Monday, September 29, 2008

Leftover Class Paint & My Sketchbook

Teaching this homeschooler group art class has actually done wonders for my own painting as far as spontaneity (thank you Impressionists!).

After almost every class so far, I have sat down for about 5 minutes and "sketched" with the leftover paint in the kid's pallets before I wash them out. I gave them way too much paint the first time we painted and there was so much left over...and it kills me to wash so much paint down the drain! So, while I don't ever use up all of it, I figure I'd put it to some good use.

Impressionism Week 1:
Finishing it at home...

The original picture: (it's from Windows Vista's sample pictures)

Impressionism Week 2:

Post-Impressionism Week 1:
My version of Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night". I did this one last night to prepare for today's class...because this will be the kids' project today: to recreate "Starry Night".

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My Fellow Monstermakers: Happycloud Thunderhead

I just saw this monstermaker on The Needle...Happycloud Thunderhead. He makes hats & puppets as well as regular monster plush. The hats are so cute!'s all cute.

He has an etsy shop too.

~Sigh~...I need to start monstermaking again.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Six Random Facts...

Ack! I've been tagged! Thanks Missie! Now I have to think!
Six random facts huh? I'll give a picture to go with each one just to make it interesting...

1. I'd never seen a real live praying mantis until this past Sunday at the Farm.

2. I have a thing for all things Celtic.

3. I have a visual "obsession" with eyes

4. I own a corset.
5. My screen name "blufuzzymonster" was originally an homage to my favorite childhood Muppet, Grover. But I like Sully from Monsters Inc too!

6. I once dyed the ends of my hair purple (but the first attempt turned out a magenta-pink! Definitely go with Manic Panic if you're dying your hair funky colors!)

So...Do I gotta tag people now?
Um...I'll tag Rachel & Mom (and anyone else who reads my blog!). Am I allowed to tag Missie back? Or is there a no-tag-backs rule?

Art Class Weeks 2 & 3: Impressionism

I know I skipped last week's Art Class update...but anyone close to me knows last week was a little crazy.

Last Monday I taught the kids about the Impressionists, focusing on Claude Monet (How could I do anyone else? "Monet" is almost synonomous with "Impressionist"!). After giving my shpiel, I had the kids pick out landscape pictures and then go to town with the paint. This past week, I had them finish up their pieces. Here are a few of them...

I love this kid's sunset.

I loved this kid's piece too. He nailed the Impressionistic feel of the brushstrokes. He seemed a bit embarassed when I told him how great I thought it was and told the other kids to take a look at it.

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time."

Next week...Post Impressionism and Vincent Van Gogh.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Monster Story Contest

I just saw this book Woolyhoodwinks vs. the Dark Patch via an article on the Craft: Blog.
Seeing this book reminded me of an idea I had a while ago, that was actually also suggested recently by one of my friends on make a storybook using my monsters as characters.

So, I want to hold a contest. If I am going to make a storybook...I need a story. That's where you, my readers come in (however few of you there may be). Give me an idea for a story. Come up with it yourselves or a fun idea may be to ask your kids. The one I like best I will attempt to make into a storybook...and may give out a prize for the best story as well!

"The best kind of prize is a sur-prize!" (extra points if you can tell me where I got this quote from!)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bedtime Stories on Tape

I was reading an article on Real Simple magazine's website, and saw this tip that was a blast from the past:

"If you travel a lot on business, record yourself reading your children’s favorite bedtime stories; they can listen to your voice as they flip through the book. Finish each night’s reading with a countdown of the days until you’re back home with them."

I used to have a cassette tape my mother made for me when I was little of her reading my favorite bedtime stories like "No One Knows Where Gobo Goes" and singing "Kumbya" at the end. I wish I knew whatever happened to that tape.
I still have this book though.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Teaching my first art class... mother commented that she'd been waiting all day to read a blog post about how my class went yesterday (she's my personal online stalker!...but better her than some creepy maniac) here it is.

