Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Spider Bling

These are spider ring bling. We did these at a Halloween party the other day. The idea came from the beadyeyedbrat Halloween pages online. First painted with acrylic paint, and then sprinkled or dipped in glitter. (A spritz of sealer after the paint dries will keep down "glitter dust".) Jewels, sequins, beads were added with a tacky glue dot ~ (it helps to have a tweezer and a steady hand for the smallest ones).
These are some big spiders that came in the plastic assortment; they're about 3-4 inches from tip to tip though they look smaller in this picture than the rings. Tiny dots of color and decoration can be added with a 3D paint like Scribbles. One could also apply the baubles with one of those fancy tools that heat already-applied adhesive on the back of the jewels. Could also use glitter glue, and I might try a bit of gold-leafing today!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Can this tree be saved?

Can this tree be saved? When we bought this lot about 6 years ago... this tree was one of the reasons we bought it. It is a huge, magnificent red oak tree. There was another oak tree that was even bigger, but it was, unfortunately, right in the middle of the lot and had to be cut down to build the house. This one was actually too close to the house, but the builder moved the house over and forward as much as he could to try and spare it. And we thought it worked. It's been doing well until this year. Now several branches are dead or dying, and dried leaves are strewn all over the lawn and gardens. I don't know what happened. If it is something called oak wilt, it is just a matter of weeks until it's all over, according to what I've read online. Could it be something else?

Update: The tree did have oak wilt and had to be cut down. Red oaks are particularly susceptible. We have white oaks in the yard as well, and the most magnificent of those also succumbed to oak wilt in 2010. The one pictured here was named Genevieve and was to be the site of a planned tree house. Of course, it was only in the planning stages and probably wouldn't have made it past the neighborhood association rules and regs. (The kind of tree house I had in mind is the kind with climate and insect control.)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Owl Post

Take an plush owl. This one happens to be an Audobon Great Horned Owl. About 5 inches tall. (It also has a recorded "hoot" that plays when you press its abdomen...) Write a note, roll it up and enclose it, along with some glow-in-the-dark stars, in a "baby soda bottle" (a 2 liter bottle before it is blown up). Tie it securely to the owl's leg, attach a label and postage, and mail it to your kid at camp!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Altered Surplus Library Books - Main College of Art

Susan Winn - "Field of Greens"

A Maine College of Art collaboration with the Portland Public Library produced a collection of altered books created from library castoffs. Most of the books are available for checkout at the library and through interlibrary loan.

View a gallery of images of Altered Books

The books are listed in the library catalog with descriptions and are available for checkout!

Friday, February 24, 2006

International Night Table Decorations

Students are coloring the multicultural designs with Sharpie markers (a happy discovery was that the Sharpies did not dissolve the toner on the transparencies), gluing them with a glue stick onto the metallic paper, and then gluing tissue paper scraps to the back. I glued them back-to-back with a piece of cardstock to keep them stiff, and hotglued the skewer into the sandwich. Then hotglue the skewer into a paper-covered tube (3 juice can lids glued to the bottom keep it from rolling) with a model magic bead that has been pressed into a texture sheet and painted gold to keep it steady.

The first one is done. Nine more to go...

Another 60 Books Project Page

This was a really BIG book, maybe 15 inches tall. A bit intimidating because there was so much to fill. The other entries (3 others) were done on 8.5x11 paper and then glued into the book. Decided to paint this time...

I began with whatever acrylic paint that wasn't completely dried up in the jar... found a dark blue and purple lumiere and added a stainless steel color. After painting the whole page I stamped into the wet paint with a foam design stamp over the whole page. Unsure about what to do next, but sure that I wanted to get it done that afternoon since the book was already 4 days overdue and time is money...

After the paint dried, got out this new set of Souffle pens that are supposed to dry slightly embossed and opaque. I just decided to play around with symbols (thinking about Paul Klee, science fiction, runes, petroglyphs and heiroglyphs ...) and filled the whole page with mostly made-up symbols. Fun, even though the paper wasn't the sort that would make the pen marks 3D.

Monday, February 20, 2006

From the Archives: Peacock Painting

I can't remember if there was a book associated with this project, but I do remember that I brought in some peacock feathers and showed them lots of pictures. It might have been before or after a unit about Indian shadow puppets. I think this is grades one and two.
Marshmallows, regular and miniature, were used for the printing of the eyes of the feathers.

