365 Days of Art – Cows Done Blindly

…..day 40

In Carla Sonheim’s year-long class we were assigned to draw an object of our choice. The hook is that it had to be a blind contour drawing. No peaking at all. I did that with the first three and for number four I peaked a couple of times.

Then without looking at the drawings or the photo the drawings were taken from we had to draw the objects again on a larger piece of watercolour paper using ink with a dropper or liquid acrylic poured from the bottle (with a small opening). Before the ink or paint dried we were then suppose to lay two more colours of paint across the top of the paper and then scrape it down the page with a credit card.

The first attempt I did on a cold press watercolour paper and I almost lost the image completely. I switched to a smooth hot press paper and the image under the paint was stronger. The black ink on the second painting was overpowering and I much preferred how the red and purple inks turned out. Do you have a favourite?


365 Days of Art – Painting Without Brushes

…..Days 20 and 21

In Carla Sonheim’s on-line class we were instructed to create a still life using a scraping technique using an old credit card. Any left over paint on the card could be scraped off onto another piece of paper that could be used in future projects.

I loved this process. My brush pens didn’t give me the desired effect that Carla was looking for so I used the credit card to make all my marks. Jill Kuhn also used bubble wrap to stamp on some colour and I really liked that so I tried that as well. The flowers go off the page in this piece so the vase and the pear are the focal points of this still life. I know that I’m going to experiment with this technique some more. It’s very addictive. I even really like the art paper I created from the left over paint.


365 Days of Art – Day 19

…..I’m truly caught up

Today I spent time developing a piece of art around the theme “Target Animals”, except that I opted not to make an animal. Instead I made a completely abstract piece. You might see an animal or some kind of character in my design but that was not intentional. This assignment is part of Carla Sonheim’s year-long on-line art class.

I used marker and acrylic paint on 185 lb. acrylic paper by Canson. It is 9 x 12 inches in size. The background is actually a lot whiter. I really need to take photos of my art in natural daylight.


365 Days of Art – A Study in Patience

….on day 17 I finally attempted the exercise that Carla Sonheim assigned last week

When I saw this assignment, called Target: Animals I was immediately reminded of Norval Morrisseau, an indigenous painter from Canada. When I was teaching I introduced this wonderful painter’s work to my students and we painted our own favourite animals in a similar style which we called X-ray paintings.

The assignment involves producing circles and painting target rings inside each with different colours of acrylic paint. This is where the patience comes in because each colour has to dry before you start the next. I was fine at the beginning but as the circles got smaller and I finished sooner I barely waited long enough before I added the next colour. I think it’s somewhat evident in some of my circles.

Where do I go from here? I’ve been debating with myself as to whether I follow the assignment exactly as taught or if I put my own spin on it. I think I will do the latter because the animals that I’ve seen produced look too much like Morrisseau’s work. They’re lovely but I need to try and be more original.


Art Heist – Copying From the Masters

….what are grade 1s, 2s, and 3s capable of?

Back in April my friend, colleague and our school’s music teacher asked me if my students could paint large copies of some famous Canadian paintings that could be used to decorate the back of the stage for our outdoor concert in June. At first I was a little hesitant and reminded her that my students were only 6 to 8 years old. I thought about it for awhile, found a book in the library of Canadian art and then asked my students which paintings they would like to copy. I tried to steer them towards art that had large shapes and simple lines.

My grade two class loved Lawren Harris’ iceberg art and insisted that they could do it. The first grade one class chose Emily Carr’s totem pole and the other grade one class were highly influenced by me and chose the Jack Bush abstract art. My older students, the grade 3s were asked to choose something from the North and they agreed to paint a Ted Harrison piece.

Normally I would encourage students to paint in an artist’s style but for this project we wanted the paintings to be recognizable. I cut out large pieces of heavy paper and taped them to the wall outside each classroom. I made a few marks on the mural paper as a guideline for the students so that they could draw the foreground, middle ground and background. With the Jack Bush painting I divided the paper into sections and the students took turns drawing the lines as I held the ruler. They then labelled each section with the colour and the student who would be filling it in.

The grade 3s impressed me the most with the Ted Harrison painting that they chose. I gave  them the least amount of assistance and they drew all the detail, including the whale without any help from me. It was also the first painting to be finished so I used some of the students from this class to assist the younger students with their paintings.

All four paintings were finished with no time to spare. We reinforced the back with duct tape and then taped them to the stage wall. They were perfect and fit the entire back wall. It was encouraging to hear parents actually naming the pieces or the the painters as they walked down the hall while the students were painting. They even recognized the Jack Bush piece because they had just come back from a field trip where his paintings were being featured. No, the names were not above the paintings during the painting process!

Here they are. You can getter a better idea of the size from the last photo where they are on display at the back of the stage.


Table Top Painting and Drawing Part 2

….I finished my on-line course this week

I really enjoyed this on-line class with Diane Culhane. I don’t always finish all the assignments but for some reason this class held my interest and the assignments didn’t inhibit me. Carla Sonheim┬áreally has a knack for finding amazing art instructors for her on-line classes.

The last three days of this six-day class involved painting on gessoed paper, a textured wood panel and glazed canvas and making glazes with acrylic paint. All the compositions consisted of table top still life arrangements that we had to create. Here are my creations in the order that I finished.

On gessoed paper.

On gessoed paper.

On a textured wood panel.

On a textured wood panel.

On a glazed canvas.

On a glazed canvas.