Thursday, October 30, 2014

Grand Central Station

Sketching Outdoors
My drawing class met at Grand Central Station this week for some people drawing (challenging to say the least) and architectural drawing.

Stop moving please...

Thanks for standing still long enough to get these :)

The big clock and information desk at the center of the station.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Collage 101

Assignment #3: Dreamscape Triptych
I really like how this assignment, inspired by surrealism, has progressed. I am happy with the backgrounds and colors in all three. My only problem??? I'm stuck now. I have a couple of ideas on how to move forward in order to call it a finished piece, but I like so much of it already I'm afraid to "mess it up". Well, here's hoping for the best.

Monday, October 27, 2014


So, last Friday's post mentioned how I had enrolled in an online sketching course called Sketch Book Skool. I also mentioned that some of the instructors were artists whose blogs I follow. I hadn't been on Danny Gregory's blog for a while, and I popped over for a quick peek and to get the link to include in Friday's post. And guess what??? Sketch Book Skool was hosting a meet up in Washington Square Park for some outdoor sketching the very next day!!! Well, what's a girl to do when she also has collage class around the same time the very next day??? Sneak out of class a little early ;)

The Arch at Washington Square Park


Artists at work.

My continuous line drawings. 
It was a gorgeous day and I got to meet Danny, Koosje, and Morgan from Sketch Book Skool! I wish I wasn't so self-conscious about sketching outdoors. It's a wonderful practice.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sketch Book Skool

I've enrolled in an online drawing class called Sketch Book Skool. Each week, for 6 weeks, a new instructor gives you tips, assignments, and inspiring talks on how to incorporate drawing and art into your life. I signed up mainly because two of the instructors are artists who have blogs that I love and follow. I am a little behind, but that's ok because I have unlimited access to the instructional videos. If you're looking for a way to add drawing to your life, you can still sign up here.

First Assignments with Danny Gregory

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Collage 101

So, enjoying the act of cutting and pasting papers, does not a collagist make, lol. I was really surprised at how much everyone had to say about this piece (and a little stressed as it was the end of class and I'm sure everyone wanted to go home, including myself because I was feeling a bit under the weather). They talked about the parts that worked; the parts they liked. And about the the areas that needed tweaking or removing, like the fact that there was too much text that distracted the eye.

Some suggestions were given on how to improve the overall composition of this piece, but I've decided to leave it be for now, but not because I disagree. There are three main reasons I will leave it alone for the time being: 
1. This is my first collage class and I want to see how my work evolves.
2. I don't feel like I've done this long enough to add or take away with confidence (though trial and error is also good). 
3. Each piece of paper was chosen because it added to the narrative of this piece. I tend to be literal and when the assignment called for "self in the city", that's exactly what I did. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Collage 101

My first two collage assignments are complete (at least I'm done with them until tomorrow when the class will give it's critique). I didn't know how engrossed I could get with cutting and pasting papers. New love :)

Assignment #1: Portrait

Assignment #2: Self in the City

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Teaching & Learning: Mexico, Beyond Day of the Dead

A very good friend and teacher told me once that the best way to learn about a new topic (at the time it was fourth grade New York State history) was to read primary level, non-fiction books. She was so right. Having general knowledge of a topic allows you to start asking the questions that will lead to research; which will inevitably lead you to a deeper understanding of your subject. When we teach Mexico, China and South Africa in third grade, we often let the class browse through trade books that initially peak their interests. They spend a lot of time with these books, along with other resources, and by the end of the school year they know the specific aspect of a country (government, culture, geography, history, economy) they want to learn more about.

Here are some titles to get you started on learning more about Mexico.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Day of the Dead: The Book of Life

The Book of Life, an animated movie about love and the hereafter, comes out in theaters this Friday, October 17th! Go here to watch the trailer.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Dia de los Muertos: Niche/Shrine

How to make a Day of the Dead shrine.

You will need: patterned papers, craft paint, 3D paint, 
shadow box, and plastic flowers bought at the dollar store.

I experimented with papers first, cutting them to fit the interior of the box.

I used cardboard to cut out a banner for the top of my niche.
Then I painted it in linen white along with the box. 

I added doodles with paints and markers.

I glued down all the pieces with matte medium.

I literally stapled these plastic flowers to make sure they would stay put. 
Then I decided it need something extra, so...

I added some 3D fabric paint.

I've been wanting to try this ever since I started teaching third grade,
 and I'm quite pleased at how it turned out :)

Skulls, paper flowers and shrine.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Dia de los Muertos: Papel Picado

Papel picado is a Mexican folk art that literally means cut paper. Beautiful papel picado banners are used for many Mexican holidays and celebrations and they are used during Day of the Dead to adorn altars.

Papel Picado is traditionally made out of tissue paper (stacks of it and cut with a chisel), but in the last few years I've used colorful copy paper to make banners in the classroom. You can get wonderful bright colors and the copy paper won't tear the way tissue paper and even construction paper can. I only had white copy paper at home so that is what I used to demonstrate.

Easy Papel Picado

Take one sheet of paper. 

Fold it hamburger style (the long way is hot dog style :).

Then fold it a second time.

Draw a lowercase w at the bottom. Mine is a little wonky, but no worries. 

Cut along the w.

Next draw a line about one inch below the top edge.

Do not cut above the line. 

Draw shapes along the folded edge. (This may be a good opportunity to talk about symmetry!)

Cut out the shapes.

Unfold once and draw shapes on the original fold.

Cut out the shapes.

Unfold and you have papel picado!
Use them to decorate your classroom, kid's room or family room.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dia de los Muertos: Paper Flowers

Paper flowers are very popular during Dia de los Muertos as they mimic the marigolds that decorate many homes and cemeteries.

How to Make Paper Flowers: 

You will need tissue paper, pipe cleaners and scissors.

Stack 6-8 sheets of tissue paper and cut them into a 10x12 rectangle.

Fold the paper (on the short side) back and forth, accordion style.

Cut off excess paper.

Cut a round edge at each end.

Tie the pipe cleaner at the center.

Open one side...

and carefully separate the tissue paper.
If it tears slightly, no worries. No one will know once it's all fluffed up :)

Open the opposite side and separate the tissue paper.

And you have a paper flower!