Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Grade 1 and Grade 5: Mixed Media Sunflowers

This was a fun one. When I was a child, I was OBSESSED with drawing sunflowers... and I wore a t-shirt with a huge sunflower on it and I doodled sunflowers on my Converses. Nature was a huge part of my formative years which made these two projects based on my favorite painter Vincent van Gogh a pleasure to make. 
The first is this slightly mixed media project in which the 5th graders used a dictionary page to draw a sunflower. Outlined in Sharpie and painted with a wash of color, the kids did a nice job capturing 'Sunflowers"

The second project was a ton of fun to make. We read a book about van Gogh's sunflowers and discussed the content in the story which talked about van Gogh's passion for painting and the struggles he encountered along the way.
We examined sunflowers..the center, the petals and referred to "Sunflowers" to see how van Gogh painted these top heavy flowers in different stages. 
We began by mixing colors for the background and added texture. The kids created their vases with a simple line drawing followed up with an oil pastel outline. Next up was painting the vases. Finally, we had a fun time creating the sunflowers and adding details to them after they were glued down.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Grade 1: Jasper Johns Number Paintings

I have blogged about my annual Jasper Johns 1st grade paintings in the past but wanted to share with you a few from this year. We made these back in January but this year, I saw a post where an unknown art teacher from Pinterest had the kids use their date of birth for the numbers instead of the classic 0-9 from Jasper Johns' famous painting. This was a neat new spin on one of my favorite American paintings. My first graders felt special thinking about their special day in numbers. We called their DOB their top secret code.
We explored primary colors through painting and ultimately we refreshed our memory about secondary colors as little bits mixed together. Students began drawing their numbers inside of rectangles followed by outlining and designing with oil pastels and finally tempera in the backgrounds.
0-9 by Jasper Johns

American Painters Rock!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Weekend Mornings Inspired by van Gogh

Book of van Gogh's letters in hand with acrylics and brushes, I spent a few hours each morning this past weekend sitting at the kitchen table painting...for myself vs. a lesson plan... and it felt awesome. For those of you with young children, I am sure that you are familiar with how rare it can be to find time for hobbies. 

 I started out with 'Starry Night Over the Rhone" which feels more of like a painter's sketch vs. a full finished painting because it took such a short time to paint. With each brushstroke, I pictures Vincent outside, connected with nature painting for the pure joy and desire to just paint and live.
Step 1
Step 2..done
Sunday morning brought a more challenging sketch of just an Iris. Not quite finished yet.
Step 1
Step 1.5...not quite done

Friday, March 14, 2014

Welcome to Bear Tavern You Grand Old Ox (featuring the Ox Selfie Cam)

How often do you have an ox at your school to paint? My guess is never. That's because out of the many artsy animal parade that have crossed the globe, the ox is a bit rare. You will see more dogs and horses but the ox was chosen by the new Hopewell Valley Arts Council Committee because it is " a symbol of the Valley’s agricultural heritage, teamwork and enduring sense of community, the ox, an historic reminder of Hopewell Valley’s farming tradition, was chosen as the icon of the HV Arts Council’s public art event. Today, a team of oxen is still used to plow the fields and haul heavy loads at the Howell Living History Farm in Hopewell Township, uniquely connecting the past and present."
Photo courtesy of the Arts Council (there were only 2 oxen on our delivery truck FYI)
Our ox, who is yet to be named, was delivered to the school by a team of energetic, fun people yesterday afternoon. Honestly, if they had more deliveries to make, I would have asked to go along as it really seemed like a lot of fun. The first graders were coming out of the gym at the time from recess and were the first people in the building to see the ox come through the doors.
It was quite exciting,

Ok, so there is a celebrity in the art room now... Eight feet long and weighs 75 pounds.....(tell me your secret!)....
Cast of fiberglass for the Arts Council, is hollow so therefore very light. The ox is quite easy to move around. 

The Bear Tavern students and staff have been intrigued by this special new community member. It's only white but quite interesting to look at. Stop by and see. 
We are going to paint the ox to look very earthy cool by using cool colors on one side and higher contrast blue/white on the other with zentangle designs. 
We will paint the base colors during van Gogh art night on March 31. 

