Saturday, December 31, 2005

ART & SCIENCE Introduction to Color/ cycles, Silk Mural

ART & SCIENCE Introduction to Color/cycles            Silk Mural                      

OBJECTIVE: To incorporate science and art. Choose a theme: the elements (air, earth, fire, water), an environment (land, sea, sky), cycles (weather, day/night, seasons, etc.) Prepare by studying science lesson/concept you wish to enhance with art. (The history of the Chinese Silk Road and materials used[silk, brushes] is another area to explore.) Then brainstorm to show what concepts students have learned.  This project spans about 3 to 6 one+ hour sessions.

Pre-planning: for each student have white scratch paper, pencil, black felt tip pens; magazine & calendar pictures of animals, plants, ecosystems, etc. Have students individually come up with drawing ideas, using contour or solid (not sketchy) line (another lesson), and then trim drawings, glue them into a larger piece on butcher paper—this step is especially helpful with young kids (grades K-3). For 4-8th grades: divide students into teams (5+, with one team captain). If you rotate several kids in, keep team captains for continuity.) Students can finalize mural drawing on white-board. Mark out 3 x 3’ squares.

MATERIALS:  Each student should have a small Elmer’s blue glue bottle for gutta resist to draw on the silk. This will contain the dyes like a dam. Small squeeze bottle acrylic fabric paints with plastic tips work great. I like the metallics. (Save those used bottles and refill them with Elmer’s blue glue. If the fabric paint is dried, soak in hot water to clean.)

Or use real gutta resist bottles with metal tips and water-based resist for thinner lines. Real gutta is made of rubber and solvent (like rubber cement), so don’t use it with small kids. Metallic guttas are great, I’ll let a student use guttas but only with parental permission, and only if they’re careful.

One to six 3’ x 3” silk scarves, or silk yardage. (I’ve made murals with as few as 5 kids assigned per scarf, or with an entire class, but you have to work everyone in during shifts.) Use simple ponge, or habotai weave silk, 5 to 8 mm (thin gauge). Polyester & cotton won’t work at all. (Burn a thread, silk leaves no residue, just a fine ash, polyester leaves gunk.) (OR if you can’t set up for silk, use white butcher paper or heavy 80 lb. white sulfite paper and watercolors.)

Stretch silk onto 3’ artist stretcher bars, or duct tape together four 3’ wooden rulers, or duct tape corners of silk to 4 chair backs to keep scarf taut. I’ve also used cardboard windows to stretch silk.  For a paper or tagboard mural, no need to stretch! Like cats, most papers (except w/c& sulfite) don’t like water. Experiment.)

Each student should have a small half-sponge, 2-3 Chinese, or sπumi ink brushes (they’re cheap) resting on damp sponges which are better than paper towels for taking excess water off brushes. DON’T leave sumi brushes in water jar!!! They’ll behead themselves....and jars tip over.

Two students can share a water container, and an ice tray arranged with 3 primary (printer) colors, Cyan (sky blue/turquoise), Magenta (red hot pink), and Yellow. I use Jacquard silk dyes. They’re non-toxic, brilliant, pure color and last forever. 

Reserve one brush for yellow as it pollutes easily. (For watercolor on paper, I use Crayola 07W mixing paints to get magenta & turquoise). You can also use diluted silk dyes like watercolor. Also have a few large watercolor brushes or foam brushes for painting large areas, rags, water spray bottles.

ART SCIENCE VOCABULARY: Composition, balance, contour line, wet-on-wet, texture, salting/ osmosis, etc. Utilize the arts components: Artistic Perception (planning), Creative Expression (hands-on), Historical and Culture context (models), & Aesthetic Valuing (sharing) with the Science vocabulary: Observe. Ask questions.  Make a Hypothesis. Experiment. Make a Conclusion. Share what you’ve learned. What surprised you? etc. Artists and scientist use many similar skill sets: observation and hypothesis are key components.


1.            Have students draw mural ideas on white paper (I use Xerox paper folded into a square.) I do a lot of pre-drawing warm-up exercises using a solid contour line which we’ll do in class. Black felt tip pens also discourage sketchy lines.

2.            Using photos and pictures for reference, students can also draw detailed individual things for mural, then cut them out and glue them onto a master mural mock-up on butcher paper. Optional: color mock-up mural in with water-soluble media.

