Archive for the ‘Drawing’ Category
Friday, May 17th, 2013
Two weekends ago, an exhibition of original art by Robert Zakanitch for his book A Garden of Ordinary Miracles: An Alphabet Book opened in the Museum’s Central Gallery. To celebrate the exhibition and the fact that it was finally spring here in Amherst, MA I made a flower-drawing station in the Studio.
We need a new display in the Studio’s entry window, one that doesn’t block the view into the studio, so I chose permanent markers and clear acetate squares as the drawing tool and drawing surface for this activity. When we have about 50 drawings, I plan to start stringing them into garlands with with fishing line to create a friendly welcome into our space.
Some guests have drawn the flowers we have in the vases realistically, others are drawing flowers from their imagination.
Some guests are more interested in studying (very closely!) the flowers’ textures.
Spring is a great time to draw from nature. Head outside with your kids and look closely at the new leaves and budding flowers. Study them again in a few weeks when they bloom! Read a flower related picture book, such as Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, and if you’re in our area, come and see this amazing exhibition.
In fact, if you’re in our area why not come tomorrow, May 18th? It happens to be a very special day with Robert Zakanitch.
He’ll be giving a gallery (or should I say garden?) tour at 11 am. At 1 pm he will be here in the studio to inspire guests to create big designs, visual surprises, and pleasing patterns using the shapes of one or more letters in their name. Learn more about these events here.
And then… visit the Studio sometime between May 22 and June 18th for our next public art project: From Found Materials to Flowers!
Wednesday, February 20th, 2013
It’s February vacation week and we’ve been busy making maps of all sorts in The Studio. Meet our fleet of future cartographers!
Adding some land and sea…
The brown shape is Florida. He said he colored it in a warm color because it’s hot there.
These are pictures of the creatures that live on the land and in the ocean on her map.
A railroad in the “old fashion map style from 1998″
This treasure map is read from right to left. The treasure is protected by a dinosaur, a giant octopus/squid and a crane (the treasure is sitting under the paper crane on the bottom left).
This is another treasure map with a squid, a skeleton and a family of dinosaurs protecting the treasure.
“Our happy vacation to the creek”
This is the Bermuda Triangle protected by a giant dragon in the middle of the ocean.
Thanks to all the Museum guests who shared their artwork with me! The current Public Art Project, Mapping Makeover is running now through March 5th.
Don’t forget to enter The Carle’s Call for Caterpillars Contest for the chance to win an original doodle by Eric Carle! Visit www.carlemuseum.org/call_for_caterillars for contest details.
Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
Reid, our January-Term intern, designed and hosted a really fun special Studio activity last week for Museum guests. Here is her report on the planning process of the project and her reflection on the day.
When brainstorming for my Special Sunday activity, I knew right off that I wanted to experiment with the way we use light to make images. In the studio, our large windows provide so much beautiful natural light, and I wanted to utilize this feature in the activity. Meghan and I were bouncing activity ideas off each other when we came up with the idea of tracing shadows. Upon further elaboration we came up with the idea of using found objects to make shadow collages, tracing the lines, and finally painting over the drawn images. Initially I was having trouble deciding between collaging and painting, and this project combined the two!
Once I knew what I wanted to do, I began to plan out what materials we would use. I played with different kinds of drawing tools, paints, and paper to find the perfect combination of supplies. In the end, I decided to use Staonal crayons with tempera cake paints on large pieces of watercolor paper. I found the paint appeared bold and bright on the paper and didn’t smudge the Staonal, so the tracings remained intact.
We put out baskets of found and natural objects that would cast interesting shadows. Each visitor could choose up to 4 objects at a time, and when they were done with those they could trade them back in for different pieces to trace. We had natural objects like stones, pinecones, and seashells, along with found objects like ribbon, bottle caps, and mesh. It was important to have a variety of different shapes and sizes available.
On the day of the project we were lucky enough to have gorgeous sunny weather. Of course, because of New England’s unpredictable weather, we were prepared to use an overhead projector as a back-up plan in case the sun wasn’t out. We arranged the back of the art studio so that the tables were pushed to the right side; this area was set up as the painting area, complete with paintbrushes, water, sponges, and of course paint!
The left side of the studio was the tracing area. This is where visitors would put down their paper on the floor or sit on a chair and trace on a stool to arrange their objects and trace the shadows. We had cool shades that had previously been crafted by staff members on the windows already, and we moved these so there could be some interesting shadow patterns on the floors for the visitors.
