Thursday, September 12, 2013

In the Art Room: Painting Processes

Precious first grade friends sharing paint and getting ready to try their (messy) hands at sponge painitng.
Hello and welcome to The Art Room. 

Which, during the week of Painting Processes, could have easily been dubbed The Day the Paint Factory Vomited...or maybe What Happens When You Give Children Double Espressos and Paint Brushes. Although just calling it The Day the Art Teacher Taught a Half Dozen Painting Techniques in a 1/2 Hour Because She's Nutz would probably be the most accurate.

Yet, despite the Big Fat Hairy mess, we had fun, the kids learned tons and their paintings look fantastical. Lemme tell you how it all went down.
How student teacher Rebecca Tenpenny and I set up the tables for the day.
I'm a huge fan of the blog Painted Paper. If you are an art teacher, you gotta get yourself over to Laura's blog because it's beyond inspiring. It's aspiring. In fact, it gets me so excited with it's awesomeness, I often find myself perspiring. Because that's what every blogger wants to hear, right? "Your blog is so amazing it makes me sweat!" I'm sure at this point, if she's reading, Laura is like, "um...thanks?"

Anyway, before this gets awkward (oops, too late), what Laura does at the start of each school year is have students create dozens of painted papers (hence the title of her blog, ya'll). The kids then have these amazing papers to use in their works of art throughout the year. GENIUS, right?! So Rebecca and I decided to totally steal, er, heavily borrow, that idea. 

If you wanna give this wild and crazy ride a go, here are the supplies needed per child:
  • one 12" X 18" paper, quarter folded
  • one large bristle brush and one small bristle brush
  • one large sponge and one small sponge
  • one texture comb
  • one toothbrush and piece of cardboard
  • a stencil
  • an apron
  • no chairs
And here's a student's painted piece to show you the processes covered during that 1/2 hour:
  • dry brush painting using a cross hatch pattern (upper left)
  • sponge painting using a stencil (bottom left)
  • texture combing with paint splatter (right)
As soon as the students entered the room, I had them grab a piece of pre-folded paper from the "store" (you can go here for more details on how we gather supplies in the art room), take it to their seat, jot down their name and teacher code, throw on an apron and gather around a table for demonstration. Once each student was at the demo table, I demonstrated how each painted process was executed. Because our time is so limited, I told the kids that they'd be working quickly but not crazy and that our painting time would be controlled by the toot of my trusty train whistle. 

Here's how I explained each process to the children before they set to work:
 Dry Brush Painting with Cross-Hatch Pattern: Believe it or not, this was one of the hardest painting processes for the kids to grasp. I found that the best way to explain it to them was like would you describe the texture of a broom? It's dry, right? Well, imagine that this white rectangle is your bedroom and your mom told you to sweep it. Using any color you want, dip your brush but just barely because we want the brush to be dry. Now, using diagonal lines, sweep your brush all the way across your paper. Be sure to sweep your whole rectangle. Imagine how upset your mom would be if she found you only swept one part of your room! Once you are down sweeping with that color, pick a different color and sweep in the opposite direction. See how the lines cross over each other? That's called cross-hatching!
Now the kids didn't actually go to their seats and set to work until after I'd demonstrated all the techniques so the sequence of these photos isn't accurate. Sorry. However, I did want you to see the kids in action. So here's some dry brush painting by one of the experts.
Sponge Printing and Stenciling: Next I demonstrated using the larger sponge, picking one color and sponge printing. I emphasize that it's called printing and not painting because I want the kids to know that they are creating a texture by pressing the sponge down and picking it back up. As opposed to just wiping the sponge all over the paper. Once that rectangle is covered in the color of their choice, I show them how to stencil with a smaller sponge and this collection of holey scraps (which included a brief chat about how sparkly confetti is made!). The key here is to use very little paint. A concept that is akin to rocket science for some.
When we ran out of those little round sponges with the handle, we created these guys with a clothes pin and a cosmetic sponge. We so smart.

Texture Comb with Paint Splatter: For this, the kids painted the entire half of the paper. I really had to emphasize that for this process, they'd have to work the opposite of the dry brush painting in that their paper needed to be super duper wet with paint. So I told them to paint quickly and thickly but not crazily. I painted with the larger brush and only used one color. I told them that their paper should have a shiny and wet look to it before using the texture comb. Once the texture comb was used, I then showed the correct way to splatter paint. Which, as it turns out, no matter how many times you show them, they are going to attempt many other ways of splatter painting. Ways that might include splattering their face, their neighbor and the floor. Jackson Pollock woulda been proud

