Monday, June 28, 2010

4 Seasons

I may use these seasonal pieces of work in some collages that I plan on doing. I'd like to incorporate them as part of the background with a series of portraits that I'd like to paint.

Originally these were trading card sized pieces of art, so they were very small at 2 1/2 inches x 3 1/2 inches. At one time I did have the summer piece printed into some notecards.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Four Seasons

Here's a fun photo effect I found on the website Photofunia. I entered a photo of a drawing that I had on my desk from this school year and this is how it looks on the pastel easel.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My Summer Plans at School

During the school year it has been very rewarding to work with so many different sections for art instruction. Our largest homerooms were even divided into half sized groups. It became necessary to do this for the children to have computer class. There wouldn't have been enough computers to seat the entire class in the lab. It was just as easy to have them in smaller groups for art too. I was able to give so much more individual attention to my 5th and 6th graders.

Each year I've also had the responsibility of teaching reading and language arts, and spelling to special needs students. Over the years I have had several students come to me for these special lessons. This last year I worked with 2 autistic boys. Most of the time they received separate instruction as one would come in for 40 minutes and the other would follow for the next 40 minutes. Usually on Wednesdays we had our lesson together and it worked out very well. Much to the surprise of myself and other staff members, I think it was beneficial to the boys to help them with social skills and interaction. They developed some skills at asking and answering questions when we played some question games. They had a good time swatting spelling word cards for learning their weekly lists. It was just awesome to see them take turns with reading from leveled readers and they actually followed along and were ready to take over when it was their turn to read. I was so pleased with how the year went.

Now that summer is here I look forward to seeing my very special friend for her reading and language lessons. Anna is such a delightful young girl. She cracks me up most of the time and keeps me very happy. Her challenge is that she is a young girl with Down Syndrome. She was a student at our school for grades 1 - 6. Last year was her final year of being enrolled with us. She has had 1 year of homeschooling for her 7th grade year. I will meet with her and her mom this coming Monday. So I've been gathering up some books and a journal for our first lesson. Her mother clued me into the fact that she had a hard time motivating her to do reading orally, so I am expecting some resistance. I hope I will be able to offer drawing and art activities as a reward for getting back to her doing the reading and writing in a journal. Last year she had so much fun making little quilts so perhaps we can do more of that this summer.

I am anticipating a good start with a brand new student this summer as well. Her first day with me will be on Wednesday. I understand that she is a talented artist and reads 2 grade levels beyond her classmates. She is a 3rd grader and has been challenged with Aspergers syndrome. I hope to get her involved with making collages of her very interesting drawings. I think we will be sealing them onto a hand painted canvas. I hope to hit it off well with her for our first meeting. I think we'll be concentrating on the art with a little work on the reading. I plan to get some of my materials at the website called Reading A- Z.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Assembly of our Butterfly Mural

I wanted to share with you more details about our mural process with Kathy Barbro's butterfly mural.

The children arrived in homeroom groups and I had a total of 6 groups. I estimate that there were about 125 children. Adding the color went very well. We used Crayola oil crayons this time. They worked fine and blended into the card stock just fine. I do prefer the Portfolio oil crayons for their ease of use. They are so much softer and creamier. However, being the end of the year our gold wrapped ones were in short supply.

Because the children were at the mural station for only 25 minutes the time went by rapidly. I gave each group a little run down of what we were doing and had specific goals in mind on which each group could focus. For example, the first group worked with just warm colors and did spots of the butterfly. The second group also did warm colors for the spots on the panels that hadn't been started yet. By the time the third group got there, we were ready for the introduction of the areas between the spots. For that we tried to blend in just cool colors. At this time we talked about doing the outline and the segmented body with a blend of the cool colors and touches of black to create a shade. By the fifth and sixth group, we were ready to do the fingerprinting and small swirls or spiral shapes in the background. I tried to encourage the children to use the hues of the color wheel, rather than neutrals for the background. I had to say "Avoid black brown and gray!!!" a few times.

Organizing was important to do between the groups. We put away the oil crayons before the next group entered and to stack all the like pieces of the butterfly into 3 piles. We collected the panels that were completely wings, partial backgrounds with wings, and only background. That worked well so that I could hand out the sheets for more oil crayon or marker work.

I wish I had thought to take photos of us while we were involved. Sadly, I was much too into the process and only thought of it after we were all done for the day. Next time a mural is on schedule, I will have the camera in my hand! I really liked the switch to the softer print from coloring fingertips with marker ink and stamping them on the white negative space. The band instructor commented that it already was starting to look like Seurat's work! I don't know how I really feel about the swirls though. That may get a little out of control when everyone's idea of a swirl is a bit different and more importantly the size is a bit harder to regulate.

Children in the last group helped lay out the panels in the correct numerical order. We all were delighted to see the image come together.

After the children were gone I trimmed up two edges with the rotary paper cutter. I was careful to align it with the dotted marks. Next I used Tacky Glue to assemble a row at a time, then lastly I joined the rows.

I guess I prefer the glue to masking tape so that it stays together for more than one display. I also thought that it might be easier to line up the design with the art facing right side up.

Lastly, as a museum touch, I painted the outer border with a gold acrylic. Voila, a beautiful garden butterfly!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Butterfly Mural

My students recently worked on our own version of this butterfly mural. Shown above is Kathy Barbro's sample butterfly for her mural. This is the second mural we have ordered from her wonderful blog. For just 5 dollars and some oil crayons and a bit of marker ink, our school was able to create a lovely and quite large masterpiece. I will be proud to hang it up in the hall for the start of next school year.
I have been wanting the chance to do another mural with my students anyway and this was the perfect opportunity. I ordered up one of Kathy Barbro's murals. I opted to have us work on the large butterfly. I realize that earlier I wrote that we'd do Seurat's Sunday Afternoon, but I think we need a bit more practice before we attempt it in the way I have planned. I saw the open background in the butterfly and right away I knew it would be the perfect place to practice enlarged pointillism.

I was able to use the help of everyone in grade 3 - 5 this time. Our 6th graders were already dismissed for the summer, so they were not involved in our last day of school activities.

With rain in the forecast for our last day of school the teachers voted to have our field day of games indoors this year. It worked out well. No one had to get wet walking over to a neighboring school and we didn't have to dash indoors if we were out on the playground or the grass and a downpour occurred. Additionally, we saved the money on hiring buses.

Various different stations of games and activities were set up in classrooms and throughout other areas of the school. A schedule of rotation for the groups was quickly drafted up and we were having a very smooth and fun 3 hours. The children were excused before lunch and their vacation began.

Tomorrow I will write more about our methods and have some photos as I piece the mural together.