12.21.2014

How To Build A Snowman

In after school art this December we made these adorable snowmen sculptures. Several of you have asked for a "How To"...so here goes!

Keep in mind that I teach elementary art. So pictured are sculptures from students age 5-11. Each did very well but this is because I had everything pre-constructed and only allowed the kids to do so much on the sculptures each session. I will try and break down what we did each day.

SUPPLIES NEEDED:
-small and large Styrofoam balls- you need to buy the solid ones, not the ones that are holey. I have found them at Michael's where all the floral foam is located. They come in bags of 6 for the large and 12 for the small
-wooden dowels - these come in a bag at Hobby Lobby or Michael's in the wood craft section
-wooden plaques- again wood section of Hobby Lobby or Michael's
-wooden spools (the hat)- wood section in a baggie of several
-assorted buttons, ribbon or wool for embellishments
-DAS paper clay- this is by the FIMO clay usually. It comes in a large block so if you are just making a few buy the FIMO clay in orange even. You are making the carrot nose out of this stuff. I love the DAS because it's easy to manipulate and I am teaching 50 kids so the block goes a long way. FIMO by nature needs to be run through a pasta machine to make it pliable.
-black sequins
-black, white and orange paint
-paint for the base in assorted colors- I use the craft acrylic paints
-clear glitter
-hot glue gun
-steak knife
-drill and bit to fit dowels you bought
-Tacky glue
-spray adhesive

STEP 1: Putting the bodies together
The adult will need to put the under bodies together prior to adding the details. It's very self-explanatory when looking at the above photo.  Drill holes in the plaque then add the dowels (I cut each dowel in half. You decide how long you want the legs to be).  Using the steak knife cut a portion of the Styrofoam off on both pieces so you have a flat place to attach the 2 balls. Plus it makes it look more like a snowman. Hot glue the pieces together. Drill holes in the larger ball and place on the dowels. You may need to add hot glue to holes so it won't fall off.


STEP 2: Painting the base, Bodies and Making Noses
Next I had the kids paint the entire body with white paint. Even though the Styrofoam is white the paint covers the slight texture of the ball. Also on a side note, when I teach smaller classes with this type of sculpture we cover the entire sculpture with a very thin layer of the DAS clay. It would have been hair pulling with 25 kids at once, so we just painted them. Then paint the bases with lots of color and patterns. Using a tiny piece of DAS clay roll out a nose. You see their noses on their bases? When the DAS clay dried I attached the noses with hot glue.

STEP 3:  Adding the details
The next class we used Tacky glue to attach the eyes and buttons. The kids used tooth picks to make the mouths and painted their carrot noses orange. They also painted the hats black and I attached those with hot glue.


STEP 4: GLITTER!!! and Scarves
The last step is to make him sparkle! Using spray adhesive I went outside and sprayed the entire body portion of the snowman. Inside I had a giant bucket set up and the clear glitter.  Then the kids sprinkled their snowmen with glitter. The spray glue makes the glitter stick just right. And is way less a pain than painting with Elmer's glue. The kids then chose a ribbon and tied on for a scarf.
I of course got so excited to send them home I forgot to take photos! These are the 2 that weren't here the day we finished so I snapped their photo. You could go crazy with embellishments. Several kids were upset we didn't add arms. You could easily drill holes and add stick arms. I plan to do that to mine and add a banner in his arms. And maybe a bird. Anyhoo....these are easy and fun. It would take you one day if you baked the carrot noses in the toaster. Enjoy adn have a Merry Christmas!!



12.15.2014

Art Feeds

Recently the above sweatshirt appeared on someone I follow on instagram's body with a link saying please support this group of creative thinkers. Of course I was intrigued and visited the site. And since that visit, really haven't been the same in my thinking about art education and its importance to the lives of ALL CHILDREN. Here is what appears when you click on the ABOUT US link:

Art Feeds believes all children are artists. We exist to feed creative development and facilitate emotional expression in children through art and community. To do this, we provide free therapeutic art and creative education programs within schools & children’s organizations by mobilizing teams of community members to bring all forms of art into classrooms.

