Friday, August 28, 2015

Letter to Basquiat

This simple letter that Keith Haring wrote to Jean-Michel Basquiat is so powerful.

The second paragraph and more prominently the last sentence is thought provoking.

In my classroom, I hope that my students feel that they are creating art for themselves.
Generally, they tend to be thinking of a person that their creation will be FOR before the pencil or brush hits the paper. They are such sweethearts. The kindest , most thoughtful people. 
But it's through the process of enjoying what they are creating where I hope they get selfishly lost. 
Not every person (child or adult) can get in a comfort zone to allow themselves to get lost but as an Artist, it is an incredible feeling.
I tell my students a big chunk of the journey that I've taken to become the educator and artist that I am. It may be hard for them to appreciate but I hope that they do someday. 

Until then, I just hope to create an environment that encourages creativity and ideas and support. And, I hope that they enjoy the process of creating because that joy is incredible....whatever the style, wherever the location.... Just keep creating and be happy.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Crafty Evening

I'm a bit sleepy as you can see but had a great time with the Spirit Committee working on our new staff t-shirts this evening! Every year staff and students receive new shirts generously funded by the PTO.
We met in June to design this year's shirt and they are awesome.

I can't spoil the surprise but can show you that we personalized the shirts. We had several irons and boards out and went to town ironing on staff names. 
It was quite a production and ended up being a great time. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Shiny New Supplies

Unpacking supplies was really fun this year. I forgot what supplies I had ordered until I started opening the boxes and then remembered that it was not only a Sharpie supply year but a fun year in general to stock up on some new types of supplies! 
One of the boxes that I opened last week had some of our Sharpies and they were packed on top of each other without additional wrapping. The colors that jumped out of the box was unexpected and exciting. Gold, silver, neon, rainbow, fat and thin. I literally felt as though I was in the Sharpie aisle at Staples.

The other funny thing about unpacking supplies this year was that I thought I'd gotten through everything and then the custodians come in and say "your clay order is here!" Uh, it wasn't a clay order, it was the remainder of my regular order.

The way the companies pack, sometimes I'll receive a single pencil packed in a box 500 times its size. So, with this unexpected palette, I didn't know what I'd find... 10 pencils?

Can't wait to show everyone our new art stuff- lots of fun new and old goodies. 

See you soon!

Basquiat & Sneakers at The Brooklyn Museum

I finally made it! On my list of exhibits to see since written about in the NY Times this past spring, I've been wanting to head out to The Brooklyn Museum to check out Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks.

The exhibit was inspiring but not as full as I had hoped.

I love the limited color palette that Basquiat used and his iconic organization of drawings and writings.

And, well, of course just being in Brooklyn is inspiration in itself. Visiting family in Williamsburg and Park Slope is always a fun journey. The rooftop gardens, the colorful graffiti, lovely outdoor restaurants and pop up street fairs. It's so easy to get lost in the warm feeling of being on the block.

Just as much (if not moreso) as the Basquiat exhibit, I really liked The Rise of Sneaker Culture exhibit. 
It was... Well, COOL.

Looking at my own kicks, I felt that I could use a slight upgrade as these sneakers were quite a piece of art in themselves.
The Basquiat exhibit has now concluded but the sneakers will be at the museum until October 4.

Can't wait to tell you about both when school starts in a couple of weeks.

Mrs. Johnson

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Members Musings 2015

Today was the opening for the GFS Members Musings exhibit.
Here is a sneak peek at a few of the pieces. 
I took close-up pictures to spark your interest.

For those of you that have been following this blog the past 5 years, you've seen images like this one above sporadically.
It's by my favorite sculptor Katie Trul. 
She is amazing! Her work is beautiful and she is big on reusing materials in her art and green art like I am.
So, guess who I saw today at the opening? Katie! She has two pieces in the exhibit and she showed me pictures of a new installation she is currently working... Let's just say-- it looks insane!!! Can't wait.

Here are a few more beauties from the exhibit :)

The exhibit is located in the Education Gallery. 

Tots on Tour: Elephants

It was a great (and packed) day at Grounds for Sculpture for my two Tots on   Tour sessions. I was a bit surprised because today feels like a day for families to be at the beach or "the shore" as they say in Jersey.
We began by reading 'Elmer' by David McKee
and then dove into creating these awesome elephant paintings.
Every month I do my best to connect the project with a related themed book. It has been one of the best parts of running Tots on Tour for all this time and I've read hundreds of great children's stories.
Elmer is a pretty popular book that is in most classrooms of early elementary level. Art teachers enjoy using tissue paper squares to create the lovable elephant.
I chose to go with a grey elephant and interesting background because it related more to the realistic colors of elephants which was what we were discussing today. We loved the idea of being unique and how special a patchwork elephant is.

