Tuesday, May 12, 2015

In the Art Room: Desert Landscapes with Third Grade

Hello, Tumblin' Tumbleweeds! I hope all y'all are feelin' footloose and fancy-free (like, why would you wanna be free of fancy?! I take it back, I hope you are fancy-full). My third graders have been wrapping up their art projects as the end rapidly draws near (like, 7 days left, y'all. Not like I'm counting the days, minutes, seconds or anything. Ahem) and I realized I'd never shared these beauties with ya! So in this here post, I'll fill you in on our process, the prezi used and some other whut-nuts. 
 So I've been kinda obsessed with having the kids work in chalk since we created those chalked ceiling tiles last month. And the kids have really enjoyed working with it as well. There's just something about using an art supply that involves smearing and getting up-to-our-elbows messy that's just irresistible. 
Since these guys didn't have a chance to make ceiling tiles, I thought I'd let 'em work on a desert landscape. It tied in nicely with our theme of Mexico and allowed me to introduce a super fab contemporary female artist, Sushe Felix
When I first spotted Sushe's work, I was totes smitten. And I totes thought she was working in chalk! That is until I saw this photo...
Like, fur realz?! All those amazingly even gradations are PAINTED?! Are you kitten me? I am in love with her work, you can view more of it (and her hubby's, his work is pretty groovy as well) here
Right? Totes smitten. If you have a chance, check out her paintings of animals, they are so cute. The girls let out a collective "awwwww!" when I shared a baby owl painting with them. 
For this project, we used the KOSS brand chalk that had worked so well for our ceiling tiles. We also used 9" X 12" sheets of paper.
I told the kids that their first step was to create their background. They could use any light color they wanted for their sky and any coupla colors they thought might look good for a desert floor. 
We blended with our fingers because it's super fun. I did tell 'em to use separate fingers for different color blending so as not to muddy their vibrant colors. 
 Next the kids cut out big cloud shapes.
And colored them with darker colors of chalk in the same fam as the color of our sky. Again, this was to prevent muddy looking colors. 
Using one hand to hold the paper super still, we used our other hand to smear the chalk upward. 
The key is not to let the paper move so that your cloud stencil can create a crisp line. 
 Like-a dis.
Then we flipped the cloud paper over and repeated the process on the other side of our masterpiece. 
Next up: creating the mountains! Cut a zig-zag mountain-y kind of shape out of some scrap paper. 
Color like you did the clouds with a variety of greens. However, this time, instead of pushing the chalk up, pull the colors downward.
The kids seriously thing this entire process is magical. You will be considered high class art teacherin' royalty with this one, I promise ya.
 Now cut out a piece of paper that doesn't have peaks like a mountain but has plateaus. We borrowed some desert books from the library to use on our tables for inspiration. Let's hope the librarian doesn't notice the chalk dust. 
 For the cliffs we did the same pull-down-the-chalk method. 
Once complete, we looked at even more desert books and my stash of How-to-Draw books for ideas of what could live in our landscape. 
Just a mile?! Well, I'm not taking my chances with that scorpion, yikes!
 Love the pink sunset in this work of art. We did chat about creating depth and space with a decrease in size of objects, rivers and roads. 
Just 200 more miles to Tennessee, y'all! Hope in your dune buggy and drop by! Tell next time, kids.

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

DIY: Kitty Litter Containers to Pattern-y Planters!