Painting quickly and thickly but not crazily.
I picked up these texture combs from Sax after years of cutting them out of cardboard. By the way, I don't believe flipping you the bird was intentional. But I could be wrong.
For splattering, I showed the kids how to dip their toothbrush into any color and scrap the bristles away from themselves and toward their paper. They were allowed to chose as many different colors as they liked. By the way...this technique was part of the inspiration for this dress.
After the demo, I had the kids do a quick "repeat after me" run through of the processes. From there, they were asked to return to their tables and hold up the small brush for dry brush painting. Once all brushes were in the air, I blew the train whistle which was their signal to begin that process. When the whistle was blown again about 2 minutes later, that was their signal to put all dry brushes down and hold up their large sponge. Again, whistle blows and...begin sponging. This routine was continued until all processes were complete.
At this point, we were closing in on the end of the 1/2 hour. Quickly the students took their paintings to the drying rack, put their aprons back on their tables and met me at the door to line up and receive a baby wipe ... which did little to nothing for their artsy hands. But we finished! And they loved it. And now we have all of these amazing papers for our upcoming collage projects. I couldn't be more excited. Have you tried any of these painting processes with your students? I'd love to hear more ideas! Rebecca and I are planning a water color painting processes in the near future. I'll be sure to keep you posted. Until then, special thanks to Painted Paper for the inspiration!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What the Art Teachers Wore #76

Paint Palette Tuesday: Okay, when I spied this dress on a random ebay look see, I had to have it. I mean, lookatit! It's got palettes, brushes, tubes of paint -- A SKETCHBOOK.  For the love of all things 1980's and garishly tacky, I outbid some other crazy art teacher and wore it with my palette hairclip. Because, duh, that says Class...Art Class, that is. top: Forever 21; shoes: Shoe Carnival; belt: Pin Up Girl Clothing; necklaces: thrifted
Happy Belated What-the-Art-Teachers-Wore post, ya'll! I've had a super busy, although absolutely wonderful, week at school and off the clock. Rebecca and I have been attempting to collect ourselves after our Painting Processes adventure (which is up next on the blog post if there is such a thing) and frantically getting art work on walls for our upcoming Open House Night. Not only that, but I've been spending my evenings teaching teachers how to sew, catching up with buddies over dinner and going to art exhibits. So needless to say, I'm a little tired...but it's a good kind of tired. 

Last Wednesday night, a group of art teachers and I attended a workshop at Cheekwood featuring the light sculptures of British artist Bruce Munro. Now I'm usually kind of an art snob when it comes to installation work but this was uh-mazing. I snapped a ton of photos and thought I'd share them with you. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. And, if you're local, I do hope you'll make the trip out to Cheekwood.

Until we chat again, have an awesome week!

Did I tell you already about how one of the students said to Rebecca, "I'll see you tomorrow -- I hope you look pretty!" Hilarious. dress: Anthro; sweater: I'm guessing Target...and as for the rest, it's either Anthro or Target for this girl
Cheekwood is located in Nashville and is an absolute treasure. The mansion and the grounds were once owned by the Cheek family. Their legacy now make up the beautiful museum, gardens and educational facility known as Cheekwood. The lights you see in the foreground are apart of Bruce Munro's Light exhibit.

Using ideas from his childhood sketchbooks, Munro creates these amazing dreamlike landscapes using hundreds of miles of optic fiber. The colors of the lights fade and change making them almost hypnotic. Doesn't it kinda look like a brilliantly colored Monet's garden? Cheekwood is only the second museum in the U.S. to host one of his amazing exhibits. That's why you gotta go if you are local!

Pencil Me In Wednesday: 'kay, I'm not much of a maxi-dress wear'er (because I
CONSTANTLY step on the hemline when I squat down and then promptly falling over. It's awesome.) but I had to have this 100% polyester pencil dress. It's super comfy and felt as thought I was wearing my pajamas all day. Like I do on the weekends. dress: ebay; shoes: Target
Could the girl get any cuter? I'm in love with that top from Anthropologie. AND that hair. I. WANT. THAT. HAIR. So if she turns up bald and I just so happen to somehow wind up with a lovely wig of red and'll know what happened. She went all Brittany Spears and I bought a wig. DUH. What'd ya think?!

This was one orb of light situated in the Japanese zen garden. I snapped this series of photos to show you how the lights change. One of my first grade students who attended the exhibit said this was his favorite piece. It kinda reminded me of the floating psychic's head at Disney's Haunted Mansion. Anyone know what I'm talkin' about...?
Paint Splat Thursday: More details on my Jackson Pollock-y dress here. shoes: Super Cheap Happy Clearance, Anthropologie
Look at that blue knee: the sign of an art teacher. How we manage to get paint/marker/oil pastel in the strangest of places, only other art teachers know.

