Teaching art: Patterns & Details

As a part-time art teacher & artist, things are always busy for me! (Hence, the lack of regular blogging these past months.) Some days are fast & exciting, other days are more challenging, but it's always fun. I love what I do.  This post is on what I taught my Kindergarteners - 6th graders. Last week I found myself in a last-minute pull-off situation. Thankfully everything worked out really well, I had fun, students had fun, & everyone learned something. Here's what I taught—
Prep work: Teachers! Go forging! Gather up leaves, pinecones, thorny wood, bark, driftwood, seashells & good-sized rocks; looking for textures or stripes. I arranged everything on the tables where students would be working. I made (& stressed) the rule "look with your eyes, not your hands" otherwise, the kids would have been all over everything. Here are some pics of things I used for drawing inspiration, in addition to everything I had. (Teaching art is the probably the only profession where you steal things from home & bring them to work!) I felt funny as I toated my huge canvas bag into the school - it probably weighed 30 pounds - all the rocks & wood.


{ photos of autumn }

I love taking pictures… Now,  I'm totally not a "photographer" its just one of my hobbies…. I think photography is so much more then just 'taking pictures' - it's a way to preserve, remember, & capture tiny moments that can never be recreated. ever. What you capture on camera is captured forever.  Photos help us remember little things, long after we have forgotten the details. They are memory keepers. Photography is a way of seeing & discovering… It's a way of exploring the details in the world around you. Its perspective, its creative, & sometimes its hard work. I think that's why I like it so much…  Here's some favorite pics from this fall…

Pumpkin vine. 

Profile & flower. 

The water sings. 
The leaves fall.

Tender hands.

Catching the days last light; the warm smile of the sun slipping below the horizon.

Under the water — 
Our black lab, leaping into the cold river to fetch a decoy. 

An Eastern Racer snake. 

   I love the abstract shapes the water creates.

My little brother rescued a caterpillar from a would-be watery demise. 


Sleepy mind. Cold feet.

Its Saturday morning. Normally I sleep in on Saturdays, (I love sleeping in, I could sleep all day. Honestly I'm not a morning person..But when I do get up early I greatly enjoy it…) I rose early today for something, but last minute literally everything fell through.… I contemplated returning to bed, but I knew that sleep would evade me if I did.

I went to bed at 2am (because I stayed up late eating brownies and playing cards with friends). I got up at 6:45 this morning, and woke up before the alarm starting screaming at me…  I should've been tired, but I wasn't. I was beyond tired, and when you feel like a sleep-deprived-running-on-sugar-wide-eyed insomniac, a 2nd wind kicks in and you feel like you are running on cruise control. But when late nights and early mornings are normal, the feeling is normal. heh…

As the realization of everything was sinking in, I methodically grabbed my camera, put on my favorite oversized hoodie, mounded my messy hair on top of my head and put the hood up. In doing so it created a pointy-headed-gnome look - I went out wearing my pajamas, un-matching colored socks and crocks. Yes, those brightly colored ugly rubber shoes with holes…Don't ask.  Wonder who invented them, anyways?

As I was taking pictures, squatting in the yard, scurrying around the bushes and dead flowers,  leaving a trail of melted frost footprints - standing with my camera and looking ridiculous - I thought to myself "wonder if the neighbors are looking"… hopefully they weren't. Have you ever watched your neighbors do strange things? I have. haha

But with all the above said, in the paragraph directly below is what I really want to say. If you read through my discombobulated ramblings, I applaud you!

It was about 28 degrees; the sun was just starting to peak over the horizon. There was a sparkling white layer of frost on everything… So cold and pristine! I love early mornings when it feels like the rest of the world is still asleep… It's just me and the sunrise.  There's no sound. No wind. Everything seems clear. All my problems seem distant. There's that beautiful feeling of life starting over again in the crispness of the fall… When everything is cold, bright and beautiful. I love this season. The smell of dead leaves, the beautiful "wintery" skies, the golds, grays, yellows & browns in the landscape… the heavy morning frosts that rest on the earth's floor in glittering perfection.

Here's a couple pics I snapped- my favorites from the morning excursion.