Acrylic Painting Techniques

We each made a video on an art technique so I chose acrylic painting techniques aimed at high school or middle school kids. I covered scumbling, underpainting, glazing, washes, impasto, splattering and wet on wet.  I also showed the different types of brushes that affect painting marks and soft gel medium for glazing and impasto.

 

Arts Advocacy Animation

For our last project, I made a stop motion animation with my partner, Karli.  We decided to use one of Elliot Eisner’s “10 Lessons the Arts Teach,” using number two for our project: ”The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can
have more than one answer.“1

After some brainstorming, we decided to use origami paper on top of a decorated sheet of paper.  The beauty of using origami is that you can make so many different things from a single sheet of paper, and it illustrates our point.  Quite simply: what can you do with a piece of paper? We first made a dog and then a cat, but the possibilities could have been endless.

10 Lessons the Arts Teach (PDF)

Watch the Arts Advocacy video by clicking below:

 

Karli, my collaborator, positions the paper

Karli, my collaborator, positions the paper under the iPad

 

1Eisner, E.(2002). The Arts and the Creation of Mind, In Chapter 4, What the Arts Teach
and How It Shows.
(pp. 70-92). Yale University Press. Retrieved from https://www.arteducators.org/advocacy/articles/116-10-lessons-the-arts-teach.

Into the Fires of Glass

We’re lucky enough to have a glass kiln at the art ed. studio, so we made tacked, slumped and fused glass.  You can only do up to three layers at once, but other than that there are few limitations. We scored and cut glass and crazy-glued the pieces onto the layers.  Tack bonding maintains more of the design than full fused bonding, which melts the layers together much more.  Slump fusing is at a lower temperature than full fusing, and you do that after you full fuse with a flat piece.  Safety glasses are needed and if cutting glass with little kids, placing the pieces in a bag while snipping them is ideal so no one gets hurt.

The full fused example below contains confetti, which for glass means that the layers of paper thin glass can be placed in between the thicker ones for a see-through effect.

Slumped glass in a bowl shape

Slumped glass in a bowl shape

Full Fused with Hanger

Full Fused with copper hanger sandwiched between layers

 

Top Left, Clockwise: Full, Full and Tack fired glass

Top Left, Clockwise: Full, Full and Tack fired glass

 

Playing with Inks & Paper in Printmaking

Lino-cuts (block printing), intaglio & Gel printing

Sketch of illuminated letter on paper

Sketch of illuminated letter on paper

For this assignment, we used a stencil to make an illuminated letter of our choice for a lino-cut or block print, which is a type of relief printing.  I have an interest in social studies, so I created a re-make of Ben Franklin’s 1754, Join or Die, in relation to the colonies uniting for the French-Indian Wars.  This was later co-opted by the American Revolution as a banner against England.  I’m using this to say that democrats and republicans should rise up together against the evils of the day.

 

After applying the ink with a roller and a brush for the red and blue parts, I tried this block print on mulberry, pastel, and lightweight drawing paper. I thought the mulberry paper worked the best.  It absorbed the water-based block printing ink in a balanced way.

 

 

 

 

intaglio

Sketchbook Investigation 9b: Traveling On

Sketchbook Investigation 9a: Traveling On

This is the sketch for a dry-point etching (intaglio) on plexiglass that we made in class. It relates to a personal story of traveling.

When you print it, it is backwards from your plate, which may or may not matter for your design. You can also photocopy your sketch backwards and then trace it onto your plate that way if you want it the same way you drew it.  We printed these on a small printing press with Akua inks which are water-based for easy clean up.

 

Finished intaglio

Finished intaglio

 

 

 

 

 

Gel Printing

Below, you will see some images of gel printing in process and finished pieces.  Gel printing is made on a plastic, pliable material.  You peel off the cover and it’s sticky in nature.  Then you can put acrylic paint on it that is fluid, such as Chromacryl, applying with a soft printmaking brayer.

After applying the paint, you can use different tools such as bubble wrap, utensils or rubber combs to give texture or pretty much anything you want to play with. Layering the multiple plates seems like a good way to teach kids about using color and space.  This is a very tactile, hands-on process that is great for abstract art.

Gel printing in process

Gel printing in process: using different tools like a sponge, rubber blade, bubble wrap and other textures

 

The Magic of Smoke-Fired Ceramics

Conjuring a Vessel and creature

Bell and chipmunk

Bell and chipmunk before firing (red clay)

For this assignment, we created a vessel and creature, using a burnishing technique on one and a design inlay on another.  I made a bell with a pinch pot method.  After the clay dries, you can burnish it with a spoon to make a smoother finish. Our professor is smoke firing our pieces in a metal garbage can at home using newspapers and sawdust as the combustible material.  You don’t need to bisque fire the clay before you smoke fire it over a period of a couple of days.  It will turn out with some surprising effects that are made by chance. You can also put WD-40 on it to make it darker looking, which is what my teacher helped me with on the bell.