3.             Older student teams can draw mural directly on 3 x 3’ butcher paper. But it’s far easier to collaborate on a drawing on a white board. I like to use a picture within a picture, which allows for more drawings and color fields. Have student transcribe white board drawing (called a cartoon—like a coloring book) onto paper. A digital camera is handy to document drawing as it changes & formalizes.

4.            Using the gutta/glue, firmly hold tip against silk like a pen to draw cartoon. Gutta MUST go through to the back of the silk. Lots of gutta piled up on top of the silk is useless, messy and wasteful.  ALWAYS practice first with each and every gutta/glue on scratch paper using CONTOUR or smooth lines. No sketchy lines with breaks. Dye will run through cracks. Doing the gutta drawing on silk requires patience. Young kids have trouble using the squeeze bottles alone and will need some 1:1 supervision.

This is a good place to talk about osmosis, hydrology & shriveled toes too long in the bathtub. Maybe raise some silk worms. Talk about the Silk Road. Check gutta drawing for cracks/breaks in the lines and mend them. Either let gutta dry, or paint while gutta is wet BUT DON’T paint on top of the gutta. It will ruin the brush.

5.             Dyeing the silk. Using the tip of the sumi brush, paint in all yellow areas first. Start light and work to dark colors. You can’t lighten dye. This is a good place to use scientific inquiry to demonstrate color mixing. Observe. Question. What happens if  you paint blue on top of yellow? 

Make a hypothesis. Experiment. Conclusion. You get green. More water gives you pastel hues. Blue & magenta make purple. Yellow & magenta makes orange or red (really). If you don’t want to limit their palettes, you can introduce pre-mixed green and red, etc. I don’t use black. (Secondary colors mixed together make mud, brown/black.) A limited palette makes for a more brilliant piece.

Start dyeing in the center of each drawing. Dye will wick out to edges and stop at gutta line. Fingers (and hair) will also stain nicely. Barrier cream or rubber gloves helps. Non-toxic dye will come off hands after a few washings. Salting for texture (great for water images) must happen while dye is still wet.

6.            Peer complimenting/aesthetic valuing session. Model with, “I like they way this part has colors that blend...”etc. Look in the Visual & Performing Arts Framework for other ideas.

7.            Dye is not permanent set. DON’T get mural wet! Best to cure it for a few week before fixing it with a commercial acid-based fixative bath. You can also steam it but research before you attempt steaming (see links below). If it’s hung on a wall, just like any fine work of art, it doesn’t need fixing. Silk is protein, like hair. DON’T leave in direct light. NOTE: Procion H dyes can be fixed with soda ash in the microwave, and there are iron heat set dyes but they are extremely caustic in powdered form. Use a mask when mixing.

Rupert, Gibbon & Spider, Healdsburg

Check out the silk hoop class pack and order the 3x3’ scarves separately.

Dharma Trading Co., San Rafael

Rockridge Longs, Oakland, and other fine art/textile stores. (not Michael’s Crafts).

Facebook photo album: Mo's silk painting (photos, ...
Cyclamens silk (art)
Nasturtiums silk (art)
Lilies, silk (art)
Lilies, 2 silk (art)
Flower: silk painting (art) 1998
Pesach silkscarf
Celtic beasties on silk (art)Celtic beasties on silk 2 (art)

Young Audiences of Northern CA Calligraphy Residency

YANC Calligraphy Residency Outline

Artist: Maureen Hurley                                    
Discipline: Introduction to Calligraphy & Graphic Arts

Goals of Residency/Teaching Philosophy

Goals: For teachers: to spark ideas for the creation of an integrated curriculum, using visual arts and language arts. For students: this calligraphy residency will teach the art and history of fine hand lettering, and instill in students, the historical and aesthetic tradition of the art of calligraphy.

What is your approach to working with children?

I am an active published artist, performer/writer and educator. The excitement of, and proximity to creativity carries over into the classroom and ignites students and teachers alike with a desire to learn a difficult skill. Sharing this inspiration in the classroom allows me to create an arts community and foster a nurturing and safe space for students of all ages to explore divergent thinking skills.

What approach do you use to teach them skills in your arts discipline?