I was really happy to see the kids make these elephants their own. One of my frequent students who is a huge shark fan, put the eyes on the ears and before he made mention, I immediately thought his elephant looked like a hammerhead shark. As Picasso said- Every Child is an Artist.
Watching the kids cut and arrange and glue their pieces in creative ways is the best part for me next to how happy they are to have spent the morning and early afternoon creating.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Art in the Park: Lighthouses

It's my 7th summer of Art in the Park and we're having a fun time.
This week, the other two guest artists are Mrs. Schlette and Mrs. G. Johnson.
My unofficial name this week is "Ms. JJ" which they got a kick out of. What else are we to do with two Mrs. Johnsons in Kunkle Park?!
Great group. This first week is for 5-7 year olds. Next week we go from ages 7-12.
My first project for the week is this lighthouse painting.

We talked about the history of lighthouses for a bit and the kids impressed me with their knowledge and creative thinking.
On Monday, we set to drawing a lighthouse and used watercolors for the backgrounds.
Today, we added some of the details in and started our second project. 
Tomorrow will be more details and work on the background of the second project (giraffe painting).

I am enjoying being outside in the mornings and seeing all of the art in progress. We have all sorts of projects happening and I look forward to sharing the art show images with you later in the week.
So far, I've seen two Bear Tavern students this week (yay!). Gavin is in the camp with me and Aldo happened to be biking by with his family and stopped to say hello and chat for a bit.
Over and out until later in the week.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Year in Review: Grounds for Sculpture Exhibit!

On Tuesday I drove over to Grounds for Sculpture to pick up the work from our solo exhibit in the education gallery titled "Reflections in the Classroom".
The exhibit was meaningful on so many levels. First off, I felt extremely sentimental packing up my car with the 5th graders work because they are moving on to middle school now. I placed each framed piece in the car and thought about how great the past 5 years of knowing these kids and their families has been. As I looked again at the talent from these 10 and 11 year olds, I felt really proud to see what strong creative minds each has become and what lovely people. 

The exhibit was one of the best in my professional teaching career. We journeyed to GFS a couple of times to soak up the immense beauty of the landscape and when we visited in November 2014, each student went with a mission to capture inspiration in many ways: via sketches, photographs, writings, etc. Back in the art room, we discussed ideas and materials. 

Above: Art ready to be hung for the exhibit; Below: Two students working on projects during Art Enrichment.

Here's the whole group before the art left for GFS in April.

The day of our opening was really special. GFS gave each Artist a special name tag and had a lovely spread of finger foods for everyone to eat. It was an honor to have our Superintendent of schools, Dr. Smith, Interim Principal, Mr. Welsh, District Elementary Coordinator, Mr. Umstead and Secretary, Ms. Kopcow along with their families attend the opening.

Later in the month, for our annual fourth grade field trip, it was especially meaningful to see Bear Tavern students view the exhibit. They were really impressed by the work and that kids that they know "are famous artists".

Congratulations to my students on a job well done.

Visit Grounds for Sculpture this summer for an experience like no other:

Sunday, June 21, 2015

2015 Summer Drawing Challenge

It's summertime! For this year's summer drawing challenge, instead of a custom designed page like you've received the past few years, I'm giving you three drawing challenges that I found on the web. Students in grades 1-5, choose 30 or more of the drawing prompts across all three pages! Please check your email for my letter home that detailed the specifics of the challenge this summer!
I hope you have a fun, creative, relaxing summer and hopefully I'll see many of you!
I will be at Art in the Park the first couple of weeks of the summer and hope to see some of you. 
Thanks for an incredible year!
Mrs. Johnson

Update 8.24.2015
PS : This is an optional exercise. Art Enrichment students, it is optional for you as well. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Random Mumble: I'm Sorry Mother Earth

I found myself outside, by the dumpsters at Bear Tavern today spray painting frames for our upcoming exhibition. How terrible- spray painting on Earth Day. 
The grass had black outlines. Those that know me know that I love Earth Day. 

Every year we do a huge project at school related to using recyclables in our collaborative murals. This year, we had to hold off on our garden mosaics for Earth 
Day due to PARCC test prep and testing. Fortunately, we will be able to get some mosaic time in tomorrow as the numbers will be lower at school for Take Your Child to Work Day.
The third grade teachers who are quite artsy offered the idea to work on the murals during this "lower number day" So, we will be beautifying our garden space tomorrow for a bit. Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

April Tots on Tour

What a busy weekend at GFS! Usually the parking lot isn't packed when I pull in but it seemed as though the grounds had been open for hours when in reality, it had been only 10-15 minutes. 
Tomorrow will be another busy day as it is the annual 'Day at the Fair'(grounds)
The flowers are in full bloom and fed with the GFS super power plant food for the most amazing petal sizes.

One of the things I've cherished at GFS are the volunteers that help out with my Class. They are instrumental in making every single Tots run so easily for mall of these years.

Today, we set up for a printmaking/collage lesson using bubble wrap and painted papers... a project that I saw on Pinterest and saved for the perfect day.

The kids had a fun time painting the bubble wrap in sea colors. Then they painted warm colored papers to use for the fish. We sold out in the 11am class, as usual, and had decent numbers for the 1pm.
All in all, a great morning/afternoon.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

HVRSD Art Exhibit @ Capital Health- Hopewell

This afternoon we had a small opening event at Capital Health for the HVRSD art exhibit.
It was nice to see some of my favorite art colleagues and my students with their families. 
Below are the 6 boards for Bear Tavern that I filled up as much as I could.