Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Reclaim the Coloring Book

We all remember the days (perhaps not that long ago) where we would color for hours in our coloring book. We'd make one for each of our family members to hang on the fridge and it would be a badge of honor to see our hard work displayed. If you're like me, this could still be a favorite activity to unwind with, but for most of us we left our coloring days long ago. 

Well I'm here to reclaim the coloring book and I am not alone. Adult coloring books are all the rage right now. I definitely picked one up and so should you! 

I've also been reclaiming the coloring book page in the classroom for many years. I've found it's a really great alternative to value scales and the traditional cone/sphere/cube shading exercises. I've used coloring pages with all grades and even some adults. My students always ask for more and even bring in their own coloring book pages FULLY SHADED! I'm tellin' you, it's like I'm tricking them into learning they have so much fun. 

I alway pick a theme and right now (so close to October) we are shading Halloween/Monster pages. Each one is a half sheet. 

These are the unaltered coloring pages. I simply found them with a Google search and made sure they were for free use. There are TONS out there! I talk about light source, overlapping/cast shadows, gentle transitions between values, rounded surfaces, the whole gamete that makes up the intricacy of shading and then it's dive in and practice! Here are some completed examples:

Right now my classes are pretty focused on colored pencil but I've used coloring pages for pen, pencil, oil pastel, paint mixing, texture and so many other artsy fun techniques. The possibilities are endless. Have the students fill them in with Zentangles or paper collage on top! Whatever it is I promise students will A. learn and B. have a blast. 

Thanks for stopping in!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Collectively Creative

If you have a principal like mine, two days into the new school year they're already asking, "so when are we getting some art up in the hallways?". Although I enjoy that art is wanted and encouraged in the hallway, I get a little WAHHHHHH with the idea of having something up almost immediately.

So this year I took on the challenge and I did it! I got art in the hallway four days into school and it was great! The hallways are so colorful and now we can take our time getting new projects ready for the next display.

Now I have to admit I stole the idea from another blog (check it out here) but let's be honest, some of our best ideas are stollen and adapted. So, here's what we did. Each student (roughly 320) was given 1/4 of a circle. They could get as creative as possible and use a bunch of different supplies. Only one challenge, they had ONE forty minute class to accomplish their masterpiece.

 Here is the stack starting to pile high. As you can see from the top one, there were definitely some students who didn't really DIVE in to the exercise. This left me with some extras for students to help me finish when they finished early.

Here's what I did:
     -Draw a large circle on 18x18 paper
     -Cut each sheet into 9x9 squares
     -Set out whatever 2D materials you don't               mind the students using (I wouldn't
      recommend paint) I had markers, crayons             and oil pastels.

That's it! How easy is that! This was perfect for getting students use to class routines and getting the creative juices flowing.

I went a little overboard with my 3D students. I felt a bad having them not do 3D but also wanted them to participate, so left over scraps of "junk" came in handy! Check out the creativity!

Really loving this student group's use of repetition :)

The students really had a fun time with this and I was able to stop them to correct routiney (making words up) behaviors without spending too much time away from the project. That's what I call a win-win. Check out the final display, along with some of my favorite combinations. 

The display spans three walls! SO MUCH ART :) !

Hope you enjoyed and thanks for stopping in!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Mile of Music: Mile 3

Art is flowing through Appleton! Mile of Music was a weekend for the record books, filled with talented artists and musicians to spare. 

Mile of Music is a handcrafted artisan festival held in the great city of Appleton, Wisconsin. This year, Mile 3, featured 200 original artist performing over 800 shows and was attended by over 50,000 people! I was one of them and these are the highlights from my weekend in one great place.

In my personal opinion the BEST part of Mile 3 was the Feather and Bone gallery "Houdini in Art". This was the second year that Feather and Bone put on a pop-up gallery just for The Mile. Thirty or so artists were chosen to display artwork inspired by native Appletonian Harry Houdini. I was honored to be one of these artists. It was one of the first times I've had my artwork displayed and I was honored to grace the walls with many a talented artist.

Photo by: Graham Washatka
Pardon my face

The gallery also was home to some talented gents. Henry from "Henry's Like New Buff & Shine" brought some old world charm to the space. He was there daily shining shoes and looking dapper. He's a former student of mine which made it extra special to see a talented young entrepreneur enjoying local art. 

My husband getting a quick shine

Setting up a photo studio in the upstairs part of the gallery was the ever talented Dave Jackson of "Jackson&Co". All Mile long, Dave and his ever so handsome producer (my husband) Adam offered professional portraits for all the musicians performing at Mile of Music. I had the pleasure of observing Dave and Adam as they created stunning photographs. Plus I got to meet musicians! 

In the studio with Swear & Shake

In the studio with Hello Death

In the studio with Chris Gold and The New Old Things
(yes that is my husband. He's the drummer!) 

Extra special pop-up performance from Suitcase Junket

I also had the honor to help set up both the gallery and Dave's photo space. I guess our mile was a little longer :)

Photo by: Graham Washatka
One 10 ft. carnival barker in the entry space: CHECK

One "Come One, Come All" window in the entry space: CHECK

One sandwich board for street advertising: CHECK

As you can see my weekend (and longer) was FILLED with art of all fashions, which for an art teacher is basically a dream. But what about the music? It was Mile of Music after all. There was definitely plenty of that! College Ave (where the Mile took place) was packed everyday, even in the rain. As you navigated through the crowd you could feel the excitement and hear the music. There were many great performers but here are a few that I got to see and enjoy;

The Crane Wives a personal favorite of mine! The Crane Wives are from Grand Rapids, Michigan and they kill the crowds with indie-folk-rock.

