Showing posts with label magritte mural. Show all posts
Showing posts with label magritte mural. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

DIY: 13 Favorites of 2013

Happy New Year, you crazy kids! I hope you rang in the new year in style...which, if you're like me, that meant recovering from a backpacking trip your hubs dragged, er, took you on. That's right, after I gifted him these paintings, he decided that a camping adventure was in order. Mind you, it's winter here in Tennessee and the evening forecast was about 29 degrees. I don't know if that's cold to you, but for me, the person who stays under her electric blanket (perfect present, Diana!) with at least 3 space heaters aimed in her direction at all times, that's pretty chilly. I'll share that experience with you in an upcoming post (cuz I know you're dying to hear all about it) but until then, I thought I'd give ya my 13 favorites of 2013! 

Now last year at this time I shared my 12 faves of 2012 and I really enjoyed looking back on my year. This year meant a lot of new crafting, art room and travel adventures. So without further jibber-jabber, I present to you my 13 Faves of 2013!
 1. Going to Paris ranks at the top of my favorite things about this year. After teaching about Europe (with a focus on Paris, France) all year in the art room, I was thrilled to have the chance to spend a week there. This photo was actually taken on the day we landed and zipped right over to the Arc. I may have cried a pinch here ... and at the top when I got a good view of the Eiffel Tower. It was just too beautiful for my tired jet-lagged soul to take without shedding a tear or three.
I think I took exactly 500 photos while I was there. You can read more about my adventure here. I'd love to go back; there were just so many things to see and do.
2. Going to Germany to attend the wedding of some friends was also one of my favorite things. We flew into Nuremburg from Paris at which point my hubs took the rental car to the Germany company he works for which left me stranded in the city for several hours. This really pushed my big girl limits as I had to figure out how to navigate that foreign city and find my way back to the town where we were staying. Turns out clicking your heels and whispering "there's no place like Neustadt an der Aisch" only works in the movies.
3. I began my love affair with needle felting this year. It all started when I spotted a certain dotted sweater at Anthropologie and was inspired to create my own version. I've become so addicted that there currently isn't a sweater in my wardrobe that isn't DIY'ed. Le sigh.

Of course I had to felt a bird on it. Details on the sweater on the left here and the one on the right here.
This sweater was (at the time) the most time consuming...although I'm currently working on a felted number that's gonna put all these bad boys to shame. I'm hoping to have that one to share with you next week.
I felted my cat Asha looking dapper and created another Anthro knock-off but putting my own spin on it with a Christmas theme.
4. I had the privilege of working with the awesome Rebecca Tenpenny this year. In case you don't recall, she was my super duper student teacher that I just adored. We spent so much time together dreaming up projects for the kids, laughing and just having a great time.
5. Creating Great Big Masterpiece-Inspired murals has really been fun in the art room this year. The first one we embarked on was this Andy Warhol Campbell's Soup Can number that currently hangs in the school cafeteria.

Our second big mural was inspired by the work of Rene Magritte and created by my third grade students. I'm excited to see what other murals we create this upcoming year.
6. So I got it in my head that I would be creating 9 artist-themed outfits this school year. This has been so much fun for me and the kids have loved it. Of course, sometimes I have to point out to them that I'm wearing something slightly unusual because they just look at me and see crazy. An apple for your face? Eh, what else is new.

 7. I started a sewing group after school for the faculty at my school. It's been so exciting to share my love of sewing with others. I have plenty to learn about sewing...but it's so much fun to teach what little I do know. I'm excited to say that about 4 of these ladies have since purchased sewing machines of their own and even gotten some for Christmas! In the photo above, we're wearing some tacky Christmas garb we stitched up ourselves.
8. Getting published in SchoolArts...twice! I've been reading SchoolArts since my first year teaching when I discovered a stash in the back of my first art room. I poured over those issues and learned so much from each and every one. It was such a life saver for me...and still is. So I was honored to have my geeked out art teacher clothes featured.
And an article I wrote that showcased the fab work of my former fourth graders. It meant so much to me and them.
9. A service project to help those that can't help themselves. My kindergarten through 4th grade students each created an animal clay project that they "sold" back to their parents for a monetary donation of their choice. This money was then given to the no-kill animal shelter in our town called Happy Tales Humane. I think showing the kids that they can use their art to help others is very important. We are in the middle of another service project now. By the way, you can see our animal clay projects here, here and here.

