Tag Archives: fall

A Beautiful Day for a Stroll in the Garden

I’m just going to post pics of the lovely Jardin des Martels. We spent hours wandering the many gardens, including water gardens and an animal farm.

Welcomed by dancing water.

Welcomed by dancing water.

Yellow fall color is strong against fading purple blooms.

Yellow fall color is strong against fading purple blooms.

Purple surviving in the shade. This palette really seems French to me!

Purple surviving in the shade. This palette really seems French to me!

I offer more garden photos here, to reduce the homepage load time, a little anyway:

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Fall Tradeoffs

Back in Kansas, we had become accustomed to some pretty dramatic fall displays. Sure, it was no New England, but especially compared to mild Texas, the colors were dramatic. (Georgia actually gave us the best of both worlds: striking color and mild winters).

Here, fall has arrived, but more like central California. I am hoping this temperate autumn and mostly green surroundings will mean winter isn’t bad at all. And you can still find signs of fall…

The scene from my living room window. The warm yellow of that neighbor makes my day on sunny mornings!

A typical French cyclist along the avenue.

These are the most abundant fall color.

There’s a little yellow out there, too. See how all the tips are turning yellow?

The flowers planted along the streets are actually doing better now that it’s fall, also reminiscent of central California.

It’s the cloudy season, apparently. I’m getting juuuuust enough sunshine to get me through each week. If I don’t have to hibernate away my winter with blue extremities, I’ll call it a good trade.


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Troubles with “leaving” my work at work?

Perhaps it’s the way snowfall (even computer generated) makes everything seem so quiet and muffled, but it has definitely been quiet here on the ol’ blog. Mostly, this is because I have been crazy busy. I spent about 20 hours a week of my December wrapping gifts at an upscale department store. Combined with Bible Study Fellowship responsibilities and teaching art at school and to homeschoolers, I’ve been busy. The blog definitely took a back seat.

a home demonstration of my mad wrapping skills, from practicing 4-6 hours a day

My daughter noted that, in my increasingly busy state, I had overlooked posting her favorite fall project, the perspective blowing leaves. This was a project my third and fourth grades did, first practicing watercolor washes and applying their knowledge of horizon line. Then they were supposed to paint a branching tempera tree near their horizon line, although one table was obviously NOT listening as we went over this part. However, we got to do some problem-solving to still achieve the objective of the lesson the next class, and that was fun and helpful. At that class we added our painted leaves in tiny, medium, and large-and-running-off-the-page, with greater detail added to the largest leaves with Sharpie. Some students had very successful projects:

4th grader

I like the random scattered-ness of these leaves, though workmanship will have room to improve

4th grader

And some in spite of overcoming their tree right in foreground…

this third grader's leaves still seem close in spite of the proximity of the tree, as they fly off the page

Some students are still growing in their concept of space, of course.

third grader

third grader

Basically, and not surprisingly, more fourth graders “got” the concepts in the lesson than third graders. I introduce horizon line, relative size, and lower and higher on the page as space concepts in first and second grades, but we really work to incorporate it more, and get into the three grounds specifically, in third and fourth grades. By the end of the year, the students who don’t really “see” it now, likely will. I love watching them grow in their perception and application!

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Filed under Art, Teaching, Third/Fourth Grade

Cubism for Kids

Here in my third year of teaching, I have only just introduced Cubism to my students, and to my younger students, at that. It is not one of my favorite schools of art, and I hadn’t really settled on how to communicate its principals. And then it struck me: PLAY! Kids relate to someone asking those “What if?” questions. They can understand someone just playing around with something, and so I took our fall inspiration to Cubism for my first through fourth grades. So after explaining Cubism’s invention as the result of a couple of artists asking those questions and playing with ideas on canvas, I introduced in Powerpoint several different Cubist artworks as examples of some of its principals. I was so thrilled when the children, instead of complaining of the strangeness of the artworks, were delighted to look for ways in which each artwork showed how the artist was playing around with the chosen element or principal.

First and Second grades then took sample leaves I had gathered that day and used them for reference in drawing contours for several overlapping leaves of their own in oil pastel. They then took straight edges and added several lines running through their artwork. They observed the colors of their fall leaves, and we began painting the shapes we had created breaking up our leaves with lines, changing color as we crossed a line. We also used a limited pallette of red and yellow, with much blending encouraged! I hoped for lots of tones of orange! I am really enjoying these.

first grader

also first grade

Third and Fourth grades needed a quick one-day version, so after the presentation I passed out stencils of fall items: leaves, turkeys, acorns. They overlapped these, colored solid in oil pastels. But then, after drawing lines through their artwork, they were to rearrange their new, broken pieces, glued as a collage on a new paper. They had a lot of fun with this, and really, that was my goal. PLAY with your art!

