Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Creature Creations Class: Weeks 1 - 4

One happy customer at the beginning of the Fall 2011 art class.

I documented LC's art in the Creature Creations class at Brooklyn Design Lab, for 2-4 year olds. Classes are rotated and new ones are offered to keep kids engaged, so it may be some time before this one is offered again. Amy Yang is the founder of the school, as well as the awesome teacher who taught the class. The class was a combination of science (a different live creature brought in each week for kids to observe, discuss and sometimes touch) and art (the small animal's appearance or behavior used as inspiration for 2-D or 3-D works).

Week 1 - Fire Belly Newt (Red-bellied Newt). They were swimming in a tank and hanging out on a rock. They are amphibians, with legs and lungs. LC thought "it's a lizard." Pretty close, since the baby newt will grow up to have a lizard-like body. It had legs already and the gills were replaced by air-breathing lungs. LC enjoyed making a design on paper resembling the newt's belly - medium-sized, pinkish-red dots, made by dipping pom-poms into paint, and then little black dots in the center of the bigger dots, made with q-tips.

Week 2 - Amy asked the kids to guess what animal she brought in this week...and LC guessed an elephant, haha. With the big reveal of the tank, we saw a bunch of mealworms (larva), pupas and Darkling Beetles (eating a potato apple). The different stages of the same animal during its life cycle...egg to larva to pupa to beetle. Very cool that the kids learned about metamorphosis. Amy picked up the creatures and let them crawl on her hand and asked the kids if they wanted to touch them. (Of course, LC did.) Then, she gave each child 1 mealworm on a plate (YUM!) and put a large magnifying loupe over each plate. LC enjoyed watching her mealworm wriggle and kind of stand to salute her. LC named her mealworm "Petek" (lucky me!) and begged to take it home and make it her pet (we didn't, though Amy informed us they are easy to care for...they don't even need water, just the apple and some chip-like bedding that needs to be changed weekly). I told LC the mealworm has to stay in the tank to remain with its friends and go back to the teacher's home, so her two kids don't miss them.

Art materials: paper, oil pastels (colors of the mealworm - yellow, olive, brown, orange...a beautiful color palette). Amy taught the kids how to make a series of short lines, dots and waves and they drew for a bit, then Amy brought out paint brushes and watercolor liquid (basically watercolor paint pre-mixed with water in a bottle) and let them paint yellow over the picture. LC said she made a picture of a building, then she said it's Elmo's World...then she said it is a lake. She was quite proud when she saw it in the school window the next week and she is pointing to her work.

Week 3 - We saw a blue Betta fish from Japan...in a cool, round fish bowl/tank. "It swim like a snake," a boy said. Then a girl said "I swim like a person"(best line ever!) and LC added "I swim like a turtle."

Art materials: blue Tempera Paint, rubber fish replicas, rice paper. The thrill of Japanese fish printing! Gyotaku (gyo=fish, taku=rubbing) dates back to the mid-19th century, nature printing by fishermen who wanted to record their catches. As a form of art, this is simple and so much fun...1) we chose the rubber fish replicas we wanted to work with, 2) placed them on the table, 3) used a wide foam brush to brush the blue paint on one side of the model, 4) carefully placed the rice paper on top of the paint-covered fish, 5) pressed down gently with our hands to rub the paint onto the paper, without moving the paper too much (there's an image of the fish printed now on the rice paper and we start over again with another fish).

Then the following week, we added a bit of Sakura Cray-Pas Junior Artist oil pastels to the paper. LC standing near her displayed Angelfish print:

My fish print, I love the bulging eyes and fish mouth:

Week 4 - Each kid got a worm on a plate with a 5x magnifying loupe placed over it. After studying the worm...materials given for art: pieces of red yarn, black paper, glue and a brush. Kids could shape the red yarn however they liked, based on worm observations, brush glue on the paper and place yarn shapes on the black paper.

Creature Creations Class: Weeks 5 - 8

Second half of the awesome Fall 2011 class at Brooklyn Design Lab, with teacher and owner Amy. LC made real life observations with live animals in this intimate class for 2-4 year olds...and then the kids used the animals as inspiration for making art. Also, kids can create art, by themselves (which LC has been able to do for over 2 years), rather than parents or teachers manipulating the art to make it look the way they want. It's wonderful that the caregivers sit next to the preschoolers and create their own art each week, lovely quality time. LC looks forward to checking out the display each week (she is so proud to see her work in the window gallery showcase) and seeing her all-time favorite teacher.

