A new perspective

A silly photo on Facebook started the wheels turning for a cool drawing project. At first glance, the boys’ outstretched arms looked unnaturally short…he is actually folding his arms across his chest, but thanks to the –  A. lighting B. clothing choice and the fact no one else has their arms folded, he looked sort of like this…big head little arms 2

Entirely okay with me, since this sparked an art project. Thank you, Nick!

Perspective Drawings

  • Without revealing the project – I had the kids trace their hands and feet on a sheet of paper.
  • Hands at the top (could be overlapped, or run off the page if necessary)
  • Feet at the bottom (some chose to take their shoes off, others left them on)
  • To make the perspective clear, I had them draw “finger wrinkles” and the sole of their shoe, or “toe wrinkles”
  • Then, I asked them to draw their body – BEHIND the hands and feet. (and showed them an example)
  • Be sure the arms end at the base of the hand and the legs run into the feet.

Some kids nhands3eeded a little help visualizing this – but once they got it Ba-BAM!  they were off and running.

Here are some examples of student work hands4hands1


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Branch Lizards

Easy and mess-free, that is what I promised my classroom helpers in the kindergarten art class this year. No painting, no gooey clay, nothing fun :(  …..

No, not really – we are having lots of fun. Check out the cute little Branch Lizards …

Pipe cleaners
Sticky dots (cheaper and easier to use than googly eyes – and no glue required)


Wrap yarn around the stick 
Add pipe cleaner legs (wrap a pipe cleaner around, twist, form feet by folding the ends back and forth 3X)

Add tiny sticker dots for eyes and spots if desired
(purchased a pack of 500 for a dollar at the office supply store)

It takes coordination to wrap a stick with yarn, the kids were intensely focused while working on their little buddies.

Awesome Bicycle Project

There is simply no other way to describe this project but AWESOME.

My mom gave me a large box of cardboard rings last spring. She thought I could make bracelets with the kids in my art classes or something.  Bracelets would work, but there was something else….couldn’t quite put my finger on it…..but I knew these cardboard rings were destined for greatness.

After fiddling with different ideas, making BICYCLES came to mind.

I had the wheels, had wire for spokes…pipe cleaners, bags of candy sticks, black fleece,  YES this will work!

Stay tuned, this week we add the riders….making clay animals to go atop the colorful bikes.

If I ruled the world….

ART education and exploration would be mandatory


The BlogFEST prompt of the day comes from Jo over at My Wandering Mind.
She wanted to know what we would do if given the chance to rule the world.  Thanks for asking,
I would make it a mandatory part of every child’s (and adult’s) life to create. 

Now, before you say – ugh, but not everyone is creative. Baloney. I could just as easily argue that not
everyone is built for figuring out complex (or not so complex) math problems – but that part of education
would NEVER be dropped due to lack of funding, interest, or room.

Training in creativity – and simply allowing a child to explore art materials, theater, dance, music… – can lead to success in so many more areas.

  • Art cuts across racial, cultural, social, educational, and economic barriers…
  • Builds independence, confidence, collaboration …
  • Abstraction helps make personal thoughts a concrete reality
  • AND  working in the arts improves academic achievement test scores, attitudes towards education, social skills, critical and creative thinking, develops higher order thinking skills, evaluation, problem-solving, synthesis and analysis…..

If I am ruling the world and all – passing out glitter and paint brushes, I would also make tutus and tiaras completely natural everyday apparel for girls of ALL ages.

Glam Runner may have beat me to this idea – but that’s okay, I will need a lot of creative people on board if I am to stay focused on the nitty gritty of ruling the world and all.

Cats, cats, and more cats

“How do you feel about cats, black cats, and superstitions?” asks Kelly of the Monkey Heart Discourses.

Let me get back to you on that Kelly.
First, I want to talk about Miss Frizzle. Remember her?   I am not much of a scientist, but loved her adventurous spirit….and have adopted her mantra for my art classes,  “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” 

She didn’t say this, but I like to add, “Made a mistake?  Good that means you are trying.”  Kids can become quite discouraged  if their projects do not come out as expected the first time.


