Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Autumn leaves with tissue paper

You need:
  1. white drawing sheet A4 format
  2. tissue paper in autumn colours
  3. brush
  4. jar with water
  5. white crayons
Show different shapes of leaves. Discuss those shapes and the colours those leaves have in autumn.

Kids draw with white crayons different leaves on their drawing sheet. When finished, they tear parts of the different colours of tissue paper (not too small). Use autumn colours like orange, red, yellow and brown. Those pieces must be sticked by wetting the drawing sheet part by part and laying the tissue paper pieces in it. Watch out: no two same colour pieces next to eachother. Be sure the tissue paper is wet enough to bleed.

Let the artwork dry a little. When it's still moist a bit, pull of all parts of tissue paper. Wait until your work is totally dry and press it flat by laying it under a heavy book.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Beautiful anemones

You need:
  1. white drawing sheet A4 size
  2. tissue paper in different colours
  3. brush
  4. can with water

With tissue paper you can make beautiful flowers without painting! In this lesson I chose anemones, but any flower will work.

To make an anemone, fold a tissue paper three times until you have a rectangle. This rectangle has six lows now. Cut two petals out of this rectangle; this makes twelve petals totally. Six petals make one anemone. Cut petals from different colours tissue paper. Cut small and bigger ones.
Take the white sheet and wet the place for the first flower with a brush. Put the petals one by one around an imaginary white circle (this is for the heart of the flower) on the wet spot. The petals will tighten themselves on the wet drawing sheet. Stich all petals this way. Overlap is allowed, working on the edge too. Cut little circles (flowerhearts) out of black tissue paper and stick them with water. The tissue paper has started 'bleeding' yet. The brighter the colour of tissue paper, the better it bleeds. Light colors bleed less. The colours of the tissue paper will blend together. If all is well, you'll see rays from the black heart into the petals. If not, wet the flowers again with a brush and water. Be careful, petals might shuffle.

Let the artwork dry a little. When it's still moist a bit, pull of all petals. Your beautiful anemones are ready!

Anemones with tissue paper
Print, without tissue paper

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Landscape of tissue paper

You need:
  1. tissue paper in several colours
  2. wallpaper glue, made with extra water
  3. glue brushes
  4. white drawing paper A4 size
Look with the students at pictures of different landscapes: mountains, volcanic landscape, coastal landscape, river landscape, hills, flat landscape. Discuss the differences between those landscapes.

Students are going to make a landscape out of tissue paper. They may just tear the sheets, so no scissors! The landscapes have to be constructed from behind, so the front sheets have to be glued at last. While doing it this way, colours can be glued overlapping, which gives more tints. Explain the students to use white tissue paper to make colours lighter. The glaciers on the mountains in the example are created by not glueing the white tissue paper entirely. Dry parts will stay white, wet parts take over the colour that's underneath.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mothers finest

You need:

  1. coloured paper A4 size
  2. scissors
  3. glue
  4. leftovers coloured paper
  5. leftovers yarn, wire, pipe cleaner
  6. buttons, feathers etc..
  7. leftovers of cotton

Traditionally, people love to decorate themselves. With what do people decorate themselves? Is this the same in all countries? What kind of decorations can you mention? Discuss decorations and write different kinds of decorations on the blackboard.

Each student gets two coloured sheets of paper; one for the background and one for the face. Fold the sheet for the face lengthwise and draw half a face against the fold. Don't forget the ears! Cut the face and glue it on a background, letting a bit space between face and background. uit en plak het op de achtergrond met een beetje ruimte eronder. So don't glue it flatly. Cut eyes, nose and mouth out of leftover paper and glue them on the face. Decorate the face with different materials. Thing of earrings, glasses, hair, make-up, chain, necktie etc.

(Photographs: Willem Wienholts)

Autumn trees near the water

You need:
  1. light blue drawing paper A4 size
  2. oilpastel crayons
  3. tempera in autumn colours
  4. brushes

Fold the paper in half. Above the fold is the country, below the fold is the water. Students draw with oilpastels some trees without leaves in the grass. Those trees have to be coloured firmly. Below the fold is the reflection of the trees in the water. The trees have to be drawn again, but mucht less thick coloured.

