Showing posts with label art class. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art class. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Field Trip! A Visit with Shana Kohnstamm

 Hey, y'all! During my final weeks of summer, I had the chance to hang out in the home studio of Nashville fiber artist Shana Kohnstamm. Shana is, first of all, amazing! How kind of her to take time out of her busy creative life to have me over for an afternoon of wet felting! AND she's a wealth of knowledge on all things felting, both wet and needle felting. Just hanging out with her for an afternoon made me feel like I'd just had a crash course on all things fibers...and this from someone who is no stranger to felting. 
 Shana shared with me a fun process on how to create a wet felted adjustable headband. I filmed the process so I could share it with you. I know very little about wet felting...so it was great to learn from a pro. I really enjoyed learning all about her supplies and how she sets up her space for wet felting. Here's the video!
I mean...isn't she the best? Also, she's just a fun person to be around and that totally shines through in this tutorial. BIG thanks to you again, Shana!
Shana is such a prolific fiber artist...and does things with felt that I didn't even know were possible. I've done my slight share of wet felting and a TON of needle felting. But was really blown away with the possibilities of this medium that Shana shared with me. However, let's first talk about this studio space: so tidy, organized and perfect for a fiber artist!
And you know that epic stash of wool roving had me all starry-eyed! A lot of the roving, Shana dyes herself in her backyard! Can you imagine being her neighbor and seeing those rainbows of roving hanging out on the clothes line?!
 When I first met Shana, she shared with me a necklace she'd made...which lead me to believe she was a jeweler. Then, when I got to her home which, by the way, is FILLED with her art (as well as her collection of other artist's works), I found that she's a fibers jack of all trades. 
 Sculptures, light fixtures, weavings, jewelry, you name it. In fact, if you live in the Nashville area and are interested in learning more about felting, you should look her up. She can be found teaching classes on felting!
I had so much fun hanging out with Shana. A person who understands my love of felting! Gah, I'm starring at those weavings and itching to create one, so fun. 
 The sculptural felting was what really caught my eye. Her pieces and gradients of color were just stunning. 
 Not to mention solid. If you've felted before then you'll appreciate the amount of time and patience a piece like this requires. 
A lot of Shana's work put me in the mind of Tim Burton, like this amazing light she created the shades for. Seriously, her entire house was a work of art. So much to see and take in.
Shana, thank you so much for letting me hang out with you! It was a blast and I learned so stinkin' much!
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Monday, February 12, 2018

Abstract Painting in First Grade

Last week, my first graders, who I see for 30 minutes twice a week, spent one class learning as much as they could about Wassily Kandinsky, abstract art, non-objective vs. objective and painting to music...all in 30 minutes. Whew! It was fast and furious. Here's a peak into our lesson and time together. 
My students absolutely LOVED this lesson and I cannot wait to share with you what our plan is for our paintings. In the meantime, I've been asked a lot what supplies we used for this lesson. Let's start with the paper. I ALWAYS buy 80lbs paper because it's the best paper for everything: watercolor paint, tempera, collage, you name it. I purchase about 4 reams a year for my 350 students.
 My go-to watercolor pan watercolor is Crayola's Mixing Colors. I only order the refill sets, never new sets. I order the following colors: magenta, red, red-orange, yellow, green, turquoise, blue, blue-violet and purple.
 My VERY favorite oil pastels for resist are the florescent oil pastels by Sargent. All of the supplies mentioned can be found in your art supply catalog. 
 If you watch my video, you'll notice I do A LOT of call and response. It's my number one teaching tool...I probably use it to a fault! However, it's a great way for me to keep my students attention, teach vocabulary and have them retain information and directions. It also WORKS WONDERS for my English language learners...they LOVE repeating after me!
 Also...can we talk about what amazing abstract artists these guys are?! Holy cats! I am seriously thinking of printing their paintings on some fabric. I need these masterpieces as a dress, y'all!
 I'm so excited to share with you what the master plan is for these...so be sure and stay tuned!
 What are your favorite ways to teach kiddos about abstract painting? Do you have a favorite artist that you like to introduce your students to? I'd love to know!
 Thank you for letting me share these amazing abstract masterpiece by first grade with y'all. I hope they make you as happy as they make me!
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Sunday, February 11, 2018

DIY: Needle Felted Rainbow Dress

I'm pretty certain that at some point, with all the rainbows of color, I'm going to just blend right in with my art room and the kids will no longer be able to find me. Rainbow is the new camouflage, says me.

Now, if y'all have followed the progression of this needle felted rainbow dress (that's right, this whole thing is needle felted, y'all), then you know we MUST talk about Paintbrushgate...
See, originally, I had wanted the dress to appear as though there was a paintbrush painting a rainbow. I really REALLY loved the idea and really REALLY wanted it to work but it just wasn't. And I couldn't figure out what was wrong. So I posted to my friends on my Instagram. Everyone was super sweet and, thankfully, honest when they saw what I failed to.



