January 29, 2019

Black Glue Debacle

I haven't done black glue line projects in forever! I love the look, but always struggled with the glue bottles I used clogging up(I used regular glue bottles and just mixed up the paint and glue and poured it in!).  I found some bakery bottles at Dollar General the other day, and thought they might work really well for this project. They were $1.50 for two 4oz bottles.

So this morning I was excited to mix up a batch and give it a try.  I decided to use donated glue(Washable) & donated black tempera paint(Washable).  I really need to learn to do a test/sample first?!?!  I mixed up a huge cup of the mixture and poured it into the bottles I purchased.

I'm a hot mess when it comes to pouring stuff?!?!??! 

 I drew out a turtle, and traced him out.  Now I will say the glue does squeeze out generously from these bottles, but that was not the real issue.  The glue mixture seemed extremely "wet".  It started blobbing out from the initial line I drew.

When I picked it up( TRYING to keep it flat)...the black glue mixture ran.

So I mixed up enough for one bottle using REAL Elmer's glue(except no substitutes) & a good brand of black tempera paint(not washable!!!).  You can see the difference!!!  I picked up the one on the left and moved it...and it did not run at all.  So...LESSON LEARNED!!!! Use the good stuff...because you almost always will get what you paid for!! 

(Now I have to go empty the other 7 bottles and make a new batch!!!) 

January 28, 2019

Think Spring! : Kindergarten

I know we are still in the midst of winter...and many are getting hit hard with winter weather.  I am ready for brighter days & the signs of spring! My kindergarten students have been studying bugs & insects the past few weeks. We also have been looking at Radial Symmetry, Vertical, Horizontal, and Diagonal.  This project is kind of a mash-up of all these ideas! 

January 27, 2019

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Showing Joy

I find it relatively easy to depict most emotions/feelings/moods through my art.  Color, line quality, and imagery are key players in conveying the heart of a given emotion.  Sadness, anger, and fear seem to come easily. There is something universal connecting these representations with artist & onlookers.  However, creating work that truly embodies joy seems extremely challenging.  Joy goes beyond an object or individual.  Joy's color palette is greater than a few expressive colors. I feel poets & singers struggle with this as well. 
Words fall short. Yet....we continue to try.  

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9

God has done something for us that goes beyond our ability to adequately express.  Our words fall short.  Our actions fall short. Yet....we continue to try.  The joy that we have should overflow in all areas of our life...relationships, work, hobbies, interactions, day to day activities...etc. It should compel us to continue to find the words. It should move us to action to outwardly express what we have internally experienced. If we focused on the joy, maybe others would want to know more. Though our words & actions do fall short....if we show joy we can't go wrong! 

January 24, 2019

Gnome Landscapes: 4th Grade

This is another project possibility for my spring all school art show (we create several pictures within a theme using different media/techniques & then the students select their favorite work out of those works).  This project took two class times for students to complete.  The first day they drew the toadstools & ground, and then they colored their pictures using watercolor pencils.  I demonstrated coloring with watercolor pencils and showed them how they mix once painted.  On the second day, students finished up coloring their work, and then painted the pictures.  After finishing that....the students created gnome versions of themselves to add into their pictures.  They used colored pencils for this part of the project.  I'm really enjoying the results!

This gnome looks very grumpy....so cute! 

She said her gnome was grass surfing! ha ha 

This one didn't finish the gnome yet...but loved the background!

January 22, 2019

Fairy Door Prints

My upcoming K-4th art show is going to be called Secret Garden.  It will be all things flowers, bugs, gnomes, and fairies.  I decided to try an incised plate print with 1st grade creating fairy doors.  We looked at a ton of examples, and the students were excited to create their own.  Here are my teacher examples.  I will post student work in the near future.  The plan is to add in a little color using colored pencil and to cut them out.

After looking at the examples of Fairy Doors, I had the students do a quick sketch to work out their idea for their door.
They recreated their incised plate next. 
They used brown Crayola marker to cover the door.
  I encouraged them to color in a vertical direction to mimic the boards on the door.