Well, hey there, dirt diggers! Allow me and my black thumb of certain plant death to present to you my latest planter creation: Kitty Litter Containers to Patterny Planters! Please don't ask me to refer to these planters as "up-cycled" because just the mere mention of the word "up-cycled" makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up and my right eye twitch. Maybe it's my severe gag reflex to all things hipster but I just can't sta-hand that word. Tell me I'm not alone, y'all. Surely there's a word that is totes hawt right meow that drives you up the up-cycled wall? I gots to know what it 'tis. While you think on that, I suppose I should return to the blog-tasticness at hand. 
So despite the fact that I'm known in the plant world as a killer of all things lovely and green, I have a habit of giving it a go every single year. Mostly cuz I love painting me some planters. You might recall these flower-y numbers from a coupla years back. 
Or these Day o' the Dead planters I created a couple Halloweenies ago. 
Last weekend, I thought I could use these ole kitty litter containers for some new planters. We have, like, one million of these bad boys cuz my hubs is borderline doomsday preppers and keeps assuring me that we'll need these for water containers when all the hipster zombies start to attack and up-cycle the universe. I stole these from his stash of one million and tossed 'em out into the yard. Cuz I'm classy like that.
Then I went at 'em with my razor blade and removed the tops. I'm tooootally going with a Tiki theme in my art room next year and these are toooootally gonna be up-cycled, er, reused as Tiki mask decor. Although, now that I think about it, they toooootally would make great Tiki bird houses with the openings as the mouth. RIGHT?! I'm like a genius, I know. After those were removed, I drilled holes in the bottom of each planter so the water could drain.
And then I set to painting! I spray painted some of the planters a pencil-y yellow and others a teal-y blue. Once those dried, I busted out some pattern books by my fave retro artists: Alexander Girard, Florence Broadhurst and, of course, Mary Blair. Some of these guys served as inspo while others were copies of patterns created by them. I like to copy the retro-y pattern-y masters, y'all. 
While I don't expect these planters to last beyond the summer (although those floral numbers are several summers old), I did slap a coat of ModPodge on 'em just to preserve them a lil. 
They make me so stinkin' happy everytime I catch a glimpse of them outside my front door. I am completely addicted to patterns, y'all. They rule my universe. 
As for the plants, Ima ask that you "pray for 'em" as they say here in the South. Dear lil baby Jesus, please don't let the Cassie's Black Thumb of Death cast a shadow on this sweet lil flower thang. Amen.
Least you think that I'm gonna keep them on my front steps so no one can visit, I have found a home for each planter in these lil planter thingies near my front door (don't you worry, that one at the bottom is just for show, it has a nice sunny spot elsewheres). Thanks for visiting all y'all up-cyclin' hipsters! 

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

In the Art Room: First Grade Slab Fish and Under the Sea Sculptures

If you've been a-thinkin' that there's something fishy about this here blog post, you are correct, friend! My first grade friends just finished off these hilariously expressive fish and I just can't stop lookin' -n- laughin' at 'em. They have just as much silliness as the wee artists that created them. This was a fun 30 minute art class project that I know your kids would love to do so I just had to share it with y'all!
To start, every kid was given a grapefruit-ish sized piece of clay. I use cone 06 clay and I love it. I had a little selection of doilies, burlap an textured fabrics on each table for the kids to use as the "scales" of their fishy friend. 
The clay was then annihilated by the pounding fists of the first grade set. Our rule is pound it as flat as a cookie but no more. I also chat with them about how the clay should be level like a plain. There should be no peaks or valleys. Once it's smooth-ish, they peal it away from the fabric to reveal the texture underneath...
 Which always gets a multitude of Oooooh's and AAAAaaaah's. 
Once the fabric is pealed away, the clay is then cut into a circle shape. I had coffee lids for the kids to trace.
The excess clay trimmed off was then used for the whites of the fishes eyes. Two spheres were rolled and then flattened for this part. 

 In my art room, we use the terms "slip and score" but an old ratty toothbrush is used for the job of scoring. 
 Boom, two eyes. 
Smaller spheres for the pupils. AND just in case any of the clay is too thick, we used the back of our skewer stick to poke two pupils in the iris. 
 For the mouth, we rolled a coil.
 With both the eyes and mouth, we talked about expression. So, your fish could be surprised...
 Or fishy-mouthed...
 Or happy with a touch of possible constipation. It's up to you!
Next up, we pounded another piece of clay flat onto a texture. I love how this photo looks like my fish is eyeballing the clay as if it were a cookie. 
 Cut in half...
Now use one piece as the tail and the other as the fin!
Cut out a section for the top fin and, viola! Fishy is finished!
Once out of the kiln, these lil guys were given color with bright oil pastels. Then they were dipped into a bath of watery ink (although watery tempera would work as well)...
 And, ta-da! Seriously, aren't these little guys a total crack up?!
Since the kids didn't exactly experience sculpting with this slab clay project, I thought I'd introduce them to this art form another way. I picked up some pink insulation foam from the local hardware store that I scored and broke into pieces. 
This project was a great review of abstract, line names and sculpture. Each child had so much fun with their creation and I loved how fun and funky each turned out.
Each compliments it's fish so nicely. This is definitely a project I'll be doing again. Hope you will give it a go as well. Smell y'all later! 

