Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Clifford Ward and Indigene

Just wanted to quickly say that I now have a 4th favorite ox, "Indigene" by Clifford Ward.

I'll be honest with you, I didn't need to see this ox to know it would be amazing... Simply because it is by Clifford Ward, a Sculptor who I have had the pleasure to meet numerous times at Grounds for Sculpture (where I have worked for the past 13 years and where he has a pretty awesome studio space).
His work is incredible. Inspired by tribal designs from African, Native Americans, Aboriginal cultures. Love the high contrast designs. 
Enough ox talk for now. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cover Ox

Just had to say, "Aww, how sweet!"
I just saw the cover of this years BT school directory and it's Oxie on the cover! What a neat idea and great surprise for the day. Our PTO at Bear Tavern is so clever and creative. 
Lauren in the main office was excited to show me that on several of the pages there is a little snapshot of different parts of Oxie. 

Thanks again and again to the BTPTO for this cover spot. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Art Enrichment: Altering Maps post 2

 The altering of the maps is going along well. I am really impressed to see the creativity happening as the Art Enrichment students cut and paint and collage their maps for the backgrounds of their tree project with no limitations on what they can create.

Check out the first post on this journey here 

2014-15 Yearbook Cover Design Contest

Ooh la la... take a look at the yearbook cover entries for this year by our fabulous fifth graders!

Mrs. Prosser spent the morning hanging the entries in the display cases. 
Our school community has the next two weeks to vote for their favorite cover. Hard choice, so many great ones!!

 Here is a small, random sample of the entries

Great job 5th graders and look luck!

Update: 10/31/2014
The winning entry was cover #2 by Liam

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Best Things in Life....

Great news for our school community today. We get to keep our Ox! The 5th grade committees from 2014 and 2015 worked together to fund the generous gift. Dexter Philip Oxford, III "Oxie" went for $1,700. What a huge gift!

A colleague just texted me that we won the ox and here's my response:

I do feel pride and relief that our ox will stay at home in front of the school but more so than that, I genuinely appreciate the connectedness of those in our school community who made this happen. I felt that the gift, was already given once I knew that the 5th grade committees were planning to bid on and win the ox. 
The bigger picture, the connectedness, is the real gift for me. Knowing that the painted ox meant enough for others to bid and win this piece of sculpture for our school. It means a whole lot to me. 

The best things in life are definitely not things...the best things in life are people...it's memories and being connected with those around us.
It looks as though all of the schools will be keeping their oxen as well. Huge relief for us all!

A special thank you to the 5th grade committee and Britt Dominick for making this happen for our school. 

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....

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Grade 5 half portraits and Clean Watercolors until January 6th...

My 5th graders are doing half portraits right now that are coming out pretty neat. They are doing a great job mixing skin colors using 2 or more different combined colors. More details on this lesson soon. 

We use a lot of different types of paints throughout the year interchangeably. Liquid Watercolors are a personal favorite but we frequently use tempera cakes in two varieties, liquid tempera, acrylic, mixing mediums and watercolor palettes. 
The watercolor palettes require the highest maintenance because they are smaller, more delicate and the wells are so close together. The lids are a perfect space for mixing colors BUT you have to clean them off. Usually we use plastic paint palettes for mixing colors for this reason. If the watercolors are, well, really watery and the kids close the lids and turn them in any direction, the paint runs to the lid and all over. You get the idea. Check out Exhibit A below.....
Two of my classes are using watercolors right now. They were so excited to use the new, 16 color sets. One student gasped seeing the beautiful new colors. I showed my classes the old watercolors and then the new watercolors and we discussed how to use and care for our brand new sets. 
The biggest difference in how we're handling the watercolors is in leaving them open to dry. My quality control checkers and I can take a peek at the watercolors at the end of the period to see how clean they look or where a little bit of attention needs to be focused. We set a goal of January 6th as the date we hope to keep our watercolors in new looking condition. Why January 6? Well, one student came up with the date as it's her birthday and is a few months away. 
It's early,  but so far so good. Here are the sets after 2 weeks of use by several classes.

Communal supplies are a true lesson in care and respect. Who knows, maybe our new watercolors will continue to look so until January 7th.... :)