I had students dab their paper with a moist towel before printing their plate. 
They reapplied the marker before printing their second image.

January 20, 2019

Sunday Devotional With Mr E: Choices

Art is a series of choices that an artist employs. Those choices can lead to amazing successes & spectacular failures. Practicing one's craft, materials used, work conditions, reflection, constructive criticism, furthering skills, developing ideas.....are all things that require wise choices. Though external forces can also impact the success & failure of a work as well, the artist must choose how they will impact their art as they proceed.  Yes, artists must constantly evaluate the choices before them, and choose what will have the most positive influence on them & their work. 

Be very careful, then, how you live- not as unwise but as wise..
Ephesians 5:15

Life is full of choices. Each day we wake up we are faced with more choices than we probably consciously realize. Their impact can be nominal or major. The Bible tells us to "Be careful, then, how you live- not as unwise, but as wise..". The choices we make not only impact our lives, but the lives of those around us. There are many things in our world that can distract & take our attention away from living the life God has for us. The great news is we are not doing this alone. We have the Word of God, the Holy Spirit to help guide and direct us, and other believers we trust and respect. Does this mean we will never make poor choices or be "unwise"....unfortunately not. Thank goodness for God's grace & forgiveness...and the chance to make better choices & live a wiser life because of our past mistakes. 

January 16, 2019

Artist Trading Cards With Mini-Matisse

Who has done Artist Trading Cards?
 If you haven't....they are so much fun!!
For the past several years I've participated in
Mini-Matisse's ATC Exchange.
( http://minimatisse.blogspot.com/search/label/ATC )

I do it a bit different than many of the teachers.  I have my students create the cards collaboratively.  Different classes & different grades do different aspects of the cards.  That way I'm not having to stop my curriculum.  I can add it in as a center and rotate students through.  This also allows me to keep all the ATCs.  I know...totally selfish.  ha ha  I just love them so much.  I keep a big binder in my classroom with all of them so my students can look through them for inspiration if they have artist's block!


January 13, 2019

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Careful Thought

As an artist, it is important to reflect on what we have done, what we are doing, and our thoughts on what we would like to do in the future.  It is crucial to have the opinions and critiques of those we respect, but we are inevitably responsible for the direction and implementation of our work. Though art can be spontaneous and occur through happenstance, a majority of art is formed and birthed within the mind before it is ever seen by the world.  We must edit our thoughts and our art work.  To be an artist is to be a thinker.  We must give careful thought to how we want to grow as artists, what we want to share through our art, and how we are going to get there. 

Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways." Haggai 1:5 

We see in Haggai 1:5 & 1:7 the statement "Give careful thought to your ways." 
How often do we see this in our world today? We live in a society of reaction and denial.   Have we lost the art of thinking before speak, act, post, Tweet..etc?  Are we so driven by our emotions that we forsake our mind? We must get back to that place where we do give careful thought to our ways. We are not stifling ourselves...we are empowering ourselves to make good choices...to be better people....and to be good examples of what a Believer should be in our world today. I know that if we all slowed down and considered or thoughts, actions, reactions, and emotions...there would be things that need to change. The good news is that you aren't alone! Let's do better in 2019! 

January 11, 2019

Product Review: Cray-Pen

At our state conference I received a Cray-Pen from Nasco, and my in-laws gave me some additional supplies at Christmas for my Cray-Pen.
  However, I'm just now getting around to testing it out!?!?

  ha ha WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME!?!?  ha ha 

If you aren't familiar with Cray-Pen...this is what it looks like.  Crayola has come out with a product that is in the same neighborhood as Cray-Pen, but they do have their differences.   I personally like the Cray-Pen better (I have not used Crayola's version to be fair, but have watched several product review videos on YouTube.). Now the Cray-Pen brand has "pucks" of color, but you can use crayons as well!  Great way to use those end of the year broken bits!!!  Now I originally started on a canvas board surface, and I didn't really like it that well.  It seemed almost too slick to stick.  When I tried it on paper and cardboard...I LOVED IT!  This is a fun product, but I don't know if I'd ever get a class set. It might be good to use with an art club or small group of students. You do need to be careful with the heatedly tip & young artists(or clumsy older artists!).  I'm going to have fun using it though, and I might let my kids use it....maybe. ha ha

January 09, 2019

Changing Things Up!