Painting the birds took one art session, and then the feather eyes and glitter the next week.
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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Paul Klee Inspired Planet Symbols

This lesson plan is from SchoolArts magazine. After learning about the art of Paul Klee (we used the Mike Venezia book) and talking about some of the important elements... use of color, symbols, abstractions... students made a mixed-media (black paint, oil pastels or watercolor) work using scientific planet symbols as an inspiration. After a review of color theory, students chose a monochromatic, analogous, or complementary (or a combination) color scheme.

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More Klee inspired abstracts & display

I put these up with a key to the planet symbols on a strip of paper on either side. I see lots of students passing by trying to figure which symbols are which in the artwork. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Handcarved Stamps for Center

These were all carved very quickly - an hour or so one night in preparation for the opening of a mini-printmaking center the next day at school. I had a bunch of dollar store erasers from long ago (I don't think they make them anymore) and they are a dream to carve. Nothing drawn in advance, though I did mark the center or divide the stamp into quarters with a pencil. Simple but great fun.

The 3 stamps in the background were used in the repeat patterns below. If you match up the edges, (I marked them for students with a permanent marker on the sides of the stamps), new designs emerge from the edges and at the corners of the prints from the positive and negative shapes in the stamps.

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Milk Filter Jellyfish

This is how the jellyfish begin... with a huge milk filter from Farm and Fleet. Lay it on the table, spray with water, and then students paint with liquid watercolors. (Most of the filter should be painted. If not, encourage artists to add more. Can also spray with water again and have students hold the filter up and tilt it so that the watercolor spreads)...

Carry it to another counter to add glitter paint (Sargent brand - a tinted transparent base with fine glitter. I add water to thin it some). Watch that young artists don't get carried away and mix all the colors...

Then to the drying rack. When painting and drying, there shouldn't be any paper underneath, which will drink up all the color on the filter. Sometimes I have the students take a monoprint with the paint that's underneath the filter, depending on how many are waiting their turns.
The next week, when the assembly takes place, I do a digital slide show and share a bit of info about jellyfish: no eyes - no brains - no bones - and etc. Posted by Picasa

Milk Filter Jellyfish II

The final steps: (Warning! At this point jellyfish for the masses becomes labor intensive. I do this for 2 classes of about 23 K's. If you don't have lots of prep time or if you choose to do this for more classes you will want help!). Prior to class cut slits for stapling and tentacles 4 or so at a time using a template. Staple each circle into a bowl shape using an electric stapler. Refold crepe paper (the kind that is like yardage) so that it will fit in a paper cutter and cut strips. Unwind and cut several strips at a time into 3rds or 4ths. Before or during class pinch the center of the bowl and use a 1/8" hole punch for string handle. Thread a tapestry needle (long piece of yarn to do several at a time) and sew through the holes, cut off a length and tie. (Students older than 6 could do some of the above themselves.) Kinders will put a crepe paper strip through each slit at the edge of the bowl shape and glue the end down inside the jellyfish body.

The milk filter jellyfish!
Before we start putting these together, I show a digital slide collection of jellyfish pictures and share the following facts:
Jellyfish are not fish.
They do have a jellylike substance between two skins, an inner skin and an outer skin. Their bodies are a bell or umbrella shape.
They are about 95% water.
Jellyfish have no bones, no head, no brain, no heart, no eyes or ears.
They do have a nervous system. They breathe through their skin. They can react to light and smell and touch. They have a mouth, and tentacles that have poisonous cells. The poison helps them to capture prey.
Jellyfish have been around for more than 650 million years. They are found in almost all the oceans of the world.
They are invertebrates (no backbone) and are related to sea anemones and coral (creatures that sting and have a mouth in the center of their bodies surrounded by tentacles)
Jellyfish drift with the currents, but they do have a ring of muscles that contract to expel water from the umbrella-like body, and that will move them up or down in the water.
Some jellyfish are harmful to humans, but not all of them.
There are animals that eat jellyfish, like sea turtles. Some people also like to eat jellyfish.
Jellyfish range in size from about 1 inch to 7 feet. The tentacles can be up to 120 feet long.
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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Picture Book Inspiration

Some of my favorite lessons began with a picture book, especially for the younger grade levels, K-3.

Kindergarten/First grade gadget prints & collage

Kindergarten resist painting and drawing.

What a great story to read out loud! The boots were made by cutting out templates of an assortment of fancy footwear, adding design elements and patterns with sharpie and crayon, and a watercolor resist. The backgrounds are drawn in sharpie markers and colored with chalk. These are third grade artworks.

Kindergarten explores color mixing and mouse-making.

Glue & Chalk Tropical Fish

These are 2nd and 3rd grade tropical fish (observational drawing from photographs) that were drawn first on black (18x24 paper), then the lines were traced in white glue. The blended colors are done in chalk.