Tag Archives: bird

Happy Birthday, DAD!

Well, actually, his birthday is tomorrow, but I mailed him his present today.

Dad's Hummer


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Filed under Art

And One You-tube Video Later…

voila! A watercolor pencil artwork:

Indigo Bunting

I think I will give it to my Dad for Father’s Day. He’s a birder. Once I caught on to how these pencils are supposed to work, I really got into it. The result truly looks like a hybrid of the two! It isn’t as fluid-looking and airy as watercolor alone, but oh! what you gain in control!
Next, my daughter requested a charcoal of her and her boyfriend. I find that intimidating, but I am game to try. I have also begun another acrylic still-life, trying to really improve with the medium, as I have a painting in my heart that I don’t believe I yet have the skills to express. Hopefully I will have those to show by next weekend!

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Filed under Art, personal

It’s Working! I Can Do It!

I am so encouraged lately! I took on this job with a plan that I believed would enable children to be more artistic and enthusiastic about art, but I had never taught art in a school setting. I didn’t KNOW that it would; I just believed in it. In teaching, and with art especially, you want to see that students are actually absorbing what you teach in such a way that they can apply it elsewhere. Really, my philosophy in art ed is to equip and empower children to express themselves visually. Sometimes it may not look like I am doing that, because my lessons may use guided drawings, a required subject or method, or very rarely, tracers or templates. Some art ed philosophies support just turning children loose to explore. I want to turn children loose within certain parameters, a fenced field as it were, to explore. And I want to train them in the use of their tools of exploration. It has been my experience that children begin to grow discouraged with their art skills somewhere around 3-5th grades. My hope is to avoid as much of that as possible, and retain and feed their enthusiasm for creating and creativity within a semi-formal art program.

This week leads me to believe I AM on the right track! I guided the first and second grades through an oil pastel of a baby penguin (all neutrals and simple shapes), first observation, then drawing.

The photo we used for our drawing.

Then I turned them loose with photos of a variety of adult penguins and told them to pick one to observe and draw. I had been told that the baby penguin drawing has shown up in chalk at recess and in free times during class, which is wonderful, of course. But I get most excited when I hear our earlier lesson on horizon line is showing up in other landscape drawings for class! And this week I got to see them take off with their own skills! Every penguin was set outdoors in a suitable environment with a horizon line, and almost every penguin is uniquely identifiable. They have come SO FAR! I am proud of them, but especially excited at how excited THEY are to find that they can look at something and reproduce it in their own way!

PLEASE check out my students’ awesome penguins at Artsonia!

Oddly enough, that sense of validation came in very handy this morning at our library’s new Kid Lit Book Club for grown-ups. We were discussing Patricia Polacco, one of my many fav children’s book authors. They showed a little video she made discussing her life and home and philosophy and such, and one of her comments was about NOT inflicting formal art programs on children. I just thought to myself, “I guess it depends on the formal art program. And on the little art student.” My kids love discovering that they can make their own colors. Or in the case of primaries, that they can’t. They were excited to realize that the sky meets the ground, and they could show that in their pictures. Almost none of them feels restricted, but rather freed! We don’t make it a bunch of rules, but rather a quest of discovery. I am loving teaching art!

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Filed under Art, Education, First/Second Grade, Teaching

Am I Converted?

Well, I’m still not a fan of clay, but I LOVE the results. You have to wait a ridiculous long time to see how a thing turns out, which makes it hard to adjust. But goodness they are beautiful! Our owls are back; our mugs are not. But best of all, the teachers’ Christmas gift birds are back! Imagine my surprise/dismay to find that I didn’t finish glazing one of the birds. How DID that happen?! I am going to try to spray it with clear enamel and see if that helps. I am such a flake!

First, my owl. I am not sure what I want to do with it. I have photos of all the 3rd and 4th graders with their owls, though, and I am going to write a thank you note to the grocery store that donated all the register tape centers that made their eyes and include the pictures. I also belatedly thought that I should have put little hangers in the backs of the owls when they were still wet clay. Also, I really liked the students’ blue-eyed owls, to my surprise. I wish I had given mine blue eyes, or at least black pupils. (Note for future such projects.)

Next the bird ornaments. I am going to get semi-sheer ribbon to thread through the holes and knot for hanging. The love birds are for the 1-2 grade teacher and her para. The star bird is for our kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Starr. 🙂 The cardinal will go to our resident enthusiastic birder, the 3-4 grade teacher. I have plans for each bird. I do think the mottled glaze works much better for owls than little wrens, though. I wish I had made it the plain brown instead. Too late now! See what I mean about waiting too long to find out how a thing will work?

Check out the student pieces in our Artsonia gallery. Theirs are in the Ceramics Gallery (which won’t be up until probably Thanksgiving).

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Filed under Art, Teaching, Third/Fourth Grade

Kinders are All Over Simple

I want the Kinders to do a cardinal picture for their Christmas/winter art. I had seen several pieces of kid-art with this theme that I liked, and cardinals are so cheery and such a fun shape. I started creating a model and realized not even halfway through that it would be a 2-lesson project, and a challenging one at that. I really do try to keep most of my Kinders’ projects at one lesson, because they have trouble quitting partway and then waiting a whole week to see it again. PLUS, they would have a 2 week wait at this point on the schedule. (The scarecrow was really two related, but discrete, lessons.)  I finished the model, and then started one that would be just the head of the cardinal, to see if I could make it a single lesson. This is the result, in oil pastel and watercolor resist, with hole-punched snowflakes on the cardinal itself. (I thought I saw a lesson like this somewhere, but now I can’t find it online.)  I am pretty sure we can do this in 30 minutes. And it will be an easier piece to focus on straight and curved lines with.

Just as a comparison, the other cardinal picture is also included. I would still like to do this with an older group this winter; maybe 1st and 2nd, as we could take two 40 minute classes.

more complex cardinal

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Filed under Art, Kindergarten, Teaching

Greenware models

Third and fourth grade owls (from Mrs. Picasso’s Art Room) are finished and almost dry. They seem to be holding up nicely! This clay is so much easier to work with and handle than the air dry stuff. The owls are now waiting for the fifth-7th grade face mugs to be completed and dry, and then I’ll run them up to the city for a first firing. Admittedly, this makes me nervous, as I pray for every piece to make it through the kiln intact! I want ALL the kids to feel successful.

These are my sample pieces as greenware. After all the pieces have been fired, glazed, and fired again, I will repost the samples, and post all the kids’ pieces on their Artsonia gallery.

greenware owl

greenware face mug

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Filed under Art, Teaching, Third/Fourth Grade