Week 5 - LC named her snail "tomato." There were about 10 snails in a tank, which looked like their natural environment (soil, a flower pot, a rock etc.) The teacher also had a water spray on hand (non-chlorinated water, so it's not tap water) to resemble rain, because we learned that snails come out when it rains...so they can eat (lettuce leaves, in this case). LC observed "snail shell is hard!...it tickles on my hand, when moves...feels slimy," as it left a sparkly slime trail on her arm. We learned snail slime is mostly water, with a little mucus; it's like glue and a lubricant at the same time...enabling them to stick to stuff, while moving along.

Materials for the art...

To make the slime: we mixed 3 drops of food coloring (LC chose the color blue) with 3 tablespoons of water, which was added to the mixture of glue (3 tablespoons) + corn starch (7 tablespoons). Then LC used a flat wooden stick to spread or dribble slime onto a black board.

Week 6 - Crabs from Thailand. Art materials: clothes pins ("pinching", like a crab) and thin, wood sticks...to make a sculpture. Brushing on glue at connection points, to hold it all together.

I couldn't resist creating one of my own in class:

Week 7 - Pill bug AKA potato bug AKA rollie-pollie. They have like 14 legs - eek! And they roll up into spheres as a defense mechanism. Art: white styrofoam spheres + 1 big styrofoam cube (the kids learned those terms, "spheres" and "cube") + wood sticks, to make a sculpture...then some glue brushed on, at connection points, to hold it together.

Week 8 (last class) - Millipedes pooping on the table, that was the scene. One nanny had to go outside to get some air, ha. LC was one of the few who was brave enough to touch a millipede and she announced that it had a hard shell. They roll up when they need to feel safe, they have a ton of little legs. I had to take a deep breath and help one reverse direction, so it didn't fall off the table...yes, I touched one. (Honestly, I enjoyed touching snakes a lot more last Halloween at the zoo :-) I am proud of LC for not being afraid of one animal during this semester and wanting to be a little scientist/artist. Materials for the below art - colorful, little pieces of wire (like little legs) + modeling clay = sculpture.

And I made one of my own in class:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Good Ole No. 2 Pencil

LC is really getting into drawing with a simple, yellow no. 2 pencil.

She described the below drawing: "Somebody on a swing, but don't know how draw swing, so somebody with wings ."

LC's drawing looks like a gesture sketch! I did gesture sketches in a Life Drawing class at Parsons School of Design a decade ago. We were given only 1 minute to draw a live model's pose. The male model would keep changing his pose every minute. We had a series of action poses to get down on a large sheet of paper, but you had to boil them down to the essentials...in terms of gestures. Exciting and fun!

LC's coffee table pencil art:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Table Art

I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner! LC has been going through a ton of jumbo-sized drawing pads the last 2 years. She draws on a daily basis. It dawned on me a couple of weeks before winter hit...that we have an old wood coffee table and it would be perfect to buy an Alex easel paper roll (18" wide x 75' length) and roll out the paper on the table, snip snip...and tape the edges of the paper down. The roll costs $6 at a local toy shop (retails for $10) and lasts 3 weeks...because we use both sides. It's more comfortable than standing at the easel and easier to draw when the paper is flat on a table. Take a look at some of her creations:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

etch-a-sketch, where are you?

The best portable, classic, non-battery toy...an etch-a-sketch. Endless entertainment on the train for LC! She insists I take a photo of her special drawings at home, before she shakes it to clear it. When it's lost, LC walks around the home saying "etch-a-sketch, where are you???" I have to find it before she wakes up tomorrow.

Friday, February 17, 2012

beginning of her little town

To you, this may look like freshly painted paper towel tubes, toilet paper tubes, paper cups, styrofoam cups and q-tips. To LC, this is the beginning of her little town. Tunnels for cars, tree trunks, flower pots with flowers growing.

Of course, we must have a wood holding pen for the animals in the town (LC's horse, cow, pig and dogs). Preferably, brightly colored:

She is already excited about gathering boxes for our buildings (cereal boxes, utensil containers etc.), wrapping them with brown or white paper...and drawing windows.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

LC's photos: comforter, ceiling, shadows

LC shoots her comforter at home, a ceiling somewhere and shadows on the sidewalk:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

LC turns the camera on herself...her face, her vision

LC kicked off this February with self-portraits. She is comfortable using her Vtech Kidizoom digital camera and decided to take photos of herself. She enjoys reviewing them later on the camera. I haven't changed the batteries in 5 months, yay.

Happy Valentine's Day 2012!

LC made this Valentine's Day card for me, she said "For mommy. It's called Sunflowers. It's the most beautiful flowers in the world. It's in the garden."