The fact that she saw a need and then acted on the need amazes me. Talk about flying....she is an example of how we should follow our hearts and dreams in big ways because big things can happen. Meg began teaching one child. One child. And now she has Art Feeds organizations in several states feeding more children. You have to visit their site here. Take time to read every page. And donate. Because the life of just one child is certainly worth a month's worth of Starbuck's coffee. Right?

12.08.2014

Paint Something E-course

Don't forget to add my e-course to your Christmas wish list!! Here's the link to the site:
Paint Something: an e-course.  $99 for 4 weeks of blog posts and great videos showing you the techniques I use in my work. The past 2 times it has been offered we've had a fabulous time painting together from the comforts of home! I love e-courses for the simple fact that they are self-paced. We do use flickr to share our work and gain feedback. Together we create a community of artsy friends across the globe. It's pretty awesome to see how each person grows throughout the course. So please consider joining us in January for a little painting. If it's on your resolution list to get creative, this will be the prefect motivator. Join in on the fun today!

12.05.2014

State of Being

I've got so much to say and talk about but honestly, right this second, words are escaping me. It's early Friday morning. Yes. And I'm flat out beyond tired. And in speaking with many of my teacher friends....so are they. In fact, we all opened up this week about our lack of desire to do ANYTHING after school these days. I thought I was weird, and a complete anti-social poop head for my complete and utter inability to socialize on any level after the hours of 4PM. But turns out I am not alone. Pretty much every teacher and office staff person I've spoken to wants nothing to do with anyone after school. Like don't touch or speak to me. None of us have time or energy for friends, talking on the phone or other social engagements. We are exhausted. I wake up and look in the mirror and hardly recognize myself. I don't mean to be such a  negative nelly.....but telling the truth here is what I do. So those of you who know me and wonder why I have fallen off the earth.....THIS IS WHY. It's not personal. It's not you. It's the 450 kids I teach. It's the constantly asking kids to stop, be quiet, don't say that, don't touch them, WHY ARE you doing THAT?, what did you just say, let's clean up the 100th water spill, let's make a snowman covered in glitter, paint on my clothes again, you need me to do what, stop talking so I can give instruction, daily routine that I wake up and repeat 5 days a week. That might be killing me slowly. Like poison in my coffee.

I love my faculty here. They are my lifeline to sanity. The fact that we are all so honest with one another about the state of our mental being is refreshing in a whack way. 10 days plus the one I am currently in and then we get to recharge. We ALL need the break. Parents....please....please....please...I beg of you.....pray for your child's teacher. Pray for the kids in their classes. Pray for the entire school. Because literally it is the only thread holding us together right now. Prayer. I have so much more to say about the state of education right now. But need to move on. And get to school. To teach 450 beautiful children the joy of art making. I do love my job. But wonder how we as educators can continue to thrive in the current environment in which we are allowed to teach. The state may need to invest in therapists for each school. Just for teachers that is. Or massage therapists. That'd be nice too. Ha.ha. ha. No really.

11.19.2014

And Just Like That We're Back

And just like that...our trip is over. Here are just a few of the photos I took...actually I didn't take that many. When you have older kids you learn to leave the camera behind and just enjoy the being together and the seeing and doing. Getting the photo moment becomes less important. Although I did insist on the above family photo. And had I thought about it I would have cut the lady on the right out. But I didn't. So you get us and random lady. HA.
On Saturday we did the total tourist thing. All. Day. Long. The kids were troopers as we drug them from one end of the city to the next. We started at the Ferry building market. Which is the most amazing experience. We ate our way through the market. It was awesome. Then for lunch Billy and I ate the best oysters of our life in Fisherman's Wharf. Although did you know they don't serve them with saltines? What? I asked the waiter for crackers and she literally brought me a tiny bag of "Oyster Crackers". We just giggled. But seriously the oysters were so amazing you didn't need a saltine under it. We kinda ate all day. Walked for miles and then crashed.
Of course I ran to the Ferry building everyday for this coffee. Best. Coffee. Ever. I mean really. The coffee shop was a mile from our hotel. But I remembered it from our last trip and literally dream of this drip coffee. It is perfect in every way. They also had the yummiest molasses/ginger bread I ate with the coffee. Everyday. (I may need to not weigh myself for a week or 2 after this trip and then Thanksgiving!!)
Sunday the kids and I rented a car. So of course I had to DRIVE down crooked street/Lombard. It was way cool. To me anyways.
 While we had the car we ventured to the Golden Gate Bridge, Muir Woods and Sausalito.
Muir Woods was magical. And cold. We were so not dressed right. If properly dressed with a day pack I could have stayed all day hiking this magical forest. Across the bay the weather was perfect the entire trip. Mid-60's the whole time. Stepping into here it dropped about 10'. Plus I have such city kids. I've raised them this way, I take the blame for their inability to desire spending a day hiking and enjoying nature. Which kinda makes me sad. As a child/teen I'd have wanted to do this all day. My kids just wanted to shop in the city.
And shop we did. We loved being in the city at night. San Fransisco already had all their Christmas lights up. The city was already magical...but with a little twinkle it was even more magical!
Of course I ran...I mean that's a given. Billy went with me each day but he's not a good running partner. At all. Funny. Running in a new city is a fabulous way to see the city. Along the water was SO FLAT...I think my shoes grew wings. Because I was faster than eva!
 Monday the kids and I visited Alcatraz. I think they really enjoyed this day. The @large exhibit by ai weiwei was up so I really enjoyed this tour of Alcatraz. It was an amazing exhibit. You should look it up. I don't want to talk politics here, but his statements were quite thought provoking and made for a conversation with my children I'd never thought to have.