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

What the Art Teacher Wore #139

 Closing in on May Monday: I just cannot believe it. How can the end of my school year almost be here? We get out at the end of the month and I'm in tooootal denial as my kids still have so much to do! dress: vintage, Buffalo Exchange; belt and tights: Target; boots: old, Seychelles; necklace: Anthropologie

Y'all. I've been living in total denial. About many things (my hoarding problem; my issues with not-wanting-to-behave-like-a-responsible-grown-up; my strong addiction to dark chocolate...first thing in the morning). But most importantly, I've had my head in the sand over the fact that the end of the school year is so stinkin' near. And while I know many celebrate such (look, I love my summer daze, don't get me wrong), it inspires nothing but pure white hot panic in me. I get all, OMGaaah, we have so much left to do! HOLY COWZZZ, I had so much more I wanted to edumacate! And, biggest panic of all, GOLLY GEE, this means the art show is creepin' up on me like a kindergartener with a palm full of paint about to plant it on my behind (um, it's happened people. Like, more than once). Deep breaths. It's a-gonna be okay. Me thinks.

I hope to be back with you later this week with a DIY. Although, right meow, it'z lookin' like a hot mess. In which case all y'all will get a double dose of some art room goodness. Regardless, I hope to see ya soon! Have a fab week, kids!
 Having the opportunity to write for Nashville Arts has been one of the coolest things that has happened this school year. I love that I've had the chance to participate in cool opportunities (recording studio, anyone?!) and write about it, all thanks to Nashville Arts. In this month's issue, I wrote about my students chalking experience. You can catch a glimpse of the complete article here.
Doncha Donut Tuesday: I wish everyday was donut day. The kids did as well. They had as much fun with this project as I did making the hat! sweater: ebay; dress: vintage; belt: Pin Up Girl Clothing; tights: Target; shoes: thrifted; hat: DIY here
 "Look, I made Homer Simpson's donut!" That you did, girl. Complete lesson here, y'all.
 Bring on the Spring Wednesday: I'm so ready for it, y'all. Sadly, my yard is beyond ready for it. I spent countless hours just working on the front yard alone this weekend. I do love it to a certain extent. Although, I gotta admit, there are about twenty things I rather be doing. Like not pulling One Million Weeds for starts. dress: vintage; neon fishnets: free!; shoes: Clarks
 Holy moly, could these kindergarten self-portraits be any happier? Or cuter? Or wide-eyed and toothless?! I love 'em so.
 Stripe-y Spring Thursday: I have decided to bust out my spring dresses for this mild weather. I can only wear these spring color'd and long sleeve'd bad boys during these mild spring days. Pretty soon it's gonna hit 90's and never back down until November so I've got a small window to wear these lovelies. dress: vintage, Buffalo Exchange; shoes: Jeffery Campbell
Oh! So speaking of ceiling tiles, just one of my third and fourth grade classes had the chance to chalk ceiling tiles as well. The day of the chalking event, I still had my afternoon classes so for my sanity's sake, they worked in chalk as well. Since I have them for a shorter class period, these are progressing a little slower. I can't wait to see them complete as they are going to be installed in my art room!
 Me Made May Friday!: So, I'm super stoked because I've never, like neverrrr, been able to participate in #MeMadeMay. For those of y'all not in the know, it's this thingie where you wear something you've created for the entire month of May. I've never been able to participate because I never had enough me-mades...until now. So, for the rest of the month (and the next four-ish What the Art Teacher Wores), you'll be seeing me in my own creations. Like this here number...dress: DIY blog post here; sweater: thrifted; crinoline: Amazon; flats: NOLA 
Speaking of MeMadeMay, here are some me-mades I started this weekend! If you follow me on instagrams, you've already seen these works-in-progress. After seeing a million dollar vintage dress on etsy that had a lovely play on stripes, I decided to try my hand at that number on the left. I'm totally winging it which will prolly be the dress's demise. As for the number on the right, I'm using a vintage pattern. Both have a long, stitching road ahead of 'em so I don't think they'll be making another appearance here for a wee while. 
 Me-made Saturday! I thought I'd share with you one of my fave dresses that I just can't wear to schoolin'. The "hot as hell" sauce that's printed on the fabric makes it a lil NC17-ish. But I had to share it with you in this me-made month! Sadly, I was in nothing but hiking/gardening clothes all day today so no me-made post for ya'll. Try not to act too fake-disappointed. Until later this week, I hope it's a good one, kids!
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