October 30, 2012

guest posting (the in-between)

My wonderful friend and fellow blogger asked me to guest post for her.
I did a little tid-bit on photography and creativity.
The in-between.
Check out her lovely blog here:

October 26, 2012

intermediate birch trees

Got to give credit again to Patty over at Deep Space Sparkle for the inspiration on this lesson. (here)
Birch trees.
They are so pretty and provide a great contrast against almost any background.
I knew I wanted to teach this lesson to fourth grade and focus on intermediate colors.
My first step was to get the paint ready.
Do you do this with your old paint bottles?
Turn them into brand new paint holders!
We discussed intermediate colors and I let them paint a background that utilized all of them.
Getting creative.
On a separate piece of paper we painted the birch trees.
We used some printmaking skills (small cardboard) to do the inside lines.
Cut them out and paste them on top the background when you are finished.
I'll post some finished ones after they are dry!
Thank again Patty for the inspiration!

October 22, 2012

tessellations and complements

There is something so appealing about optical illusions and tessellations.
What a great way to incorporate math into the art room.
My fifth graders looked at a genius of spatial illusion...M.C. Escher.
For the rest of the class we each created our own unique tessellation.
Tip 1: Make sure to tell the students to not trim off any piece of paper besides the one you show.
I purposefully show them an example of one not cut exactly on the line. It's okay, don't trim off the extra!!
Have the students line up the "A" corner with the corner of a 9 x 12 paper.
Start tracing.
This creates a translation tessellation.

On day two each student is handed a post-it note.
We do a gallery tour and write respectful and helpful suggestions for what the person might tessellate their shape into.
This was so great!
It really got the kids thinking outside the box.
Thus the transformations begin.
Students can turn their paper any direction they want.
They used pencil to draw their idea over and over again.
Once all the shapes have been transformed with pencil the students are given a sharpie to outline.

On day three the outlining continues.
We also talk about complementary colors.
Students pick a pair of complements and they use matching crayons to add small details of color.

The students then pick ONE of these complementary colors and do a watercolor wash on top.
One of my samples (below) shows what all the washes look like.
Tip 2: I highly suggest that you don't let them use both colors of the pair because you will more than likely end up with brown.
Keep it simple, do a one color wash.

October 21, 2012

i dreamed a dream

Needing wisdom.
Have you ever found yourself in a spot where you needed wisdom, direction, a push in the right direction?
Welcome to my life.
More specifically though, welcome to the last three months.
I went to sleep last night with this fog permeating my thoughts.
In the darkest part of the night...
where my dreams are the only thing I have...
that is where I found the dawn.
The wisdom.

On our youth trip this summer, I had one of the girls tell me that she wanted God to speak to her like He does to me.
I sighed knowing that there have been many times where I just couldn't hear Him, couldn't feel Him, didn't sense Him with me.
Hello last three months!
You are you, I told her.
He knows how to get your attention.
It might be different than how He gets mine.

During the same trip I heard a story that brought tears to my eyes.
I listened to a woman talk about dreams she had been given.
Dreams that when she confessed them to others were met with skepticism.
Dreams that she knew were her push in the right direction.
Everyone else saw it as impossible.
She believed anyway.
Her dreams became a reality.
I literally worked at her dream this past summer.
After her story concluded I knew I had just received my own gift.
I pulled her aside as tears welled up in my eyes and choked up something about my own dreams.
She looked at me and simply said...
Don't ever stop believing what you've been shown.

My eyes blinked open this morning.
I stared at the ceiling as the foggy thoughts from the night before drifted back into my head.
That's when I remembered the dream.
And just like that the fog cleared.
I had heard the whisper that had all but vanished for the last three months.

You see.
He has a plethora of different ways to grab our attention.
Maybe it is a word someone speaks to you or over you.
Maybe it's a song.
Maybe it's a verse.
Maybe it is a dream or vision.
Whatever it is.
It will be designed specifically to you.

Test what you hear and see if it aligns to the truth of the Word.
Then do as the lady in the story suggested...
Don't ever stop believing what you've been shown.

October 19, 2012

greatly praised

So many of my entries on this blog are posted in the hopes that it will give inspiration to someone.
This post is different though.
I want to take a most and simple praise an inspiration.

Someone once told me that we throw the word love around way to easily.
Think about it, you probably even tell your pets that you love them.
So when it comes time to say it and really mean it the word has lost some of its value.