Keep you posted!

The Lady who got the selfies' started!


Art Teacher Shopping Trip for OX PAINT @ Jerry's Art Supply
from Left) Gillian Beck, Gay Hong Hua and I.. Not Pictured: Kathleen Belton who was there shopping with us earlier on.

Hopewell Elementary Art Teacher, Ms. Hua with their ox on Friday

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Grade 4: Almond Blossoms

Almond Blossoms is one of my very favorite paintings. Vincent van Gogh painted it to hang in his nephews nursery. The flowering branches were a favorite of van Gogh's as they represented "awakening and hope". I love the color palette of this painting as well as the strength and delicacy of it. This painting, along with numerous others, were on display a few year back in Philadelphia at the museum there. Almond Blossoms is a large painting that is mesmerizing.

This month, in the art room we are learning about Vincent van Gogh. Each grade level is capturing his post-impressionistic style and imagery in a project of their own. My 4th graders have done a beautiful job of creating their interpretation of 'Almond Blossoms'.
Not to go into a weird art teacher mode here but I felt somewhat emotional watching my students progress in these paintings. We began by mixing colors for the backgrounds. The joy that these 9 and 10 year olds had in mixing paint reminded me of how beautiful the simple joys of life/art can be.

Once the branches were drawn, students blended colors to fill the branches in followed by adding the delicate flowers. I could have cried seeing how beautifully executed the branches were. I felt such a wave of emotions seeing my 4th graders, who I love so dearly, re-create one of my favorite paintings so well. Their talent beamed through in each stage of this project. Here are a few completed painting from Mrs. Miller's class.

Friday, February 21, 2014

2014 Doodle 4 Google

Hey there Bear Tavern Doodlers! It's Doodle 4 Google Time!

2014 Challenge Statement: If I Could Invent (Create) One Thing to Make the World a Better Place....
This is the 5th year that as a teacher I have participated in Doodle 4 Google and our 4th year at Bear Tavern. I love this contest because it is a wonderful challenge to organize a concept into crystal clear images that work around the "Google" name. As an Artist, you are answering a question through your wonderful illustrations (drawings)....
Make sure that each and every illustration SUPPORTS your theme clearly. Be super NEAT and ENJOY thinking of an idea.
This year, the challenge is to invent ONE thing to make the world a better place.
Wow, what will you invent???
What does the world need???
What doesn't it need???
As a young but important citizen, where do you think there are problems in the world and how can these problems be fixed???
I am looking forward to seeing your illustrations and am excited that some of you have already submitted designs.
Below are links for information and extra forms.

Click for a copy of the entry form

2013 Winner
Last years winner did a fantastic job. The challenge was to illustrate "My Best Day Ever"
What was this artists' best day ever?
How can you tell?
Check out the background, isn't it neat how she used the "O" as the sun?
What country is this artist from? How can you tell from her illustrations?

I hope that you will discuss your ideas with your family. Be open to suggestions on ways to wrap your illustrations into the letters (like the "O" as a sun and the man as the "L" in the entry above) or into the background.
If you need to borrow supplies, let me know! The sky is the limit (markers, pastels, paints, colored pencils, and any 2D medium).
Have fun doodling!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Let's Do This: Gear up for our Artist-in-Residents

The Home Depot 5-gallon buckets say "Let's Do This"! i took this as a special omen for our next Artist-in-Residency that's getting set to start for my 4th graders.
 I am so pumped and excited to host Pauline Houston-McCall, Artist extraordinaire and her rock star counterpart Robb McCall of Raising Music. 
Raising Music? Yup, we are doing an Art/Music collaboration that is going to be incredible. Collaborating further, I asked the art and music teachers at nearby Toll Gate to join us in this residency. Stay posted for updates next week! My colleague and buddy, Gillian Beck and I are collecting a massive amount of these 5-gallon buckets for one part of the musical portion of the residency. I am super excited to have a fellow hunter/gather in Gillian.
 Here's her blog: The Heart of Life
Pauline Houston-McCall is one of the most amazing art educators. I saw a piece of work done by a private student of hers and proceeded to hunt her down despite not knowing her name.
Eventually, I met her and we almost immediately started planning this residency. 
Hopefully the weather that is taking New Jersey hostage will not put too much of a wedge into our plans. Stay Posted!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

It's Conference in my Jammies Day!

