Monday, August 26, 2013

Art Battery- Fully Recharged and Loaded!

In my studio I have an art program that runs through the school year ( September-May) and I work with 75+ students Pre K- high school.  My summer program begins the first week in June. This June and July I had over 490 students walk through the doors in an age range of 3 to 16.

That is a lot of kids.
And a lot of art.
And a lot of energy.

When August 1st came I had nothing left in my art battery.
Couldn't imagine teaching again.
 Couldn't think of new or different projects.
 I was on automatic pilot.
I cleaned and rearranged the studio.
Picked up new boxes of crayons and markers.
Got the new art journals ready for the kids.
Made some vague notes in my curriculum notebook.
But none of it was done in anticipation of seeing my students again.

I needed to recharge my art battery- it was dead.

A couple of months ago my sister and I talked about getting together in August. It had been a few years since I went to Chicago.  So we found some creative classes to take while I was there.
I just got back to the studio today and my batteries are FULLY charged and ready to go!

On Thursday August 22nd- I spent a rainy afternoon by myself at the Art Institute of Chicago where I saw the special exhibit "Impressionism Fashion and Modernity"
It was so wonderful to see the art work and then to look at actual gowns worn by models in the paintings. Looking at the gowns and accessories made these paintings that I have seen many times even more real. Also- I have read many books over the years where gowns designed by Charles Frederick Worth were considered the height of fashion! To see real gowns actually designed by him almost made me swoon! 
Next I made my way to the new modern wing where I spent a few hours looking at the collection. I took pictures... 
 Max Ernst- basic shapes and simple lines can tell a story!
Kandinsky's use of color and his brushstrokes create the energetic movement of the troika  and his simple lines tell a wonderful story and is so spontaneous

Emil Nolde- Red Haired Girl is a portrait that is more about the color, energy and emotion than anything else.

and Joseph Cornell's assemblage pieces were wonderful and curious and so full of little stories....the ideas flew across the pages of my notebook. So much to see. So much inspiration. Who was Suzanne Duchamp? I knew all about Marcel but nothing about Suzanne.
Mondrian's "Farm Near Duivendrecht"  - I have been working on a collage of trees and have been stressing that my trees weren't tree enough- his trees are not perfect- yet they capture the lines and movement that only bare branches can. I think I am ready to finish my collage because looking at Mondrian's painting gave me the permission I needed to continue and the affirmation that my trees were just fine.
Max Ernst and Joan Miro- and their simple almost calligraphic lines. I tell my students over and over again- simple basic shapes- everything you look at can be broken down into basic simple shapes. They ( my students) want to make them so complicated!
Surrealist Objects- I had not heard of them before. I knew of Duchamp's Ready Made pieces but not these....these pieces reminded so much of pieces I have created.  Pieces I have encouraged my students to work on. Now I have sources to show them museum works.
On Friday I spent the afternoon at Ignite Glass Studio where I learned how to make
                           a glass paperweight
and a bowl
and now I had reached that endorphin state known as "artist's high" 
On Saturday I spent the entire day - from 9AM until 9PM  in two workshops with Mary Beth Shaw.
From her website:


"Mary Beth Shaw worked in the insurance industry for 18 years before she quit her job in 2000 to re-ignite a childhood love of art.  She is now a full time painter and internationally known workshop instructor. Her creative process is largely self taught, spontaneous and joyful. She is author of  Flavor for Mixed Media published by F&W and is also a columnist for Somerset Studios Magazine. Her second book, Stencil Girl comes out in the Fall of 2013. "
These are the pieces I created under her tutelage.


Again the ideas filled my head and I filled pages in my notebooks with projects and concepts I want to teach my students this year.
Bring on the students for 2013-14. I am ready!

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