10. Dressing like Mary Poppins for Favorite Book Character Day was such fun. Since the kids were learning about the UK at the time, I was reading P.L. Travers book to the children and playing my old Disney records. By the way, have ya'll seen Saving Mr. Banks? If not, you absolutely must. I loved every minute.
The best part about dressing as Mary is that I actually got to meet her at Epcot that very weekend. I told her I was a teacher and she asked, "Do you keep those students in spit spot shape?"
11. Getting to visit with my mother and brother this summer was awesome. My baby bro teaches on an Indian reservation in Arizona so I don't see him as often as I'd like. And my mama lives about 6 hours away in Indiana. So for us to get together is a pretty big deal. I took 'em around to the usual touristy spots.
12. Hubs and I love to go to Star Wars Weekends at Hollywood Studios in Disney World. Yeah, we're nerdy like that. For the last two years, I've created a dress for the occasion, once with the Star Wars sheets from my childhood and this year with a Mad Men theme. Already hubs is asking what I'll be wearing this upcoming year.
13. Getting this insane tree into the art room. Okay, this one goes down as one of the funniest things that happened this year. My girlfriend and I made two trips with her huge car hauling this monster of a tree...and then more girlfriends attempted to help me assemble the thing. In the end, a kind dad volunteer put the tree together and I'm happy to say, it's still standing.
And we've so enjoyed having it in the art room this year. Fingers crossed it hasn't decided to collapse over Winter Break.

And that's my 13 faves of 2013! I hope your year was a good one and here's to a brand new one. Happy New Year, ya'll!

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

In the Art Room: The Magritte Project, One

Ya'll might recall that we are experiencing a bit of Magritte-madness in the art room. It started when I settled upon him as our Artist of the Month, got all surreal and wore this Magritte-inspired get-up to school and decided the third grade could/should create a mural as epic as this one by our fourth grade.
And, standing at 9' X 12', weighing in at 10 lbs, I'd say this thing went beyond epic and hit Mammoth Magritte-dom. Which is perfect for my third grade as this thing is as big (and surreal) as their personality.
The whole thing started when I hung up this piece by Magritte for the kids to chat about during our "What do you SEE? THINK? WONDER?" time. When I overhead the Deep Thoughts (not by Jack Handey) of the third graders, I knew I had to create a project that turned this spark of interest into a big fat hairy fire. You know, because the Fire Marshall isn't going to lose his sh** enough when he sees that mural.
I used these couple of books to help introduce Magritte. I began by reading the fictional Dinner at Magritte's which was awesome because there is something surreal taking place in each illustration. After reading each page, we'd attempt to find just what that was. This really helped the kids understand the concept of surrealism: objects that are real but combined in such a way that they couldn't possibly be real. This was followed up with by surreal-themed art homework. Of course we had to read Mike Venezia's book on the artist. The kids love his books.
During our study of Magritte, I had the kids look at another painting of his and list all of the nouns they saw. As they said things such as bird, sky, water, ocean, sunset, clouds, etc, I wrote them down on small pieces of paper and threw them in a little box marked nouns. Then they had to come up with adjectives that described the painting and I proceeded to do the same thing. I then drew two nouns from the box and one adjective such as Clouds, Sunset, Stormy. The kids were given a small piece of paper and two minutes to create their own surreal drawing. This proved to be a short and fun assessment tool.
After that, I told the kids that we'd be creating a Mega-Magritte Mural. Now, I'm all about stressing individuality in my room, as I'm sure you are too. But we had to chat about working collaboratively on this mural. I explained to them that it was like a big ole puzzle and that we all had to work together to make the pieces fit. With that in mind, the kids were given a piece of 12" X 18" piece of paper folded in half vertically. At the top, they were to use horizontal brush strokes and paint a tint of blue while at the bottom they were to paint a shade. Once these dried, we added clouds and stars with oil pastels.
The following art class, I placed a couple different bird templates on the tables. I thought the mural would make more sense visually if all the "daytime" birds were flying in one direction and the night in the opposite. I knew that this concept might be difficult for the kids if I didn't make my directions very clear. My solution was to write Day and Night on the birds. They were to use the Day birds on their daytime sky (tracing on the back to hide those unsightly pencil lines) and the Night birds on the nighttime sky.
Now it just so turns out that this art project is going to be like a gift that keeps on giving. I love how their negative space papers look! I'm dreaming up another Magritte-inspired project for these pieces. Any thoughts on what they could collage/paint/write/draw in those negative spaces?

