Thursday, November 29, 2012

Saint Nicholas

Saint Nicholas is a saint that both Catholic and Protestant Christians are familiar with. As the real "Santa Claus," he is a well known historical and spiritual person. I saw a beautiful St. Nicholas illustration at The St. Nicholas Center site that inspired me to develop a St. Nicholas drawing tutorial for my art classes.


Firat we did a directed drawing. They could choose green or black paper and we used oil pastels to draw over the main pencil drawing.  I had them color in heavily and when done, outline with black. The kids did a great job. I was so pleased with their results I had to post them all. These should be nice pictures for their parents to display for the Christmas season.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Rolls, bacon and hard boiled eggs for Thanksgiving brunch with brother Marsh and Piper and Mom and Dad.

Tons of YUM at David and Mac's for Thanksgiving supper with Mac's folks and all our kids.

The kids and Friend Steven played a spirited game or two of spoons after supper.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Just Drawing

My art classes sometimes ask why they can't just draw things. So a week or so ago I brought all the Ed Emberly drawing books I could find of ours (only the Big Red and Make
A World-couldn't find the Big Purple) and all the other drawing books I have collected at rummages, used book stores, thrift shops and Amazon over the years.

To teach them Emberly's methods, I showed them how to draw a castle out of his Make a World book and then told them they had to draw two more things of their choice out of any book I had. After that,  they could draw whatever they wanted for the rest of class. They had fun. 

I like to introduce kids to Ed Emberly. They are great books to have around. Our kids always picked them up and drew amazingly detailed and/or cute things out of them. After you learn Emberly's method, nothing is out of reach. I'd say our Son J and Daughters M and W drew the most from these books. Most libraries should have them on hand to borrow. Our favorites are Make a World and The Big Purple Drawing Book.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


We worked on a pointillism project a few weeks ago. Several years ago I did a unit on ethnic art and we studied some Aboriginal art. I used some of the ideas from that lesson for this one.
Students were to choose one word and then illustrate it with the colors they used to layer around it. We used painter's tape on watercolor paper to mask in large letters the word each one chose. We used washable tempera paint on paper plates and Q-tips as "brushes."
We looked at examples of some famous artists who used pointillism, and also at some modern and amateur pointillism art. (see Chuck Close etc.)

Be sure there are plenty of the paint dots overlapping the edges of the painter's tape letters. I found that the kids tended to go around the letters without "hitting" them. If they do not cover the edges of the tape, their letters will not be defined when they peel off the tape at the end.
Viper picture is by Daughter W.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


After kind of a rough arrival, JDS never stopped moving. He was standing by 6 months and walking by 7 months. I figured if I kept him alive past two it would be a miracle.

 He loved the farm and helping Dad. Forking hay to the cattle was a favorite pasttime. (Bouwman Farm we rented for 5 years near Mom and Dad's)

  His best friends were Nathan, Holly, his brother and little sister.
Happy birthday charming son with the million dollar smile who can cook a mean meal.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Purple Blanket

 Finished up crocheting a purple blanket for Daughter A's birthday.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Optical Illusion

A couple weeks ago we did an optical illusion project in my art classes. (5th/6th grades.) I found the project here at We Heart Art. To begin, each student needs a black marker, a square sheet of paper and a straight edge (ruler or cardboard) that is longer than the width of the paper. Start by making 6 intersecting lines across the paper much as you would cut a pie or draw a spiderweb. Save yourself some trouble and show them how to intersect each line in the exact same spot in the middle before they start. I told them to put a tiny dot in the center and make sure every cross line hit it exactly. It can help to show them how to start their pen on the center dot and draw along the straight edge away from the dot toward each opposite direction. Check as they draw to be sure they understand this concept or you will be having some sad students and lots of frustration.
Now, in every other "pie wedge", have the children make spaced, curved lines (like smiley faces) from the point to the edge of the paper. About 4 or 5 should fill the spaces well. Have students choose one marker and color in every other curve in each pie piece with it. Do not let them fill in curves in the empty pie wedges yet. Too confusing!!!!! When they are totally done coloring their first color in the curved wedges, have them add curved lines to the remaining wedge sections. These lines should curve the opposite of the first lines. They can now choose a second color marker and fill in every other curved space of the remaining wedges.
A great optical illusion. In the original project, they used colored pencils to shade the edges of the white spaces of each wedge to make them look even more curved. Our class time did not allow for this, and besides, I forgot!
Three examples by W. and two of her best buddies, Sidney and Hannah.