lyin'.
Grainy Photo Wednesday: Sorry, dudes. My classroom photos have been looking grainy lately. And I've gotten into this annoying hands-on-hips habit (check out the next coupla outfit photos, ah! So hands-on-hips-y!). sweater: vintage, thrifted; dress, belt and shoes: Anthro; peacock pin and necklace: gifts
Utagawa Hiroshige I, Yokkaichi: Mie River, 1833. Take a close look at this print and tell me Hiroshige wasn't a funny dude. I love the guy chasing his hat and the dude with his jacket flying up. This reminds me of an Aesop's fable that was read to me as a kid (I LOVED those fables, did you?). In it there was  this argument between the sun and the wind concerning which was more powerful. They decided to test their strength on a man walking down the street. It was decided that whoever could get the dude to take his coat off was the winner. The wind blew and blew only to find that the man wrapped his coat around himself tighter. The sun simply had to shine and it's warmth convinced the man that his coat wasn't needed. I have always loved that story. I like to think that it means you can't convince anyone by simply blowing hot air but by being yourself you'll shine and people will take their clothes off. OR something like that.
Claude Monet, Seacoast at Trouville, 1881. Okay, look at Hiroshige's print...and look at Monet's painting. Coincidence? You decide.
Buggy Eyed Rainbow Thursday: A buddy gave me a set of giant googly eyes for my birthday. I had no idea where to put them until one of my 4th grade girls suggested my rainbow. All of my demos take place at that easel so it seemed like the perfect spot. Because of the arc of the rainbow, he always looked a little sad. That is until I attached a mini-moustache that another friend had gifted me. It makes me happy every time I see Senor Roy G. Biv. sweater and tights: Target; skirt: Anthro; belt: gift; scarf: dunno; boots: DIY here

Kikugawa Eizan, Otome, 1818 . So one Big Fat Hairy dif between Western works of art and these from Japan is that in Western art, painting a likeness was important. You won't find that in Japanese prints. Often because they are more about a story than they are the specific characters in that story.
Mary Cassatt, Maternal Caress, 1901. So I've looked at this painting several times and JUST NOW noticed the weird amputated hands. Whuz up, Mary?! They claim Cassatt was influenced by the Japanese but I'm not real sure. Maybe because of the flatness of the background? Or the intimacy portrayed which is similar to the print above? I think Cassatt would have painted these pieces regardless of the influence. They were inside of her, bound to come out.
Spring Breeaaakkk! Friday: What else is there to say? It's been a wonderful one! dress, sweater: thrifted; shoes: Chacos
Just how did I attempt to prep my students before next week's big field trip? My idea was to create a powerpoint but (brace yourselves) I've never made one. That's right, I'm fighting the 21st Century. But every time I started to create one, I just thought of all the terrible ones I've had the displeasure of sitting though. I wanted this field trip to be exciting! So I recalled a Ted Talks where an artist created exciting "notes" taken during a presentation. I decided I'd do the same for my chat with the kids about our trip. They seemed to enjoy it and didn't even notice that we talked our way through an entire class without getting up from the floor and making art. Ha! Fooled 'em!

Wish me luck on the field trip! I will most definitely have nightmares the night before (I ALWAYS do!) but I'm so excited about out adventure. I'll keep you posted. Chat soon!


  1. Question for you :
    What kind of shopping near Disneyland do you suggest...i've never been , but we're heading there soon.
    By the way, i love your 'what you wore' posts..they make me happy. yes even on mondays ;)

    1. Yay, you're going to Disneyland!! Well, I hate to say it but shopping in Anaheim isn't the best. It's a tourist area surrounded by restaurants and cheapo Disney shops. BUT! Not far from Disneyland (in fact, just down the road) is this SUPER cute town called Orange. They have an active downtown area that looks straight out of the 1950's with lots of antique stores, boutiques, vintage shops and, our favorite restaurant called Bruxie where they serve all food on ... wait for it ... WAFFLES! It's a fun little outdoor cafe just a block from downtown Orange. I think you'd enjoy the shopping there (and it's just about 5-7 minutes from Anaheim...take the city streets, not the highway. The traffic there is TERRRRRRIBLE.) Have fun!!

  2. Love the first outfit - yellow-green and red-violet is one of my favorite color combos. I have three authentic Hiroshige prints that I inherited from my great aunt who lived in Japan when she was newly married. They are part of the "stations on Tokaido Road" series. I got to have them authenticated by one of the Antiques Roadshow guys when they were in Birmingham AL. Exciting stuff

    1. That's AMAZING!! How cool is that?! I inherited no such awesomeness from my grandmother, sigh.

  3. If powerpoint bores you to death, check out Prezi... I think your kids will love it, and you can totally "walk" it through notes and zoom in/out of images and text. Super cool! And FREE for teachers.

    1. I will have to check it out, thank you!!

  4. So... I have been a visitor to your blog for a while now, and I just want you to know that I always leave your pages feeling inspired. A few years ago, I graduated from my university’s art program with a degree in illustration. When I returned to a minimum wage job and feebly began working toward being a children’s author/illustrator, I started to contemplate what it was that I was really passionate about. I thought about education more than I thought about being published, and that’s when I knew what I was meant to do! At this point, friends and family were like, “DUH!” They saw me as an art teacher long before I did. So, now I am happily and excitedly working toward getting my teaching certification, and when I read your blog that goal becomes ever and ever clearer. I feel like I have found in your blog a like-minded friend that shares the same goals and passions that I do. I love that you share what you do in the classroom, and sometimes out of the classroom because it is a wonderful glimpse into what I hope to pursue very soon. What a gifted teacher you are! Thanks for blogging!

    1. Christina! Thank you so much for telling me your story, this made me so stinkin' happy for you! I got an art ed degree because my parents were gracious enough to fund my education and were not down with paying for simply a "painting degree". So, when I started teaching, I kept telling myself, "this isn't for me, this is just what I'll do first, until I can start making art." But the funny thing was, I found out I LOVED teaching and finding ways to teach creatively. For the longest time, I beat myself up for not working on "my art" when I decided to just use my art to teach. Sometimes, figuring these things out is a journey of exploring yourself...but when you come to the end of the journey and finally decided, "erueka! THIS IS IT!", it's a glorious moment :) Please stay in touch! I want to hear how you progress and CONGRATS on finding your path!!

  5. Anonymous3/30/2014

    Our Phoenix Art Museum created the Art Masterpiece program which is an adjunct to the regular art program used in the public schools. Although they have training and posters, I have not been able to access the museum nor their program. However, that said, every school in the Chandler Unified School District posts the art Masterpiece lessons on their very school pages, by grade level, with the artist's name listed, too. What this means for you, is that you, I and anybody else, has access to the Powerpoint presentations and 8.5X11 pages of the artist's bio, photo or self-portrait, even the lesson, and a few samples of their work. Select an elementary school from the pull down menu at the top of the screen, and each site will show you if someone made a "ppt" Powerpoint presentation under the artist's name. Then download it and show it in your classroom.


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