The cool thing about this project was it could be as complicated or as simple as you want it to be, depending on age level, ability, and interest. I didn’t want something where the guidelines were super stringent. If a child didn’t want to draw on the floor, they could just paint at the table. I made sure to emphasize that when talking to the visitors. There were no rules to this project; the point of it was to allow the materials and the environment to inspire and to create.
I would say this project was definitely a success. It was exciting to see the families collaborating with each other and having fun with each other’s work. This activity was able to engage visitors of all ages. I was delighted to see how creative the children (and adults!) were with this project. Some visitors were very abstract with the images they made, while others used the shadows to create scenes out of their objects. All in all, it was a very fun afternoon in the art studio!
Friday, December 14th, 2012
Four Easy Pieces © 2011 by Eric Carle
Hello educators! I’m really eager to tell you about a new Professional Development workshop I’m developing as a companion to the Museum’s exciting exhibition: Beyond Books: The Independent Art of Eric Carle.*
Eric Carle is primarily known for The Very Hungry Caterpillar and over 70 picture books done in his colorful collage technique.
This exhibition, dedicated to what Eric himself calls his “ArtArt:” paintings, sculptures, and personal sketches that he has been making privately for more than 60 years, offers a view into another side of Eric’s life and work.
© 2000 by Eric Carle
Having heard from Eric about the motivation and process behind his “ArtArt,” I began to think more and more about the relationship between work and play and where the two merge with children and materials. This relationship is one we try to cultivate through much of what we do here, so this exhibition provides a great opportunity to share our ideas and experiences!
© 2011 by Motoko Inoue
In the workshop on January 26th 2013, we’ll get our hands messy painting a variety of surfaces such as paper, vinyl, and cardboard. Then we’ll view the exhibition and a video of Eric reflecting on his independent art together. After, we’ll sculpt our painted surfaces into window hangings, mobiles, and more as we discuss Eric’s inspirations as an artist. Participants will leave with ideas for the classroom and an understanding of how his creative process might inspire students to think “off the page.”
Educators will receive 4 PDPs, but you don’t have to be an educator to participate. All participants receive a 10% discount in our Shop on the day of the program.
Here is the essential info again:
Beyond Books: Art Inspired by Eric Carle (4 PDPs)
January 26, 2013. 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
$50 (Members $45) Registration is required. Please click here for more information.
I hope you can join us! If not, check out our other upcoming professional development offerings here or learn how this or other programs can come to you, here.
Learn more about Beyond Books: The Independent Art of Eric Carle, in the West Gallery through February 24, 3013, here. Support for this exhibition has been generously provided by Peter and Helen Bing.
Friday, September 7th, 2012
One of the things I do here at The Carle is lead studio activities for guided tours. The groups that come are primarily K-2nd grade classes, but we welcome preschool through seniors groups too.
Last spring’s guided-group project, inspired by the motivation behind Eric Carle’s creation of Slowly, Slowly, Slowly Said the Sloth, was to make a story about something important to you. Participating students could tell their story any way they chose- word and pictures, just words, just pictures. I offered pre-stapled blank books, markers, color sticks (colored pencils without the wood part) and the colorful pens pictured above. I selected these tools because they provide a range of marks- from broad and light to thin and vibrant, without the drying time required with wet media. When introducing the project, I pointed out that there were no erasers and asked each class to share suggestions with each other on what to do if they make a mistake or something they’re not happy with.
Using basic tools kept the working time concentrated on concept and story development rather than on becoming familiar with the materials. For many students there was no learning curve with the materials I offered, so they got to spend the majority of their time (approx. 40 minutes) on drawing and writing their ideas.
The pens, however, caused much excitement with the students. Many were thrilled to be allowed to use pens, and others were drawn to the beauty of the tool itself. They were a hit with their teachers too, who observed that the special pens helped the students feel that their work was important and their ideas were worthy of a special material. Many told me they’d be getting some for their classroom writing center.
A couple of great books I started (and haven’t yet finished) reading last winter inspired my materials selection:
Playful Learning by Mariah Bruehl and The Write Start by Jennifer Hallissy. Both books discuss how providing simple tools paired with time and a space for their use sends a clear message to young learners that their ideas are worthy of exploration. Both books also provide lots of activity ideas, resources and beautifully designed templates.
