Friday, October 3, 2014

Our Art Enrichment Journey Begins with Maps and Trees

 I am really excited that a new year of fifth grade art enrichment began this week. It is through this after-school class that I get to know each student differently and explore ideas and art in general together as a class.

Our journey began this week with a drawing of a tree that we are watercolor washing. My students really seem to be enjoying the free nature of drawing a tree and adding character to the tree with texture using lines created with permanent marker. Watching the kids pull from techniques for drawing branches last year with the van Gogh 'Almond Blossoms" lesson was awesome to see. The delicate nature in which many students added branches that stretched and twisted and grew in all directions was personally fulfilling. 

I have been slowly collecting maps and atlases for a couple of years.. Tucked away in a tupperware container I have maps that were in some glove compartments well over a decade ago. As a child, I enjoyed reading maps as we took family trips. I wonder if maps are even for sale on the racks at pit stops anymore now that technology has diminished the paper versions.

Using watercolor, I painted a map of the Greater New York area. Next week, my students will alter the maps by not only adding color to their own but by cutting them in a way that can create a beautiful, mixed-media background. 


My main interest in maps has been the collage potential while using them and the pride that I took as a child in having a good sense of direction and being able to read maps well. A longtime colleague of mine from Grounds for Sculpture, Aylin Green, has used dress pattens in her gorgeous mixed media contemporary art that I have always admired the quality of.
Aylin Green
When I saw the work of Australian artist, Loretta Grayson, I felt the same interest in the quality of her work and the use of beautiful, collaged papers to communicate to the viewer. The colors of the maps coupled with the arrangement of the assembled portions is simply beautiful.
Loretta Grayson 

Loretta Grayson
Stay tuned....


  1. Very Cool! Can't wait to see the finished pieces! :)

    1. Thank you- me too! Collage is an interesting medium and doing so with maps has really put me in an interesting place mentally-- from reminiscing about familiar locations to thinking about the topography of a given area--- it's been a nice journey so far :)

  2. These are very impresive. Have you come across an artist called Jill Berry? I went to her week long workshop earlier this year. She makes collage art using and making maps. She recently put a book out.