Sunday, October 31, 2010

Which witch is this?

I saw this lesson on Artsonia in several variations.

You need:

  1. drawing sheet A4 size
  2. pencil
  3. markers
  4. white pencil or silver gel pen
  5. black paper for background

Start this the lesson with a class discussion about witches. How can you recognize a witch? What things belong to a witch? What can you say about the clothing of a witch?

Students draw with pencil the lower half of the body of a witch: skirt and legs. Around this body they draw things that belong to witches. Draw a horizon line at about 1/3 part from the bottom. The drawing should be coloured with markers. Colour the background with markers or chalk pastel. The latter is obviously faster than colouring the background with markers.

Paste the drawing on a black background and decorate the rim with theme-related little drawings. Use a white pencil or a silver gel pen.

In the debriefing should be clear that you only need a half drawing to recognize a witch: Which witch is this?

Made by students of grade 3

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Collage of geometric and organic shapes

Made by students of 8-9 years old

A lesson I found on Artsonia. It's a great lesson to explain the different shapes and to practice cutting and pasting skills.

You need:

  1. black construction paper 18 by 18 cm
  2. four coloured sheets 16 by 16 cm in different colours
  3. scissors
  4. glue
  5. left overs black construction paper
Start this lesson with an instruction on geometric and organic shapes. A geometric shape is a shape with a name, like a rectangle, circle or square. It's shape is regular. An organic shape is a shape from nature, without a real name. The shape of a leave or animal is organic, but cloud shapes are organic too. An organic shape is a shape you can not describe, that has no name. It is irregular.

Choose four sheets with matching colours and fold them in four quarters. Cut the folding lines to get 16 squares of 4 by 4 cm. Put four rows of four squares neatly against each other on the black sheet. Do not place two of the same colours side by side. Glue the squares. Cut a number of organic shapes out of black paper. Create a beautiful composition on the sheet with squares and paste the black shapes. The shapes should not overlap.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

constanca cabral : artists who blog

Today's featured artist is Constança Cabral, a native of Lisbon, Portugal who now lives in a beautiful new home in the English countryside. Constança's blog is a continual inspiration of sewing, crafting, and gardening projects. Whenever I drop by her blog, it feels like visiting with a very creative, colorful friend who is living a truly dreamy domestic life. Enjoy the interview :) 

Constança's blog:           
Constança's shop:

Why did you decide to become an artist and could you imagine doing anything else? If so, what?

Well, first of all I must say that I don’t see myself as an artist. I’m someone who likes to exercise their imagination and make things on a daily basis. Baking a cake, arranging flowers, sewing a bag or hanging pictures on the wall – that’s all part of who I am. I’m not an office person in the sense that I’ll work much better if I’m working according to my own schedule and goals.

Do you still believe "do what you love and the money will come?"

Uhm… tough question. Selling handcrafted work is hard because you spend such long hours making things and you buy high quality material, and in the end you can’t ask that much money for your goods. I’m very lucky to be in a position that allows me to focus on developing my work and not worry so much if I have money for food at the end of the month. I mean, if it weren’t for my husband’s continuous love and support, I’m not sure if I’d be able to do what I do. That being said, we live quite sensibly. We travel once in a while and buy books and go to the cinema, so yes, we do have a comfortable life, but there aren’t any crazy expenses.

How has blogging and the Internet affected your work as an artist?

I believe those two things have shaped my work. I’ve always been a creative person but the internet really awoke my senses. Blogging is a vital part of my work because it keeps me motivated, as well as connecting me to so many great people. I feel I’m not alone in this adventure and that gives me strength.

Please name 3 of your favorite blogs and tell us why these blogs are special. 

I love design*sponge because it’s such a complete blog: you are presented with beautiful homes, imaginative diy projects, amazing flower arrangements, great advice on living a greener life, film inspiration… whilst being very personal and humane.

make something  is very fabric-centric and I love that. Karyn is the owner of The Workroom, a great fabric shop in Toronto, and she’s an amazing seamstress and experimentalist. Her taste is impeccable and her blogging style is humble and very engaging.

