Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Crayon Art by a Duluth Artist

On our recent trip to Duluth, Minnesota I was able to meet a wonderful artist, Kristina Nelson in her studio. 

The first day, I was able to look into her shop through the windows.   The next day I went back and she was actually working on her latest piece.  It was a real treat to see her creating at the easel.   

Kristina, the artist and her Grandpa with his portrait
She had some heavyweight tan paper and she was blocking in her subject.  I noticed some polyester quilt batting that was sitting beside her work area.  So I asked her how she used it.  I found out that Kristina ... " uses the quilt batting to brush off the drawing as she colors because little bits of crayons break off as she colors. The quilt batting wipes them away - keeping her drawing surface clean.  She also uses the quilt batting to shine the drawings when they are completely finished.  Finally, she uses the quilt batting to clean her crayon tips."

With my quilting interest, I always have plenty of extra batting on hand in the scrap box!  I think it would be fun to try her methods on my own.  I even think most of my students in 5th or 6th grade might have enough patience to practice her blending techniques with me in a drawing unit. 

I really loved the artist's versatility in her subject matter.  She is able to stylize flowers and animals and in other pieces she may depict them very realistically.  All her pieces have a very full range of palette colors.  The unusual thing about the way she layers the crayon wax is that the colors have a wonderful depth.  It is nearly like one would achieve in oil paint!  The color glows from within.

"Going North" by Kristina Nelson

I'd like to direct you to her website where she has been keeping an archive of her work so that you can experience her variety of subjects.  It's amazing to know that she does her work with waxy kid's crayons, namely Crayola or RoseArt brands!  If you are interested to see more photos of her working in her studio  there are some on file with the Duluth News Tribune.  I like to scroll through those to gain an insight to her unique methods.
A most ordinary art material, made extraordinary by Kristina Nelson!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Quilts on Barns

Goddard Barn quilt Kentucky photo by Chris Breeze  (everystockphoto)
I've been hearing more and more about rural communities getting excited about revamping barns and having 8 foot by 8 foot quilt paintings created to hang on the exteriors to beautify the architecture and create tourism.  I am looking into this subject more because of my own interest and because I think it may be a nice way to connect to an art lesson for this fall.

Last week in our local paper a nearby community was recognized for it's barn quilt fame.  It all started as a personal interest of one person but it grew on the community and so many more people became involved as the project gained fame.  Rosemary of  Rosemary's Blog has written a lovely post about several of the quilts on the barns near me in Caledonia Minnesota.  I also have a friend that is going to loan me the calendar that was published last year as a fundraiser for the Chamber of Commerce.  If time allows, I'll take a little drive there myself to do a little photo shoot to get some good reference photos for the kids to use.  If I happen to see new calendars, I'll pick a few of those up too. 

Here is a link to the article that I noticed in the La Crosse Tribune. 

I'd like to create a power point presentation with photos of barns around the state.  Wisconsin certainly has some interesting ones.  I know that the southeastern side of the state also has many barns with the quilt designs.  It might be fun to connect the students with the blog that Jen writes as she specializes in drafting patterns for the barn quilts she photographs. 

Quilt Patch Barn photo by designatednaphour (everystockphoto)
Although it might be nice to do a full color piece with the barn quilt, I am also thinking it may show emphasis if we rendered the barn in strong values of black, white, and gray and did the quilt design in vivid color.  Wouldn't that be spectacular?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Working at the Easel

Working at the Easel
Originally uploaded by quilterinagarden
After discussing two different reading assignments, we got down to the business of creating at the easel. Livi and I talked about her doll collection and her wonderful pets and she decided to do a painting of her bunny. She and her family rescued it from the humane society. She worked most of the afternoon and was able to finish it the same day she started. She is an awesome little artist!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Clearing the Classroom Clutter

Now that my classroom floor has been waxed, I've been working to put my room back in shape.  I have thrown things that I don't need anymore into the dumpster and have been trying to organize the things that I think are important to have out and available. 

I also had a good day with a bulletin board idea that I put up today too.  I will have to get a picture of it tomorrow.  My inspirational word for the students this year will be:  COLLABORATE.  I found some really awesome lion fabric, were the lions are lying in the grass and they look like they are consulting with one another. 

Our open house seems to be earlier in the week that usual.  That will take place next Tuesday already.   We have 4 days of school in-service times that same week, so the room must really be whipped into shape this week!