How does this in anyway shape or form connect to the BlogFEST prompt of the day?

See the nail art?  That’s how.

I’ll explain. Part of the allure of Miss Frizzle was her penchant for dressing the part. If the class was gearing up to study rainbows, she would come in in a rainbow dress, if they were going to explore space, she wore planets and stars. As an art teacher, I suppose I could get away with a little bit of her fashion wackiness, but I am subtle -and basically shy.

Painting a clue to the project of the day though is a fun way to introduce the concept…..so far I have been confined to simple geometric shapes, stripes, and colors….but silhouettes will be a great time to break out the black cats.  The kids like to guess what we are doing by looking at my nails in the hall. :)

But am I superstitious about black cats?  naw.

Black cats are sleek and gorgeous and can be the muse for a wide range of projects.
As far as art projects go – working with one ‘color’ is a nice relaxing change.

Try watercolor splotches with ears, eyes and whiskers…










Cut out black silhouettes of a black cat over a collaged scene… This is a fabulous project – I will be posting pics once the kids finish.









Or, if you want a more technical drawing lesson for the younger set, this handy image is from Art Projects for Kids.

“I’ve been waiting for you”

One of my long time dreams is to teach art. – Wait, you say, you are already doing that aren’t you?  Well, yes. I do teach in a school – but my big dream is to have my own building where I can hold classes, big messy classes for kids and adults who cannot afford the luxury of art.

I used to search for the best location,ugly inner city being my main focus, but anywhere there are people is fine. I  found old abandoned schools, churches, store fronts … there was a building I was “this” close to putting a bid on, but rats were found….then another great little building that was TORN down to make way for a stupid Sheetz gas station- across the street from two other gas stations… there was a large barn I considered remodeling, then I moved.  I had been stalking, touring, and plotting how I could pull it off.

Then. Life hit.

Life hit hard.

I recoiled from the pain and stopped dreaming about having my own art center.  In fact, it seems quite impossible now due to some unfortunate repercussions from the hit.

But, I was talking to my daughter on the phone today – she is several states away and I haven’t seen her for months – she mentioned my dream and it hit me –  dreams sometimes take on a life of their own. They grow and change and become real bit by bit. If I would have had my dream when I first started imagining it…..hmmm.

Okay, so the answer to the days prompt for the Blogfest 2012 is NO. I am not living my dream, but I am watching it grow. Preparing in ways I never realized would be necessary, but I am excited to report, the dream is not dead….it is just seems to be of the slow growing variety – it is hanging out in the incubator – and life has been supplying a steady dose of nutrition without my knowledge.


Cecelia Ahern, Love, Rosie Cecilia Ahern, Sea of Roses

Sorry, Cecilia – I disagree.  I don’t want to settle, but I am willing to wait as I rekindle my ability to dream, expect the unexpected, believe in magic and rebuild my innocence.  One day my dream will say, “Ah, hello there, I have been waiting for you.”   because actually, the dream is fully grown – I am the one hanging out in the incubator.

Ooo shiny thing

The BlogFest prompt of the day asks if online schools are worth it. I don’t know the answer to that, although my kids tried K12 – an online public school for home schoolers. We all hated it….and I quit not even 4 months into the school year.  We went back to learning from books and doing worksheets and working at our own pace – all together. That was the biggest downside to the program, all four of my children were studying different periods of history, working on completely different science projects and I was going mad trying to keep up. –  and they hated being on the computer for so long.

We dropped it, and haven’t looked back since. (2 graduated, and went on to college and the coast guard & college.)

As for me, like I’ve said many times before – Pinterest is my online learning “school” of choice.  I know not everyone understands the appeal – I get that, in the same way, Twitter escapes me – I try, I really do, but just cannot stay focused on the rapidly scrolling words – everyone talking at once….
but PICTURES, pictures I “get”  I must be a visual learner, or maybe Pinterest just appeals to my ADD-like behavior,  “ooo shiny thing….”  “SQUIRREL!”