Soule Mama is another favourite place to visit everyday. I enjoy Amanda’s writing style and the way she pursues her dreams. She is the living proof that you can have an alternative style of living and make it work. I love her sense of hope and achievement.

What is your greatest fear and what do you do to overcome it?

I have some irrational fears that I can’t overcome because they’re not real, but I won’t go into that. As for work-related fears, sometimes I wonder if this path that I’ve chosen will enable me to be financially independent. That being said, I try to be as honest and truthful as I can both in my work and in my personal life. Will that send some money my way? I’m not really sure.

Who would you like to trade places with for one day? Why?

I’d love to be the assistant of an excellent prop stylist. It’s a field that interests me enormously but I don’t know if I’d be any good at it, so I’d like to try it for a day.

What are your secrets for managing your time wisely?

I don’t and that’s one of my biggest problems! I get easily distracted and I’ll start working on a thing without having finished what I was doing previously and so on…

If you could live anywhere in the world – all expenses paid – for one year, where would that be? Why?

Definitely in Stockholm or Copenhagen. I would need to have a good allowance though!

How do you maintain a healthy balance between your professional and private life?

My private life always wins. I will drop everything to meet my mother or father or spend an afternoon with my grandmother or with a great friend. Not to mention my husband… So I guess my life isn’t balanced at all! But I’m a firm believer in this: love and happy moments are the things you will always cherish and remember.

What are your top 5 goals that you’d like to accomplish within the next 5 years?

Plant a kitchen garden, expand my sewing and knitting skills, travel around the world, decorate my home in a way that reflects myself and my family and read many, many books.

What is your advice for someone who would like to turn his or her creative dreams into reality?

Be true to your self, be sensible and be imaginative. And have fun!

Thank you Constança!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Whirling leaves

You need:
  1. white drawing sheet A4 size
  2. watercolour paint
  3. brushes
  4. jar with water
  5. small and broad black marker
  6. col0ured construction paper for background
  7. glue

Ask students a week before this lesson to take some flat dried leaves. Every student chooses one of his own leaves and outlines it several times with a pencil. Remember to draw not all the leaves in the same way on the paper, because they whirl down from the tree. Make sure some leaves go over the edge; those leaves will later be finished on the background.

Paint the leaves with watercolour paint. Use water to dillute the paint less or more. Choose real warm fall colours and try to make transitions in the colours by using wet in wet technique.

Paint the background blue. Use again the wet in wet technique, and/or choose for wet on dry. You don't have to paint exactly against the leaves, because they will be outlined with a marker.

Leave the work to dry and paste in on a coloured background. Outline the leaves with a thick black marker. Use a fine black marker for drawing the veins, while observing carefully the real leaves. Don't stop with outlining and drawing veins when you reach the background, but go on with it there.

Both artworks are made by students of 11 years old

Friday, October 22, 2010

Autumn leaves in cubist style

You need:
  1. white drawing paper A4 size
  2. pencil
  3. ruler
  4. tempera paint
  5. brushes
  6. gold colour marker

Ask students to take autumn leaves. Watch them together, paying particular attention to the form: heart-shaped, oval, round, oblong, etc. The composition of the leaves may vary: a leave can be single or composed of several leaflets (pinnate or palmately).

Students draw several leaves on their sheet. The leaves should not overlap. Draw parts of leaves against the edges. Only the outer form of the leaves have to be drawn, so no veins. If the leaves are drawn and the sheet is largely filled, draw four diagonal lines with pencil and ruler: two lines from left to right and two lines from top to bottom. Make sure these lines pass through the leaves. Do not press too hard with the pencil, otherwise they'll come through the paint!

The drawing has to be painted with four warm colours tempera: two colours for the leaves and two for the background. Paint the leave parts within a square in one colour and the background in a different colour. In the box next paint the leaves in a third colour and the background with colour four. See diagram below.

When the artwork is dry, trace the contour lines of the leaves and the diagonal lines with a gold marker.

Made by a student of 11 years old

Sunday, October 17, 2010

heather cameron : artists who blog

Our featured artist today is Heather Cameron, a stylist/story producer based in Vancouver, Canada. Heather owns an organic farm called "Missing Goat Blueberry Farm" where she sells her homemade jams, chutneys, pies, granola, and fresh garlic. Yum! I first discovered Heather's blog on Poppytalk, where she is a regular contributor.