I love integrating core curriculum into my lessons, whether it be language arts or visual arts, social studies or science. I share my artistic process with students and instill in them my teaching philosophy which includes a sense of excitement, playfulness, and a burning desire for exploration and experimentation. I use specific models, class demonstration, group and one-on-one instruction, review process, critique/compliment sessions, and portfolio assessment.

Learning Objectives
(what do you want students to know by the end of the residency?):

Objectives: During this six-session residency, students will practice various skills in the visual and written graphic arts. At residency’s end, students will have a grasp of the mechanics of fine art lettering, and with the skills they’ve learned and the handouts I’ve given them, they will be able to continue learning long after the residency is over. I often ask them to teach a sibling or friend after class so they have a sense of ownership in the learning process.

Six-Week Residency Outline

CALLIGRAPHY SAMPLE LESSON PLAN                                  

DAY ONE                                                                One hour workshops

Prep School supplied butcher paper, artist supplied materials & handouts. I will need occasional access to school copy machine.

Intro. to Calligraphy. What is Calligraphy? Calli-graphos = beautiful picture/writing.

Show samples of my work and show historical samples of calligraphy from around the world.

I will give a brief history of the western alphabet: Phoenician to Greek to modern Latin/Roman alphabet: parchment to paper: scriptorium to the Gutenberg press.

(If there’s  time, we’ll also review Phoenician alphabet. Students will write their names in Phoenician symbols on Avery labels to glue onto their folders. Otherwise, this is a Day 2 activity. If time, I will show some Chinese, Arabic & Cherokee alphabet samples beginning with Cro-Magnon cave paintings. Discuss pictographic alphabets.
Alternate hand/symbol exploration lesson plan may be inserted on Day 2 if residency is longer than 6 sessions.)

Introduce Italic Chancery Cursive (Humanist) easiest to learn, easiest to read.

Discuss materials. Make individual calligraphy folders. Distribute handouts/wide rule binder, and graph paper. Discuss right side/wrong side of paper. Pass out  2.5 mm Sanford felt-tip calligraphy pens. We will save all our practice sheets so we’ll have a portfolio to measure progress.

Demo on board on butcher paper (3-6’ lengths with poster size felt markers. Discuss 45° angle, 5-pen widths for body of letter.

Activity: Begin basic construction “c e o” shapes. The standard 2.5 mm Sanford pens make letters approximately one line tall on wide rule binder paper.

Go around room and individually demonstrate correct pen angle, size, letter angle. Lots of praise. (If time, begin  the “a” shapes. Usually Day 2 activity.)

Closure. Discuss process. Raffle off demo letters on butcher paper. More praise.


Prep butcher paper. Distribute supplies, pens, handouts/wide rule binder paper.  Reiterate historical info (annotated.) Show samples. Pass out historical alphabet chart & other handouts.

Activity: Warm up/review of pen angle, pen size,  practice “c e o” shapes.

Introduce the  “a” triangle shape.  If time, do the “b – p” triangle shapes.

Discuss ascenders/desenders (each  d  g  q  ) are 5 pen-widths tall for the body and five pen-widths tall for the ascender/descender = 10 pen-widths total. Roughly 2 lines on wide rule paper.)

Circulate around the room and individually demonstrate correct pen angle, size, letter angle. Lots of praise.

Do a historical review of Phoenician alphabet. Have them guess the pictogram drawing behind A, B, C, etc. Also discuss/show cuneiform/Egyptian writing, if time.

(If more than 5-6 sessions: make stylus & do cuneiform tablets on clay or salt dough. Ties in nicely w/ 5th and 6th grade social studies curriculum. Write cartouche names in Egyptian sounds. Have worksheets ready for both activities in case there’s interest.)

Activity: Write names in Phoenician symbols on Avery labels. If time, write a secret message in Phoenician or Moabite. Trade, translate secret messages.

Share samples. Students write Phoenician names on board. Discussion. Surprises.

Closure. Discuss process. Raffle off demo letters on butcher paper. More praise.

Homework: invent a new alphabet. Write brief message & name. If not as homework, then, use as Day 3 or 4 activity.

DAYS 3 & 4  (Same format as Days 1 & 2. How much material we cover depends upon class age, class size, motivation, and student hand motor skills.)