We ordered our pens from one of the school/art suppliers we typically order from, but I know colored pens can be found in all kinds of office supply, stationary, craft and other kinds of stores . In the Studio, we need retractable rather than capped pens. Caps just get lost or glued into projects here.
I love the quality of gel ink pens, but those average more than $1 per pen or $11-$18 per set and I always need at least 8 sets of everything for guided program activities. I found a line of pens called Wow Colors by Pentel for about $4.25 / pack of 8, which have worked out to be a good value. About 4-5 broke by the end of the school year due to students being uncertain as to how to unclick the pens, but they were used by hundreds of kids, so that’s not bad.
Need a go-to birthday gift for your children’s friends? A set of colored gel pens and a little notebook, totaling no more than $15, would be special for any child 5 and up. Younger than that, and I would recommend gifting a different type of drawing tool, and that is a discussion for another time.
Do you have a favorite kind of pen or other writing instrument for you child’s home art box or your classroom’s creative center? Please share!
Friday, August 31st, 2012
Hey! We just realized we’ve shared 100 posts since we started this blog last June. To celebrate, I’d like to share some a small percentage of the many beautiful things made in the Studio since then . These images represent ideas, problems solved and not-yet-solved, imagination, experimentation, conversations shared, and yet more work which wasn’t kept by the creator but was still worthy of creation nonetheless. For those of you who have started or are about to start a new school year next week, I hope these images help you begin the year on a happy note. Enjoy the weekend and here’s to the next 100 posts!
Tuesday, July 24th, 2012
The Carle Studio has taken to the road this summer in conjunction with the implementation of a grant from the Funder Collaborative for Reading Success. The goal of these programs is to strengthen and advance early literacy skill development in children from birth to age 9 to ensure children in Springfield are reading at a proficient level by fourth grade. Each Tuesday afternoon in July we are providing a “Family Camp” at the Hiram L. Dorman School in Springfield, MA to make art and discuss books. The program is open to families of the children participating in The Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative at Dorman, a nature-based summer program designed to help stem summer learning loss through literacy support. Each week, Meghan and I design various family friendly art activities inspired by a different picture. Check out what we’ve been doing!
So far, the children and their parents worked together drawing caterpillars with watercolor pencils,
Glued nature rubbings into a family mosaic,
Drew pictures of family memories to bind into albums,
…and created habitats with found materials.
At the end of each class, families receive a copy of that week’s featured picture book to take home. The books we’ve featured so far are Ten Little Caterpillars by Lois Elhert, The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin, and Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel.
For more information about this grant funded program read the article, “Talk/Read/Succeed! Summer Learning Program Launches Second Year at Dorman, Boland Elementary Schools in Springfield” by The Republican on July 18, 2012, posted on MassLive.com.
Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks for more photos from the last two sessions of The Dorman School Family Art Camp!
Thursday, April 26th, 2012
I wanted to share some photos from last Sunday of one of my favorite events, Drawing Day in The Art Studio. The Carle devotes one Sunday every spring to scribbles, doodles, designs, paintings, cartoons, traces and sketches. For Drawing Day this year we brought out some of our most popular drawing tools and divided the room into six different stations for visitors to work with the materials in an independent, open-ended way.
Thanks to a generous donation from the paper company Canson, Inc., each visitor received a free sketchpad to use at the different stations and to continue their drawing discoveries at home. Thank you Canson!
At the “Make Your Mark” station visitors scribbled and rubbed different textured rubbing plates onto their papers with colorful crayons. For a similar activity you can do at home, visit the Web Activities page on our website or click here for the printable PDF.
At the “Free Draw” station some experimented with drawing without looking (or contour drawing) by wearing our funky “blindfold” sunglasses. We made the blindfolds from a pack of party glasses from Oriental Trading Company. Pop out the lenses, paint them with a few coats of black acrylic or gesso, let them dry, and pop them back in place and you’ve got a blindfold! These are a great alternative to cloth blindfolds for a classroom or party.
When you can’t see what your hand is doing, what you think you are drawing is often quite different from what you actually draw! It’s a fun challenge, try it the next time you’re drawing at home.
Here’s a photo of visitors making 3D wire “drawing” sculptures.
The thumbprint cartoon station and the watercolor station were the most popular tables of the day and visitors filled their new sketchpads with brightly colored doodles, marks and cartoons.
