Monday, July 21, 2014

Franz Marc lesson

Today we had a blast doing a lesson on one of my favorite artists, Franz Marc. We had a quick biographical intro and then I read, "The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse" by Eric Carle. I asked why he would have chosen to paint the animals the "wrong" colors. We brainstormed a number of possible reasons why they would maybe choose to paint that way, but then discussed further his desire to express emotions through colors and lines. We looked at a number of his works to see the different ways he used color and lines and then made a list of what feelings different colors could or usually do stand for. Here's my messy chalkboard of notes: 
Then I had them pick a favorite animal and draw it lightly onto watercolor paper, reminding them repeatedly to fill up most of the page with their animal so it's the focus. They were to add simple background elements to fill the space and add interest, but not distract from the main event. When they were happy with their drawing, they traced the lines with a black crayon, pushing hard and trying to make some variety of thickness. Again for interest. I did a quick demo of "wet into wet" and had them then paint their animals in a color that best represented them. Being art camp where we highlight a different artist every day, we only had one class to complete it. If we'd had more time, I would've spent more time talking about mixing colors and blending to show volume and depth. But as it was, I think most of them ended up pretty happy with their work. I sent them home with an "extra work" sheet that asked which group Marc was part of, how they'd describe his paintings and what they liked/disliked about them. I look forward to reading their answers tomorrow and moving on to Roy Lichtenstein!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


I had so much fun teaching art camps last summer, that I just had to do it again! In case you're curious, I'll explain how I run my classes. I keep them small - around 10 kids. Class is held at my house, although sometimes we are inside,and sometimes we're outside, depending on the activity and the weather. We usually start out by getting to know a famous artist, like Jackson Pollock. We'll touch on bio information like where and how long he lived, family background, other occupations or interests, etc. Then we discuss what kind of art he created and look at as many examples as we can. Sometimes I'll read a kids book like Action Jackson to cover this information, sometimes we view powerpoint presentations or short videos, sometimes we just talk. We often do a short activity to learn more about the art and compare it to his or her contemporary artists and/or artists we've already studied. It's more fun than it sounds, I promise! And you'd be surprised how quickly kids can become interested in art history and art appreciation. I just wish we had a bunch of museums nearby for them to see the real stuff, but this'll have to do in the meantime! Then, the real fun begins and we get to get our hands dirty. Literally. I always have a project planned that allows them to use the same techniques or methods as our artist of the day, or focuses on his or her subject matter of choice. Or sometimes we pick a particular artwork of his and change it to make it our own. For example, on the day we are going to study Grant Wood, we're going to look at his American Gothic painting. The students will copy the background, but draw their own parents in the place of the famous farmers. Or on the day we study Da Vinci and Michelangelo, we'll create small frescos (like The Last Judgment or The Last Supper), by pouring plaster into pie pans and painting a story on it before it's dry so the paint sinks in. Gotta work fast on that one! I always have the goal of making the project that we do be fun and memorable in a way that lets them explore their own creativity and skill while helping them remember what they've learned. Those are some of the specifics. Here's the overview of the classes being offered:

Session I: DRAWING
June 9th – 13th
Learn various drawing techniques while creating artworks in chalk, colored pencil, oil pastel, and markers inspired by M.C. Escher, Grandma Moses, Grant Wood, Gustav Klimt, and Keith Haring.
Ages 5 – 9: 10 – 11 AM       $50
Ages 10 – 18: 1 – 3 PM       $85

July 21st – 25th
Using watercolor and tempera paints, experiment with different skills as you paint like Leonardo Da Vinci, Franz Marc, Jackson Pollock, Edward Hopper, and Roy Lichtenstein.
Ages 5 – 9: 10 – 11 AM       $50
Ages 10 – 18: 1 – 3 PM       $85

August 4th – 8th
Enjoy expressing creativity like Andy Warhol, Faith Ringgold, Henri Rousseau, Andy Goldsworthy, and David Hockney while trying your hand at printmaking, textile art, collage, environmental art, and photomontage.
Ages 5 – 9: 10 – 11 AM       $50
Ages 10 – 18: 1 – 3 PM       $85

If you have more questions, feel free to ask! Leave a comment or shoot me an email. And since I keep class sizes small, be sure to reserve your spot soon! They're filling up fast!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Student Work

This last fall I taught two 16-week art classes for homeschooled students. It was so much fun and was a great learning experience for me and for my kids! We studied a different famous artist every week and created original artworks inspired by their styles, techniques, or intentions. Here's some of their awesome examples.