Here is a link to a post on smoke-firing in an old charcoal grill!

The animal I made was a chipmunk. I gave it some lightning designs.

After the smoke firing

After the smoke firing

Inside the bell is a wooden bead

Inside the bell is a wooden bead

 

Saturday Art Workshops — 11.10.18

Spin Drawings and the FInal art show

Art Show Flyer

Art Show Flyer

This week was our final art show for the Saturday Art Workshops and we also had a 60-minute lesson on spin drawings for them to do. We set up the artwork a few days before the show but in order to involve them in talking about their work, I suggested that they think about how they would describe the process and ideas of their work to their families.

After the opening ceremony where one student passed out her business cards of her bakery business (impressive), we showed them our spin drawing examples and the slides on the rotoscope, zoetrope and early filmmaking, they jumped into making the drawings on paper. These are examples of simplified animation that kids really enjoy.

Spin Drawings and videos

Spin Drawing Video 1 (Click Here)
Spin drawing video 2 (CLICK HERE)

Flip Book example 1 (CLICK HERE)
Flip Book Example 2 (CLICK HERE)

One side of spin drawing

One side of spin drawing

Backside

Backside

They also made flip-books with post-its which are an easy way to do that. The main aim of this activity was to get them to create movement by playing with puns through images as a starting point. Together, they talked about their ideas while they were making them. Each image can be on one side and make a third meaning together, such as “eye roll” or “eye scream,” or my example “present tents,” which had two tents and a gift box on it. They seemed engaged right away with the humor part of it. It’s good to have a sponge activity for times in your classroom that might be filling the space in between lessons.

The final art show

For the art show, families came to see their kid’s work and talk to them about how they made it. A couple of our students did that and showed their parents their paintings and animations and explained the process of making it. In order to provide more explanation, I showed my blog that people could look through set to the painting page and Colleen had slides with her Rube Goldberg lesson.

Time Capsules

Time Capsules

They displayed their spin drawing near another piece of work in the show to keep items together. I think our space was visually cohesive and we grouped similar lessons together to show different examples of the same project and celebrate individuality. Overall, this art show was a success because we had families coming by to comment on their pieces, ask us questions and see what other kids had been doing these past eight weeks. It was really nice to see how proud they were and show that off to their parents.

Time Capsules

Time Capsules

Showing off her animation

Showing off her animation

Batik and Screenprinting

Batik and Screenprinting

Geological Abstractions

Geological Abstractions

Toothpaste Batik

Toothpaste Batik

Classmates’ spaces in the art show

Midwest Wildflowers--Emily and Kate

Midwest Wildflowers–Emily and Kate

Tapestries - Emily and Kate

Tapestries – Emily and Kate

After Mondrian -- Britney and Annie

After Mondrian — Britney and Annie

After Louise Nevelson -- Britney and Annie

After Louise Nevelson — Britney and Annie

Mid Term Lesson Plan — Elevating Felting to a Fine Art

Felted Puns for 6th graders

Heart-felt, my example

For my mid term lesson plan, I created an activity where 6th graders could explore wet and dry felting techniques while creating two felted objects that are puns.  Using Chic Thompson’s “many, varied and unusual things,” I would have students respond to a prompt such as: what are the many varied and unusual things you can associate with wool?  This includes wool, sheep farms, shearing, spinning yarns etc.  Then I would ask them to brainstorm a list of puns, wool related or not, in order to come up with their two punny objects.

 

 

 

Process of making the felted heart with a dry needle technique

Process of making the felted heart with a dry needle technique

Detail of hollow aorta

Detail of hollow aorta

Ge-felt-a-fish

Ge-felt-a-fish

International Day for Junior High Students — 10.30.18

Let your colors fly! Flags for Freedom from discrimination Day

 

Kids working on flags

Kids working on flags

For the International Day Conference in Coralville, Iowa, our team of teachers designed an activity with flag decorating using personal symbols.  These were flags that the kids could display in their rooms, on their bikes or other fun places to show off aspects of their personal identities, interests and hobbies. They used sharpies, scissors and rubbing alcohol in droppers to give a tie-dye effect, if they chose.

After creating their flags, we played anti-discrimination bingo with prize buttons of Kehinde Wiley, Mickelene Thomas, Harriet Tubman, Neil Degrasse-Tyson, Eleanor Roosevelt and MLK King, Jr. We had the kids write a unique ability or quality about themselves on a numbered piece of paper corresponding to a bingo number based on how many kids were there, around 25.  We read each one after we pulled them from a box.

After bingo, some of the kids shared their flags and revealed things about themselves that were very brave.  I was really impressed by that because most of us were strangers to them including other kids.

