August 24, 2014

Goodbye summer. Hello School.

First Grade Summer Self Portrait
(a few years old now I think I forgot to share this one. . . or I'm getting old and already shared it!
But it was a fun lesson worth a repeat share)

Tomorrow is back to school for teachers in Connecticut. 

Last year, I gave students a sunglass template as a springboard to creating their summer self-portraits. They drew their face using a mirror, but when it came to the eyes they used these really cool paper glasses I made for each student. Inside their glasses they drew something that reminded them of summer. A reflective self portrait (get it laugh/snort). We have this big tradition on the last day of school/first day of summer to wave to the kids as they drive away on the bus. The bus drivers beep and the teachers line up on the sidewalks waving to our kids. I just love this memory! This student did that scene in her glasses for her summer portrait.

This was one of the best summers ever and I tried not to soak in every minute.
What is it my mother used to tell me when I really didn't want to do something? 
"You always have the best time when you least expect it!" I hope the WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT rule will apply to this year.

In the meantime, try this little parlor trick to start the year of with confident creative kids. Give them a small springboard to create their art work (like sunglasses in a self portrait.) Especially in the beginning of the year when kids are building their confidence this little bit of assistance goes a long way. It's also interesting to point out to students at the end of the lesson, although they all started with the same supplies and glasses each one is completely unique. You will be surprised at how motivated and creative your students will become with a little parlor trick like this:)

and here are some personal pictures from my summer fun:)

I made a new desk:)

Played in our backyard.

Went to the beach! Went shopping (got the N for my family necklace) got our nails did.

Ate way too much ice cream.


One beach day of many from Connecticut shores to the Jersey shores. Loved it.

Woke up every morning to this girl running to the piano.
Had time to listen to her play. 

August 23, 2014

How Teaching Art is Like Shopping OR


Stella and I saw a Mermaid Tail in the window and we dragged my husband into this store called Fashionista Vintage and Variety. 

I was searching for a vintage bag that I can transform into a camera bag. . . so I told the owner a laundry list of things I needed in a new bag. We looked and looked and she said something that rang really true for me.
"That is the kiss of death. . . knowing exactly what you're looking for. . . you'll never find it!"

So true!

I turned around and laid my eyes on this beauty. It was love/lust at first sight.

Everything about this purse was inspiring, the textures, the colors, the whimsical beads on the handle of this "I mean business" purse. I could not have dreamed up a more perfect purse!

What this shop owner gave me was more then an inspiring purse (yes guys, woman get inspired by accessories) but a new way to look at art teaching and making.

If you know exactly what you are looking for and search for the perfect lesson, perfect project, perfect shot then you will never be inspired to see what's in front of your face. Sure I still need a camera bag and those go to lessons, but it's more important to be open to what inspires me to do my best work.

I know a lot of my friends and I have been in a slump with the recent goings-ons in modern public education (even art education) and trying to relate as an artist/teacher. I got all the advice I needed from this one mystical Vintage and Variety shop owner. . . that knocked me on my butt. Finding what you didn't know existed is not something you can plan or know. . . you just have to look and be a person who can still be inspired. Isn't that a better lesson to teach our kids be open to learning things that you didn't even know existed (since most of the jobs they get don't exist yet anyways) instead of simple making check marks on objectives every day, every class, measuring growth to a goal that we aren't even sure will be relevant to them. Blanket objectives are like my old camera bag, perhaps necessary for now, but not inspiring in the least. . . we need to search for a better way. If there was a map quest to the answer we'd already be doing it! But we have to do the hard work as educators and artists by keeping our eyes open and being inspirable;)

Enjoy the start of your school year and if you don't have every detail worked out yet it's probably a good thing if you remember to keep your eyes open (and listen to your students)!

Last but not least, the shop owner wrapped my new love in a vintage piece of silk fabric with watercolor wild horses on it. She attached it to a hobo stick and sent me off into the world with my new find.