I put together a little Holiday Themed Art Journal Idea List, some of the ideas are a bit simple but fun.
I always find myself journaling and sketching a lot over the Christmas and New Years breaks. I think it’s my way of reflecting on everything that happened over the past year as well as gearing up for the new year ahead (also because I usually like to start the new new calendar year off with a fresh journal so I try to fill up the remaining pages in the old one). Also, I am one of those people who religiously comes up with New Years Resolutions every year…The older I get, the more it’s becoming a bucket list and a reminder for me that life is moving fast. I am a big list person too…I just feel better about my lack of organizational skills when I can cross off even the most mundane tasks.
I also rounded up some of my favorite journal pages from this year….they are nothing like some of the pages I see of other artists on pinterest or tumblr…but they make me happy 🙂 Some of them can fit as examples for the Winter themed list so Ill note them if they do…
e e cummings mixed media art journal collage page
One of my favorite things to do is write down inspiring quotes, passages, poems r song lyrics I come across and then create some sort of art around it.
I can’t help that my natural artistic impulses are the same as every 2 year old who has just been given their first ever box of crayons (to take all the colors, smash them together, color all the paper, mess all over the floor and then take a nap curled up in the eye of the hurricane). I swear I have every intention of trying to become a decent artist when I get out my graphite pencils and little eraser to practice sketching. Somehow though, I always end up on the floor surrounded by paint in every color and shade available. But Im at my happiest and most inspired making my kaleidoscopic messes…
I happened to spot the inspiration for this DIY art project in an advertisement in House Beautiful magazine for minted.com. I ripped it right out (don’t worry, it was my copy!) , taped it to my wall and started to go to work on my own version. Later, I was able to investigate further and discovered (thank you pinterest) that the Artist’s is Yao Cheng, she specials in beautiful watercolor paintings and her online store on Minted’s website is FULL of stunning watercolor prints. The above piece and the object of inspiration is “Hexagon Cluster,” and you can purchase her Limited Edition of Hexagon Cluster print on Minted (or click through the links) for anywhere from $20 to $200 depending on size and finish.
Here is everything you will need to make it:
1) watercolor paints (the Kids Crayola watercolors work just fine) and paper (brushes and cups of water as well)
I suggest the following liquid watercolors for bright, vibrant colors:
Sargent Art 8-Ounce Watercolor Magic Set (10 different watercolors for $49.95)
or Dr. Phil’s Concentrated Watercolors (my personal favorites) They average about $5.00 a bottle or a set of 14 is around $69.99.
2) Watercolor Paper Pad
For the best price and quality, I suggest Strathmore 360900 Cold Press 140-Pound 12-Sheets Strathmore Watercolor Paper Pad, 9-Inch by 12-Inch, which is only around $7.00, also available on Amazon:
3) Thick, heavyweight white paper Mixed Media paper works well, just something to hold the weight of mixed media and glue without tapering.
4) Scissors and a gluestick!
The How To:
The steps to making this DIY project are super simple. But since I’m not sure of how the original artist created her stunning piece so I’ll tell you how I made my version.
1) Get out your watercolors and watercolor paper and go crazy (this is one of my favorite things in the world to do). You don’t need any fancy paper or expensive watercolors. In fact, I mostly used plain old, reliable Crayola Washable Watercolors (available in probably every single pharmacy and grocery store in America). because I had just moved to Grand Rapids from Chicago when I got this project itch, I had none of my supplies and couldn’t wait a few days till I went home again.
* Try experimenting with colors…I love playing with colors and mixing and matching up colors I wouldn’t usually put together while doing this…I tend to lean towards bright, bold, colors but what I love about Cheng’s is that she uses subtle, subdued colors with a pop of bold color that makes the piece stand out. Her use of subtle tones and light/grey hues accentuates the rich blues and the subtle use of warm orange colors all come together to create a vibrant, yet refreshingly simple and peaceful piece of art that would compliment many differently styled rooms.
2) Using a ruler or something to help you draw straight lines, trace out 20-30 hexagons (6 sided shapes). Make sure to make all different sized hexagons..the sides don’t necessarily have to be symmetrical or have all equal lengths..this will help to add to the abstract and organic feeling of the piece.
3) Arrange them in a way you like on your heavyweight art board..the only rule I used for myself was that each shape has to be touching another shape by at least one point..I think this helps adds continuity and fluidity of the artwork and helps guide the viewer’s eye from each unique hexagon to the next.
I also tried another technique and did one piece where all the sides of the shapes had to be touching sides perfectly..this one took a little more time and a lot of cutting down shapes to fit better…
4) admire, frame and hang!
Here are a few that I did, as you can see, I have a hard time using natural and subtle colors- which I think makes my finished pieces a little to “in your face.” But to each their own!
Just getting back into the swing of things…ready to start up art classes again.
One of my students said something that made me laugh the other day. We were discussing writing topics, specifically, writing a funny story about someone you knew. Most of the students started offering up suggestions like their little brothers or their grandpa’s. One student raised their hand and said they could write a funny store about Mrs. Sheffield. When asked why they thought they could write a story about me the student replied, “because she makes really funny faces.” Well, at least they are entertained!
Here are some pictures I have found that have entertained me lately:
One of my favorite books, this is the face I make when I read it too!
This is a student’s drawing I came across and had to bite my lip to stifle a laugh. I had to ask him to draw something appropriate for school but secretly thought it was funny. These are the little things that make me smile and make my day better.