My example of the identity flag

My example of the identity flag

Project materials: sharpies and scissors

Project materials: sharpies and scissors

Saturday Art Workshops — 11.3.18

Designing Dream Houses and considering the environment

Starting the floors

Starting the floors

This week I taught the concept of dream houses, where students can make floor plans of their buildings and construct at least one floor in 3-D. We only had one student this week, so she got extra attention from both of us. After starting with the opening ceremony, asking what she did that was creative this week, I explained that she would be making a dream house that could be for humans, animals or other beings. I wanted her to consider the environment and context for her house. Would it be communal or solitary? Who would live there and how would you consider the area around the house as affecting the design and function of the place? Then I showed my examples and emphasized how people would move from one room to another as well as energy uses in the house. After, I showed some slides about Erwin Wurm’s, Fat House in Vienna, the fanciful, automaton, Hellbrunn Castle in Germany, and communal experiment, Arcosanti in Arizona.

Starting the floor plan

Starting the floor plan

Originally in the lesson, I wanted students to write a story or narrative about their design for the viewer in the later exhibition we would have at the end, but since there was only one student, I let her spend more time on her 3-D piece because her usual buddy was absent today, so there was some time spent in focusing her actions. She might be there next week when she can completely finish her project and do the writing and exhibiting. She spent a good amount of time on the sketch, which I was surprised by, because in the other classes they all seemed to want to jump into 3-D instead of the drawing part. She made a great drawing and added details like a movie room and a special bedroom for her mom. I explained how to add symbols for doors and windows that architects use including labeling the floor plans.

I’m trying to focus on enjoying the act of teaching more; since there is so much prep time, sometimes you can lose focus on the actual teaching. In Michael Linsin’s, Classroom Management for Art, Music and PE Teachers, he talks about developing a love for teaching that affects student motivation and the artwork produced. If you love your lessons and are excited about imparting them, the students will be better engaged and behaved. Part of this requires knowing the interests of your students and giving choices as motivational factors. Knowing what excites them can give your lessons a lot of life.

Recycled materials to use for 3-D work

Recycled materials to use for 3-D work

Floor plan of one student

Floor plan of one student

Overall, I think this lesson was successful because the student made a complete product of a floor plan in 2-D and 3-D, considering the location and inhabitants of the house. I used formative assessment as the main tool during this activity since there was only one student, asking her questions about the considerations for her piece. I think in the future, I would also emphasize scale more, especially with older students and add in a math component using rulers. One final part to consider is if students want to use entire boxes, like she did, these lessons might require another class period. If they were just building one floor, it would take less time. Had she finished her story in time, this would have been a nice example of Stephanie Juno’s chapter in Artful Teaching, that describes “making learning visible” through additional artifacts of the process and accompanying text to help explain what she learned in the activity.

 

Working on the final piece

Working on the final piece

Final piece

Final piece

Fringe Benefits: Subversion in Weaving & Fibers

redesigning the american flag including territories

Weaving is a very calming and meditative process that helps relieve the monkey mind of its chatter.  After a long day at school, I’ve found this to be soothing.  Starting on a piece of tag board, I wrapped the yarns into the notches for the warp.  Then I began with the colors of the weft.  I added 55 pink stitches for symbols of the 50 states and the 5 territories.  You know the ones: Guam, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.  These people pay taxes and might get a “representative” in the House that  can’t vote for laws, just observe.  There are about 4 million people who can’t vote in the presidential election. John Oliver explains: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=20&v=CesHr99ezWE.

I left the fringe long on the bottom and wanted it to look like it was unraveling so I didn’t tie the sides.  America is a work in progress…1

FInal piece

Final piece: America and the Fringes

Showing the warp

Showing the warp

In process

In process

 

 

 

 

 

other weaving: the ripple effect

I started this piece after the one above after thinking about small changes we make in our everyday lives can become waves through other people and collective events.

The Ripple Effect

The Ripple Effect (hung on painted wooden dowel)

knitting a nest out of t-shirt Yarn on hand

I enjoy making t-shirt yarn as an avid knitter who likes to experiment with different materials. For this nest, I cut up three t-shirts that were somewhat old and the colors faded. Then, I knitted it on circular needles for chunky yarn, leaving a hole open at the bottom.

I left this nest of America unfinished on purpose, as things are always unraveling and being rebuilt in this country and the comfort one can find here shifts to become discomfort in a continual process.  I added two Dixon Ticonderoga pencils at the ends that are unsharpened, symbolizing the muteness of many people in our society without a voice or education.  These pencils are personally significant to me since Fort Ticonderoga fell exactly 200 years before, on the day I was born.  I’m a history buff.

FInished piece: Unravelry

FInished piece: Unravelry/Forgotten domocile

Knitting it up

Knitting it up

 

In progress

In progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Muriel, M. (2016, November 1). Millions of Americans can’t vote for president because of where they live. PRI. Retrieved from https://www.pri.org/stories/2016-11-01/millions-americans-cant-vote-president-because-where-they-live.