By the way, the trick to getting the kids to cut so that they end up with that great negative paper was to tell them that they could only cut with one point of entry. Usually I'm all about cutting off the excess paper as I cut because it gets in the way. However, after I showed them how cool the negative paper would look, they were careful to cut slowly and only have one entry and exit point cut. This initial cut was taped back together after the bird was cut out.
Now I have five 3rd grade classes with about 17 students each. At first I thought we'd need both of their birds for the mural but it turns out, they only needed to donate one. I allowed the kids to choose which one they'd like to give to the mural and which to keep for a future project (to be shared with you next week, I can't wait!).Which is why this post it titled The Magritte Project as I think we'll end up with three pieces as a result.
When finished with their cutting, I laid out huge pieces of blue paper for the kids to begin painting the clouds. We painted a lot of cloud papers. Some got used in the mural...some will be used for our display of the other Magritte-inspired masterpieces.

I used black bulletin board paper and hack-cut a horizon line. Once everything was complete, we started to day it out on the floor in the art room.

I'm fortunate that I have the floor space for such big endeavors. The other kids (and adults) were super curious about what the 3rd grade was up to, so I created this sign to help explain our work. Because, honestly, if I had to answer the question "What's that?!" one more time, I was a-gonna scream
Now most of my little friends know not to walk on artwork on the floor because in my art room, artwork is always all over the floor (I have a love-hate with my slightly-angled/can-cause-drips-and-paint-runs drying rack). So I also created some make-shift construction cones with orange paper and my gallon paint bottles. And I STILL had at least two kindergarteners walk right through the mural? Really?! Sigh.

By the way, do you see that huge roll of orange paper my mural is on? We just happen to have a ton of this stuff and it's what we've used to glue both the Warhol mural and this one two. It works great as a base to our murals. I use a combo of spray and hot glue to adhere it to the paper. It makes my room smell magical and I see stars for up to a half hour after the fact.
Magritte's Dominion of Light was also used as inspiration in the mural. A couple of my students painted that while others used circle sponges to create the dots.
I am fortunate to have some great volunteers in the art room. They worked on hot gluing the birds in place and adhering the bulletin board paper to the large roll of orange paper. With the help of one sweet volunteer, I was able to get the mammoth mural up right outside my art room door. It so fun to see whenever I leave the art room. Of course, the kids were thrilled with their hard work...even if they were under the impression that their mural should "cover up" the fourth grade one. 

Stay tuned for more Magritte-madness. Until then, enjoy your weekend and we'll chat soon!
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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What the Art Teacher Wore #82

Monday: I wore my new necklace! And totally felt like I was wearing a chain of Gobstoppers all day. It's a lotta balls but can you really have too many? necklace: DIY here; dress: thrifted, vintage; belt: from another dress; pink fishnets and blue tights: Target, maybe?; shoes: Anthro; shoe clips: thrifted
Whilst doing bus duty this afternoon, I had two interesting conversations with the under-10 set. My first was with a second grade girl. It went a little something like this:

Second Grade Gurl: Mrs. Stephens, look at me! 

Me: Okay. I'm looking. What?

SGG: This is Thee Cutest I've been all year! (said with a flourish of the hand from her head to her feet) I NEVER get to wear cute things because, you know, I have brothers (eye roll and sigh).