I am teaching a class for a local homeschooling group called LEAH that meets once a week. Most classes are art/craft, music, foreign language, or phys ed/ sports related (if I was a kid, I'd definitely take the archery class!). My class is called "Art Styles and Movements"

"We will be learning about various art movements/styles and some of the artists that were a part of them. For each movement, students will create their own projects inspired by the artists who painted in that particular style. We will be covering Art Movements such as Impressionism, Cubism, and Realism, and artists such as Monet, Picasso, and DaVinci."

This week, my focus was on introductions and DaVinci. I focused mostly on DaVinci's sketches. The classroom assignment was to practice sketching their hand, and their homework every week is to bring in at least one sketch they've done (either from life or from a picture).

I told the kids about how drawing their hand was a good subject to practice sketching, since you always have your hand with you, and I told them about how my art teacher in high school told us that if you want to go to an art school for college, you have to have at least one hand study in your portfolio. I showed them a sketch I did for a painting I did back in high school for that portfolio class, and the finished "Surreal Hand Study in Blue". The kids said what everyone else says about the painting...that it looks "creepy" or like the dead rising (I also have gotten "people buried by an avalanche" before). I never had an intention for the piece to portray that kind of morbid or creepy feeling when I did it. I just wanted to do a hand study in a surrealistic style.

I have 12 students, ages 8-12. I went around the room and had the kids tell their name, why they took the class, and if they'd done any art before. The two main answers I got to the "why did you take this class?" question was either because "it sounded cool/I like art" or "My mom made me sign up for it." pressure to make the class fun and interesting.
Next week we are going to be learning about Monet and Impressionism and working with paint and it should be more interesting.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Emotional Paintings with Bamboo

Okay it's been a lot of "life" and not a lot of "crafty" here are a couple paintings I've done this week.

These are different from my "typical" style...but I like it. It's actually very steeped in the emotions I was feeling at the time when doing each painting. The first one was frustration, the second was peace. It was very theraputic. The second piece was done on a piece of wood. I purposefully did not prime it in order for the woodgrain to show through. I like how the grain looks like water.

New Puppy! is the new addition to our family!

Her name is Luna. She's a 9 month old, female, dachshund mix puppy. Our friend/landlord recently gave us the go-ahead to get an apartment-appropriate dog if we wanted. So CJ was searching and Craigslist the next day looking for dachshunds. I was surprised how soon he started looking, and found a dog...but he told me he's wanted a dog for a long time. Both of us have grown up with dogs, but this is our first dog for both of us that is ours and not our parents'.
So after CJ found Luna online and talked on the phone with the owner, we went last night out to Palmyra to see the dog. The owners were really sweet, and I felt bad for taking their beloved dog away from them...but they were moving and had to get rid of the I think they were thankful that they knew she was going to a good home. My parents came with us...they are dog lovers and wanted to come along to see their "grand-dog". So I guess that would that make King (Mom & Dad's dog)her...uncle? I can't wait to introduce her to King. I just hope she doesn't get too scared or intimidated. King is a sweetheart, but he's a big boy (that's him at the right).

That little green thing she's tugging on is a "bone" I made out of braided scrap pieces of fleece. She loves it! She's chewing away on it as I type!
She is a hyper little thing though. She loves to play tug of war and to chase the ball. And she is very clingy right now. She follows me around "like a puppy" (HA! Now I know why they say that phase!) and cries and yipes whenever I leave her in a room by herself. CJ was saying he thought she "liked [me] better", but I think she likes us equally. She was whining and wanering around the house when he left for work this morning. I think she was looking for him! She's such a baby...and it's going to be hard for me not to spoil her. She's kind of going to be like our "child" until either God moves miraculously or leads us to adopt (which I want to do someday, but we want to wait until we feel God is leading us's in His timing).
I guess it's very important to be firm and consistant in training them (just like training a child!). CJ found a very good site about dachshunds for reference
We're going to PetSmart or Petco tonight to get her some rawhide bones and a harness and some other stuff (like a collar that's not so girly-sparkly puppy-bling like). And we'll probably be taking her to the vet next week (she's not spayed yet) and get all the technical dog liscense stuff done.