Sunday, November 15, 2015

Painting with Tape - Jumping Math Man

Our wonderful high school art teacher, Marianne Buckley-Curran, had a terrific idea for her art workshop.  She wanted to decorate our K-12 school with silhouettes having to do with school life.  The project would be unveiled at the school open house.  She taught her students the proportions of the human figure, how to draw from their photo reference, and how to scale up when their instincts let them know something was off with the proportions.  So that the images didn't involve repainting any areas of the school, Marianne bought painters tape in inch and 4-inch widths, in blue and green.  I was happy to be asked to created one of the designs.  I wanted to show a student leaping, and as a math teacher, decided to come up with "Jumping Math Man".  I found a reference photo, and decided to paint with the tape on the column, adding a joyful splash of math symbols.  

reference photo
See images of "Jumping Math Man" in process below.  I'll take the panorama again, it came out a little mushed together.  Bottom line, this was a blast!  The students transformed the school Friday afternoon after everyone left so it was a complete surprise on Saturday when we greeted the public for our open house.  And, I loved painting with the tape, thinking about angles and proportions and the graphic possibilities with two colors. I tried to concentrate on the textures in his clothing, indicating where his pants ended and socks began. 
Initial Mapping
I added a little contrast to the bottoms of his shoes and added shadows on ground below him.  Then I used the green to convert him from "Jumping Man" to Jumping Math Man".  My classroom is just down the hall, so when the school had cleared out, I blasted my Pandora with some Motown, then Les Miserables.  We had such a good time, painting with tape.  I came home exhausted  but with that happy glow that intense creative thinking imparts. 

Getting a little round in the middle



Sunday, November 01, 2015

"Forever Changed" oil 14 x 14

  The Girls Just Wanna Paint challenge for October was the theme "gun".  Sigh.  As a teacher, I must practice lock down drills with my students so they know where to sit, how to be quiet, how to stay calm when I lock the door, drop the blinds and douse the lights.  It is very stressful for us and especially for them.  It is so stressful to discuss the procedure with my administration, when they have to say things like, "If a student knocks on your door to come in, use your own discretion as to whether or not they are the perpetrator."  Sigh.  Each and every teacher wonders if they could do the right thing in the face of potential carnage.  Carnage.  That is what is happening.  My job is to teach math.  More importantly, my job is to create a safe place for my students, and to protect them, which I will do.  I know I will do the right thing.
When I thought about the theme of gun, I thought of my students sitting on the floor, sometimes giggling nervously as we practice the drill. I thought of the fear they are either articulating or suppressing.  I thought of the teachers and children who have been killed in the school shootings.  I pray for the comfort of the survivors whose lives have been forever changed.  I pray for connection in our world so that less young men will feel so isolated and angry that they turn guns on others.  What can we do?  For starters we can reach out and connect.  Make eye contact, make connection, break the isolation.  Just a start.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Watercolor Joy

First wash
Second Wash
 I was revisiting one of my favorite painting books, "More Joy of Watercolor" by David Millard last night.  Each page is a visual feast, and the book is packed with information. 
 I'm exploring some of his wet-in-wet demonstrations and color combinations (sort of).  Above are the first two washes in a bottle study. The first wash is ultramarine and raw umber, taking care to preserve the whites.  The next wash was a combination, adding some light red with cerulean up top and letting it wash down, and then some cerulean, and a little sap green lower right.  I'll keep you posted...

Friday, October 02, 2015

"Coffee Shop" watercolor & ink 8 x 9

The Black Duck is one of two coffee shops on Monhegan Island.  Both have their own personalities. Both are great places to hang out and draw, to meet a friend, or to accomplish my favorite Monhegan past time... just being present.  These two women were hanging out one morning.  
The September challenge for Girls Just Wanna Paint was "paint like a famous artist"... I've adapted that in my own head to "spend some time studying a famous artist and think about what you can learn".  I admire Charles Reid's work.  It looks so spontaneous, but is so intentional. Spontaneity and intentionality are not opposite ends of a spectrum, they are just tough to achieve simultaneously, for me.  I concentrated on backlit heads, and wet into wet, lost edges.  Long way to go, but I like this effort.  

Thanks for looking.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Shape to Form and Fantastical Creatures

Along with teaching Math in our charter school, I teach an art project for three hours each week.  I wanted to teach my 7th and 8th graders how to start creating 3-dimensional illusions on their 2-dimensional paper... in other words, how to make form using light.  I showed the students this tutorial on converting shape to form.  They followed along, and withing a few minutes they had shaded six shapes into 3-D forms. Then I asked them to invent a creature using a combination of the shapes they had just made.  They needed to indicate a light source on their paper, and we discussed shading accordingly.  Last step - add a scene around their creature indicating size.  
My sample creature is to the left. 
Here are a couple of screen captures from the tutorial, and some of the students' shape creatures.
We had a blast, and the results were fascinating.  Even those very reluctant to risk making art had success.  I forgot to name my creature, any ideas?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Few Faces - 9 x 12 sketchbook

The students had the day off, and all the teachers had a day of professional development around the topic of service learning and high quality work. I learned a lot, and did some sketching while I listened.  Interesting day all around... 

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Book from One Sheet Paper - "Hare and Tortoise" 5 x 5 inches

Friends, hare and tortoise, chat about a contest one day while enjoying ice cream sodas.
 Every summer, I teach a couple of weeks of Art Studios for Children at North River Arts Society here in Marshfield, MA.  I love those weeks each summer working with young artists from 6 - 11 years old.  A few summers ago, I showed each student how to make a book from one large piece of paper.  They wrote their own stories, designed and illustrated each of the twelve pages and a cover. Then they made several strategic cuts to the original sheet of paper, and folded it into a book. This video shows the cutting and folding technique. 

 During the process, I taught my students a number of design considerations, including how to create the illusion of distance using size, temperature and placement.
My sample book resurfaced the other day as I was organizing.  I designed my own take on "The Hare and the Tortoise" as an example of the finished product.   Glad to have found the book.  Let me know what you think.

They lay out the course over hill and dale. The hare bounds off to a speedy start!

Confident Hare naps on the course while methodical Tortoise eventually passes him.  Hare bounds off again.

Overconfident Hare stops for a picnic as Tortoise again catches up.  Hare meanders ahead, Finish in sight.

Hare slowed to taunt Tortoise, who plods past and wins!  Photo op with the trophy.

The two friends celebrate with ice cream sodas.  Hare bemused, Tortoise ebullient. Friends to the end.