This lovely piece was hanging in the Cheek mansion. These are strands of fiber optic with bells attached to the bottom. This gave the fiber optic enough weight to pull it straight. I need this in my foyer. You hear me, Bruce Munro? I mean, you don't wanna actually ship that back to the UK, do you? Just send it my way.

I couldn't get over the beautiful design the bells made.

Crayola Friday: It cracks me up that I can spend hours/days/weeks sewing a dress and the thing that the kids are most curious about? The crayons I hot glued to a hair clip and stuck in my hair...which took all of 5 minutes. Sigh. dress: DIY here

Daw, a girl after my own heart. Rebecca spent the majority of her summer traveling Europe...with much of that time in Norway. Here she is sharing her experience with a rapt audience.

I love that she wore that adorable airplane top since the kids were "flying" to a new place. Top and skirt are both from Anthropologie.

I loved these large changing columns. Apparently Bruce sent his crew of 10 dudes to direct the assemblage of the exhibit while Cheekwood provided their army of volunteers. One volunteer couple told us how these columns where created...

 ...holes were drilled into the tops of soda water bottles and fiber optic was slid inside. This had to be done quickly before soda water gushed everywhere. You can kind of see a soda bottle lid with a bit of fiber optic sticking out of it on the bottom left of the photo. Beautifulness.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

DIY: A Splatter-Paintin'/Jackson Pollock-y Hybrid Dress

Oh mah goodness, the dress that's been haunting my sewing room for ages is finally complete! Paired with my DIY palette hair clip and some sparkly flats from Anthropologie.
I'll have you know that I'm one of those super duper annoying people that tells the same joke over and over. AND, if you don't laugh the first time, Ima gonna assume it's not because you don't find me highly entertaining, it's just that your ears are broken and you're kinda dumb. Therefore, said not-worthy-of-a-laugh joke will be repeated, this time only louder and slower for your listening (dis)pleasure.
Dudes, when am I gonna learn to work this lil point-n-shoot camera of mine correctly? I mean, this photo's got more grain that a bowl of FiberOne.
Case in point: When I wore this dress on our final day of Painting Processes in the art room. Details of that Super Happy Fun Insanity to come but until then, lemme break it down for ya: 20 children + paint + instruments of mass painting destruction = one awesomely painted mess.  So my repeated joke of choice to anyone who happened to venture into the art room mid-madness? 

"My dress was actually white this morning!"

When my hilarity was met with a blank stare, I restated my standup routine this time explaining my joke. Because that always helps:

"You know. It was white. And then it got paint on it. [unchanged blank stare = digging myself into an even bigger unfunny joke hole] Because, with all the glue huffing, the kids went kinda bonkers, tied me down and splattered paint all over me."

And just when I think I mighta gotten through to Super-Slow-Joke-Getter, some kid'll blow it and shout across the room, "Nuh huh! We don't even know how to tie!"

While I'm pretty pleased with the fit and finish, I'm not loving the wrinkled look of the red midriff. Whassup? I'm guessin my interfacing should not have been an adhesive one. My thought is that the adhesive is causing the midriff to wrinkle. What do you think, sewing sistahs?

Yeah. So I guess I won't be quittin' my day job and takin' my standup out on the road. Cuz knowing my luck, I'd have my students in the audience razzing me the whole time. Which is kinda like my everyday life. Seriously! In fact, just yesterday when I said, "Okay, kids, it's time to start cleaning up." One of my fourth graders raised his hand and said:

"Mrs. Stephens, we don't clean on Fridays. We have the day off. Sorry."

I. Get. No. Respect.
Le sigh. Let's chat about this new dress o' mine shall we? Before I fall into a deep dark nobody-likes-me/everybody-hates-me/why-don't-I-just-eat-dirt depression. I got the notion that I needed some Back-to-School dresses and scooped several yards of this splattery fabric a month ago. I quickly began working on the bodice using this well-loved Simplicity pattern of mine.

Then I decided to break up all that splattery goodness a bit. For this idea, I used the wide waist band from my vintage Simplicity pattern. After the bodice was complete, I seriously had 6 yards of the fabric left. Just enough to try my hand at my very first circle skirt with that vintage Butterick pattern on the right. With the use of three patterns, it's like a ménage à trois dress. But without the awkward sleeping arrangement.
Can you believe the size of this thing?! I loved that I didn't have to mess with any gathering business as I've done with so many other dresses...until I had to hem this beast. And I wasn't about to do that by hand. Are you kidding me? I ran that thing through my machine as fast as I could and it still took me up to an hour to complete.
I'm thinking I need a brand new, extra fluffy crinoline to showcase the endless yards of splattery goodness, don't you think?