When the trees are ready, students get a plate with five colours of tempera: yellow, orange, red, brown and green. leaves have to be made by tamponning with the brushes. Tell your students to tampon with two or more colours at the same time, so don't mix up the colours.

When the leaves are ready and the paint is still wet, fold the paper again. There is now a lighter print of the foliage at the bottom of the sheet: the reflection in the water. The branches of the tree will now be visible again, because part of the paint is now on the bottom of the sheet.

Friday, September 25, 2009

heather braun-dahl : artists who blog

Heather's website: www.dahlhausart.com
Heather's blog: www.dahlhausart.blogspot.com
Heather's shop: www.dahlhausart.bigcartel.com

Why did you decide to start a blog?

I decided to start a blog as a way to document my own journey while also giving people the opportunity to get to know me in an uninvasive and yet authentic way, no matter where they were from. I really enjoy writing and taking photos of my inspiration and my work and decided that a blog would be a good format for me to put that together. I wasn't as concerned with having a huge readership, just wanting a bit of company along for the ride, especially during the times when I'm more isolated between the studio and at home.

How did you come up with the name of your blog?

Dahlhaus art is the official name I launched my website with around 2 years ago. I came up with the name because as both a ceramic artist and a painter I needed a way to link my work together under one roof, so to speak. An interest in the Bauhaus movement in art, design and architecture along with the root function of both painting and ceramics being for the home made a play-on-words that worked well with my last name too. It just made sense to use the same name for my blog.

How has blogging affected your work as an artist/designer?

Sometimes I catch myself with a running commentary going on in my head while I think of things to blog about during the day. Silly, I know, but I guess having a blog has made me more aware of my process while also giving me permission to present it to the world way before I ever would have before I had a blog. Process is always important and I've always felt that it was in the process that a lot of interesting bits happen in art. Often your audience just sees the final result and never the process and they miss out the in between stuff.

What are your favorite artist/designer blogs? Why?

I pop by the Sycamore Street Press and Lovely Design blog daily, more because I feel some sense of connection with who they are and what they post about than anything. I get a kick out of Whitney Smith's blog (this artists life) where she rants about the ins and outs of the studio potter's life- I can totally relate to some of it. I love seeing inspirational images of great blogs like design*sponge and Poppytalk, but also love reading smaller blogs by other designers and makers on occasion, just to see what they are up to and how they are managing to balance their lives.

Do you have any advice for artists/designers who are starting a blog?

I'm sure this has all been said before, but be yourself, try to blog about what you know- what concerns you and your work. Be consistent and blog every couple of days at least. If you aren't great at writing, take pretty pictures, blog about other artists and highlight your successes and blog about your failures. Other artists will be sure to come by and check out your work if you are consistent in this. Broadening your community should be what having a blog is about at the get go, the sales will follow after time!

What has been the most positive and inspirational aspect of having a blog for you?

I would have to say just seeing where I've come from this past year and where I'm going. I now have a record of past goals turning into reality on my blog, and when I'm feeling particularily frustrated or low, I've been able to look back on the year and celebrate the big and little things that came my way.

What do you find the most difficult/most rewarding part of having a creative profession?

Well off the top, I would have to say the most difficult thing is the lack of consistent income and sales compared with the high cost of running and keeping up a creative profession. To sell what a person makes actually costs a lot of money, whether it be the costs of online shops, the costs of materials and space to make what you sell, the costs of doing art and craft shows, or the 50% cut the galleries take, it all adds up! In other words, there's not a lot left over for a pay check at the end of the day and this can be really discouraging some times.

The most rewarding part of a creative profession would be to be approached by someone who owns your work and have them tell you they use my mug or bowl every day, that it doesn't even get to the dishwasher and that they fight with other family members over who gets to use their mug. I also really appreciate hearing from people that they've never seen work like mine around- that they've seen a lot of pottery out there, but none like mine, and that it's really lovely. Yay, that's what I was going for!

