Sunday, November 12, 2017

Texture, Vivid Language, and New Orleans

I'm a little obsessed with all the artsy things in New Orleans. If you love art and/or are in arts education, you HAVE to go. There are so many things to see. On my most recent trip, I heard someone in a shop near the French Quarter say that New Orleans is one place where you can work and support yourself as an artist. I really hate it isn't that way everywhere, but...

One of the things I am most obsessed with is the texture everywhere, especially on the doors. I cannot stop myself from taking pic after pic. 

Well, I'm getting ready to teach texture in my classroom. I use the first couple of minutes of class as a bell ringer. Students come in, sit down, and look at an image. They analyze it for an element of art. They do this silently (mostly), and I call on a "secret student" to share what they noticed regarding the element. We focus on the same element for several weeks. 

I am going to show them these photos that I took in NOLA as we talk about texture. I think I can really get some descriptive and vivid language out of them for this. Well, I know I can...and I don't mean the kind of vivid language you'd hear on Bourbon Street either! 

In the captions are some examples of vivid language. I think it is great to give kids a couple of examples. Then, let them come up with two or three different ones for each pic. 

This is as rough as a home-grown cucumber.

This is an old, dried-up paint palette. 

This is splintery like a rough piece of wood at Lowe's.

It's shiny, and the bumps feel smooth.

This is like the cracked skin of an ogre's face. 

This is my skin when I forget to use moisturizer. 

She may look rough and worn, but she is smooth like an R&B singer.

Feel free to pull these pics up in your classroom to talk about vivid language and texture. Do you have other ideas for how we could use those images in our classrooms? Let me know!

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Teaching Space to Kindergarteners

I've shared the work of my amazing colleague, Carol Janka, on the blog before. She's a fantastic art teacher. I always feel inspired by the things she shares. This link will take you to a post about her students creating their own work based on Janet Fish's Lawn Sale. 

Here is what Carol had to say about this project that she did with KINDERGARTEN:

Kindergarten mixed media fall landscapes are finished, just in time for winter. Over several art classes, students were introduced to a variety of media and processes. Discussions were related to home, school, field trip to corn maze and pumpkin patch. So, so sweet how they directed themselves to making meaningful lines and shapes. 

The learning target for this project was:

“I️ can make art to tell a story.” 

The inspiration and jumping off point for this lesson came from Pamela Holderman. Pamela's blog wasn't on my radar until Carol shared this. So, now we all have a new blogger to follow. I got some ideas from her A Starry Night in iPad and Mixed Media post
Carol told me that Pamela's post got her to thinking about the idea of presenting space to kindergarteners, which we all know is hard. They viewed a lot of Charles Wysocki's works

For the first step, they created the sky and land. Then, they created the home or school. Farm and fields came next. Finally, they created things that grow and live (animals and plants). 

Carol says this was
"a blast, and the kids were taught how to use many media and tools to complete work."

As I was writing this post, I thought of a couple of other artists that would be great to share with students in addition to Charles Wysocki:
Did somebody say Theora Hamblett? Check out this Art is at the Core article about how teachers can use her works to teach core subjects. 

Also, check out this Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists about Grandma Moses. I wasn't aware there was one for her until I started writing this post. So, I thought I'd share. 

Thanks, Carol, for sharing this with us! We love it!

What do you guys think? Leave a comment. I read them all. I promise! 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Triangle Christmas Trees

Need something for that week of school in December right before the break? What about the day before Thanksgiving break? Have the students create these trees. 

Here's how:
1. Have the students draw the triangles for the trees and squares/rectangles for trunks. Make sure they overlap. This will create depth, which incorporates the concept of space. That makes it arts-integrated.
2. Trace the lines with a black marker.
3. Use crayons to draw patterns on the trees and in the background. 
4. Use liquid watercolors or watercolor cakes to paint over the crayon. The crayons will resist the paint. 
5. Have the students measure the angles. .

I use Crayola's Construction Paper Crayons. They look amazing underneath watercolor paint.

This is the kind of watercolor paint we used. It goes far with a lot of students. A classroom teacher could make this last several years. You can add water to it to stretch it.

I love the measurement part. That will cover tested content...ummmmm I mean the curriculum....but also be fun and easy for those weird days in the calendar (like the day before Thanksgiving break).

Any other ideas? Please be sure to share!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Claire Morgan at the Frist

This was truly an exceptional exhibition at The Frist in Nashville. I am so glad that I got to view it. I actually took a class on ekphrasis at the museum. We spent three hours with this artwork. I just wanted to share my photos with you guys.

I had not heard of Claire Morgan before this experience. I am a better person for knowing about her now. She is trying to show the "illusion of permanence." She's a taxidermist. So, the animals are real. 

I am working on some lesson plans based on this work, especially some arts-integrated ones. I'll post about this soon! I promise!

There's a dead animal in here. It is a surprise when you actually see it. 

This was created with "stuff" from her taxidermy.

What do you think? Have you seen her work? Let's chat.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Skeleton House

This blog is about visual art, arts education, and arts integration. For sure. That is the focus.

But, this blog is also about creativity. 
The recent Halloween Art Dolls post and Dia de los Muertos Figurines post were both very popular. These were about creativity.

So, keeping with the Halloween and creativity theme, I wanted to share something that we found on our most recent (last weekend) trip to New Orleans. 

The Skeleton House is located at 6000 St. Charles Avenue. You can easily see the yard as you drive by, but there is also side street parking. A lot of people were parked and strolling around when we stopped by. 

It is a work of creative genius. If there had just been a bunch of skeletons in the yard, I'd not be posting. The satire is what makes this worth sharing. Can you imagine the brainstorming session that happened before this was set up?

My personal fave. I have to make sure my friend, Cassie Stephens, sees this. She loves Halloween.

This is a close second for my favorite. I mean, I teach at the elementary school attended by Elvis Presley himself. So, the Elvis conjoined at the pelvis skeleton is right at the top!

Y'all remember when Olaf said, "I don't have any bones," in the movie????

What do you think? Creative? Love it? Did you see it? Share your thoughts!