Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tunnels or Tubes?

This week I will teach about Op Art -- optical illusion art. Major player in the mid 1900's! You can see it in the fashion as well as in sculpture and paintings. I will teach two projects, each easy enough to be finished at home. Here is the first one:

You start by putting a bunch of dots on your paper. Then begin making lines across your page horizontally, but if you run into a dot, you must jump over it. I remember doing this as a kid and loving it! The first sample below is done with an ink pen (it is a little difficult to see in this photo - sorry!)

Here is one done with fine tip Crayola markers and each time I hit a dot I began with an alternating color. The photo is cropped to show you a closeup of it. You don't have to keep super even lines - it adds interest if you don't. AND you can adjust if you want your tunnels to grow or shrink based on how you jump the next row.

You can see how it looks like termite mounds in one direction and tunnels in the other! Op Art 101.

If you want to see some real Op Art, look up Victor Visarely and Bridget Riley.

Plaster me Paris

On the suggestion of my sweet friend, Margaret, I endeavored to try out an art project which lets young students create sculpture similar to Henry Moore's. It sounded easy enough, really --well, for sculpture!

So, my girls and I mixed our plaster of paris up and got it into a disposable water bottle. Then we blew up balloons and put the lip of the balloon on the water bottle -- successfully without a hole 2/4 times. The plaster was shaken and squished down into the balloon. The air squeezed out of the balloon carefully, except when it wasn't and it squirted out everywhere! Then the balloon is tied off. Just a note that if you leave a small air bubble, it will make a small pock on your sculpture... So, we are then off to the races...no, we wait until it is getting ready to harden and then shape it with your hands. Once it is hardened (be sure to wait long enough or you might have some crumbling) you cut off the balloon and leave it safely to harden the rest of the way. Your sculpture can be mounted for display! I'll post photos if any of these get mounted.

This one wasn't quite dry all the way. Note hand after balloon burped on it!

Conclusion: Right now I don't think this is a class activity for me. Maybe Margaret will do it?! Too many variables I can't control and too messy for where our class meets... off to figure something else out!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Herbs for the Service of Man...

I love to learn about and use herbs. Our family uses this muscle soother for any ache and pain. It really works! It has arnica, yarrow, peppermint, plantain, St. John's wort, coconut and olive oil...

Muscle Soother
 I also make a variety of tinctures... below are some ready to be processed. When our family started to get a stomach virus, we took our immune boosting tincture and elderberry tincture, but we even more quickly reached for our "sleepy time" tincture. It has catnip and chamomile which help to relax large muscle groups -  you are able to rest and relax when your tummy doesn't want to. Daily we take a tincture I call "Just Goodness" because it is full of stuff we should 'eat' all the time - rich in nutrients and minerals... red clover, wild yam, horsetail, cinnamon, rose hips, olive leave, oat straw, alfalfa, and raspberry leaf...to name a few. It helps our complexion, hair and nails... it gives me energy...I love it!

These jars have been in a dark cabinet for at least 2 weeks (likely longer). I am so thankful that God has made all these fabulous plants for our health.  Once processed I fill small blue bottles with dropper tops and store the extra for up to 3 years in dark brown bottles in a cool dry place.


Blueberry Buckle and a Cow

Today we received our calf -- fully processed : D -- from Fallen Timber Creek Ranch. They raise grass fed calves which produce the most amazing beef you could imagine! So... as we made room in our freezer we found blueberries and raspberries which just weren't going to fit anywhere else. This inspired the berry buckle snack! I used the basic recipe from the Betty Crocker applying my special butter grating technique with the topping ... fabulous!

I guess I have been in the baking mood. Yesterday, we had a breakfast lunch so I made some 
mini chocolate chip scones... yummy!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Yin-Yang and a Little Nature Cut Out

Notan Design Sample
Here is the first sample for my art class. I just wanted to see how difficult it was to cut/past the shapes... The student's work will be done in a square for the symmetry which Notan is so famous for. I actually like the vertical design, although the lady bug and acorn should probably be a little higher up. The students will use bugs, leaves, and other items from nature for their cut outs as we are also studying about Henri Matisse (1869-1954).  As you can at this link, Henri Matisse Image , Matisse liked to take items from nature for his cut outs.

Notan design is about the relationship with light and dark. What is not light is dark and what is not dark is light. It is the yin-yang. Your eyes typically are drawn to the darkness to define what you are viewing as in the of the famous Rubin's Vase (vase/face - below). Your eye will naturally follow a line between light and dark. Therefore, on the left you see the vase easily and on the right you see the faces easily. This principle applies to all of art in terms of how you use light and dark to communicate your intent.

So, we are off to explore a little of each of these items in our new project this week. Oh, and the final touch is the Japanese signature. I found a website that converts names to Japanese and have printed out each of the student's names for them to put on their pieces. Should be fun!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Celebrate Completion...

My students completed their paper portrait collages and displayed them at our coop's 1950's Soda Shop Unit Celebration the other night. It was so much fun! We had hot dogs, hamburgers and fries followed by games: bubble gum blowing contest, straw blowing contest, musical chairs, The Price Is Right 1950's prices, and the famous $64,000 Question game show with questions from our recent study of WWII.  

My girls and I were part of the team in charge of decorations and my #2 daughter, volunteered to help me with centerpieces. I gave her a Coca-cola bottle, 45's, and some die cuts to put together for a banana split and below you can see the masterpiece she created! It was so cute on the tables.

She used a paper towel roll piece with little tabs glued on it to hold the 45's in place and put a slit in the top to hold the banana split. I wish I hadn't been too busy to take photos for you! We then covered the towel roll with some silver garland to finish it off. Ta-dah! 

I am in the process of planning my next few coop art classes -- Notan designs with a Henri Matisse twist, and Op Art applications. I still have to make a Notan sample, but I figured out some tricks to teach the op art. I'll let you know how it goes!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Door of Opportunity is Open

The painting at the Music and Arts Center is finished! We had great volunteers and fabulous paint - I highly recommend the Aura from Benjamin Moore ---worth EVERY penny! Colonial Interiors was gracious enough to donate several gallons which helped us to complete the project on a tight budget. I am thrilled with the color choices...thank you, Honey, for your encouragement! It really is refreshing and so much better than the battleship grey!

Here is a photo of the doorway I painted after you walk in. There is a saying on the wall that leads to it:
MACCL opens the door to opportunity... here is the open door:

It was great fun doing this painting of many types of landscapes from dessert, canyon, to forrest and mountain! I loved it. It looks a little angled due to the camera shot, but it is really level : D I used quite a bit of palette knife painting techniques - maybe I'll upload a few photos if anyone is interested. This project (the doorway) took me 7.5 hours (which was more than I allotted!) The rest of the painting...the striped walls...came out fabulously as well! Woohoo! Can't wait for the Director of MACCL to see it on Monday afternoon when he gets there!

Do you have a door of opportunity you should be walking through?