HOLY CATS! WHAT?! I was like one of those cartoons where the character rubs their eyes and then finally sees the giant train heading right at 'em. I immediately removed the paintbrush and the bristles (let's face it, they were the true culprit in Paintbrushgate) and decided to ditch the brush idea entirely. At least for this dress. I do still LOVE the idea and have created a more details sketch with better placement options (ahem) for next time. 
 Here's what the dress looked like with the brush removed and the new roving just tacked down. This is before I'd run the dress through my needle felting machine which further tacks down the roving. That's why the dress looks a little misshapen and lumpy. Once tacked down and ironed, the dress no longer has that stretched out look. In the end, it really reminded me of the work of Jen Stark whose image you see on the right. 
 Now the other thing that was a bit tricky with this dress was the placement of the curves. This gray dress was actually one I found at Old Navy and is a big large for me. I like it because it's different from the usually fitted and flaired dresses I wear. However, the shift shape of this dress doesn't really do much for a gal's figure. So I had to make sure that the roving kinda accented my curves. Well, let's be honest, I don't have much by way of curves...so I needed a dress to create the illusion that I do. 
 Especially when I stand like this, BAM! Don't ask, I have no idea what I'm doing. Ever. 
 I will say this, without the advice of my online buddies, I just might be wearing an accidental inappropriate dress. 
 If you've been hanging around this blog for a while, then you know needle felting clothing is my jam. If you are interested in learning more, I've got tons of info on this hear blog, including how-to videos. Just use that search bar thingie over to your right and you'll find all sorts of needle felting information.
 Of course, now that my art room is an explosion of rainbows, it makes a pretty sweet backdrop for photos. I was getting a lil tired of standing in front of that giant painting in our house anyway. 
 There are still little parts that I could go back and tweak. Places where the lines aren't as smooth as I would like. When I run it through my needle felting machine, that thing is kind of a monster as it just kind of chews the fabric. It's not for delicate work and sometimes things get moved around a pinch. 
 But I'm not one of those artists who goes back and reworks something. When I say done, it's done...and I'm all WHAT'S NEXT?! Not sure yet...but I know it won't have a paintbrush in an unfortunate place! 

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Thursday, February 8, 2018

In the Art Room: Dean Russo-Inspired Tigers with Third Grade!

Whenever I share a lesson on this blog before having done the lesson with my students, I always like to share a follow-up post. Cuz, you know, lessons don't always go as we think they will. Or maybe the kids don't respond as excitedly as you'd hoped. Well, thankfully, neither was the case with this Dean Russo-Inspired Colorful Tiger lesson. My students LOVED it, they were so stinkin' proud of themselves and I was just beyond thrilled to share them with y'all! 
 In case you missed the details of this lesson and the supplies we used, you can find all that info here. This lesson took about two and a half-ish (pending on the artist!) art classes. On our first day, we did a guided drawing of a tiger after we'd wrapped up a sketchbook prompt. We worked BIG on 18" squares of paper. We also used bingo daubers filled with India ink. Here's the video lesson I created to share with you and my students:
The kids were super excited by Dean Russo's art. The loved his subject matter (animals!), bold colors and patterns. Our school mascot is a tiger so that's why we went the route we did. As my students get older, I do fewer and fewer guided drawings with them. This will probably be our only one this year. We had a blast creating them.
 We didn't draw in pencil first and we didn't get new papers if we "messed up". These guys are familiar with the book Beautiful Oops and are very good at applying that mindset. 
 By our second class, we were ready to use chalk and starch. If you aren't familiar with the magic that is chalk and starch, check out the video above. Total game changer.
About half of the kids finished the chalk portion on the second day. On the third day, they finished off the chalk and then dived right in with the oil pastels. I told them that if their paper had wet areas due to the starch not to draw on those areas with oil pastel. I gave them a deadline: THIS IS OUR LAST DAY! That seemed to inspire my pokey lil puppies to complete their masterpiece. Our carrot was that we are sewing in the following art classes so they needed to step on it!
 I was tempted to have them add something to the background but in the end, I really thought the white made their tigers look even more amazing. Plus we were ready to move on. 
 For display, I knew that if I just hung them on our blah colored walls, they would just fade into the background. So I raided the workroom and walked out with armfuls of colorful bulletin board paper. 
 Ah!! LOVE all of those line details in oil pastel!
 Obviously this artist was not havin' that all white background!
 I really loved having the kids work big. The biggest we normally work is the size of construction paper: 12" X 18". Creating bigger just might be my new favorite thing. Ima need a bigger art room tho!
 Puh-puh-puh-patterns!
 I was so impressed with each of my artists!
 So happy they were too. 
 This afternoon, I was only able to get one half of the display complete...there's always tomorrow!
Thought this quote tied in nicely. Thank you for letting me share, y'all!
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