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Saturday, October 31, 2015

An artful Halloween

I set up a pop up gallery outside the gymnasium on Friday, displaying the masks of my students in the spirit of the holiday. There was a lot of curiosity. It did not rain! Without any display area in the school common areas, I guess I will try to do it again in the future with more art. Here are some samples of sweet efforts:

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Preparing for All Hallows Eve with the essential mask

My mixed media classes have been hard at work. I gave them inspirational choices by brainstorming "alter ego" or "spirit animals". This is a good time to think of our deeper traits and connections. Winter is a time of looking inward. Ironically, an outer mask can be a tool to use in the practice.
Once they sketched out their ideas, (important for me to know what they were hoping to manifest), we built a three dimensional form. First we built armatures out of newspaper, clay and cardboard. I limited each student to the size that would fit on a plastic plate. Storage is an issue here- so I arranged to have the plates housed in a temporasry shed near the maintenance department, on shelves and on the floor. The plate, once removed from the mask, later becomes their paint pallet.

We used old dry cleaning bags for covering the structure and a paste made of flour and water for the paper mache glue. The kids put four layers on, and we kept track by changing the color of the paper. The first layer was newsprint, then torn paper bag (brown) paper, followed by a layer of old green bulletin board paper, and we ended with a layer of white copy paper.
Some kids wore gloves to avoid touching the paste

Removing the mask from the armiture, and priming the inside

the mask and the armiture

trimming and adding color

With the addition of acrylic paint, feathers, fur, and ribbons, I can see that all 22 masks will be works of art! I plan on displaying as many as possible outside of the gym tomorrow when we have a special convocation, and then, I hope the kids grab their own masks as they head off for the weekend.

wildlife in a paved paradise

I miss my Home Farm. But we would not find these raccoons so cute there. They would kill my chickens for no reason at all, just for the sport. But here, in Miami, they are a reminder that nature has to coexist with us humans...

Friday, October 23, 2015

Apples and bottles

Apples, bottles, and crayons are the ABC of drawing, and so that is how my students started their pastel work this week. The challenge was to control the lighting in the classroom and allow for shadows to do their part. I made them watch two short Utube videos on how to draw an apple in pastels and how do descent shadows before I gave them 30 minutes to do their own drawing from a still life arrangement... I didn't give them much instruction on the bottles as I want to see where they are at and how much reflection they see.

This is work from my large class of 9th graders.

Fifteen kids in the class and I think they all did a pretty good job!

Have a seat

Using chairs as the prompt, here are some of the fresco secco paintings my painting students worked on. They sketched first, then pounced their designs onto damp plaster, and then mixed powdered pigment to get the colors they needed. The goal was to activate the negative spaces.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

vocab lessons

This was a fun project in that the kids were quite willing to work on ...  a color vocabulary painting.

There was some design choices to be made, but basically they followed instructions and all found it very relaxing to be told what to do each step of the way...
I gave them instructions to divide the paper into 15 sections, in one section they put their name, and then they put a vocab word from a list of 13 art terms, in every other one, leaving room for a section to be pure design. Then they used watercolors to  illustrate the concepts. Plenty of time for discussion allowed. Lots of reinforcing, and they started teaching each other!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

10:10 wake up call

Every day for the last month my phone alarm would chime off at 10:10 am. Because I had no recollection of the purpose or need for it to "alarm me" at that time and figured it was a divine sign from the Muse. Perhaps it was a "wake up call", like a signal to look around and pay attention. Using my phone, I took a photo each day when I silenced the alarm. Finally on October 10th, 10/10/15, I figured it was enough, and I turned off the alarm for good. Looking back through the accumulated pictures, I thought I might find a clue as to how and where I am spending my life.
at the doctors front desk

with my students

having a cup of warm lemon water

Most of the time I was in class, doing my job. I'd retrieve the phone from my purse at the desk and take a picture from that vantage point. A hand full of times I was home, once I was at the doctors office, and twice I was at the airport.

Also twice this month I was still in bed, "under the weather" in bed, when the alarm sang out.
The photos are like time slices...
Friday and so on...
My phone now alarms me at 4:25 pm every other day or so. I use that is a time to say some prayers.