Review letters demonstrated so far;  special request reviews/ demos, etc.
Intro. “ b” & “p” with ascenders/descenders.  Circulate. Catch/correct their weak letters.
Intro: l  k  i  j  Circulate. Special letters: f  (15 pen widths)  t ; (6 pen widths)  bowtie top.

If there’s time on Day 3  Intro. m/ n lines....  I try to push to demonstrate most., if not the entire alphabet by Day 3… then Day 4 or 5 is for practice, review, and intro. of Capital letters; usually Roman.)

intro.:  u   v   w    y    and    x   z.

Activity  Students translate invented alphabet homework. Share names on board. (This may be done at end of class.)

Activity m- or n-line (to build rhythm.)

Activity: alphabet sentence Alternate: haiku, or one short poem. Discuss page layout, lined guides, etc.

Closure. Discuss process. Raffle off demo letters on butcher paper. More praise.

Homework: invent several monograms.

DAYS 5-6 (Same set-up as pervious days).

Review of problem letters by request.

Intro. of Roman Capital letters (7 pen-widths, 35º angle) vs. 45º angle.

Introduce varying pen sizes (1.5 mm to 5 mm) and applying appropriate guide sheets for pens.

Activity: final alphabet sentence on unlined  paper. No mistakes, even letters,  lines, etc. Redo several times if necessary.

Activity: Share monograms on board either at beginning or at end of class. I prefer at beginning.

Activity: final project 1) poetry broadside, or 2) unique holiday or greeting card (inside & outside drawing/text.

If time, intro. other alphabets: Carolinian (King Charles invented a readable alphabet), insular uncial (means inch tall) and half-uncials, Gothic or black lettering, etc.

If time, I demonstrate using quill, reed and metal nib pens with dip ink. I used to routinely include this in my classes but open ink jars and carpets makes teachers (rightfully) nervous.

If time, share final work of classmates. (usually put on display for  later viewing.)

Homework: practice alphabet sentences and letter/word spacing. No pen, then use a double pencil (2 pens/pencils taped together) as a pen. Remember pen widths.

Closure. Wrap up. Give students a chance to discuss what they’ve learned.

VAPA Standards:
ARTISTIC PERCEPTION: Students will process, analyzie, and respond to art leading to the development of writing including paleolithic cave paintings and rock carvings, medieval illuminated manuscripts and modern calligraphy. They will use their knowledge to describe similarities and differences in works of art and calligraphy.

CREATIVE EXPRESSION: Students will apply artistic processes and skills, using a variety of media. They will demonstrate skill in the manipulation of imagery and lettering. They will create an expressive composition based on historical objects and ideas in a two-dimensional composition that reflects unity and harmony and communicates a theme.

HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL CONTEXT: Students will analyze the role and development of writing through the visual arts in world cultures, noting human diversity and ingenuity. They will Identify and describe various fine, traditional, and folk styles from historical periods worldwide.

ESTHETIC VALUING:  Students  will identify selected principles of design elements used in a work of art and assess their own art, using specific criteria, and describe what changes they would make for improvement.

CONNECTIONS, RELATIONSHIPS, APPLICATIONS: Students apply what they learned in the visual arts across subject areas. They develop competencies and creative skills in problem solving and communication. They will  develop an acute sense of visual literacy. They will identify and design icons, logos, and other graphic devices as symbols for ideas and information.

Young Audiences of Northern CA artist bio and residency workshops

Poet and visual artist Maureen Hurley has led creative writing and art workshops for 20 years in California, Montana; Europe and the USSR. Maureen was awarded seven California Arts Council Artist in Residency grants, and numerous awards and fellowships for her work. Maureen' holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art Studio and Expressive Arts from Sonoma State University. She holds a MA and MFA in Creative Writing (poetry/playwriting) at San Francisco State University, she minored in Celtic Studies, and Folklore at UC Berkeley. She is a storyteller for Oakland USD. Maureen often bases her classes on school curriculum— especially Social Studies or Science, or classes that combine the literary and visual arts. Maureen has taught students of all ages and levels—from Special Ed to GATE; pre-school to Elderhostel. Classes include Poetry & Silk Painting or Calligraphy; Murals, Painting & Drawing; Poetry & Performance. Residencies may be adapted to all age levels and skills.