Matisse's Goldfish:
 Cezanne Still Lifes:
 Wassily Kandinsky copies:
 Picasso-like flowers and hands:
 Georges Braque and Cubist guitars:
Like Piet Mondrian: 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Badlands Art Association's Annual Show

Yesterday I had a booth to demonstrate watercolor at the local art show. It was so fun to get it set up and then sit and paint most the day away. It has certainly been too long since I've done that! Here's a small little painting I did while there, which then promptly sold before the paper was fully dry:
 I like the dreamy fall colors that somehow still make the scene seem warm enough to leave my winter jacket at home. It was done on a watercolor block the size of a standard long envelope. Challenging to paint so small, but on the other hand, it was fun to finish so quickly. So pluses and minuses I suppose. Major plus being the sweet, old lady who wanted to bring it home with her right away!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Public art!

So I haven't been getting to paint as much as I'd like recently but I was asked if I'd be willing to paint a newspaper dispenser for our city's paper and I thought, why not? That's an interesting challenge! And I love supporting arts in the community, especially here where there hasn't been much of it as of yet. So I agreed and painted a local scene from our national park down the road in Medora, ND.
It was certainly the challenge I'd anticipated! Dealing with all the different sides and angles and trying to make it look good straight on, or when you could see two sides at once...all a new experience for me! Can't wait to walk by it downtown!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Summer Art Camps 2013

“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
-Pablo Picasso

June 3rd – 7th, 10 - 11 AM
Create your own Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, Georges Seurat, and Georgia O’Keeffe using tempera paint, watercolor, oil pastels, and collage.

June 17th – 21st, 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Create unique art inspired by Mexican folk art, Australian Aboriginal art, Nigerian wax batiks, Ming vases, and the Molas of the San Blas Islands.

June 17th – 21st, 2 - 3 PM
Create unique art inspired by Mexican folk art, Australian Aboriginal art, Nigerian wax batiks, Ming vases, and the Molas of the San Blas Islands.

6th -12th
June 10th – 14th, 2 - 4 PM
Follow in the footsteps of Vincent van Gogh, Edgar Degas, Georgia O’Keeffe, René Magritte, and Henri Matisse using tempera paint, oil pastels, watercolor, and collage.

June 24th – 28th, 10 AM - 12 PM
Using inspiration based off of Pablo Picasso, Norman Rockwell, Georges Seurat, Mary Cassatt, and Diego Rivera create artwork with collage, colored pencil, tempera paint, and oil pastels.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Slowly getting back

So it's taken me much longer to get back into painting regularly than I had hoped it would! Before baby G was born, I had really ambitious/unrealistic goals of continuing to at least draw every day and being back to painting regularly within a month or two. So here we are nine months later... But in that time, apart from getting use to caring for four little kiddos, my husband got a job in North Dakota(!) and we moved our family far from grandparents and friends and everything familiar. Enough with excuses though, I did start painting again a month or two ago. I just kept putting off posting until I felt like I was ready to do it regularly again. That probably won't happen until after the holidays, but it is way past time to jump back in. So here are two of the three paintings I've done recently of my new surroundings (Sorry for the bad photos. They were already framed before I thought to photograph them and I'm being too lazy to take them apart just for a photo):
"Badlands Buffalo"
"In the Shadows of Thee"
Never painted a buffalo before so that was a first, but they're a much-requested subject around these parts :) I painted these for a local show (Badlands Art Association's Annual Show), and won 1st place for the second of the two! Kinda funny since I had procrastinated (big surprise there!) and had only finished painting it about two hours before I had to drop off the painting. Oh boy. That was cutting it close! I think I still prefer the first. The color makes it much more exciting. And I never really got the trees in the front of the second painting to look how I wanted them to. The Badlands are a mere half hour from our house though, so I imagine there will be lots more of these interesting hills to come!