Back to Pinterest – a lot, maybe 75% of my lessons for this year were found through the wonder that is Pinterest. I wrote on it here too “P.I.N.S.”  Some of the lessons turned out fabulous – better than expected…others, eh, not so much.

Today one of my classes made owls – owl masks … and owl collages.  – and to be honest, 9 hours of being art teacher lady completely wiped me out – sooo, that’s all folks.  :)




Chill, I got this

Stuart is the BlogFEST host of the day, his post “What if you could take charge of your life” is brilliant….and now, here is mine…

In Charge? 

When I put my teacher hat on, I am in charge REGARDLESS of what it may look like to a casual observer.  (teacher assistant, hall monitor, class across the hall…)

My classes are often appear chaotic to those used to lecturing teachers, or those who plan projects that can be completed by trained monkeys…

I have a very GOOD REASON for allowing moving about and laughter – namely creativity likes to sneak in the backdoor. Of course there is time for focused activity – but at the beginning, when I am brainstorming with tiny children – there will be commotion.

It’s okay though, I got this.

“I love chaos…it’s the poetic element in a dull and ordered world.”
~Ben Shahn

the painted faces? …yeah, um all a part of the creative process :)


Make a wish

  Day 3 of the BlogFEST and I am up to bat.  This is the prompt of the day…MAKE A WISH

Everyone has a select skill set. Some are wired to be organized, others are inherently messy… of course there are

plenty of skills and talents you can work towards – and with practice you may even master. But what if you could simply

skip all that and just DO something, and do it well.  Yes, I am asking you to MAKE A WISH.  What talent would you wish for?


I have had the opportunity to pursue a lot of different art – talent or no talent I tend to just jump in to things. I’ve shown in art galleries, sold commission pieces, painted giant murals in homes and businesses,  worked as an apprentice under a sculptor artist (which meant welding giant sheets of metal together with huge industrial welding equipment and doing all sorts of sanding, buffing and painting), I have  planned, set up, and held several art shows with other artists.

I am creative and have also taught art for several years now… and I say all that to back up this wish.

Realism. I really wish I could paint like my sister, like a few of my uber talented students even.

Recently there was a “documentary” of sorts made about my ridiculously talented sister – she is keeping it private though or I would share it here.
It is about her and the donors who stepped up to help fund her expensive private college experience – since my parents have been out of work throughout her high school, and now college years.  Thanks to her talent, she was noticed, and has been able to work towards her double major – fine art and psychology – art therapy is a definite back-up, but everyone is telling her to keep going with art, it is just that good.

Now of course there are other talents I would love to just drop in my lap – but artistically speaking, for this blog –  realism is definitely on the top of my list.

Your turn, Make a Wish!

here is a silly picture I took of my daughter

and this is my sister’s interpretation – I was informed it was not done, but either way – amazing

and this is her self portrait

Insomnia = Inspiration

BlogFEST day 2 – Susan at Today’s Working Woman threw this prompt at us: Sleepless nights

Over the years, I have gone through periods of insomnia, but I know that one person’s reason for a sleepless night can be wildly different from the next person’s. So when was the last time you couldn’t sleep? What was the reason for not sleeping? What did you do to overcome it? I hope you all have fun with this one and don’t lose any sleep over it!


Insomnia =  Inspiration 

For whatever reason, creative ideas wait in the shadows until the day is over. Then they decide to pounce.
Notebooks are full of indecipherable blasts of “inspiration” -some completely unusable, impractical – but man, they sure sounded FAB in the middle of the night.
Then again, maybe the ideas were just a little ahead of their time – either way, I am documenting their existence!




Next time you are unable to sleep or just want to make something nifty with your kiddos that doesn’t require a lot of supplies make SLEEP MASKS.  I drew my own template, but I see that Family Fun has one online so that saves me the trouble of scanning…..Sleep Mask Template.

….and now some inspiration   – I think I am in love with the fake fur/sherpa mask