I had to give the poor kid a knowing nod. Say no more, sister. I taught those brothers.

After she boarded the bus, a fourth grade girl stopped dead in her tracks and said:

I'm not getting on that bus.

Me: Uh, yeah you are. 

FGG: No! I'm going home with you!

Me: Really? And what do you think we'd do at my house?

FGG: Watch t.v.!

Me: Sorry. I don't have a t.v. 

FGG: Really? That's gross.

The kids is crazy. And with the full moon, the crazy weather we've been having and the fact that we are a breath away from Thanksgiving Break, the kids are even crazier. Which I didn't even think was possible.
If you scroll down a pinch, you'll see the Rene Magritte-inspired mural that my third grade students have been working on. What I didn't realize until I posted that photo on Facebook and it was pointed out to me, but their mural also bears a striking resemblance to some of the work by M.C. Escher. So I thought I'd share his work with you in this here post.
So Maurits Cornelis Escher (is it any wonder why he went by M.C.? Duh, because Master of Ceremonies, yo!) was a Dutch artist who lived from 1898 to 1972. Can you imagine living thru that time in history?! Wow, the changes he must have seen. Escher was a not considered a good student in elementary school and repeated the second grade. I can't imagine how he'd far in schools these days what with the constant testing and hoops to jump through. His genius would have been given a label. I wonder how many genius kids among us are going through that very thing right now. Okay, stepping off El Soap Box.
Star Wars Tuesday: So the Star Wars soundtrack I ordered for the kids came in and we blasted it in the art room. The only prob is that opening song is loud and proud which got the kids all ramped up. I had to switch back to Harry Potter for a couple classes (ya'll, that CD is THE BEST at calming the kids down) but we did listen to the Cantina Band song for clean up. Star Wars dress: made by me, DIY here; jacket: old, Modcloth; tights and boots: Marshall's
Totally Escher-esque, right? The third grade have been learning all about Rene Magritte (you can see my artist outfit here) creating these night and day birds and painting clouds for the mural. I'm hoping to have it up and ready to share with you soon. It actually looks a lot different now, this was just the kids laying out their birds.

Seriously. How did I need see the connection? So it turns out that after spending some time in Italy (which just sounds lovely. Let's go, shall we?), Escher was influenced by some intricate and geometrical designs he saw sculpted into the walls and ceiling of a castle. This sparked an interest in repetitive and interlocking patterns that would become his signature style.

Wednesday: I don't remember anything about this day. It must have been a wild one. I bet I had kindergarten on that day...which is why I remember nothing. sweater: thrifted; dress and shoes: Anthro; tights: Marshall's
Now, I'm not much of a fan of math but it appears that those that dig math, also dig Escher. And while he wasn't trained in math, Escher had a great understanding of it visually which is best seen in his tessellations. I've always been amazed by his drawing skills and the magic of his work.

Hot Pink Thursday: This dress required that hair. It was a prerequisite. dress: vintage; tight: Target; shoes: dunno, I can't see 'em and I can't remember. That's pretty bad.
I think introducing Escher to the kids will be fun. And while Escher's work appears surreal, I don't know if he really falls into that movement being that he came upon the scene later. What do you think? It will definitely be a fun follow up to our unit on Magritte. Have you art teachers taught Escher? Do you happen to have a favorite lesson that you could share because that would be totally rad.

Show Your Tats Friday: It never fails, when I wear these tights, I get the constant question: Are your legs tattooed?! Naw, kid. It's just sharpie. I got bored when the last class was in my room. sweater: vintage, thrifted; top: gift from a friend; skirt: Marshall's; tights and necklace: Target; shoes and belt: Anthro
I love Escher's work. I really dug it in high school and then went through this seriously snobby phase in college because every other dip in my dorm had either an Escher or Klimt's The Kiss hanging in their room. However, after doing some digging (and uprooting my dorm room posters, ahem), I've got a new appreciation for the dude. I'm excited to dream up a lesson based on the work of this incredible artist.

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