Also on Sunday, author and illustrator Durga Bernhard shared a few of her books at a special storytime in the Reading Library.
Afterwards, Durga joined us in The Studio to meet with visitors and give them a a chance to see her drawing process. Durga and her friend came up with a delightful caption to the illustration she hung up on our back wall. She drew “A long-tailed firebird who stole a fish from the octopus.” Stop by The Studio this weekend to see Durga’s beautiful drawing. Thank you for joining us Durga!
For more information about Durga Burnard visit her blog, click here.
For a link to some of the Canson paper products we sell in The Museum Shop, click here.
Monday, February 20th, 2012
Are you one of the lucky ones on break this week? Well, the Carle is open every day during vacation week and we have plenty of fun things for you and your family to do while you’re here: Live performances in the Auditorium, storytimes in the Reading Library, and of course, art making in the Studio.
Telling Our Stories
Now through March 13, 2012
Free with Museum Admission
Timelines are records highlighting significant events and journeys in the past. Create a personal timeline with drawings of your most memorable life events. Share your memories on The Memory Bank wall in the back of the Studio.
Many visitors have already contributed their memories to our wall (See how we put it all together in the post, here.)
Stop by and share your memories too!
Thursday, February 16th, 2012
If you’ve visited the studio, you may have noticed that we’ve have out only a select set of materials for you and/or your family to play around with. For instance, you may have come when we’ve offered collage paper and glue, but no scissors. Maybe you wondered if we a.) misplaced our scissors or b.) thought we wanted to play a bad joke . The answer is c.) none of the above. We intentionally limit the variety of materials offered in our projects for many other reasons. I’d like to discuss those reasons here and invite you to respond.
One reason we offer specific or limited materials is to inspire creative problem solving. When a guest asks for a material we’re not currently offering, our response is to ask, “what is it you’re trying to do?” After hearing about their idea, we might follow up by asking “how might you do that with what’s here?” and then help them come up with ways to explore, or alter their idea. The goal is to help our guests, kids and adults alike, see the possibilities inherent in materials, and use them in ways they hadn’t thought of before.
Its like the idea that you could have lots of friends that you know only a little, or a few friends you know really well. When we have fewer materials to work with, we have the opportunity to get to know each of them really well. An unlimited choice of materials has its place in certain settings, of course, but our goal is to help people really get to know how materials “speak” to and through them. Since the majority of our guests are young children and their families, we encounter many (kids and adults alike) who are new to looking at and making art, so in our setting, limiting materials makes sense. Our Public Art Projects last for multiple weeks, in part, so that regular guests could have multiple experiences with a set of materials. It’s possible that during each visit the materials could be used in very different ways.
Limited materials also encourage our guests to take risks. Recently, during a project in which we offered tissue paper for collage with oil pastels, a boy (maybe 10 years old?) asked for “regular” drawing materials. When I asked him what he meant by “regular” drawing materials, the other kids in his group chimed in (with a tone that suggested they admired his abilities and respected his interest) to say that “he is a drawer”. My response was to start a conversation with him. I learned that drawing was his preferred way to work (perhaps his artistic safe zone), and that he especially liked the Manga style. I asked him if he already had an idea for a picture he’d like to make today, and let him know that collage was about making things with shapes. So, I suggested, “I know you like drawing, but what if for today, you made your idea with shapes? Maybe you could just give it a try?” He did. He worked for a long time, and he was pleased with his work.
Sometimes we offer limited colors to help our guests make discoveries about color or color relationships. For instance, if we offer just blue and yellow paint, a new artist (young or old) might mix them on their paper and “discover” green. In the Studio, we try to watch for these moments and help them be noticed. For another example, if I’m going to select materials inspired by a picture book about a visit to the beach, I might offer all colors, but sort them by temperature: warm colors (red, yellow, orange to suggest the sun and sand) and cool colors (green, blue, violet to suggest the water). Offering limited colors is a way for our guests and students to learn about color without us saying “today you are going to learn about color temperature” when they walk in the door.
Cathy Topal and Lella Gandini also make an interesting note in reference to working with found objects in their book Beautiful Stuff (pg. 90):
“As soon as we limit children to one color, the possibilities open up. Children become much keener and more discriminating observers- and so do the teachers.”
So, this is where I hope you will weigh in. How do you approach materials choices with children or students of any age? Do you offer specific materials? Let them have access to all their materials all the time? Something else?