Friday, November 29, 2013

Just Like Norman Rockwell.

Well, no, not exactly.  As much as I'd love to say my Thanksgiving channeled Rockwell's 1943 Freedom from Want... looked a lot more like this.  (Long day at the office, eh Mugsy)?

Don't get me wrong, a great deal of turkey, stuffing, and inventive sweet potato concoctions was enjoyed (by both humans and dog), but the time with family and the relaxation has been absolutely AMAZING.  Plus, it gave me a chance to sample this delicious grown up grape juice.  

I know, WINE + ART = One happy art teacher with a great excuse to wine shop.

Merry Thanksgivukkah to all and off I Gogh to enjoy the rest of my break.  Starry Nights included.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Secret Life of the American Art Teacher.

Here's a sneak peek into my home studio.  It's nothing fancy, but it's fun to come home to after a whirlwind day in the coal mines.  Welcome to the art studio, Miss French Fry style.

Yes, I have an obsession with glass bottles and jars.  Don't judge me.

I hand built the little fella above to keep track of my ever-disappearing pencils.  Between losing them in my Miss Frizzle hair and the dog nibbling on them, I am lucky I tracked one down for this photo.


Been on an Honest Abe kick lately.  What a boss.

One of my current tiny illustrations.

And of course, no art studio is complete without a warm and fuzzy apprentice.  Until next time, Miss French Fry out!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Meow-sterpiece Maud Lewis Style.

Always on the hunt for new and interesting artists, I've recently fallen in love with Maud Lewis' pieces.  Maud Lewis was a folk artist from Nova Scotia whose paintings reflect what she knew: teams of oxen, cats, and snowscapes.  She suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, but fought through it for most of her career.  She and her fish peddler husband Everett lived in a tiny home of 12 by 13 feet, which she enlivened with her own artistic touches.

One of my favorite Maud pieces is her Three Black Cats.  The vivid colors and the cats' round eyes full of expression are so cheerful and appealing to children and adults alike.

I read my Kindergarten students The Witch of Hissing Hill by Mary Calhoun, a vintage story about a witch who reforms her ways.  This story was one of my favorite books growing up as I was always intrigued by the illustrations.  In the story, Gold the cat turns the witches' brew into a yellow love potion.  

So, here's what my students did:

Day 1:

1) We drew a black cat on 12 x 16 watercolor paper with black oil pastel, making sure to leave large circles for the eyes.

2) After drawing their cats, each table was given a tray of yellow "love potion" (aka yellow liquid watercolor with glitter) and painted their whole paintings with the potion.  The kids loooved this part as they discovered that pastels and watercolor paint are "enemies."

Day 2:

3)  I introduced the Kinders to warm and cool colors and created a flipchart with photo examples.  We played a little game, where I would quickly flip to an image and the children had to signal either a silent "W" for warm or a silent "C" with their fingers.

4) Then, the little artists used cool colors for their flower stems and warm colors for the flower tops and worked diligently to cut and glue down their flowers.  Some students chose to create a large field for their cats to hide in, and others surrounded their kittens with a flowery frame.

The final meow-sterpieces were paws-itively purrrfect!


Love this little mustachioed fella, though the little adamant artist
insisted, "THEY ARE WHISKERS!"

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Old Yeller.

"I made a picture of my dog, because, mom kind of hates our dog because sometimes he makes bad choices.  Actually a lot.  I wanted to show her how good he can be when I walk him."

- a Devoted Dog-Owning First Grade Artist

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Specials Maybe?

Just in case you had any doubt as to the awesomeness of my Specials team, check out the video we made for Open House last year (with apologies to Carly Rae Jepsen).

Specials Maybe?

Really Carly Rae, we apologize.  Our voices don't do your melody justice, girlfriend.

The Nightmare Before Christmas Strikes Again.

Happy (belated) Halloween!  Every year my team, which consists of the Music teacher, the PE teachers and I create our own costumes for Halloween.  Not to toot our horn (but I will toot away), we're an awesome team and always manage to take costume design to the extreme.  As soon as the school year begins in August, we have many students coming up to us and guessing what we're going to dress as this year.  This year's guesses ranged from "Justin Biebers" (just what the world needs, more than one Bieber) to "Pokemon" to "Miley Cyrus" (ummm no kids, we will not be climbing atop wrecking balls thankyouverymuch).

Last year, we handmade our costumes completely out of cardboard, tempera paint, and a gigantic amount of hot glue.

I know, impressive stuff, right?  Pretty sure we will never top that one.  But, as usual, this year we were determined to make our costumes from scratch again.  So, the Red Dragon rose from the ashes Game of Thrones style, and was born of spray paint, tablecloths, cardboard, and hot glue.

There were five of us under that thing, sweating dragon bullets and each of us were assigned to one body part: head, front legs, wings, back legs, and tail.

Next year's planning has already commenced.  Suggestions are welcome.

Flashback: my favorite Halloween moment goes back a few years when I had a student dress as me!  I should have retired then and there, because my teaching life was made.

Seriously, though, costume suggestions are welcome.  I can trade you a glue stick without a cap, as I've got plenty in my Art Room.  Deal?