Residencies (Visual Arts)
Drawing & Painting
How does an artist see the world differently? Students will develop the ability to observe like an artist or a scientist by exploring aspects of drawing and painting using contour line, form, and color composition. Media may include tempera paints and watercolors, India ink scratchboards, oil or chalk pastels, specialty pens and papers. Our models will be the great masters as well as other students’ work. Student-artists may develop a portfolio of their own work and display it in an art exhibition at the school site.

Painting "Sun Catchers" on Silk
Discover the magic of light and color with silk "sun catchers." Students will explore painting and drawing (see above). Using gutta serta—a technique similar to batik, and brilliant non-toxic silk dyes, they will apply their newfound skills to create stunning works of art on silk-covered hoops, or "sun catchers," and on silk banners and scarves. Or we might create large themed group silk "mural" or a series of self-portraits. This class also works well with a poetry or science component.

Murals: paint a story on the wall
Make murals for a school play or event using cardboard and tempera, or create a permanent installation with acrylics on canvas or plywood. Mural painting—whether it tells a story, or records a historical event—is a collaborative process where everyone gets to help with the design. We will incorporate drawings into a mural, create an outline or cartoon mock-up, and then under the guidance of a student mural captain, teams will paint the mural.

Calligraphy = Beautiful Writing
Calligraphy, the art of beautiful writing, develops observation and reading skills as well as fine eye-hand coordination. Students will learn the history of the Roman alphabet, from its pictographic beginnings to modern shapes. "A" is an ox; "B" is a house. We will write secret messages in Phoenician, invent our own alphabets, look at other writing systems including Linear A & B, Mayan, Chinese/ Japanese and Egyptian/ Cuneiform to see how the art of writing evolved. This class is an excellent addition to 6th grade Social Studies curriculum.

Residency (literary)
Poetry, the Mother of Art
The Greeks called poetry the mother of all art: Poetry allows us to synthesize what we know, explore new ideas, and ask questions in a safe format where there are no right/wrong answers. Poetry builds language skills and is an important component of both the Performing and the Literary Arts frameworks. Using their own unique perceptions and relevant life experiences, students write, perform, and publish poetry that creatively expresses their feelings, thoughts, and dreams. They will use culturally diverse model poems from both their peers and by world poets while exploring the use of metaphor to develop their own poetic voice. We will unravel language and make it our own. Many of the poetry recipes may be taught in bilingual Spanish. Publishing may include designing broadside posters or a poetry book. Longer residencies might also include the visual arts such as silk painting or calligraphy.
(Available in Spanish or English)

Young Audiences of Northern CA painting and color mixing workshop

Five Session painting and color mixing workshop

Day one will introduce simple color mixing techniques with tempera paint, and give a brief overview of the ten-session art and poetry lessons. Painting exercise will focus on primary colors (yellow, magenta, cyan) mixing with tempera paint using geometric and free form shapes. Students will learn the proper use of brushes, supplies, etc. We will have a class complimenting session at the end,

Whenever possible after every session, we will close each class with a complimenting session (using Visual and Performing Arts Standards (VAPA): aesthetic valuing) of each other’s work. Teachers will also display student artwork in classrooms and in halls.

Day two focuses on building (9 x 18”) simple landscape, using layers and triangles, using calendar photos and artist landscapes for inspiration. We will draw simple miniature (baby) contour line drawings to identify the shapes. We will build landscapes in layers and artist will introduce age level appropriate key VAPA vocabulary and concepts.

Day three focuses on primary and secondary color mixing with the addition of white/black (hue/shade) with tempera and we will make very large paintings based on landscape. We will use culturally appropriate artist landscapes (reflecting classroom diversity), calendar photographs for our models.

An alternate teaching idea is to have students cooperatively paint a large landscape (18 x 24”) in pairs. Whenever possible, all art lessons will be theme based according to grade level language and or science/social studies curriculum (weather/water cycles, land/sea/sky, transportation, CA history, etc)

Day four will introduce the concept of (solid) contour line drawing with black felt pens using toy animals and cars as our models. We will use blind contour drawing, opposite hand and freestyle drawing techniques. Or, if the teacher prefers staying with color exploration, we could do more landscapes using oil pastels or chalks.

Day five is an optional follow-up drawing lesson, using larger scale toy animals and each other to develop comfort and confidence drawing in a black and white medium. Students will do partner drawings and mirror drawings, if there’s time.

