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Friday, 15 November 2019

Zines and Sketching Class - Lessons 3 & 4

Since I was away last week, another teacher covered my class for me. The lesson last week was on Watercolour Painting. I wanted the students to try watercolour to see what they could do with it. The teacher had them go outside and gather leaves which they brought indoors and used by tracing to make leaf shapes on their paper. They outlined some and painted others.










This week's lesson was to introduce the students to collage and yes, it was messy. I think the students really got into it though and enjoyed the process. They had to do a little thinking and they had to make choices. We used paint, magazine photos, scrap art, found items, markers.












The plan for next week is to begin working on our zines using some of the techniques we've tried. Their homework was to come to class next week with their title page done.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Mexican Inspiration

I have been travelling again. This time to Mexico for a much-needed time away with my husband. I love to see the art of other cultures and our resort has a distinctly Mayan flavour.















Thursday, 31 October 2019

Zines and Sketching Class - Lesson 2

I just finished teaching my second lesson in my Zines and Sketching class. Of course, I stressed and over-prepared for this lesson. I planned to do some sketching and then get into some Collage with my students. I practiced at home and loaded all the supplies - paper, paint, old magazines, fabric, matte medium, glue, scissors, markers, collage examples and on and on. I even made a couple more hand-made sketchbooks in case the students had totally filled theirs up. I had two large baskets full of supplies to schlep to the school...and it was raining all day.

I had hoped to do some sketching of trees outside but that was not about to happen in the rain so I had to think of a plan B. I had a postcard book of Canadian Group of Seven Landscape paintings with me so I let my students choose one to sketch. I asked them to sketch the main shapes of the composition first and later work on the details. They began in pencil and then they outlined the whole sketch in black fine liner or marker. This became a lesson in crosshatching. They were told to determine the darkest darks and colour those in with a black marker. Then they were to determine the next lightest value which was still dark but less dark than the darkest. This value they crosshatched extensively. As they did this, their landscape began to take on some life. As the values lightened, the students used lighter cross hatching. This exercise took the whole hour and a half and they still were not totally complete however, I think they started to get the idea and I think they did a really great job!

Oh yes, and due to it being Halloween, I only had 4 of my 9 students. Some things are just out of our control and we just have to roll with it. The four of us still had an enjoyable time of learning together.










Friday, 18 October 2019

Inspiration Through Teaching

Years ago I taught art on occasion at our Christian Elementary School as a supply teacher. I really enjoyed it and I think the students actually learnt something from me. As I come from a family full of teachers, I thought I would be a natural at this but not so. I stress way too much about planning and outcomes and so it is not something I do without a lot of thought and prayer.

I have, once again, volunteered to teach a sketching/zine making class for the school's After School Club. I will only have 8 students which for me, is more manageable. Not that there is any less stress but I will be able to give better one on one instruction with fewer students. The class runs for 6 weeks on Thursday afternoons.

For weeks, I have been planning, gathering supplies and examples and making notes. I just want to show them everything that is possible through sketching and the myriad ways of making a zine. The pile of stuff I have accumulated is massive and so I have to pare it down so I can actually carry it with me. I am wondering now if 6 weeks is enough time.

I really think it is important to share creativity with our youth. I have always done that with my kids and grand kids. It helps us to see the blessings all around us. It helps us to de-stress. It is well known to have many health benefits and mostly mental health benefits. Employers are looking for creative thinkers, out side of the box thinkers. Artists can deliver beauty and hope to the world. That's my goal, I guess.

Yesterday was my first session with these students. I made them each a sketchbook with various papers in them. We chatted about sketching and sketch books and why people keep them. I showed them many of my personal sketch books asking them what types of things they enjoy drawing. Most of them said, "Cartoons". I will be challenging them to try to draw other things.



We talked about what a Zine is and I showed them a few examples. The students worked on drawing a cover for their sketchbooks and then they were able to sketch whatever they wanted inside them. Below are some of their sketches. They gave me permission to share them in this blog.
















Friday, 4 October 2019

Where Fabric Card Ideas Come From

I've been making several fabric cards lately for people I know and for various occasions. I've taken photos of the inspiration for the card and the final card together. Many of my ideas come from photos I have taken and once in a while, I will just sketch an idea from my imagination.



This was a photo I took during a moody sunset at Killbear Provincial Park this summer. That sail boat came quietly sailing past my kayak as I was snapping photos and it really makes the composition interesting. Photo above, fabric card below. The sky was done with various coloured organza, which is transparent and so the layers show through.



This was a sketch I did from a photo taken that same night at Killbear. For this one I just used commerical fabrics from my stash. I have some really great pieces that resemble rocks.


This was an imagination sketch of  a landscape with trees in the foreground and stately mountains in the background.



My neighbour up the street was growing sunflowers. I don't know how she succeeded. I have tried for years to grow them but the squirrels just steal the seeds right out of the ground. On my walk one day, I snapped a photo and used it to make this card.


At this time of year the sumac trees are turning red. This photo was taken near the Humber River which runs behind my house. When they are green the sumac leaves are not very appealing but when they change colour I find them very interesting with the varigated green/red mix on some leaves and the bright red in later fall.

Friday, 27 September 2019

Inspiration found in Holland and Portugal

I just spent two weeks travelling to Holland and also Portugal. It always takes me some time to relax enough to sketch in new places. Here I'll share my sketchbook pages.


This little car was perfect to get me in the sketching mood. It was parked at the end of my cousin's street so I sat on the sidewalk with my back to a wall and hoped the owner would come out and move it.




The view out of VRBO window in Lisbon, Portugal. I took lots of photos of tiles but also wanted some in my sketchbook.


There were so many of these alleyways covered with graffiti and lots of ramps and stairs to get you around this hilly city. There was even an outdoor escalator and elevators just to get you to another level of the city.



We did lots of waiting in airports. Such a waste of time....unless you are sketching (or gazing at your phone). I think my people sketches are improving. At least I can tell who these people are supposed to be.


 Back in Holland we visited several windmills. I never get tired of the look of them on the Dutch landscape.


Vacations come to an end much too fast. We actually had pretty good seats in the front of the plane just behind business class.


Friday, 20 September 2019

Art is Everywhere

In our familiar surroundings, we take for granted what is around us because it is familiar but as soon as you are in new or unfamiliar surroundings, you start to see "with new eyes". Lisbon, Portugal is just full of art.


Some buildings are tiled from top to bottom with ceramic tiles.






Hand painted tiles are also used to tell stories.


Even the streets and sidewalks are patterned with various coloured stones.







There are many sculptures and religious art works.











And, of course, there is a prolific graffiti culture. Some is commissioned and a lot is vandalism.