Taratories Blog

Summer Art Classes

This summer I decided to do more art camps for kids.  I did two themes this summer with the first theme being a Gustav Klimt inspired painting.  I wanted the kids to paint their own tree of life inspired by the colors and feel of his painting, but with each one being their own unique masterpieces.  

They all stained their canvases with a beautiful wash of gold paint to create a backdrop for their paintings.  We observed Klimt's painting and picked out all of the shapes that were incorporated into his subjects.  They used some of the same shapes in their own paintings and created some of their own shapes as well!   

I let them have a lot of creative freedom and expression in these paintings and I just LOVE the way they went with it and how they turned out!  Look how proud they are of them :)

The second theme of the summer was watercolor painting.  I decided to hold not only a kids class, but also an adult class as well!  This was to be my very first adult class taught here in Akron. I used to teach drawing and ceramics to adults before I moved to Akron which I enjoyed very much!  I gathered that there was some interest in some adult classes around here so I thought I would try one here and see how it goes...

I was inspired by someone on Instagram ( @selfpollinate ) who arranges flowers and other natural elements in circular patterns and I thought it would be beautiful if this type of arrangement could be made into a painting!  I found a way to repeat a hand drawn pattern in this circular form, and with some watercolor paints added to it, it really became something beautiful.

I first tested it out with my kids class.  They did very well with it, the only problem being some of their designs got a little too complex and confusing along the way.  My warning to "keep it simple" was not heeded too closely and there was definite regret.  

They finished off their drawings beautifully with colorful watercolor markings and I was thrilled with how they all turned out and how different they were!  That seems to be the running theme of what makes me happiest about teaching.  I LOVE the variations that people come up with which makes sense because God created our minds so uniquely... "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14

Next was my adult class. I had 9 women sign up for this class and it was the perfect number.  It was a completely different experience for me and it was refreshing to teach an older crowd since it had been so long since I had done something like this! 

It was great getting to know some of these girls more in a fun and creative setting and I loved watching these masterpieces develop!

These girls really floored me with the fantastic designs they created from scratch and painted.  I couldn't have dreamed up more beautiful paintings!

They worked so hard and diligently and were most proud of themselves at what they had accomplished.

This class went so well that I intend to host more adult classes in the near future, so watch out for my announcements on Facebook and Instagram. Also check back on my website to keep updated on my art class page to find out when new classes arrive!  If you would like to be on an email list to be updated when I have new classes coming up, please email me at taratories@gmail.com or contact me through my website.

More Than Meets the Eye

Recently I did an art lesson with my art class based on the book, "Over and Under the Snow" by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal.  The book takes readers on a trip through the woods in winter discovering the secret world of animals living under the snow.  

I decided that collage would be a good medium of choice for this project.  They were allowed to use a mix of construction papers and pieces from magazines.  I instructed them to start from the top and work their way down, that way they could overlap their pieces without covering anything important.  The goal was to have 3 layers including the background (sky), middle ground (landscape), and underground! I love the affect of the different white pieces from magazines that were used to create the snow.  There is so much more shading and texture that comes from using magazine pieces compared to just using white paper.  

I taught them how to draw a variety of animals that they could draw and put into their scenes.  I showed them step by step how to draw an owl, squirrel, bear, mouse, and a fox.  I love the variety of scenes that they came up with!  As I thought about these underground winter habitats, I thought about how sometimes we are fooled by other surfaces we encounter.  Just like these animals that are hidden from the naked eye, in the same way we are fooled by what we see on the surface of people in the world around us.  Sometimes it takes getting to know people on a deeper level to find out what is really going on inside.  I am guilty of making judgements of people based on my first impressions, but I want to work hard to always give people a chance to show who they really are.

I also have a friend a fellow artist here in Akron named Deborah Shapiro http://deborahshapiroart.com/ who creates works of art from torn pages of magazines.  I shared this video of hers to my students to give them some inspiration for their collages...

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!

Mosaic Hearts

This week's art class we were celebrating Valentines Day by making our own mosaic hearts.  First the students started by choosing two watercolor colors to paint with.  I showed them how to use watercolors to create different values.  By adding more water on the brush they made strips of watercolor paper that had a value scale beginning with the darker value and ending with the lightest value.  Kids have a tendency to want to use watercolor paint like it is acrylic paint, so I had to keep reminding them not to load up their brushes with the paint.  

After painting their strips, they drew a heart on their paper and then cut up the value strips randomly so they would have pieces to use for their mosaic hearts.  The instructions were to start gluing the darker value watercolor pieces around the edges of the heart.  From there, they were to get progressively lighter towards the center of the heart.  This would give them more of a three dimensional heart as it would in the same way if you were shading a heart with pencil, etc.  

Some students cut larger mosaic pieces and some cut smaller, narrower shaped pieces.  I loved all the different variations of hearts!

They were allowed to mix their 2 colors, or even trade with their neighbor for colors they wanted.

I also gave them a choice to cut mosaic pieces into recognizable shapes.  I suggested that they cut out shapes of things that they loved.  I love how this heart came out, and I think they all turned out beautifully!

                     Happy Valentines Day!