Other than your blog, what has been the most effective way for you to promote your art/design?

Online the most effective way for me to promote my work are on other blogs- be it to be on some design blogs or online markets. I was able to be on Poppytalk Handmade a few times and have seen a difference in my online exposure. Articles and interviews also help, I'm sure ads on prominent blogs would make a difference but my advertising budget is pretty low still. I send out emails to my contacts quarterly, telling them about up-coming shows and sales, and just meeting people face to face at exhibits and shows, or out and about lays the groundwork for up-coming sales.

How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?

Having kids has forced me not to become a complete studio recluse, at the same time, I find my stress level with having time to maintain a healthy studio practice and business a lot higher because of the balancing act that I'm on. I can't do it all, and sometimes I realize I'm trying too hard to do too many things and something's got to give. This year I've specifically stepped back from painting to focus on ceramics, but maybe in a couple of years it will switch. My kids are in Kindergarten and grade 2 this year, so next year when they are both in school for full 5-6 hour days, my balancing act will change once again.

What would you like to accomplish by the end of 2009?

Outside of some financial goals that I have (completely pay off my Visa bill and pay myself a decent paycheque every month), I am working towards a magazine feature, and some of my work being published. I just got the news that my work will be part of a large contemporary ceramics book that will come out next year sometime and that's been great news for me! I've been deliberately getting professional photos done of my work every 6 months or so, with books and publishing in mind, so I'm excited about keeping at this.

I would like to finish some paintings this year that I've started, but we'll see if I get some time in to do that. I have a number of shows lined up for the season and have high hopes of being ultra prepared with lots of stock for the winter rush, so that is pretty foremost in my mind!

Thanks Heather! Best of luck in all of your upcoming endeavors :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Leave collection


You need:

  1. white drawing sheet A4 size

  2. tempera and brushes

  3. metallic pens and fine markers in several colours

Ask students to bring autumn leaves. Talk about the colours and the shape of the leaves, feel the veins and discuss the patterns of the veins.

Children make a composition of autumn leaves, considering variation between large and small leaves and different leaf shapes. The leaves may overlap eachother. To print the leaves, cover the bottoms with undiluted tempera in fall colours. Press the leaves with a book. If you want to make a print over another printed leave (overlap), you have to wait until the former print has dried. This won't take long , because the veins will give just thin prints.

When all prints are ready, the leave collection has to be complemented with drawn leaves. Use fine colour markers, including metallic. Draw the veins close together. Paste the work on a coloured background sheet.

Both artworks are made by students of grade 5

Monday, September 21, 2009

A spider and his web

In fall you will find beautiful spider webs in the garden and around the school. Especially when the morning dew is glistening on the wires in the sun, a web seems a work of art. In this lesson the students draw a spider web with a spider, after they first have looked carefully at those webs. How is the web built? How many basic threads do you see? What does a spider look like? How many legs has he? How do they look?

You need:

  1. white drawing sheet A4 size cut lengthwise
  2. crayons
  3. water paint
  4. brushes
  5. jar with water
  6. black finepointed marker or white pencil
  7. coloured paper
Draw at the top of a half sheet a web with a white crayon (be sure the point is sharp). One of the base threads have to be drawin in the middle, because the spider will hang out there. Draw a spider with black crayon and connect him with the web by drawing the middle white base thread down.
Paint the whole sheet with water paint in a colour you like. Use lots of water. Crayonlines will resist the paint. Let the work and see the dewdrops on the web! Glue the work on a coloured background. Draw the web further on the background, with black fineliner or white pencil.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cats like Rosina Wachtmeister

Rosina Wachtmeister (1939, Austria)
Wachtmeister (1939) is an Austrian artist who is specialised in making collages with various. She uses often gold or silver metal paper in her work. The early work of Rosina Wachtmeister are sculptured puppets. She used these puppets in her own puppet theatre.
In 1974 Rosina Wachtmeister moved with her husband to Capena, near Rome. She gets inspired from daily things: the silence of Capena, the sun, her cats and music.
We look at some paintings from Wachtmeister and we name the distinctive characteristics:

  1. she uses silver in every paiting

  2. faces are divided into colour patches

  3. she uses often warm colours

  4. backgrounds are decorated cheerfully

  5. figures are outlined with black or coloured lines

  6. eyes are very expressive because of those (black or coloured) lines

You need:

  1. white drawing paper A3 size

  2. tempera in different colours, including silver

  3. brushes

  4. newspapers

  5. jars with water

  6. tissues to clean and dry the brushes

Students draw with pencil a quick sketch from one or more cats on their sheets and start painting right away, considering the characteristics of the style of Wachtmeister: silver paint, big eyes, warm colours, divided faces etc. Outlining the figures has to be done also with tempera and a thin brush. This has to be the last chore, of course. So you get a good separation between the foreground and background and you can remove some stains. If the paintings are dry, we stick them on a matching background sheet. And of course we sign our work, just like Wachtmeister, with a black signature!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Deep in the ocean

You need:
  1. white drawing paper A4 size

  2. watercolour paint

  3. brushes

  4. white crayons

  5. salt

There is more then fish in the ocean! Make a wordtree with the students with various ocean animals, except fish! Show photos of ocean animals and discuss them.

Students draw an ocean animal using a white crayon on a white sheet. Details should also be drawn with the crayon. The animals have to be painted with watercolour paint and a small brush. You may touch de lines, but do not cross them. When ready, paint the background with a large brush, watercolour paint and lots of water. Try different colors blue or green (by adding water) and make sure they mix up a bit - wet on wet technique. Sprinkle salt on the background while it is still wet. The salt will absorb water and it gives a nice effect. When the drawing is completely dry, you can wipe the salt with a clean hand.

Friday, September 18, 2009

carolyn gavin : artists who blog

Carolyn's blog: www.designerjots.blogspot.com
Carolyn's website: www.ecojot.com

Why did you decide to start a blog?

I think it's an extension of what I do, and people seem to be interested (I think) in the day to day process, of a designer or Illustrator. The blog is a discipline, a day to day diary of what's happening in my life creatively. I think it has to be kept up and kept current to maintain it's interest. I generally try to update everyday. Sometimes this can be tiresome. It's a back and forth process and it provides another creative medium for my work.

How did you come up with the name of your blog?

Well my company is called Ecojot... so designerjots was a natural followup from that.

How has blogging affected your work as an artist/designer?

I sometimes use the blog as a tool, so if I'm working on a particular design I will extend this into a work for the blog only. And vice versa. It provides another medium for my work to be seen and it definitely keeps me busy. It's a lot of work to keep it fresh and intesting.

What are your favorite artist/designer blogs? Why?

Nate Willliams of n8w & Helen Dardik of Orange You Lucky
I am crazy for both their work and Helen updates everyday also. Always with something interesting.

Do you have any advice for artists/designers who are starting a blog?

Try and focus on your speciality and keep it consistent. Make it very visual and colorful. Try and be original. Engage people and don't be afraid to show your work.

What has been the most positive and inspirational aspect of having a blog for you?

If you're visually exposed with a blog like I am, then more people get to know and understand your work and relate to it. This helps the work sell 'cause more people are starting to recognise it. I also have met some wonderful people through blogging.

What do you find the most difficult/most rewarding part of having a creative profession?

I have to work all the time! I have to create all the time. Sometimes this can be challenging. But then I go on a nice long vacation somewhere and literally just drop everything. I think this is important. My creative self needs a complete break and rest to come back fresh and rejuvenated!

Other than your blog, what has been the most effective way for you to promote your art/design?

Well I have a company with my family called Ecojot. I am principal designer/creative director for Ecojot and year after year, my work is featured. Also I now have Lilla Rogers as my agent and that has enabled my work to find other outlets which has been fantastic! They are the BEST agents to have and really try and promote your work to the max.