Why did you decide to become an artist and could you imagine doing anything else? If so, what? 

I didn't decide to become an artist - I'm not even sure if that title fits me.  I stumbled into styling and story producing.  I seem to stumble into all sorts of things.  I've always known that I have to be creative in my work.  I'm miserable if I'm not.  I could never see myself behind a desk doing 9 - 5.  Though, the thought of a paycheck every two weeks always seemed appealing.  I can't imagine how that would feel - isn't that odd?

Do you still believe “do what you love and the money will come“?

Absolutely.  It may not be a huge amount of money, and you may just get by, but you will be happy.  I pick happiness over cash any day.  In the last two years, I've really had an epiphany about money and what is really important. 

How has blogging & the Internet affected your work as an artist?

I just started blogging a year ago and it's really amazing.  I knew nothing about it, but thought it would be a creative outlet.  I've met wonderful people, connected with editors from the past, and told a story about my life for a year.  I am always shocked that anyone cares about my garden, what my ducks did today, what I had for dinner...

Please name 3 of your favorite blogs and tell us why these blogs are special. (Please provide links!)

Cannelle et Vanille - everything about it is lovely.  Food styling and photographing is an art that I so admire. 

Poppytalk - I don't know how she finds everything, but boy, it's a fabulous site to keep you in touch with all things awesome.

and lately, I really am enjoying the Pioneer Woman - though, I'm not sure it's a blog?  Sexy cowboys and fine food.  It's just fun.

What is your greatest fear and what do you do to overcome it?

My greatest fear is failure - and I simply push on and do the best I can.  If I fail, then I know I tried my best.  I think looking back and knowing I chickened out would be a failure.  I'm also terrified of being on tv.  But, I forced myself to do it many times.  I choked on my own spit as I forgot to swallow and haven't a clue what I said, but I actually had a lot of fun.

Who would you like to trade places with for one day? Why?
At first I thought Angelina - but then I remembered she has six kids ...or is it seven??  It was more about seeing Brad, but the kids thing..I've got one and that keeps me busy enough.  Then I thought Oprah as I'd love to know how it feels to be so bold and confident. Then I thought it would just be nice to switch places with someone who has loads of free time and a nice sized wad of cash - I'd lay on the beach (under an umbrellas because I've no desire to cook myself in the sun), sipping cocktails, get a massage, manicure, pedicure, facial - all that stuff.  So, whoever is living that life, is who I'd switch with.
What are your secrets for managing your time wisely?
Post it notes.
If you could live anywhere in the world – all expenses paid – for one year, where would that be?
Cassis in the South of France.
How do you maintain a healthy balance between your professional and private life?
My husband is my best friend.  We bicker and fight, but in the end, he gets what I am doing - oh for goodness sakes.  My three ducks are pounding on the back door trying to come in.  Ok, I'm back.  What was the question.. hmm, upon a second read, I'm not sure that I do these days.  I'm trying to be the best mom, a good wife and build a successful business.  A healthy balance may come later, but honestly, seems to be missing right now.
What are your top 5 goals that you’d like to accomplish within the next 5 years?
Get my jam and syrup into the United States. 
Spend one or two months in another country each year.
Have a girl getaway vacation.
Eat better than I ever have in my life.
Publish a book on living in the country.
What is your advice for someone who would like to turn his or her creative dreams into reality?
Be brave, be bold, be persistent (many times, persistence has opened a door for me) and don't procrastinate!  It's the killer of all dreams.

Thank you Heather! A visit with you is like a refreshing vacation to the countryside.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Awesome alphabet

Made by students of grade 6

You need:

  1. drawing paper A6 size (postcard)
  2. markers
  3. fine black marker
  4. black cardboard
  5. glue
Arrange which students makes which letter of the alphabet. The I and J have to be drawn on one sheet, to make a group work of five by five drawings.

Each student draws one big letter, with about 1 cm free space around. Colour the letter as you like, using patterns. Colour the background as well. Outline the letter and the details with a fine black marker. Make sure the letter 'pops up' from the background, by choosing different colours and patterns.