Ok, well I'm not actually in my jammies but in spirit I am. Before the Winter AOE conference started this morning, I had to run to Wegman's for a few things, get my daughter squared away on a play date and be set for the ADT guy to come do a service. But, in SPIRIT, I am in my pajamas.
Beyond seeing the faces of fellow art teacher bloggers for the first time like CASSIE STEVENS, (who I think is just so cool and would love if she taught in my building) it was fun texting back and forth with some of my HVRSD art colleagues who were logged in as well.

I have a long list of presentations to watch today. So far I am the most impressed by Alecia Eggers' presentation on art room organization. Whoa, her art room is by far the most organized that I have ever seen. 
I enjoyed seeing Cassie Stevens' presentation on multicultural annual themes and how she wears so many costumes to inspire her students.
It's snowing now (again) in New Jersey. The picturesque views from the windows in my home, the steam from my rose tea and the smell of sharpie in my notebook is awesome. A lot of the information is in my arsenal already but it feels great to pull buried/forgotten information out or make tweaks on a similar routine. I am looking forward to implementing some of my new found tips from this conference soon. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Grade 4: Paint Mixing and Painting Techniques

My 4th graders mixed some amazing blueish colors this week for a background to a painting. They practiced painting evenly using a new type of brush and a paint with a very fluid consistency. 
S U P E R  F U N  T O N S   O F  E X C I T E M E N T  I N  T H E  A R T R O O M  O V E R   T H E   C O L O R   B L U E


video  video

It's a Little after 9:00 am and My Day is Already Perfect

This morning was off to a bumpy start with traffic and accidents on 295. Honestly, I wish that I could have my very own lane on the highway. Large cup of tea, Coldplay on the radio and my very own lane to drive in. Well, it was quite the opposite on my commute in this morning but now the day is perfect. On my way down the hallway heading to my PLC meeting with a bagel, fruit salad and orange juice in my hands (perfect breakfast from our pot luck staff breakfast), I see a student waiting for me with two paintings in her hands.

I LOVE when my students create art at home and take the time to show me their work.
So I say "oh, zentangles, they are beautiful!" i asked her who made them (foolishly assuming that she came across these beauties and just wanted to show me..) and she replied "I made them over the weekend!"
So forget my perfect breakfast after a rushed commute. Here in front of me I had one of my 5th graders showing me TWO pieces of art that she created at home that are BEAUTIFUL AND INSPIRED BY A CURRENT PROJECT. This student enjoying art enough to continue to create a current project at home (and on a piece of reused cardboard at that) is all that I can ask for. What a gift. Thank you Claire.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My 5th Graders Rock. Period.

As my students have worked towards completion on their zentangle animal drawings, my smile for them is one of happiness, excitement and being so impressed. Each and every 5th grader has impressed me in their own special way on this project. And the best part is that I am pretty sure they know that they are doing a fantastic job. The best thing is when a student feels good about themselves and their work. 
For this drawing lesson we worked on combining simple shapes to create a whole. We talked about zentangles, the Elements of Art : Line and shape as well as the terms repetition, contrast and value

 Here are a ton of photos of students working. Only the top two are completely finished. My students will have the choice to add a wash of watercolor to the animal or to the background to make their drawing stand out more. For those that are starting to finish, where to use the color is a tricky decision. Originally, I was planning to have everyone paint in the animal. Evanna's (elephant at the top of post) was one of the first to make this decision. As we stared at her work and tried to decide which color would enhance the design, the answer was "no color, the black and white design does the job alone!". So she chose to paint the background.


Look at the beautiful lines in this flamingo! 
 Next up we take a break from drawing and begin an exploration in clay. We LOVE clay at Bear Tavern. I do, the kids do but I have to say, I am looking forward to our next drawing (and painting projects) in 5th grade.