Sunday, May 19, 2013

In the Art Room: The Art Show Part 1

It seems that when I fell off the DIY wagon it was because it had crashed into the What I Wore wreck. Now that the art show is behind me (huge sigh of relief), I hope to get back to regular blog posts soon. Thanks for hangin' with me! Now here's what I wore at the Art Show: top: Banana Republic, yard sale; skirt: vintage, etsy; wedges: Target, last season; palette hair clip: DIY
Important In-Bold Message: Thank you parent helpers at JES for hanging each and every piece of artwork for the show. The children, their families and the staff have enjoyed seeing their hard work. There wouldn't be an art show without you! My sincerest of thanks.

Last Thursday night, I was able to put another notch on my belt. My Art Show belt that is. If my weak memory serves me correctly, I do believe this is a monumental notch as this was my 10th art show at my current school (I spent previous 5 years teaching at a school in Nashville).  You can see last year's Art Show here and here. Because I took a mountain of photos, I thought I'd share with you the work of my kindergarten through second grade students first. I've written about most of these projects on this here blog, so look out for the link if you are interested in reading more.

Oh! I almost forgot. If you recall from my last post, I mentioned that my students sculpted dogs and cats from clay as apart of their service project. Well, they managed to raise $430 dollars for Happy Tales Humane! Congrats, Awesome Artists!
Our theme this year was Traveling Europe  (we only managed to hit France, Germany and England). At the beginning of the school year, I had each student create a self portrait in either green, blue or yellow and used them to create this map. Full project details here.
Because we were traveling abroad, the students created both suitcases and passports. If you scroll down, you'll see some examples of the suitcases or check out the lesson here. Because we were flying overseas, each class had a plane drawing contest that the kids voted on. The winning drawing was enlarged by the artist on my Elmo while I snapped photos of the kids pretending to be looking out the window of a plane.
This fourth grade plane is a crack up. I do believe it's coming in for a hard landing as many of the passengers appear to be freaking out. Or sleeping. Or getting sick. Gotta love fourth grade.
A wall of kindergarten art. I always snap photos of the artists to go along with their work. Their photos are not shown in this picture. I did not involve my kindergarten artists in our traveling theme. There are so many art basics to cover, that I like to focus on those during their first year of art. You can read more about those lovely abstract paintings here.
These self-portraits as artists were so fun to make. And we got to recycle our "messy mats" into aprons! More here.
Here's a fun weaving lesson that I'll be sharing with you in the next couple of weeks: Woven Fish!
Here's a glance at a first grade class. These guys were included in our travel theme. They also have to write artist autobiographies which are always entertaining to read. You can see more of the German Gnome Project here.
One of my favorite projects this year was the Hot Air Balloons over Paris. Anytime you can include a photo of the child in a work of art, it's a success. Lesson here.
Both my first and second graders created these Royal Self Portraits. Each one is so expressive and a perfect match of the artist himself.
The one on the left looks very much like a doll from It's a Small World. And the one on the right just cracks me up. Lesson details here.
In my art room, I had the clay projects on display. Sadly, the art room became flooded with folks before I got any photos. Here are some of my first grader's clay animal sculptures as chatted about here.

Second grade goodness. This year, I tried out CD weaving with the kids. I loved the lesson and it seemed to take the kids a less amount of time to complete, which was a bonus. My art teacher friend over at the blog Art Matters does an excellent job demonstrating the steps to creating these weavings.
I love the beautifully printed background of this German Cuckoo Clock. Lesson plan here.
These paintings created near the beginning of the school year seem extra exciting to me since my trip to Paris. Geez, I still can't believe I was there! Does that feeling ever go away? Parisian Landscape Lesson here.
My second graders created their animals by putting two pinch pots together and adding legs. Lesson on this in the near future.
Stay tuned for some incredible work by the third and fourth grade students! And, if you have any questions or thought about the projects you see here, I'd love to hear from you. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