North by North from Chicago, Illinois filled the space with intricately written songs. They tore the roof off the place!

Chris Gold and The New Old Things from Appleton, Wisconsin. With a lead singer that was known as "the marathon man" during the festival for playing a whopping 18 shows during Mile 3, this band was on everyones must see list! With my husband being the drummer I've seen this band many a time, but I just can't get enough. They play some darn good tunes my friends. 

Porky's Groove Machine from Appleton, Wisconsin. I dare you not to move to their big band, funky style. 

Hello Death from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This quartet will fill your soul with haunting melodies and you'll love it.

Corey Chisel and the Wandering Sons from Appleton, Wisconsin. A local legend, Cory was crucial in handcrafting the passed three Mile of Music festivals. He filled every venue he played and everyone left feeling a little better about life. Thanks to Cory for all the hard work you put in to making Mile 3 so successful. 

Other amazing artists (not pictured) that I had the pleasure of seeing included;

-Swear and Shake from Nashville, Tennessee. These guys (and lady) have played with some big names and it's no wonder why. Their songs make everyone stop and listen 

-Suitcase Junket from Amherst, Massachusetts. My dear god this man knows how to play a tune. He just a man with a microphone, a junk-set and whole load of talent. His songs gave me chills they were so good. 

So all and all, Mile of Music was well....AMAZING!!! We all had so much fun and can't wait till next year's "Mile 4". If you are feeling a little jealous and would like to join next year, mark your calendars! 

I leave you with a few extra shots from this year's Mile...Thanks for stopping in and I hope to see you all at Mile of Music 2016
Enjoying the photo space with some silly friends.

Catching some music with my teacher buddies.

Laughing with Alex as she danced with strangers

Live music with this beautiful gal.

Cory Chisel helping me fill in my daily sketch!

Friday, July 24, 2015

So You're Teaching Summer School?

Are you missing your classroom and your kiddos one week after school is out? Then you might consider teaching Summer School! Did I convince you? Well if you do choose to teacher a few summer classes then here is some advice from me to you. 


Of course some planning is required, but the less stress you put yourself through the more you'll enjoy the short days and the fun environment Summer School can be. 

Now when it comes to planning, Pinterest and blogs are definitely the number one step. If you're like me, you might get frustrated with the "best-case-scenario" photos that Pinterest is filled with. Colorful monsters cut perfectly, picture frames ready to sell on Etsy and a parade of messy painting ideas that look effortless. As Art teachers we know that this is a charade. I'm here to give you some SIMPLE  project ideas with REAL examples created by kiddos from grades 2-6. Here we go....

Beaded Wind Chimes: Very simple to make! All you'll need is paper cups, string, beads, assorted charms, and a hole punch. This project took my students one and a half hours to make and get this....THEY WORK!!!

Charms and Other Beads: My kiddos FLIPPED over this project! We used Polymer Clay (available at any crafts store) and they made whatever they wanted. My personal favorite was the food related charm set. To bake them I took them home in labeled muffin pans. I had 40 kids and each made about 10 charms/beads. The whole cooking process took me 20 minutes tops! 

Shooting Stars: We did this craft for 4th of July, but a lot of kiddos opted to make rainbow or traditional shooting starts. The materials are popsicle sticks (mine were pre-colored), ribbon/yarn/string,  and glitter/gems (optional). To put together we used tape and a little hot-glue. Very simple!

Paper Hand Puppets: Alright this one does need a little extra help from Pinterest. Click here for the folding instructions. Once folded students cut scraps to make animals, monsters and a whole bunch of other creative puppets! 

Now these are just some of the kiddo's personal favorites, but there are lots more ideas out there. Just remember; Pinterest pictures don't always tell the whole story, keep the planning simple and of course let the fun fly!

Hope you enjoyed and thanks for stopping in!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Art Show!!

The past two years I've created a video to help promote the school wide Art Show. Last year I had some help from my videographer husband, but this year I rocked it solo! Check it out!

Hope you enjoyed and I hope your shows go well!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Playing Cards and This Week's Sketches

Alright I know you've all heard of "Artist Trading Cards" but have you heard of "Artist Playing Cards"? Well I stumbled upon this really awesome set of playing cards. Each of the 55 cards is created by a talented contemporary artist, compiled together into one awesome set. They just came out with a another! If you haven't heard of this click here. On the website you can view each card and read a little about the artist that made them. Let's get out there and order some decks!

My kiddos had so much fun exploring all the cards and then they got the chance to make their own! We threw in a little on colored pencil shading, symmetry and other fun artsy concepts. I have big plans to expand and make a full set of 55 cards! How fun would this be as a fundraiser?

Do you all have the same anime obsessed kiddos I do? 

Also, just in case you're playing along. Here are my first 7 sketches for the month of May. I can't believe it's May already! Days are ticking by and still so much fun to be had in the Art room!