ArtMachineStudios: A Fall Semester Report

I have two more classes to teach this semester and I am a little amazed that it is already over. I have loved teaching my little artists. I did not have any full classes this semester.  But I guess for starting off in a new town I think I did pretty well.  In my Little Machines class ( 4-5 yr olds) we had a fantastic time learning about some famous artists. We studied George Seurat, we made pointillism finger paintings, and we learned about mixing colors at the same time. We were introduced to Pablo Picasso.  We had a great time talking about his silly faces.  And we made some crazy face-collages of our very own.



Marc Chagall taught us about space and we made big dream drawings together.  We also looked at the use of the line in recent art history. We saw images from artists like Dan Flavin, to the well known Piet Mondrian, to the very minimal Fred Sandback, who makes his quiet installations using string.

Dan Flavin at the LACMA retrospective in 2007

Fred Sandback string installation

We explored the world of Van Gogh, reading books about his life, and made wet chalk drawings of a swirly night sky.  We also talked about the way he used color and aggressive marks in his paintings to make them so compelling.

Van Gogh, The Red Vineyard, 1888

At the end of the class I was pleased to hear my four-year old chanting, "George Seurat, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Vincent Van Gogh!" over and over to herself. I bet she's the only one in her pre-school that knows that little ditty.

With my Big Machines (7-10 yrs old) we dove right into mono-prints the first day, squishing paint, spraying water, and smoothing paper with delight. It was so fun to hear the exclamations of: "Wow! I love mine!" and "Awesome, this is so beautiful!" When one of the students said she had decided she was staying with me--for the rest of the night, in my house--when class was over, I knew it had been a success.

Over the course of their classes they tackled a very challenging blind contour drawing lesson, made their own decorative paper using all manner of utensils to apply paint, and created fantastic animal collages in the style of Eric Carle.

Our paper

They also loved learning about Abstract artists like William DeKooning, Jackson Pollock ("Those drips are so cool, this one is my favorite."), Cy Twombly, Alexander Calder ("He looks like a grumpy grandpa."), John Chamberlain, and Robert Motherwell ("Wow, that's a giant splat!").  While we worked we talked about school, what their Halloween costumes would be, and what they love about art. We do lots of laughing, encouraging, and collaborating. Thursday has been my favorite afternoon of the week.

Alexander Calder

Robert Motherwell

John Chamberlain

I have students signing up for next semester which starts mid-January. I can't wait to get started with some new kids, and some who are continuing from this semester. I am dreaming up paper mache sculpture in the style of Claes Oldenburg, Sistine Chapel drawings done lying on our backs under the tables, and more "teaching our eye-balls how to see" drawing lessons. I have just discovered a whole slew of new books to read in class, and I am ordering some art games from Amazon this month. I can't wait until January!

For more information on ArtMachineStudios, or sign your 8 children up, go here. :)


A Pictoral Birthday Report

Well, I am woefully behind on every form of communication these days. Starting your own business a pretty demanding task I tell ya! But, I did have time to have a birthday and it was quite a wonderful one. I felt positively run over by love and cheers and sweet cards and notes and gifts. It was kind of a birthday week as things trickled in, and I relished each day full of its own surprises. A BIG thank you for all my dear friends and family who loved on me. I feel very cared for and supported. Here are some pictures of the birthday festivities.

A gorgeous old book in its new home.

A new favorite piece of art work - A human heart with flowers drawn/painted on quilted fabric! Love!

3 Beautiful new icons. One for the dining room, one for the bedroom, one to live above my desk in the studio.

Some super fun gifts.

Some of my new books! So much to learn and read. I am so excited.

Other pieces of visual wonderfulness to inspire me.

The writing on this card is equal to about $1000 in the bank of phaedra's heart.

Cheery birthday cards!

These packages came wrapped in my favorite color combination.

This is a super creative Korean birthday tradition. I loved it!

This city of mushrooms captured my fancy on a walk with David.

Look at this crazy seed/berry/pod thing!

Assorted Fungi to delight my eye.

These birthday flowers from David lasted until yesterday! They smelled amazing. Looking at them from above was like looking onto some crazy-beautiful planetary landscape.

A fig tart with cardamon frangipane, pomegranates and a graham crust! So amazing!

A beautiful story with equally beautiful illustrations.

Wrapping to delight my eyes.

Dinner at Sitar: lamb korma, vegetable fritters, chicken saag, lentil dosai.

Coffee, mandelhornchen, cards and journaling at Gugelhupf.

Indian deserts at Sitar.

Wow, I ended up with quite a lot of pictures. I had so many lovely things happen I just could not decide which to include. I'm off to plan an art lesson, make some muffins, put a chicken in the oven, and try to ignore the gloomy rainy day . I hope your day is happy!