Nine years ago my PTO purchased the 2 station tables( 2ft x 4ft) for my classroom. I had round tables previously, and was very limited about how I could set up my classroom.  Plus, those tables were old, and had been welded, re bolted, glued, and who knows else what to keep them from falling apart.  

At a previous school I had these 2 station tables & LOVED them.  I really loved being able to set my classroom up in a horseshoe/U formation.  Even though I wanted the versatility of these tables...I knew I'd probably stay with the horseshoe layout.

This year we've had some challenges with one of our grade levels.  All the special areas have been struggling.  I've been at a loss of what I can do to help the situation.  I decided I'd try changing the layout of my classroom to see if that might fix a few of the issues.  The horseshoe worked wonderfully for a majority of my students, but this group of kids can not handle facing all of their classmates...they just don't have the self control.  I decided to do groups of two.  This would allow me to separate students out from each other, have "buffer" students between groups that struggle, and have them turned in opposite directions.  I am hoping this will help create a better environment for these students to be successful.

These are my kindergarten students...
they are not the ones who prompted this change.

January 06, 2019

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Willing to listen...

Artists learn so much of their "craft" through listening, observation, and application. This truly goes for all fields.  We must be able to be teachable, and have a desire to grow & improve.  If I would have went into my studio classes with the attitude that I already knew everything....how much would I have learned? I would have missed out on so much from people that were truly experts in their discipline.  I didn't always like everything that my professors had to say to me, but I respected them enough to listen & contemplate what they were saying.  A majority of the time their thoughts, critiques, and advise allowed me to push myself far beyond where I had been in skill & concept.  As I create or teach even now....I hear the voices of those who invested in me.....
because I was willing to listen...observe...and apply.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put into practice.
 And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9

 I believe people come in and out of our lives that are able to model behavior, attitudes, actions, and disciplines that help us to grow in our faith journey.   I believe God places people in our path that can speak the truth we need to hear...when we need to hear it!  Are we willing to listen?  Are we willing to observe? Are we willing to apply?  There are many reasons that we do not do these things!  Pride,  misconceptions, and distractions can cause us to be less than teachable.  Over & over again in scripture we see God do amazing things through people that were willing to listen to Him.  I'm also extremely thankful that we have examples of people that didn't always do the right thing the first time around (David, Jonah, Sampson, Peter..etc) but God "helped" them to listen to Him!  We see relationships in scripture that also model for us what it means to listen, observe, and apply (Elijah & Elisha, Mordecai & Esther, Naomi & Ruth, Jesus & the disciples, Paul & Timothy). Who has God placed in your life that can help you grow in your faith journey?  If you don't have someone....ask God....and be willing to listen!  

January 04, 2019

Professional Development in Crossville, TN

For my last full day of Christmas Break I drove to Crossville,TN (hour & a half drive) to lead a professional development for their district's art teachers(It is a small district with 2 high schools & 8 Pre-K-8th).  They wanted to focus mainly on the new state standards & how they would "work" in the teacher evaluation portfolio. I also through in a studio project...because art teachers NEED the opportunity to make something! ha ha  It was a good day.  We went standard by standard looking at how or if a standard would be used in the portfolio, and what projects could best show such a standard.  My hope is that they felt heard, understood, and better equipped after our time together(and that they had a little fun along the way!). 

So I introduced the teachers to SmartFab...which I use for my stuffed critters.  I also showed them how I teach circle weaving...some got to it...some did not(they really loved making their soft sculptures).  

January 01, 2019