So this city trip overall was quite the adventure. We've not taken our kids on a trip like this since they were tiny and we visited Williamsburg. Our vacations are always centered around the beach...relaxing and more relaxing.With vacation days so limited we never think to take trips like this honestly. And although we only got Billy on Saturday we enjoyed the adventure away from home. The city is magical. The smells as William commented, are constantly changing. From very yummy to holy crap what is that smell? The food is completely divine. I am amazed at how fresh everything we consumed tasted, down to the strawberries. The people I found to be quite friendly and proud of their city. I loved sharing every bit of this experience with the kids. I am hoping they'll look back on this little adventure with fondness....

11.15.2014

The Ultimate Field Trip


 
So the kids and I are on what we are calling "The Ultimate Field Trip" right now. You see, our school district in order to save money, decided to take away field trips several years ago. Not because families couldn't afford them. But because the system didn't want to have to pay for their part. And taking that aspect of planning away I guess meant the someone in charge of field trips could do a different job for the county. Stupid. I mean really. As a child I couldn't wait for field trip days. We went to the zoo, performing art center, puppet shows, etc.... Not that we don't indulge our kiddos in this type of activity on our own, but taking these trips with your school is a whole other ball of wax. I personally think field trips are a great way to learn life lessons and see the world through their own eyes. Parents tend to taint experiences with the constant photo taking and "look at this Johnny." (You know I am right.)

The kids and I are far...far....away. I have so many "field trips" planned I can hardly stand it. Pretty sure I've made Billy nuts with my "let's see this and let's see that". HA. But really, except for the beach we've not taken our kids anywhere. This is a whole different type of away from home experience for them. Thus why I've decided to dub it the Ultimate Field Trip. Oh, and Billy's here too. But he's working. Thus why the field trip is affordable. It's called stow-away in some circles. He doesn't seem to mind.

When we get back I am sure I'll have stories to tell. I'm renting a car and driving.....laugh those that know me. I'm not blonde anymore so hoping that helps. Plus I've got Mailey and William to help navigate.  See ya at the end of the week!!

11.13.2014

E-course Registration has BEGUN!!!

As you are thinking about giving this season might I make a suggestion?  How about giving the gift of art making! Yes. My Paint Something e-course has been such an amazing journey. For both the students and myself. For 4 weeks we gather in the coziness of our own homes and make art together. If you've never taken an e-course before the beauty of this type of class is that all the material is given to you via your computer. You are then held accountable for what you do with the information and how much time you take to absorb the information. Only you. We use Flickr as a platform to share our work with the many new friends we make from around the globe. That's right....around the globe! The past 2 courses I've had students from Ireland, Australia, UK and more! So exciting. Still unsure? Or ready to sign up? Then head on over to the website for ALL the details. And the registration tab. Oh...and it's just $99 plus whatever supplies you choose to purchase from my suggested supply list. Woohooo....let's make some ART!  Here's the link: Paint Something: An E-course
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