do it. create. walk and see. cut and paste. scratch and sniff.
do whatever you have to do to feed your soul.
this is my commitment.

Monday, April 13, 2015

april 12 art class

We opened up class with the book, The Orchestra Pit (a snake visits the wrong "pit" and meets the orchestra) written by Johanna Wright.  

As a warm up, the children painted snakes with watercolors, eventually adding more detail with markers and pencils.  

After reading Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin written by Lloyd Moss and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman, we discussed the orchestra instruments and their families (brass, percussion, strings and woodwinds). 

Conor brought his violin and we were able to identify it's parts: the scroll, tuning pegs, finger board, f holes, bridge, tailpiece and chin rest.   

The children used the same art making method they had used with their snakes to illustrate their own violin as well as other instruments that inspired them.  

While eating our snack, we listened to Leonard Bernstein narrate the story of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf.  

We spent the remainder of our class time designing puppets for our Peter and the Wolf "sets", creating our own story boards.

Thank you for taking a break from the beautiful (and unexpected) weather yesterday 
in order to drop off and pick up your children!  I was worried having to spend time inside might be disappointing but it appeared as though everyone enjoyed themselves.

To view classes listed for MAY, please visit this link.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Create Everyday Classroom: brief history + mission

The mission of The Create Everyday Classroom is to design a learning environment for every individual that fosters and establishes the importance of quality time for creative exploration.

The Create Everyday Classroom was established on the conclusion that children have a natural ability and urge to create. This need to create, while given the appropriate tools to follow through, was proved to foster higher levels of clarity and understanding regarding any subject.

Children have a natural sense of curiosity and wonder. The Create Everyday Classroom was founded on the belief that, by becoming immersed in activity that emphasizes these natural inclinations, students create conscious habits as creative thinkers that are less likely to become lost with age.

The Create Everyday Classroom is an art classroom, but, just as importantly, has an intention of acknowledging the whole person while listening to each person's natural inclinations and bridging these to other avenues of learning.

To read more about The Create Everyday Classroom as well as view a schedule of upcoming classes, please visit:

Sunday, April 5, 2015

book making and journaling

This class was fantastic.  I am going to have to make sure I offer a variation of this class again soon. Not only did this class teach a skill (book making with simple, everyday materials), the process of journaling is a valuable form of self expression, creating a unique (manageable) place to gather ideas, collections or take time to reflect. 

There are so many articles and so much research on the positive benefits of journaling.  As a classroom teacher, my students always had access to their own personal journal at any time during the work cycle.

I recently stumbled upon this list of benefits which, I believe, is the most simple and concise:

1. Journals help us have a better connection with our values, emotions and goals
2. Journals improve mental clarity, help solve problems and improve overall focus
3. Journals improve insight and understanding
4. Journals track our overall development
5. Journals facilitate personal growth

I hope the children who attended will feel free to put pieces of paper together, again, in the future if they feel the need to document an experience or collect and sort ideas.

We spent the first half of class working from a list of prompts.  The children either worked literally with the prompt or this prompt was the catalyst for an idea of their own.

1. an animal I saw that wasn't someone's pet
2. weather I recently experienced as well as my favorite weather
3. my favorite food
4. different ways I move (or forms of transportation)
5. floor plan of a place I recently visited
6. what I like to do when I am not at school
7. list of items that make me happy or what I like to collect (I loved observing the "wheels turning" in the children's heads as they created their lists).
8. my favorite activity
9. my favorite book
10. someone new I met recently

We used different materials for each prompt: watercolor crayons, black ink, tempura paints, watercolors, markers, white charcoal, graphite pencil, soft pastels and oil pastels.

After breaking for snack, we assembled our books using a needle and embroidery thread.

I noticed the children got their second wind after visually seeing their book take shape.

Students created their own backgrounds or chose ready-made ones for their work.  They applied each piece they created (each prompt) to a different page.

Usually, at least once over the course of any art class I teach, students are all working on their own ideas simultaneously.  This entire class was like this and capturing photos was difficult (but I have a few)!

When in art class, a day doesn't go by without the children expressing eagerness to look at books. There are always new books to explore.  I just happened to capture a typical scene here:

To read more about Create Everyday Art Classes for Children, visit this link.
To see a list of classes offered in April, click here.

