Taratories Blog

Tropical Underwater Eggshell Mosaics

Today was the last art camp of the summer.  It was a beautiful summer day, and in keeping with a summertime theme we made tropical underwater eggshell mosaic canvases.  First step was to paint their canvases an ocean blue.  I explained to them what makes a good composition and they brainstormed what kinds of fish or other creatures they would draw.  The students then drew out their ocean creatures on paper and colored them with markers. They planned out their colors using markers so that they knew what colors to paint their eggshells.  

We have obviously eaten a lot of eggs in my household which turned out to be very beneficial.  They each received their own carton of eggs.  This part was tricky because it was kind of a guessing game as to how many eggs to paint of each color.  I just love that the cartons also served as holders for the eggs after they were painted!  We set them outside in the sun to dry while we ate lunch.  

With bellies full and hands ready to tackle the next stage, the kids started glopping on their glue and pressing down their eggshells in their penciled in designs.  This part was very fun for them, but also very sticky.  

It was fun to see it all come together in a beautiful mosaic of color on their canvases.  Some of them also chose to add shells, spanish moss for seaweed, and thin layer of blue glitter to add a little shimmer.  Some chose to keep it simple.  

I loved the way they turned out and love the way the colors pop on this clown fish against the ocean backdrop.  I am so thankful for all the enthusiasm that kids have when they create.  It really is contagious.  I love their imaginations and the freedom they give themselves within the realms of art.  I enjoy watching their personalities come out in their work and, in the end, I love seeing their faces light up in satisfaction as they look at their art and see what they have created.  What a joy they are, and what a great day!

Georgia O'Keefe Lesson

I decided to teach my homeschool art classes about Georgia O'Keefe today.  She was known for her many large flower paintings, but I thought I would focus on the subjects she was not as famous for and that was the animal skulls.  She painted a variety of animal skulls she would find in the deserts of New Mexico.  


This is a wolf skull (borrowed from my father-in-law).  Don't ask me why he has it.  It is kind of creepy, but kind of cool at the same time.  I love the coloring of the skull with the variations in white and earthy tones.  The sleek nature and smoothness of the skull are some things that I really enjoy.  I had never spent much time looking at or handling a skull before, so I got more familiarized with it and saw the beauty in it as I spent time painting.

I see why Georgia found the skulls interesting to paint, and I see how looking closer at something from nature or from life can give one a deeper appreciation for the subject.  Georgia brought the inside parts of a flower to our attention, and by doing so, she helped us appreciate the beauty there.  By handling and painting this skull, I found beauty where I never suspected to find beauty before.  I know it probably sounds strange to some people that I found a wolf skull beautiful, but in a weird way, I really do!  I am determined now to stop and pick that stone up on the edge of the pathway and feel it.  Look at its "imperfections".  Experience feeling the texture.  Note the various shades of color.  See the beauty.

Something I read in this book about Georgia was really interesting.  She explained how an artist she met told her that "Pictures should be 'composed' like a piece of music- but with colors and lines instead of sounds and melodies.  A picture contains rhythms just like music.  And the shapes should be clear and simple, so that the "essence" of an object could be clearly seen."  I just LOVE this and it totally makes sense to me. I have never heard anything like that in my life and it really resonates with me!  I feel like I got more of an art lesson than my students did!

"Stacking" with Cardboard

This week in my homeschool art class we are studying the artist Grandma Moses.  I love that she started painting at the age of 78.  It's never too late to start painting!  Her primitive folk paintings were done on cardboard and she painted rural scenes from her memories of her life growing up.  I decided to let the students paint their own winter landscape in Grandma Moses style and I thought it would be cool to let them paint them on cardboard just as she did herself.

I picked up some large pieces of cardboard from our local Pier One (tip: when shipping large pictures in the mail they are the perfect place to get boxes from).  I had to cut 16 pieces out of the cardboard with a knife for my two classes before I primed each one of them to get them ready to be painted on.  

As I was cutting the cardboard, I thought my son Sawyer would enjoy using the leftovers as a play house to cure his cabin fever.  I strategically cut the rectangles out where I thought he would enjoy having some windows, etc.

Of course he wanted to paint his house with his favorite color as I was continuing to cut out cardboard.

My good friend, Megan, once shared a story with me about a time when she was making guacamole in the kitchen while her kids were playing outside in the beautiful sunshine.  Instead of working alone while her kids fended for themselves, she decided to take the guacamole outside and work on it on their picnic table.  In no time she had her kids and neighbor kids surrounding her at the table chopping and dicing and mixing as they helped her make the guacamole.  Not only were the kids learning how to make some delicious food, they were spending time with their mom, learning how to measure ingredients using math, and also exposing their neighbor friends to something that they had never experienced before.  Megan was able to get outside and enjoy the sunshine, be with her children, and educate them at the same time all the while reaching out to some neighbors.  She explained to me that this was her idea of "stacking" in life.  Instead of doing one task at a time, stacking one task on top of another experience, on top of another mission, etc. to create margins elsewhere.

Cutting cardboard this week ended up to be a "stacking" experience.  Instead of fending off my son to stay away from the knife and shooing him into the next room to fend for himself,  I was able to enjoy watching my son get creative and have fun with his imagination, let him experience something he had never experienced before, recycle scraps into a play toy, and accomplish a task that I needed to get done for my art class.  With long "to do" lists and little margins in life, its great to "stack" things and make more time for hanging out with your kids in cardboard houses!

Summer Art Camps Drawing To a Close

It has been a great summer working with local children in the area at my summer art camps!  Kids ages 7-12 have been trying out their hands in painting, mixed media, and paper mache.

This was the first time I ever ventured into classes that were more lengthy like these four hour ones.  With a packed lunch to break it up in the middle, it was a great amount of time for the kids to try something new and finish a beautiful piece of art that they could take home and hang on their walls!  

I put my own children to work as my "staff" and they were a great help to me as I needed many hands to help.



 The kids really enjoyed themselves and I had many repeat students this summer.  Also, parents were thrilled to pay $40 to have a break while their kids were having fun and making colorful artwork to bring home.  It was a win, win situation for all!  I will definitely be hosting more of these summer art camps next year!  Please contact me if you are interested in your child/children being a part of these art camps.  I will be hosting more camps throughout the 2014-15 school year.  More to come on that...