In the Art Room: Cats and Dogs

This sculpture just makes me wanna say, "Aw, who's a good boy?! Are you a good boy? Oh, yes you are!" in my most annoying talking-to-doggies voice.
Hi there. Remember me? I'm that blogger that used to post a weekly DIY. That was before the school-wide art show ate my life. Thankfully, almost everything is hung up and on display and ready for the big day tomorrow. And, since I'm blabbering about the art show (of which I will most definitely snap endless photos and share them here), I'd like to give a super huge cyber hug to all the amazing moms that help out in the art room. Seriously. They've hung 5 pieces of art for each of my 400 students. I don't like math, but I'm no dummy. I know that's a whole lotta artwork.
This is like one of those super cute kitties that the moment you turn your back on them they hiss at you, claw your legs and hack up a hairball in your purse. When you turn back around...all you see is this creepily sweet face. Shivers.
Since my life has been swallowed by art-showy-ness, I thought I'd give you a sneak peak at my fourth graders clay projects. You might remember from this post that my students have created dog and cat sculptures this year. This was apart of our art service project as donations will be collected on the night of the art show for these sculptures and the proceeds will be going to Happy Tales Humane.
Your typical dog and cat: Dog does goofy stuff. Cat looks on in disgust.
In years past, my students have participated in Empty Bowls, a wonderful using-art-to-give-back opportunity. I'm trying to instill in these little art students of mine just how powerful and helpful their work can be.
Someone please play fetch with this sweet little pup.
Now each one of my grade levels did a different version of an animal sculpture and I've gotta admit, I liked these the best. Each of my fourth grade students had such great ideas that it really was exciting to watch and teach. I just taught them the basics and they went from there. If you are interested, here's what I showed 'em:
  • To begin, chose a texture for your base. I've got a wide assortment of doilies, burlap and textured surfaces for them to use. Fabric works best for this as it won't stick to the clay. 
  • Position your grapefruit-sized piece of clay on your texture. Using the bottom of your fist, pound the clay into the texture until it has a thickness of a cookie.
  • Peal your clay from your texture and prepare to be amazed. Move your texture off of your surface and cut out a shape for your base. To save time, I give my students several base shapes to chose from: circles, rounded squares and a floral kind of shape.
  • With the excess clay, roll out four legs. I tell the kids these should be as long as their finger but twice as thick. Because my classes are a half an hour long, this is usually where we stop for the day. The clay is wrapped in a damp paper towel and placed inside a ziplock back with the child's name on the front.
  • The following art class, the students create a body with a thick piece of clay. The legs are attached by using a little water and some scrubbing with a toothbrush.
  • To make the face, I tell the kids to sink both of their thumbs into an oval shaped piece of clay. This becomes the eye sockets.
  • The mouth is created with a skewer stick wiggled into the clay horizontally.
  • The nose is pulled upward away from the clay.

  • Eyes are rolled from two spheres and pupils are given with the back of the skewer stick. Here's my rough and dirty example. I've found that by making my example far from perfect, it removes they "I could never do that!" idea. 
  • Now, like I said, that's the basics. What I really wanted to emphasize to the kids is that they are unique artists so their work should reflect that. I wanted them to really explore all sorts of different ideas. So that they could make their ideas come to life, I told them that anything can be created out of clay by using three things: spheres, slabs and coils. I asked them to give me some ideas on what they'd like to make so see if  my theory was true. They told me: frisbee? Sure, a slab. A dog bone? A coil. A sombrero (yes, there's a dog with a sombrero and a mustache)? Let's see, a slab and a sphere. Coil for the 'stache.
I love the windblown ears.

This beagle was created to look just like the artists own. I love the cat on the right. Notice the palette and paint brush in her tiny paws.

The texture on this dog is awesome but my favorite part are the crossed paws.
This student meticulously glazed the rug on which her cat sits...and it's stunning. I love all of the depth and texture in her piece.
Isn't this how every cat sees himself? Royalty. Or a royal pain. You decide.
When it came time for glazing, these kids were so invested in their masterpiece that they spent an entire hour glazing. I love the effect of Mayco's Stroke and Coat. But mostly I just love these creations. I cannot wait to see their parents reaction tomorrow night at the art show. Until I recover from that, enjoy the rest of your week!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

What the Art Teacher Wore #65

Hubs and I bright and early at the Eiffel Tower. We thought we were so clever by getting there early to "beat the crowds". Yeah, it's the world's most famous monument. There is no crowd-beating.
 And just when you thought I couldn't possibly share any more Parisian vacation photos, I load up some more. I'd apologize but this city is just too amazing not to share. I've also got a smattering of Germany photos as well...but I'll save that for a future update. For now, let's focus on La Tour Eiffel.
I'd read in my travel book that some of the best views of the tower are across the river Seine from the Jardins du Trocadero (that's be Trocadero Gardens to you). Turns out that every tourist on the planet owns a copy of said book as we encountered each and every one snapping away. But really, who could blame 'em?  I mean, even naked statues gotta stop and stare.

 By the way, since this is kind of a "what I wore" post: scarf: Target; sweater: made by me, DIY here; bird blouse: Old Navy; velvet pants: Anthropologie; boots: The Walking Company. We managed to get a couple of photos that didn't have a tourist or twenty in the view. It was actually fun watching them taking photos as they did all sorts of cheesy things like pretending to touch the top of the tower or holding it between their hands. I thought I was so above all that until hubs snapped this photo of me...
 If I told you that this was completely unintentional, would you believe me? Seriously! I had turned my head to do some lipstick-on-my-teeth clearing when hubs snapped this shot. So it turns out I'm just as cheesy as the next tourist. As if that wasn't obvious.
 Nothing can describe the awesomeness that is this tower. Nor can anything describe the insane amount of people there. Thankfully, I'd done a little homework and found that the line to climb the 669 steps to the second level, where one could purchase a ticket to the top, was significantly shorter than the two hour long straight-to-the-top elevator line. The trick was finding the correct line. If it's one thing I noticed about Paris, it's that they don't make anything easy. After asking a half dozen other confused tourists (bad idea, by the way), we found our way to the correct ticket booth and huffed it to the second level. Walking the steps of the Eiffel Tower was very exhilarating for me.
Aw jeez. I can't even look at this photo without feeling a little light headed. After we purchased our tickets to the top and crammed ourselves inside the glass elevator with two dozen strangers, hubs and I both realized we have a fear of two things: heights and small spaces. "Then what are we doing?!" I asked. Hubs said, "I thought you wanted to!" This is the view of the Parc du Champ de Mars. And the view of all the tour buses that visit the tower daily.