Paste all letters on a big black cardboard, five by five with 2 cm space between them.

Group work 'Awesome alphabet'

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Photo fun

You need:
  1. copy of a photo of the student in black/white, A4 size
  2. coloured construction paper A4 size
  3. ruler
  4. scissors
  5. glue

Take a digital photo of each student and print in black and white on A4 paper. Students draw on the back of the picture horizontal lines with 2 cm space between them. Cut the lines. Paste the strips with half a cm between the on the coloured paper.

With the name of the student and his birthday under the arwork, this is a nice birthday calendar for in the classroom.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Reflected canal houses

You need:

  1. white drawing sheet A4 size
  2. white crayons
  3. watercolour paint
  4. brushes
  5. jar with water
Dutch canal houses are famous for their facades: stepped gable, neckgable, bell gable, clockgevel or spoutgable. Draw those five gables on the blackboard and discuss them. Search the internet for photographs of canal houses or let the students search them (search canal house or grachtenhuis).

Draw a line at 12 cm from the bottom of the sheet. Draw some low canal house with a white crayon. Draw windows, treps and doors in them. Paint every house with a different colour of watercolour paint. The crayon will resist the paint and become visible. Paint a simplified reflection of the house under the line. Paint water and air.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Learning letters

Made by a student of 7 years old

You need:
  1. drawing sheet 20 by 20 cm
  2. crayons
  3. liquid watercolour
  4. brushes
  5. jar with water

Draw a 5 cm grid and copy it on drawing sheets. Give every student a grid sheet. Students use crayons to write big handwriting letters in the squares. Trace the lines of the squares with crayon too using one colour. Paint the squares with liquid watercolour.

In Holland we call those letters 'lusletters', 'letters with loops' if I translate is. The first letters children learn, at the same time as they start learning to read, are called 'blokletters'. Block letters?

How do you call those letters? Blockletters? Writing letters? Who can help me?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Make your own book

You need:
  1. two pieces of plywood measuring 16 cm by 12 cm
  2. little stack of white sheets measuring 14 cm by 11 cm
  3. hand drill
  4. perforator
  5. markers or paint/brushes
  6. bit of rope
Make a drawing on one of the shelves and colour it with markers or paint or a combination of those. Write a title, and/or put your name on it. Use a perforator to make two holes in the small side of the white sheets.

Place one of the sheets on the painted shelf and mark off where the holes should be. Keep away about 1 cm from the (short) side. Do the same with the second shelf. Drill holes with a hand drill. Place the sheets on the lower shelf and then put the painted shelf on top of it. String a piece of rope through all the layers and bind them together.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Our Dutch calligrams; do you recognize the meaning?

You need:
  1. drawing sheet A6 size (postcard size)
  2. pencil
  3. fine black marker

A calligram is a phrase or word in which the typeface, calligraphy or handwriting is arranged in a way that creates a visual image. The image created by the words expresses visually what the word or words say.

Show some calligrams on the smartboard. Discuss them with the students. How was the calligram made? What word(s) do you see? What kind if image is it?

Students choose something they want to draw. With a pencil they draw the outlines of it on a sheet. Using a fine marker they write their drawing full with the words that belong to it. Erase the pencil lines when the ink has dried. There are two ways to do it: fill the drawing completely with words, or write the words only on the outlines of the drawing.

Sometimes it is better, and/or nicer, to colour your calligrams. In the example above, the food calligram, you won't probably recognize the food on the plate. With some colour (colour pencils) it is clear! The butterfly is coloured with coloured ink.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Word art

You need:

  1. drawing sheet A6 size
  2. colour pencils or markers
  3. black fine marker

Each student selects a words to illustrate. The design for the word must reflect what the word represents. Someone who doesn't know the meaning of the word, has to understand what it means by looking at the design of it.

Use colour pencils or markers to colour the letters of the word. Use a fine black marker to outline the letters.

Well: although you don't know the meaning of the Dutch words in the examples my students made, you'll know what they mean thanks to the design! If not, they did a bad job?

Made by students of 11-12 years old