Because this fabric totally has a Jackson Pollock thing happening, I got this crazy notion to create a dress for each of our Artists of the Month. If you recall, I created this little number when the kids were learning about Hokusai last month and now I've got this Pollock-y frock complete. The only prob? Andy Warhol is our featured artist this month! Which means I've got some work to do...but at least I've got Pollock ready when his month comes up. My goal by the end of the school year is to have created 10 artist-themed dresses. Wish me luck, ya'll.
Oh! And those Painting Processes I was telling you about? Well, here's what the art room tables looked like before...
...and by the end of the day. Take a close look at that once-white table covering. Looks just like the fabric of my dress, doncha think? Next time, I'm just throwing some white cotton cloth on the tables, ya'll.
At the rate the kids are going, I'll have enough fabric to create several of these Splatter-Paintin'/Jackson Pollock-y dresses. Stay tuned for more details of our Painting Processes in the art room. Until then, have a fantasticly splatterific week!

Monday, September 2, 2013

What the Art Teachers Wore #75

Purplish Monday: This photo cracks me up. Partly because we look ridiculous (and this is actually one of the better photos) but mostly cuz I know that after spending a couple more weeks with me,  Rebecca is gonna be striking this pose right before lifting me up and tossing me on the ground, WWE style. I have that effect on people. on me, dress: Anthro, thrifted with $198 price tag still on it, ya'll!; shoes: Fluevog
Happy Loooong Weekend, friends! I do hope your Labor Day was void of any such labor and full of lounging laziness. Mine certainly has been. Shoot, it's already 4:30pm and I'm still in my pajamas. Like a boss.

This past week certainly was a wild and crazy time in the art room. We tried our hand at Painting Processes with the kids (more details to come) which pretty much meant we were finding paint where no paint has gone before. Yes, seriously. To compensate for that crazy, our kindergarten artists were absolutely rockin' it this week...and then the icing on the cake, or rather, the soy sauce on the sushi, was receiving this huge platter of said goodness from one of the fourth grade kids.
I can only hope that this upcoming week is just as awesome.

Oh! And because I'm being super lazy today, I'm simply including snapshots of this week, no featured artists. I know, bad art teacher blogger. I'll try harder next week ('though I wouldn't count on it!).

Until next time, enjoy your 4-day work week! Yay, Labor Day -- you are simply the gift that keeps on giving.
I know, right?! Mouth watering? Sudden hankerin' for sushi? I just happened to have this huge stash of brand new/still in the package restaurant chop sticks for the kids to enjoy their sushi with. The sweet guy whose mother made the sushi gave us a demo on how to break apart and hold our chop sticks. Watching the kids attempt this was quite hilarious. They enjoyed it so much.
Brown Tuesday: Okay, so I'm wearing these fugly Crocs because my feet were Over It. One of my sweet first grade girls walked in and pointed to the high heels I HAD been wearing and said, "Aw, why aren't you wearing THOSE shoes? They are much cuter!" So, of course, I had to do a shoe change! dress: vintage; belt: Pin Up Girl Clothing

Painting Processes! So Rebecca has planned these awesome collage projects for the kids. The first phase was having them create a huge assortment of textured, splattered, sponged and dry brushed papers. We covered the tables, took away the chairs, strapped aprons on 'em and turned 'em lose. Kinda. We attempted control with a train whistle. Pretty sure a taser woulda worked better but the administration looks down on that sort of thing. Softies.
Black and White Wednesday: It's still Color Week in kindergarten which has made getting dressed in the morning So Stinkin' Easy. dress: $20 at Anthro!; sweater and tank: Target; shoes: Crocs
Okay, I love this. Can I have this as a fabric? It's funny, I'm currently creating a somethun-somethun with a very similar motif. I hope to have it completed this evening so I can share it with you this week.
Fave Color Thursday: What you are looking at here are two people who conquered 3 back-to-back 45 minute kindergarten classes WITH NO BATHROOM BREAK and are still standing and smiling. I had my doubts though...especially when I witnessed one sweet VERY allergic-to-peanuts child slathering glue on paper and licking it off. I had to read the label on the bottle to make sure the stuff wasn't made in some sort of peanut-ty factory. dress: vintage, thrifted; belt: made by me; shoes: BC

After completing their line-paper sculptures, kindergarten-town moved onto painting lines. I love the focus of this little dude.

Wear Any Ol' Color, It's Friday, Ya'll!: One of the kids said to Rebecca, "I get to see you tomorrow, I hope you look pretty!" Of course she does, I mean, look at that HAIR! dress: vintage, thrifted and so small it's hardly wearable; belt and shoes: Anthro
Hubs and I have had a super relaxing weekend. We did go one a crazy 8 mile hike (where we saw this sweet little guy) that just about killed me. Which reminded me that I really outta get out more. But next time, I'm taking a Segway.