I think we do the same with the word best friend.
Oh yes, I think it is totally possible to have more than one best friend.
We are all unique beings with our own curious patterns that make up the eccentricities of who we are.
And sometimes.
Just sometimes.
Those life facets fit perfectly into your life.
A best friend would probably be someone who knows more about your life than you do.
A best friend is better than you.
That is, you truly are better when they are around.
Their mere existence has turned you into something better than what you were before you knew they existed.

This is the inspiration.

I was twenty-three years old when God orchestrated our meeting.
You ran into the church building on my first night volunteering as a youth leader.
I didn't have a clue who you were.
Let's face it.
I didn't have a clue who anyone was.
Thanks to your mother though that didn't last long.

You were are a lot younger than me. 
I laugh about it now because I tried for several months to figure out if you were a youth or a youth leader.
I didn't realize what gift I had been given until December.
Remember we stayed back in the sanctuary for a few hours after youth?
They finally came to lock up the building but I knew our friendship was sealed at that point.

Three years have passed since I met you.
I just want to say thank you.

Proverbs 31:30 says,
"...a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."
So I wanted to take this opportunity to greatly praise you.

Lauren has one of the strongest and most caring personalities I have ever met.
I attribute this to her unrelenting love for the Lord.
Trust me.
I have seen this girl walk through things no girl should ever have to experience.
It is like a dream really.
I stepped back and watched her enter a path I've been on for some time.
Though I'm older. 
Though I've been walking this longer.
Here I am learning from her.
She taught me to show grace and love when the world spits in your face.
She taught me the true definition of resilient hope.
She taught me laughter can heal so many broken pieces of a heart.
She taught me to cry no matter how far removed from pain time has taken you.
She has taught me how to be a best friend because that is what she is.

So Lauren.
Here you are.
Freshly twenty-two today.
A day full of presents and fun.

But the real gift is you.
You epitomize the word best friend.

October 16, 2012

chinese vases

Last year I fell in love with this project done by Patty over at Deep Space Sparkle.
I tried it out and it was a huge success.
A lady from district office even stopped by my school and said these were some of the best art project results she had ever seen.
My fourth graders were so pumped!
This was a 'must do again' for this year.
We start by creating a symmetrical vase and glued it down to our black paper.
The fourth graders use blue tempera paint and detail brushes to create complex patterns on their vase.
The next day in art they get blue, yellow, and white paint.
They get to mix up whatever colors they can and paint flowers in their vase.
Thanks Patty!

October 13, 2012

robot pumpkin

I crawled into my bed last night and checked my blogroll.
That is when I realized the last time I posted was WAY too long ago.
It really couldn't be helped.
Six words.
Midterms. Grades. Conference Prep. Exhibit Prep.

Why is it when you have the most to get done you also tend to get interrupted the most?
It's a plot to test my ability to actually accomplish a to-do list.
Luckily I passed.
(well, the midterm grades aren't back yet, but at least I turned something in)

After I finished my to-do list I allowed myself some time to get crafty.

October 3, 2012

election flags

I am so excited right now.
I've been teaching for 2 years and 2 months and I've been waiting for this month.
Election time.
No no no.
Not what you are thinking.
I am excited to do some patriotic artwork.
Let's face it.
We don't teach in July.
So I basically miss out on my favorite holiday and a great holiday to base art around.
Sure I could do artwork to celebrate a President's birthday.
But let's face it.
America is abuzz right now with all things America!!
I start this lesson teaching some history.
I show this video to third grade (via the History channel)
I talk about Jasper Johns.
Then the project reveal.
We start off by putting a collage on our background.
I printed out a bunch of patriotic songs and government documents for the kiddos to cut and paste.
I also played some patriotic songs while they were working.
Here are my favorites.

Anyway. Warning. It is hard not to sing along.
Kids got "creative" with their flag. 
We talked about being respectful but also how to be an artist.
Stripes first.
Old glory blue next.
(I gave them watered down tempera paints)
Then I gave them regular white tempera for the stars.
I'm proud to be an American.
And an art teacher.

October 1, 2012

owl silhouette collage

I originally saw this pin via artsonia.
I decided to take my own spin on it with my second graders.
I talked to the kiddos about value and how it can be created with grayscale or color.
On day one we did our value painting.
We traced a circle for our moon.
Every table got a cup of white paint, paintbrushes, and a stirring stick.
We painted the moon white.
I walked around and added black and blue to the white paint.
The kids took turns stirring.
Each concentric ring I added a bit more black - blue or both.
On day two we used black construction paper to make a big branch, medium branches, and our owl.
We used white construction paper for our eyes.
For the very last step we used a black sharpie to add pupils and smaller branches.
Sooo spooky!
They all look a little different from each other.