third grade collage

fourth grade collage


Filed under Art, First/Second Grade, Teaching, Third/Fourth Grade

Landscape with Pumpkin Patch Under Moon

I love playing with Van Gogh, especially with children, because his powerful lines and strong images are so easy to reach them with. So when I saw Katie’s fall-themed Starry Night for her scarecrow, I was inspired to try something similar with my homeschool class.  Our inspiration was “Landscape with Wheat Sheaves and Rising Moon”:

File:Landscape with wheat sheaves and rising moon.jpg

Van Gogh's "Landscape"

We used oil pastels to create our own “Landscape,” but our moons rose over pumpkin patches, with simple persepective showing size changing as we moved from foreground to midground, and attempting to show highlights and shadow relative to our light source. I think these second and third graders did a great job!





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Filed under Art, First/Second Grade, Teaching, Third/Fourth Grade

Kindergarten Fall Favorites

There are a few tried and true lessons that kinders can be counted on to really enjoy and feel successful with, and as much as I love to try new art projects, I can’t deny these fledgling artists the opportunity to crow with the sense of accomplishment. In the fall particularly, they love to tell parents “I did that!” when they draw their pumpkins after the annual pumpkin patch field trip, and when they paint their sunflowers.

I love how quickly these little ones catch on to the concept of contour lines, but this year’s kinder class was especially sharp. After I followed a glue bottle’s contour on the white board with marker and showed the result, before I even called up a student to be my next contour model, one of them cried out, “We have a contour line!” They were excited to try to transfer their perception of my pumpkin’s contour to their papers in oil pastel. This was also their first formal oil pastel project, and they were so excited to see how the colors layered and blended. This year’s class at Faith may be a rambunctious little group, but they are also excited to learn and quick to apply what they do learn. Some first pumpkins:

Homeschoolers get to draw pumpkins, too. Note that our pumpkins are still growing out of the ground, like the ones they visit on their field trip.

We also paint sunflowers. We observe real sunflowers, too, and start their centers with oil pastel. In the past, we have painted our petals, double dipping to mix our paint on the paper. This year I wanted to try something new, and tested it on my class of 5 homeschoolers first. (Poor guinea pigs.) This time I introduced spatter painting and we spattered yellow and black over our center dots. Then we glued torn tissue paper (using liquid starch) petals around our center dot, and then painted our black outline. The kids seemed to have a lot of fun, and I think their sunflowers turned out quite dramatic, but it was a MESS. The capital M kind. I’ve done all these things before, but never all on one project. I had a wonderful time and would repeat it again with any group of a half dozen or less kinders, but I do NOT plan to take it to school! Those kinders will joyfully paint their sunflowers.

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Filed under Art, Kindergarten, Teaching

Japanese Maples in progress

My husband wants me to post some of my personal art pieces in progress, as he thinks it is interesting. So here is my canvas of Japanese Maples, with just the color blocked in. I feel kind of uncomfortable showing a canvas that has just gotten started, but I love my man! I am very happy with how well the cut-up card textured the stairs.

work in progress


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I’m not sure what I am going to do with this, or how, but I am sure I want to do SOMEthing. I took my son and two of his friends to this little hole-in-the-wall park so I could photograph it in the cloudy drizzle. They rolled down the embankment (a rare topographical feature in this part of Kansas!) while I tried to get the shot I had in my mind. This one comes closest to it.

Life was pretty near perfect for that 15 minutes.

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Watercolor scribbles

Splash of Red

That’s what I am calling my new favorite style. It probably already has a name, but I don’t know what it is. This is a red oak tree down the street that I have been in awe of for two weeks now.

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Fall project models

Here are some teacher models for some of our fall projects. Of course, I don’t do models for every project, but visual learners often feel more comfortable with visual directions rather than auditory to achieve an objective (duh).

The first and second grade pumpkin patch was, first step, a lesson in horizon line and filling the page, with a fun trick of masking in watercolor thrown in. That was like magic for them, with all sorts of oohs and aahs when they pulled off their “moon” circles! The second step was a lesson in perspective through size and placement, and defining foreground, midground and background. Here we added the pumpkins and the fence. Lastly we read my new fav picture book, The Scarecrow’s Dance by Jane Yolen, and created a collage scarecrow to guard our pumpkins.

pumpkin patch 1-2

Kindergarten is doing a much simpler scarecrow collage.

Next week third and fourth grade begin this glue “batik” pumpkin as a lesson in value. They already drew their pumpkins from observation, and their sketches are posted on Artsonia. Tracing them in glue is the next step!

value pumpkin 3-4

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Filed under Art, First/Second Grade, Teaching, Third/Fourth Grade