Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Twist on the Bottlecap Art

Though I intended to do a second bottlecap panel last year, I never got around to it.
This year, I'm committed to it--I am the advisor to the high school art club and will use their energy to make it happen!

     In the meantime, this happened.

I was there when it first occurred. The PE teacher took his empty bottle and that of the IT guy, walked up to the wall, and screwed them in. I thought it was hilarious. I thought it was even funnier how it shocked people.

     How have we never thought of this before?

Well, we have. When I first started the project, the head principal suggested I make a reverse mural wherein I cut off the screw threads from the top of bottles, attach them to a board, then have an reuseable bottlecap mosaic base. We could move the colors around, screwing and unscrewing bottlecaps to make different pictures. I've never figured out how to do it, but I think a small board would be a great extra time art center in my classroom.

The bottle installation has grown to five bottles. I would be more inclined to leave the bottles up except you can see the remaining liquid in this unclean trash. The bottlecaps were all washed before being used to remove dirt, sugar,and other germs. I'm afraid fresh liquid will turn the inside of those caps nasty.

For now, the bottles have brought a smile to many and freshness to the collaborative art.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

That which by any other name...

Are you familiar with marshmallow?

No, I don't mean the puffy sugar treat that is excellent when paired with hot chocolate, rice krispies, or graham crackers and chocolate. Especially with graham crackers and chocolate.

I mean the color. Marshmallow.

This year, my classpack of Crayola markers got a few new friends due to an ordering mistake at the early childhood center. The 10 pack of assorted colors added some variety to our marker sets. Laser Lemon is a favorite, as is Marshmallow. At least that is what the second graders call it. No, it is not white, off-white, or cream. To me, I would call it light purple. But apparently the name is Marshmallow. They have said it so many times that yesterday, when I reached for a marker and debated which color I wanted, I vocalized to myself "Marshmallow." It was then I decided to enlighten the (blog) world about such a tint of purple. Until I looked at the barrel of the marker. Tropical Purple.

What!?! This color is called Marshmallow!
Don't the people at Crayola know that?

I still have no idea why my students insist on calling it marshmallow. While pink marshmallows are nearly as common as white (outside the US), I have never seen a purple marshmallow.

Until I began drawing with it...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Artist's Achilles Heel

Interesting thing about being an art teacher---you might not excel in every area of art. I recently described photography and handwriting as my left and right Achilles heels as an art teacher. I have, not one, but two colleagues who put me to shame in both categories. And I just got back from a trip to Mongolia with both of them...

I understand the theory of good photography. I know some of the technical stuff like f-stop and shutter speed. Had to learn that stuff for Praxis. I even co-taught photography with the tech teacher during my first student teaching. Plus I understand composition, value, texture---all those elements and principles of art. I just can't manage to make it work when I'm behind the lens of a camera! These days, I don't even own a camera. It died during my second year in China and I haven't bother to replaced it. I did buy a Nikon DSLR for the art department at the end of that year, and have been known to borrow it on occasion, but I live most of my life abroad without a camera. I was thankful to my photography-talented friends for documenting our adventures in the steppe of Mongolia.

And then it happened.

We were in a ger of a local family. My friend was sitting on the floor, learning a game similar to jacks from the wife. He passed the camera over so someone could document the game. While I had the camera, the daughter made her way to the door. I snapped this shot. And then I clicked a few more times. Just in case the first one didn't turn out.

It might be the only good photo I've ever taken. And my friends---they each have 400 amazing shots from the week---but I'm especially enamored with my sweet picture of this little girl, looking out into the world from the safety of her humble home.

After I referred to handwriting and photography as my left and right Achilles heels, I realized I am also embarrassed by my inability to draw from my imagination. Drawing from observation, no problem--but drawing from my head, drawing anything in a cartoon-style, no way! I guess I am a three-legged artist, or at least a three-heeled one...

Do you have an area of art where you struggle? Are you embarrassed by it? Have you found ways to work around your weakness?

I will print a poster
rather than make it by hand because I prefer fonts to anything I can handwrite, or could. Just this week, I decided to view handwriting as an exercise in observational drawing---mimic the letters of favorite fonts when writing by hand.

Maybe this will be a turning point in my relationship with my handwriting.

Photo processing credits to Warren.
Not sure how much he tweaked it. I know I didn't shot in black and white, but I love it as a black and white image.

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