How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?

It's a juggling act for sure. I do yoga which helps, try and eat well, sleep well and travel a bit. In between working a lot.

What are your main goals for 2009?

To stay calm, and continue to get lots of work from LRS and hope that ECOJOT continues to grow.

Thanks Carolyn!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hot air balloons

You need:

  1. white drawing paper A4 size

  2. markers

  3. fineliner

  4. watercolour paint

  5. brushes

  6. coloured paper for background

  7. scissors and glue

  8. yarn

Look at several photo's of hot air balloons and discuss what they look like: use of colour, shape, size, advertisements. Look at the baskets and discover that, when we look up in the air we' ll see the bottom of the baskets. We also note that hot air balloons look smaller when they're further away.

Students paint their white sheet light blue with watercolour paint, using lots of water. When the sheets are drying, balloons have to be drawn and coloured on another sheet: a big one, a midsize and one or two small ones. After this students have to draw some baskets, with silhouettes of people (use a black fineliner!). Cut the balloons and the baskets.

Paste the painted blue sheet on a background paper. Make a composition of the balloons with one or two overlaps. Use the frame too. Paste balloons and baskets, but do not paste the people. Just bow them a bit, as if they're looking over the edge of the baskets. Glue small pieces of yarn between balloons and baskets. Eventually clouds can be made out of cottonwool.

This is also a nice assignment for the whole class or a group of children.

Delfts blue plates

You need:

  1. white paper plates without plastic coating
  2. feltpens, fineliners of markers in different colours blue
  3. examples from Delfts blue decoration

Delftware, or Delft pottery, denotes blue and white pottery made in and around the city of Delft (Netherlands) from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. Delftware became popular and was widely exported in Europe and even reached China and Japan. Chinese and Japanese potters made porcelain versions of Delftware for export to Europe.
Delftware ranged from simple household items - with little or no decoration - to fancy artwork. Most of the Delft factories made sets of jars, the kast-stel set. Pictorial plates were made in abundance, illustrated with religious motifs, native Dutch scenes with windmilles and fishing boats, hunting scenes, landscapes and seascapes.

Nowadays there is still one factory in Delft that produces real Delftware: De Porceleyne Fles.
All plates, vases, bowls, teacups, tiles etc. are painted by hand here. You'll find a lot of photograps on the website of
Porceleyne Fles (online shop).
See some of these photographs with the students and discuss what decorations they see. Discuss the different colours of blue and look how you can make a good illustration by just using blue. Show the students some plates with different edges and make them tell about the recurring motifs

What to do?
Students will design their own Delfts blue plate with a regular pattern around the plate and a free drawing in the middle. They have to use markers, feltpens and fineliners in different shades of blue. First practice a bit on the back side of the plate to see how the ink will flow. The edge of the plate has notches. Count them to know how many notches your pattern must have.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


You need:

  1. brown construction paper A4 format
  2. pastel crayons
  3. hairspray
  4. wood glue
Look with the students at photographs from deserts and discuss what they look like. What kind of plants do you see? What about the colours?

Sketch with a pencil a simple desert landscape with little details. Cover the lines with wood glue. Try this first on a another sheet. Wait until the glue is dry; it has to be transparant instead of white.
Colour your drawing with pastel crayons. Use different colours together and make sure you blend them with your fingers. Fix your drawing with hairspray.

Lines in motion

You need:

  1. white drawing sheets A4 format
  2. grey pencil
  3. black fineliner
  4. coloured markers

A lesson to experience how lines can accentuate a movement. Draw with a pencil four or five figures in motion on the paper. Make them simple, just out of lines and circles. Watch movements with the students by asking one of them to show some movements. Look especially to the limbs. Trace the figures with a black fineliner, leaving the inside of the circles white. Draw lines around the figures with markers in two colours. Try this first on a piece of paper to see how the two colours flow together when reaching eachother. The lines will become more and more smooth, accentuating the motion from the figures.
I chose two colours close to eachother. Less spectacular, but less messy also!