Monday, May 30, 2011

The Versatile Blogger

The Versatile Blogger Award

Rule #1  
Thank the person who gave you your award and link them back to your post.
Thank you to Anne Farrell from Use Your Coloured Pencils for nominating me for this award!  I love knowing that people are looking at my blog and are hopefully finding inspiration from it. 

Rule #2 
Tell us seven things about yourself. 
1.  I am from New York, live in Rhode Island and work in Massachusetts.
2.  I have three cats, Miles, Fisher and Sophie.
3.  I like attending arts and craft fairs and enjoy buying art from local artists, especially jewelry.
4.  I love to travel and have been all over the USA and Europe as well as Costa Rica and Buenos Aires.
5.  I read a lot and am most interested in fiction.
6.  I took private art lessons from June, a truly fantastic woman who taught me most of what I know about art.
7.  My sister Amanda is my best friend, she works in publishing. 

Rule #3 
Award ten recently discovered bloggers.   
Here are ten art teaching blogs that I enjoy.  
We Heart Art  
Teach Kids Art 
One Crayola Short 
Ms. Julie's Art School 
BlueMoon Palette 
Art For Small Hands  

Rule #4 
Contact these bloggers and let them know they've received their award.  
Will do!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Warm and Cool Colored Umbrellas

April showers bring May flowers!  Kindergarteners painted umbrellas with warm colors and raind drops with cool colors.  They traced the shape of the umbrellas from patterns, cut them out and glued everything together.  They were encouraged to create unique designs and patterns.

Crouching Tigers

Students looked at the jungle paintings of Henri Rousseau and Pierre Maxo.  I showed them how to draw a tiger step by step (tiger instructions were borrowed from  They drew and colored them in one class.  The second week we read "Rumble in the Jungle" and discussed what you might see in a jungle- plants, insects, animals...  On a seperate piece of paper students traced the shape of tall grass.  They then used oil pastels to add jungle details.

Me and My Shadow

First graders made self-portraits including their shadows.  We started by reading Dr. Seuss's "The Shape of Me".  They were given a 6 x 18" piece of paper that they folded in half.  I gave them a generic person shape to trace with the feet touching the fold of the paper.  Then we talked about how to draw different facial features and details to make a drawing that looked like them.  Once their self-portrait was drawn and colored students cut out their people keeping the paper folded.  They then opened their paper and colored their shadows black.  The kids really enjoyed this lesson.

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Art Work

I wish I could say that I was more productive when it came to my own art making but this fall I took a watercolor class at the Danforth Museum in Framingham, MA that turned out to be a really great experience.  I had never really used watercolors before and I found them to be a struggle at first.  I am really happy with some of the paintings I created and would like to share them here. 

RISD Museum

One of the current shows up at the RISD museum is called Collision and it is very cool.  The way the artists use their materials is very inspiring.  There was a lot of great texture and some very creative use of pipe cleaners!  It was a really fun show with lots to look at.

Fuller Craft Museum

Fuller Craft Museum is a fantastic museum and if you have access to Brockton you should go check it out ASAP!  Over my April vacation I saw and incredible show there with my fellow art teacher friend.  Here are some highlights- there were so many!

                                                                        Furniture Divas

It is amazing what people are capable of creating!

Tunnel Books

Tunnel Book- Pages of a tunnel book have cutouts, that allow the reader to look through the holes to the subsequent pages all the way to the back of the book. It is bound with two concertina spines placed on opposite sides of the book. Pages are attached to both concertinas. (Google Dictionary)

I loved this lesson!  This is the first time I tried making tunnel books with my 5th graders and I loved the results!  I tried to break it down into the easiest way possible- if you want further details contact me but I will post more soon.  Students made three layers- a flat background and a frame for the middleground and foreground.  They had to choose a theme to base their tunnel book on and had a worksheet to sketch ideas for each layer.

Arts Night

I work at two elementary schools and this month they each had their Arts Night.  It is a lot of work but the results are really worth it.  This year It was artist's choice but in the future I would like to choose one project per class.  I think part of the key to a successful show is large noticeable labels (class, student name).

Value Shelves

Prior to this lesson we did some value exercises.  We folded our paper into four squares.  We traced a smaller square of card board in the corner of each square and connected them with diagonal lines.  We mixed different shades of gray by adding little dabs of black to small cups of white paint.  We started with a light gray on the bottom of the shelf then added more black to mix a medium gray for the side and mixed a darker gray for the back of the shelf.  While the shelves were drying students drew and colored objects to cut and glue onto them.  Students were asked to think about the size or proportion of the object to the shelf.

**TIP- When I do color mixing or tinting in a lesson I like to give students a small cup (ketchup sized?) of white paint into which they mix the other color.

Updated Thiebaud

Here is a different version of a Wayne Thiebaud project.  We specifically looked at his cakes and discussed what types of 3D shapes we saw (cylinder, triangular prism...) as well as his straightforward compositions- rows with shadows and a blank background.  I showed students how to draw a 3D cake slice and a 3D cake with a slice missing.  I showed them step by step (and provided some oval tracers) and then supplied them with the same instrucions written/drawn out as a reminder.  They did a great job with these!  We used oil pasted to draw details and painted in the larger areas with tempera cakes.

Dale Chihuly

Over the past two months I have had the opportunity to see some really great art shows!  Right now the MFA in Boston has a fabulous Dale Chihuly exhibit up.  For those of you who are not familiar with him he is a very well known glass blower.  Here is a sample of some of his works from the show.  Just stunning!