And this would be the place where we took those photos seen at the start of this post. We didn't stay at the top too long. For one, I swear I could feel the tower sway in the wind (this is unlikely as the thing is pretty doggone sound. It only moves 9 centimeters max). And I found this constant announcement unsettling: "Ladies and Gentleman, pickpockets are active in the tower. Please guard your belongings. Thank you for your vigilance." Yikes!
 Once back on solid ground, we toured the Parc du Champ de Mars. Everything was blooming so beautifully.

After the tower, I wanted to explore the Latin Quarter (called such because the students of a local university spoke Latin until the Revolution). Just moments after getting off the metro, I was thrilled to see this famous cafe. Sadly, their vegetarian menu was limited so we dined at another cafe just down the Boulevard Saint Germain.
After lunch, I wanted to explore those famous booksellers that my tour book bragged on and on about. I did enjoy strolling this area and even picked up a French fashion magazine from 1937 for just 4 euro.

Have you heard of the Paris love locks? It's this thing were lovers can show their undying love with a lock inscribed with their names. This is a view from the Pont des Arts. That bridge in the distance is Pont Neuf, which means New Bridge. Which is kinda funny since it's the oldest surviving bridge in Paris, having been completed in 1607.
The following day, I wanted to explore Montmartre. This area is the one made famous by artists such as Toulouse Lautrec, the above joint being his fave hangout. But before all those artists descended upon Montmartre, it was an area of mills and vineyards. Currently, there are only a few of the original "moulins" or mills still standing. And this one is still a cabaret.

We took a self-guided walking tour of the area which lead us to the apartment of Vincent van Gogh and the villa for homeless artists that once housed Renoir. I loved this area for it's steep roads and amazing views of Sacre-Coeur, the Church of the Sacred Heart. Since we had to leave our kitty at home, I wore her around Paris (which was met by more than a few odd glances). Crazy cat lady sweater diy here.
Sacre-Coeur sits on a hill above the city. So the views are killer. Just ask any one of the bajillion tourists. The church was built as a memorial to the 58,000 French soldiers killed during the Franco-Prussian war (thank you, tour book). I was a little wore out from all of my waiting in lines at the Eiffel Tower to do the lines to venture inside. Maybe on my next trip.
 What I really wanted to see where the artists at place du Tertre. In fact, before we even made it there, the caricature artists were walking the streets, looking for subjects to draw. One gentleman came up to hubs and said, "Ah! You look like van Gogh! Let me draw your picture." Needless to say, my van Gogh declined.
Holy French Fry, can we just pause for a moment and talk about The Sweets in Paris?! I've never had better. And, if you know me personally, than you know I know my sweets. I've got a little reputation for partaking in dessert first. However, neither I nor my sweet-toothed hubs were prepared for the amazing delights we sampled. My favorite were the macaroons. His was the freshly made raspberry waffle. Or was it the scoops of gelato atop a freshly made waffle? Or the chocolate croissants? Dude, I'm drooling.
I think my favorite part of our trip was this part of town called Marais. A girlfriend had told me that it was a less touristy area full of cafes and boutiques. Walking around here, I actually felt like I was a Parisian. Minus the unchic cat sweater and my hillbilly French. I do believe we sampled every treat and I dove into every boutique this area had to offer. When we found this sweet cat eying us from his spot on the window sill, we couldn't help take a picture (okay, 15 pictures) of the little dude.
Usually we rent a car where ever we go. Which, in Germany, meant a sweet BMW. However, after reading that the Parisians were some of the world's worst drivers, we opted to take the metro. And it really wasn't too hard. Which was good because sometimes help was hard to find. I'm just gonna come on out and say it: I didn't find the majority of Parisians we encountered to be particularly friendly. But, to be fair, I've not always been treated warmly in NYC either. Or any city for that matter. Regardless, we got around without incident and that was nothing short of a miracle for this directionally challenged gal.
On our last evening in Paris, this was the last photo taken: La Defense. It was the most amazing trip to the most incredible city. I've got a huge list of things I want to do next time...but I have a feeling that might be a while. Until then, au revoir, Paris! Je t'aime!