I was so touched by this 2nd grader’s drawing that I scanned it into my computer and want to get a professional copy of it framed….
At the beginning of the year, the students wrote about their “Ideal Tree houses” for a creative writing lesson. They all really loved writing about their dream tree houses and included some pretty cool stuff (lots of slides, elevators, swimming pools, hidden rooms, ect) and one student took it a step further and drew a tree house that had a room for every student and teacher in it!
When I saw it, I almost teared up (I’m a big softie), because I figured, being a teacher, my room would be extra small and tucked away in a corner, far from all the fun stuff. BUT, lo and behold, ole’ Mrs. Sheffy had not one but TWO of her own rooms….one was for living in and the second (the one that really got me) was my own art studio! My living room is the first room to the right of the ladder, as you are climbing from the bottom up..titled “Mrs. S.” (I love it, I’m Mrs. S!) and then my art gallery is on the same level but all the way to the right..titled “Mrs. S art gallery” in smooshed letters…its kind of small, but thats okay, art galleries don’t have to be big! Here is a close up shot…
I love working with this age of kids because they are such big dreamers and (most) see the best in each other still and I thought it was so wonderful, I wanted to get a group hug and stand in a circle holding hands singing the Barney song or something… (okay, no not really, but still)….just wanted to share.
Also, I am thinking of adapting her artwork into an art lesson, I think it would be really cool. So creative and sweet.
I just finished another fun and easy art project with the program members at work. Like alot of the other art projects that have been wildly successful with my students, I found this one by scavenging through the internet. This one had all of the things I look for when trying to find a good art project: fun, easy and cheap. Here is where I found the project if you want to check it out:http://jojoebi.blogspot.com/2010/02/salt-painting.html
I’ve included my own set of directions and some hints and tips I found after doing the project several times. Have fun!
All you need is:
-kosher salt (the bigger the granules the better)
– glue sticks
– water colors & paint brushes
– craft paper
1) The first step is to create a design using the glue stick (I found that the purple colored glue sticks work well b.c. you can see your design better)
2) As soon as you have created the design with the glue stick, quickly pour the salt over the design …and be generous with the salt (If you are helping younger students or your children I usually stand by as they are creating the design and as soon as they are done, I pour the salt…this way more salt sticks to the glue before it has a chance to dry)
3) After letting the salt dry into the glue for a couple of moments (it dries pretty quickly and doesn’t have to be completely dry to start)…the fun can begin!
Dip your paintbrush into your chosen watercolor and a nice dip into a cup of water, then gently tap the top of the paint brush onto the salt design and watch the color absorb into the salt crystals!
tips and hints: Just a couple of things I found that help you make the best out of the project..
-the more colors you use, the more beautiful I think the salt art turns out.
– Also, it is important to tell your students, or those youa re working with, to just gently tap the edge of the brush onto the salt for the best outcome. Some of my students pushed their brushes down onto the salt with a lot of pressure and pushed the salt around with their brushes.
-Finally, it takes a little practice to find the right balance of color and water. If you put too much water onto the salt design it will just become soppy salt soup and if you use too little the color wont spread into the salt crystals.
For the last couple of weeks, we have been working on two completing two large murals. I’ve mentioned http://www.artprojectsforkids.org in the past and my newly found love for the murals she creates that you can download.
For the individuals I work with, whom have various developmental disabilities, the projects have turned out to be a wonderful art activity. The members of the program have really enjoyed working together on the murals and it has been a great collaborative project. Each mural comes can be downloaded from artprojectsforkids.org for $5.00 a piece and the file is yours to keep and use forever.
For Van Gogh’s Starry Night, we used oil pastels and then laminated the project so the pastels wouldn’t smear. I really love how this one turned out.
We used regular old Crayola markers for Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jette and then used elmer’s glue and modge podge to create a glossy smeared finish that made the mural look more like a painting…
Not only does the blogger list some of the most creative, yet simple and easy to follow FREE art projects for kids..she also has mural templates for sale for $5.00. She has large and mini mural templates such as:
Van Gogh’s Starry Night
and my personal favorite, the Matisse inspired mural.
wow. Has it really been four years since my life changing journey to the Phillipines? it is truly shocking how quickly time goes by but how some moments in life stick with you like gum on the bottom of your shoes; always there, always a part of you, always waiting for you to take a fork and to pick at the memories left behind….
the philippines wasn’t gum on my shoe, it was more than that and will always be one of the purest and clear times of my life…in a way, its sad that the phillipines didn’t play a bigger role in my life than i thought it would at one point, i saw myself there, cooking beef patties and sweating through typhoons, but life moves and we move with it.
i close my eyes and when i open them, four years have past, and i have to ask myself where i have landed.
and i’m here. in chicago. a quick summary of the important parts of those four years include: meeting and marrying the man of my dreams, mark, enrolling in grad school in chicago for a masters in elementary education, getting Henri (my wacky miniature dachsund), and now student teaching in a 5th grade class in evanston.
and im back. I wanted a place to reflect on my teaching, a place maybe where i can learn and hear from other educators, past educators, (or hopefully soon to be teachers like me), learn from them, or just to write this all down for myself, even if nobody else cares. and post my shiyza out into cyberspace to clang about and make noise with millions of others who occasionally have the urge to blog it up. like me..
…i am a life long learner. so the title stays and i like it, b.c. its true, and im here again. searching for truth, meaning, knowledge, understanding. and how to deal with seventeen 10 and 11 year olds who only care about Twilight, or miley whats-a-doodle, and their cell phones(!!?!) and facebook.