This could also become a Day six lesson for the older grades. See hand drawing exercise below. Another idea is to introduce life drawing with students as models. We may also experiment with other drawing implements: roller ball/gel pens, or explore rendering and shadow with stabillo pencils. A student portfolio of work will be developed and reviewed.

This workshop, written in 2005,for Young Audiences, was the basis for the more indepth art lesson plan.

ART & SCIENCE: Color Mixing teaching notes

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


FIRST FREEWRITE TO KIRK    ramblings that wouldn't separate themselves into orderly piles of air earth fire and water let alone, transcendence

In the beginning was verb
fire danced on water
myriad fireflies etched traces of fire and starlight

in the bayou    crossing the bog
where at water's edge
live coals
sang a reptilian siren call
it's an eat be eaten world
and on it goes

Orion stands on the shelf of the universe,
javelin poised at the ready        

amid the cattails     
ghostly apparitions   
herons in shadows   

light caught by the corners of the eye    
tugging it like a net

as does the nocturnal eye
of the alligator from the swamp   

primordial ooze
ancestral slime
mud swollen     mudbelly dance
lumbering undines
crawling out of the darkness toward the light

marsh dawn orchestrates light
unravels the unheard music of stars
catcall and cough at the edge of night
the night heron stirs

the water alive and breathing
lapping at the shore
like some monstrous leviathan

our hearts race, our breath
etches arias of mist in the cold night air

birds fluttering from the throat of fear   

the night grows ravening shadows
the illusion of river eddy and flow    sweetwater
patterned moonlight ripples
across a tawny carpet of pine needles

the night would grow lonely shadows   
outruns the illusion of river floodwaters
and moonlight circling the trees      saplings   

the predatory eyes
of hunger glow red as coals
while the eyes of fear,
the hunted glow with phosphor luck

fire flame fury magma heart beating earth blood fire
the hunter sun hurls shafts of rainbow light through fog
arrows of light pierce morning mist
meet the water half way

fire hunger in the belly

myriad suns trapped on a rippling net
of shadow and light
bob and dance and disappear
beneath each crest of wavelet

tracks of shore birds scrying
a spell at the interstice of mudflat and shore

fog sea and sky are one thing    wetlands

a breeze luffs the leaves
and Spanish moss
birds test wings against a dawning sky

an allelulah of geese veeing toward the horizon
their atonal song would stop the sun in its tracks
sweeter than the downshift of engine
or bulldozer snore

how then, to hone this amorphous swamp
of words into a prism of thought?
an aria of thought       an aria of the mind      an aria of verb
I am trying on clothing of words
 to dress the dawn
how then to dress the night?
let it dress itself in verb verb verb

evening's painted shadow  canopy of stars

a lure burns beneath the surface
like a ruby ready to burst into flame
bleeds into the retina

from the cove you rise
swift as gulls to the blue ache of sky
trailing sheets of seaweed
as if from the bed

tangle of hair against a pillow of white sand
glacial quartz ground to a fine sugar
ices the wedding of your bare feet
to this shore, this beach

an arcane dance in cadence with the wind       
rhythm admixture of light and wind
sea   liquid and light

languid water     lush heat   
lurking shadow glimmering    
glamoring languid solitude
soothing the meadow's melodic tendrils

swathe the swamp lilies
undertoe and current   
strange solitude of self      swaddled

the music of wind vocalized against bare branch
the wind sings in the branches
to the birds bittersweet woodsap and pine

"when night fell ebony water wept with the moon"  (not my line)
fearless stars speak a muted truth of light and age

A salvation of light dressed
you in mirrored prisms
toe first you disappeared into the mirrored dawn
into the surcease between ebb and flow

waves pull up delicate lace sheets to cover the shore
rollers of pounding surf
gulf equivalences  of air and water
atmosphere  a sphere of air
clattering palm leaves gallop across the eardrum

the sound of crushed shells beneath the foot
royal red and rainbow indigo

horsemen of the apocalypse
apocalyptic cloud and storm
rides across the sea and sky
heavenly roof of fire.

10-12, 2005

this project never got off the ground because I was working in a void, channeling images from Air earth fire and water, plus quintessence but not having any music to bank off of. Kirk was in Miami or Cape Cod and I was in Oakland, not an easy way to collaborate long distance.