Coming in May: Parts of a Flower and Georgia O'Keeffe!  Stay Tuned...

Saturday, April 4, 2015

spring break weekday workshops

The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon, written by Jacqueline Davies and illustrated by Melissa Sweet was inspiration for the children's bird paintings during Thursday's Weekday Workshop.

We made an out-of-the-ordinary stop at the MCAD library (on our way to the MIA) to view an art installation by artist, Julie Renee Benda.   She was there and we were able to meet her and participate in her ongoing installation, Heartstrings.

We hadn't experienced any of this at the MIA before...

While eating lunch back in the classroom, we read the book, Mix It Up by Herve Tullet.  After lunch, we practiced mixing colors in a similar manner.  I think the students could have experimented in this way for at least another hour.  They had so much fun.

During our Friday Weekday Workshop, our art warm up consisted of finishing a partial image with a drawing.  Some of the children also used watercolors.

While preparing to walk to the MIA, the students decided they wanted to have a group photo in front of  their finished work.

We stopped by the MCAD library once again.  The children created another heartstring or used soft pastels on black paper to draw their own.

We have a large book of the MIA's collection of paintings in the classroom.  We spent a little bit of time looking for some of these paintings in the museum.


When we returned the classroom, the children painted on canvas, referencing an artist who inspired them from this particular visit.

To read more about Create Everyday Art Classes for Children, visit this link.
To see a list of classes offered in April, click here.

Monday, March 23, 2015

matisse's elaborate wallpaper and rug patterns (table cloths too!)

On Sunday afternoon our class was titled, "Matisse's Elaborate Wallpaper and Rug Patterns".  

Before looking at Matisse's work, the students discussed the characteristics of patterns. 

When observing Matisse's paintings, they noted his use of bold and vivid color when creating his detailed patterns.  

The children began by sketching out patterns of their own, giving them a better understanding of the process required in creating a handmade pattern.  

When they discovered a pattern they were happy with, they applied paint.

After learning how to create the look of a three dimensional space by drawing three lines, there were squeals of delight.  I think they were already able to imagine this empty space becoming a room of their own.

The children decided if they wanted to use their own patterns or pick others from the examples we had referenced earlier.  They used tracing paper templates from each wall and floor area. They used these templates to measure and cut from their patterns, eventually gluing their wallpaper and rug patterns down.

We took some time to observe what Matisse chose to place in his rooms.  The children created their interiors by drawing and cutting out windows, light fixtures and furniture.  They found clippings from magazines as well.

This particular project took over two hours to create.  When I reflect on this class, each student's focus and enthusiasm throughout the course of this creative cycle still amazes me.  

In addition to reading a Matisse book one student had brought to share, we also read a book on "Blue Dog", a favorite creation/subject for the artist, George Rodrigue.

Monday, March 16, 2015

milton avery: the art of simplicity and perspective

Before we headed outside to enjoy the beautiful weather, the children spent time looking at some examples of Milton Avery's monoprints.  

milton avery, sea, moon and stars

We applied paint to laminate wood plates with palette knives and paintbrushes (an enjoyable activity in itself) and used q-tips to create our drawing or design, transferring them to paper.

 Before our walk, we looked at several of Milton Avery's paintings and had a discussion on perspective.  Some of the children practiced this idea when we were sketching outside.

After a hearty snack and a lot of water, we started our last activity.  We looked at Milton Avery's paintings again and discussed how he used shapes to represent an area of the landscape.  We also observed that the artist wasn't attached to using realistic colors.

milton avery, red rock falls
milton avery, shapes of spring

The children chose a Milton Avery piece that inspired them and used this reference to create their own painting on canvas.

I was particularly impressed with the children's interpretations and, as per usual, wish I had better photos of their process!  

As a result, we had some proud painters.

The children also had some time to explore a new material, watercolor crayons.

new vocabulary: palette knife, plate, monoprint, abstract, perspective

And just for fun: 
I think this is one of the better, more concise articles on the benefits of art education.

There are 3 more classes scheduled this month:

Check out this link for classes in April!