Friday, December 26, 2014

A Year of Art - At a Glance

Looking back on a year of art from MaryMaking
and looking ahead to a Wonderful, Creative year in 2015!

Wishing you all the Very Best in the New Year!


Monday, December 22, 2014

The Gift of Art

 Sonja - 4th grade

Cora - 1st grade

These two Beautiful works were created by sisters who wanted to give their ocean-loving dad a gift of art this Christmas (Well, their mom had a bit to do with the idea). We had talked about jellyfish, but the girls were very enthusiastic about seahorses. When I brought up the idea of one doing a close up and the other the full "body", each girl instantly knew what they wanted to do. 

Sonja's was created in watercolor and salt. Cora created her seahorse in watercolor and marker (for the small details.) I cut this out and we glued it to a background of oil pastel and salt and watercolor. They chose their color schemes completely on their own and I love the fact that they go together nicely, without being too matchy-matchy. I know he'll be thrilled to receive these. Beautiful work girls! (I so enjoyed our time together and your laughter at my failed attempts in pronouncing Sinterklaas!) You've inspired me to do a seahorse lesson in my classes next month.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Winter Squirrels II

my experiment

For my last art project of 2014, (Wow, that went by fast!) my class followed this very basic tutorial. We looked at different species of squirrels including red and gray and the children then used chalk pastels to add color. If we had more time I would have liked for them to really focus on texture and shadow. But we were in a bit of a mad dash with this project. They had the option of having their squirrels carry acorns or stacked presents (made with squares of scrapbook paper and ribbon). By cutting along the squirrels arms, they were able to carry their items. Backgrounds were created with liquid watercolor and white acrylic printed snowfall.

Wishing you all Happy Holidays 
and Best Wishes for the New Year!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hip Hippo-Ray

1st - Jenna

Kinder - Izzy

Kinder - Kate

1st - Kate

1st - Reese

1st - Liam

1st - Addison

2nd - Lilly

1st - Ella

4th - Sierra

My Experiment

On Halloween the Los Angeles Zoo received quite a surprise, a baby hippo (despite the fact that mama was on birth control). There are some very cute videos of the two online. I have always wanted to do a hippo lesson, so this was the perfect opportunity. I found this wonderfully detailed illustration by Lori Anzalone for inspiration for my Whimsical Animal Art classes. The kids (mostly 1st graders) followed a direct line drawing lesson from the white board. I think the size and shape of the hippo lends itself well to vastly different interpretations, particularly with this being a "whimsical" art class. So bring on the lumps, bumps and wrinkles! They then shaded their hippos with pastels and charcoal. Background boards were divided into 3 spaces: sky, swamp grass, and water. White oil pastel was added first on the bottom layer to create water highlights. They then painted this space with watercolor. Layer 2 was created with sponges and acrylics and last watercolor African sunsets. The children cut out grass from extra sponge painted sheet for the hippos to peak out from. We thought they still needed a little more whimsy, so they drew flowers to cut out and put in their ears. All collage elements were cut and glued to their backgrounds.
Each one could be the star of a children's book. Nice job kids!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Winter Squirrels





Each school day morning I walk my daughter to the bus stop with my 2 rescue mutts. And almost like clockwork, several squirrels taunt the pooches as we wait, scurrying up and down the trees, spitting out remnants of pine cones. It sends Ally (Tibetan Terrier Mix)into a frenzy, but may just be the most exciting part of her day. And so we keep coming back for more.

 My class swapped our SoCal locale for a snowy birch background using a masking tape and watercolor technique. Once dry, the tape was lifted and tree markings and watercolor shadows were added. Squirrels done in chalk pastels were cut and glued their backgrounds.

The theme for this session is Whimsical Animal Art. I have a couple students who have been
 coming to my classes for several years. Each was under the impression that "whimsical" meant relating to "fantasy" or "mythical". These two Great girls had expressed an interest in creating a fairy. I found some sketches of mouse fairies (combining whimsical animals and mythical)
 and gave them the option of creating a mixed media piece inspired by the loose drawings. I aim to please. :)
Lacie (5th grade) created her mouse with Sharpie and pastels and the strawberry background with salt and watercolor. She had full reign with this project. What a fun, creative piece!

Friday, November 21, 2014


My Experiment 

The theme for this class session is Whimsical Animal Art. I just celebrated my 47th birthday and gifted myself with a theme that was lighthearted and fun to enjoy with the kids during the busy holiday season (and as an added bonus, some of these pieces would make great gifts for family and friends).  We are using various illustrations as inspiration for our mixed media pieces. This wonderfully rendered panda by artist, Jamie Mitchell caught my eye on Pinterest. My K through 6th graders created their pandas with Sharpie and charcoal and their own designer bow ties with markers. They then chose two coordinating pieces of scrapbook paper on which to glue their cut pandas. ( I spent 30 minutes agonizing over which pad to buy at Michael's. I have a major thing for patterned scrapbook paper even though I don't scrapbook). 
I adore the individual expressions on these hipster pandas!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Migrating Monarchs

Every year around November 1st, hundreds of thousands of Monarch butterflies arrive in Mexico from as far north as Canada. (Monarchs originating west of the Colorado Rockies arrive along the California coast) Because this coincides with the Dia de Los Muertos, many residents believe these are souls of their ancestors returning for their annual visit. What a perfect time for a Monarch art lesson! My 5-11 year olds created symmetrical butterflies by drawing one side with black oil pastel, folding paper in half and then rubbing the backside of the paper. More details and embellishments were made with marker, acrylic and watercolors. Flowers were made with oil pastel and watercolor. The children created their backgrounds by scraping dots of analogous acrylic paint with pieces of cardboard. Butterflies and flowers were then glued to their dry backgrounds.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Halloween Crows and Pumpkins



 So striking Presley! (1st grade)





In honor of Halloween, my Mixed Media art groups created these collaged pieces using charcoal, chalk pastel, watercolor and acrylic. Since my classes often have a wide age range (K - 6th) I find this style of art helps everyone to feel successful. But I suppose this project was inspired by the very loud group of crows that have been gathering across from my bedroom window lately. Have a Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sea Otters

 Such a sweet face Jenna!

I love the watery effect!

We kicked off our new Mixed Media Art Class session with these sweet sea otter pieces. This project was inspired by this gallery I found on Artsonia. The kids created their otters on black construction paper using chalk pastels. They followed a direct line drawing lesson to put down the basic shapes of their otters. I encouraged them to add texture with their pastels to create the look of fur (we learned sea otters have the thickest fur of any animal - 1,000,000 hairs per square inch!) Their backgrounds were created with watercolor to give the appearance of the otters popping out of the water. Artwork by K-6th graders.

Fun fact: Sea otters are social animals that float together in groups called "rafts" and hold hands when they sleep so they don't drift away from each other. So darn cute!

 When drawing animals I like to start with a photograph and break it down into a series of shapes. In this case I used this sea otter print
Start with eyes first. They are relatively small and and pointed in the corners.
The otter's nose points upward and downward, (like 2 chocolate kisses glued together). From there I like to draw a furry head around those features, connecting to the tip of the nose on each side. Now add a furry little chin and small ears. A body can be drawn and stop wherever it enters the water. You may choose to add furry "arms" extending toward the mouth. We did this project in chalk pastel and I encouraged the kids to add as much texture as possible with the tip of their chalk to show the otters' thick fur. 
I hope this helps!