Friday, June 26, 2009

When Drawing Changes From Verb to Noun

The first summer session is over at the community college. I love teaching at this time of year. The classes meet four days a week for four hours. The student body becomes even more diverse because students home from their respective colleges come here to take electives, and also the hard working nursing students fill in the gaps in their curriculum.

The final exam is a list of problems designed to test the range of skills, knowledge and ability that the students have amassed in the five-week period. It helps me if they have prior experience, or even "talent".

What I enjoy seeing is the range of "answers" to each problem. Each student pursues their own interpretation.

I have been working on team building within the classroom but I have to say that the summer sessions by dint of the time frame, naturally results in a copacetic cohort. Everyone cheers each other on and helps each other out.

The biggest thrill is when the student with the least experience reveals their final works and everyone congratulates them for their progress and development.
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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Spilling Ink

"Flow" is what we crave. Finding that wonderful space where action, movement, and thought all come together soothing our senses and psyche makes for true satisfaction.

Another idea for decorated paper that is inexpensive, could involve teams, and could be linked to an Asian Studies unit, or is just fun to do at home on a Sunday morning is Suminagashi. This term translates as "spilling ink" and resembles marbling, but is a lot safer to the environment and you.

Three examples on paper of varying quality

Everything you ever wanted to know about Suminagashi links
An excellent reference: Suminagashi: The Japanese Art of Marbling: A Practical Guide by Anne Chambers

Roland Flexner
French-born artist living in New York creates rounded forms by blowing India ink and soap through a hollow brush stem onto paper. "The aim in all this is to make it clear that the questions raised by art come from
everywhere."...Anne Tronche, Double Visibility, 1:1 Roland Flexner

Shinichi Maruyama
Exciting images of Maruyama "using" ink in athletic gestures that result in photographic imagery.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Paste Paper

Paste paper made with graining combs and sponge.
Metallic paint added after the paste dried.

Do you know anyone who did/does not enjoy finger painting? Of course there are always a few in every crowd, but moving right along... Creating paste decorated papers is a lot like finger painting, and it is an activity that can be enjoyed by a diverse range of people. You can create pastes inexpensively; cheap colorants can be employed; and expensive paper is not necessary. I find that dollar stores are perfect for cheap large brushes to spread the paste; lidded containers for different color pastes; and plastic to line surfaces. So what is not to like?

Multiple colors can be brushed on...and for those who prefer it, glitter can be added.
These designs were made with Lego pieces.

In middle and high school classes with some pretty tough characters I have had success. Maybe it is because I supply the tables with Lego pieces, wheels and model sports cars to drag through the wet paste. The classes are usually happy to help clean up and to iron their papers when they are dried.We then create covers for flag or accordion books based on their own interests.

One student created a book based on the profile of his track shoes. The accordion pages include a photograph of team members and his best times.

Since our region is so diverse, I encourage students to use their own languages and create books about their "other" lives.

These two images show different views of architecture and bas relief.

Once when I held a workshop in a brave soul's elegant dining room, floor and table protected by plastic shower curtains, one of the middle-aged women attending afterwords remarked that this activity made her feel better than after a session with her therapist.

I have also conducted this workshop with senior citizens including those with Alzheimer's. The saying goes, "Art saves lives!", and I think that activities that involve color, movement, texture,
and are failure proof make everyone feel successful.

Check out Claire Maziarcyzk's elegant selection of paste decorated papers. Richard Miller's page has more recipes than you will ever need. The only hazardous aspect is transporting the wet papers to locations where they can dry. Please note that the papers might curl when they have completed drying. Use newsprint to line your ironing boards and to protect the iron and then press them flat.