Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Klee Quilts (art) tempera

In class demos. Most of these pieces were painted in January. Tempera on 80 lb white sulfite paper, each block is 12x18". So this one is 36" x 54",(3' x 4.5') and the ones at the bottom of the page are 3' x 6'. Hence the name quilt.

This bank of demo tempera images (each one is 12x18") I did in my art classes covers an entire blackboard (I teach K-5 kids). In each class, I demonstrate how to hold the brush, make fat & thin lines, circles...

It's a lesson I developed on the work of Paul Klee but my images are more analogous with Keith Haring's style. I had a neighbor, Betty Wall, who made crazy quilts. So that too was an influence.
I also wore a colorful top to teach in, that had African motifs, so many influences went into this particular style.

Kids each made their own Pall Klee style monograms based on their initials and/or geometric shapes. Start with the lightest color. Black is added last as it pollutes the water, and other paints.  Added 3/2017.



Mola inspired drawings, oil pastel (art)

Oil pastels, using molas for inspiration. In class demos.

Landscapes, wet pastels (art) 2008

I'm posting all my 2008 wet pastel landscapes at the end of December, though they were done over the course of a year, most were done during the fall of 2008.

Wet chalk and wet construction paper pastels: these are mostly 6x9" in-class demos. Some are 9x12". Many are experiments, or are not finished. If I don't finish them in class, I can't go back and finish them when the paper's dry as they're generally far too fragile to re-wet and add details. I usually only have about 10-15 minutes to complete a pastel as I have to teach the kids too!

This lesson evolved when my after-school art kids asked if they could do chalk pastels. I wasn't wild about the idea as I like more painterly colors, etc. But I also love to draw. So we did some pastels and I was disappointed in our results. I noticed that one child developed a cough from inhaling the chalk dust. (It bothers me too). His mother insisted it was only a cold (I think she was afraid I wasn't going to let him participate as he totally loved art). But.... I wondered: how can I reduce the chalk dust? Water. When I worked at a horse training stables, we used to sprinkle the indoor arena sand to keep dust levels down.

I discovered a technique of wetting both paper and chalk and it's akin to painting with sticks of chalk. (I've used both oil sticks and Aquerelle watercolor crayon sticks so it was a natural progression. With the Aquarelles, I weted the stiff morilla board first, or sprayed it with water after the crayon was applied. But I didn't want to use white paper for chalk pastels—besides, morilla board is astronomically expensive to use in the classroom.

So I experimented with all kinds of paper and the ONLY paper that would work was my former school painting/drawing nemesis, construction paper. It has a tooth (texture the chalk needs to adhere to) and the glue that holds the woodpulp together softens and the chalk adheres directly to it. Riverside acid free construction paper works best. Most schools have the worst grade cheap construction paper, but it will work, though it's more fragile and will easily tear.

An added bonus of using chalk wet, the colors are more painterly and vibrant. Cheap kid chalk or hopscotch chalk generally won't work, it's often too hard and will tear the paper, but the heavy teacher white chalkboard chalk is a perfect blending tool with a buttery consistency when wet.

We add black details with the waterbase stabillo pencils at the end of the session. (I also remove black chalk from the pastel sets). Pieces are very fragile until the construction paper dries. I put them on paper towels and in a sunlit window to dry.

Adult pastel sets often have toxic chemicals in them—like vermillion, cadmium and cobalt. Don't use them with kids! make sure the chalks have non-toxic AP labels.

Chalk pastel on construction paper, 6x9" or 9 x 12".

Landscapes, wet pastels (art) 2011

Another version of this in 2007; did I do it twice? Or rework it?

Landscapes (tempera, art)

February 29, 2008  art is from 2006 to 2007.

In each class, I begin this lesson with large gesture painting so kids won't freak over details. I  deconstruct several large calendar photos on the board to show the basic shapes. (KISS: keep it simple, sweetie). I laminate 2 photos back-to-back and let kids choose an image.

We air draw the shapes first before we begin painting. I don't let kids sketch with pencil because they get too caught up in it and forget to paint. And we only have about 40 minutes to paint and clean up! So making big gestures with the arm translates well.

These are, for the most part, quick 2-5 minute sketches of landscapes with tempera to demonstrate how the landscape is comprised of basic shapes (layers). Note the photo is a model. We work from calendar photos. Tempera on 80 lb white sulfite paper, 12x18" each.

We look for basic shapes to emulate. I demonstrate water and sky with wet on wet technique. Though we're using tempera, or poster paint, it can be thinned down and used like watercolor. I paint paper with water first and add color sparingly. Their palette contains only four colors: yellow, magenta (no red), cyan/sky blue and dark blue. And from that, they make all the colors of the world. Brown is made from all three primary colors. As is black.

I don't give kids little brushes. We do these paintings with fat 1" wide brushes! Harder to get details that way. We go for the basic shapes. The rest will follow.

Since I rarely have more than 10 sessions per class (sometimes I only see kids 5 times in any given year), I streamline and accelerate lesson plans to cover maximum ground. So this lesson focuses on primary color mixing and identifying simple shapes.

These sketches introduce the idea of water horizon line. Sometimes the easiest way to begin a painting is to put a horizontal stripe down the middle. I usually start with yellow and add layers of color. There are four colors in their palettes (really ice cube trays) Yellow, magenta (no red), cyan/sky blue and dark blue. Nada mas! And from that, they make all the colors. Brown is made from all three primary colors. I tried using stabillo pencil to sketch in black...I will do anything to NOT put black in the painting tray/palette (really an ice cube tray).

This is an unfinished sketch of Maui. A child was having trouble seeing the basic shapes so I did a quickie demo. I've given up on letting them sketch first with a pencil (though I did on this one to show him the shapes), because they'll spend the entire hour drawing and not painting. We usually have only an hour total to complete our work, not much time to crank out art!

I'm noticing that the longer I work with a particular group of kids, the more in depth and realistic my demos become. I worked with these kids in 3rd and 5th grade and so I was able to refine the info.

With an advanced class, I introduced the multi-color dabbing technique for shrubbery with sparing use of black and white. I also tried to introduce light direction as well, with less success. (added 3/17)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mary McAleece, Irish President in SF

Sinead and I went to see Mary McAleece speak at St. Ignatius in San Francisco. In line I ran into my cousins, Ann Dinneen, Michael Collins. I think Pat D'Arcy was there too—or she may have seen Mary at the United Cultural Center. My UC Berkeley Irish Studies prof. Robert Tracy was there with his wife Betty Tracy as well as many Irish folks I've met over the years. Dierdre?

I will need to dig out my notes and see what I wrote as I'm posting this well in arrears—scanning old photos and such, getting them out of the way.  So this is a placeholder. —July 19, 2013.