White to Colour

Today is a tremendously magical day.  Fresh snow covers everything and I ended up spending more time than usual at Frank’s Flats…playing with the Max Man and delighting in the dazzle of everything.

?????????? Cell January 31, 2015 Frank's Flats Fresh Snow Max 004DSC_2158DSC_2172Plans for the day have changed because of the beauty of the white…and the wonderful feeling of fresh cold air.  I like how that happens.

??????????The last I posted of this bedroom furniture DIY project was titled, WHITE.  I had everything primed and ready to go.  At that point, I had thought to paint based on Marc Chagall’s work, but have opted to do a free flowing bit from my own heart.  I wanted to pick up on the colours found in a feature painting hanging already in my bedroom…something I did a long time ago.  Here is where colour comes in.

P1170878First of all, Sisters Marjorie and Ita enjoyed a Sunday dinner with my son and me.  They were so gracious and brought me a beautiful spring bulb arrangement.  It has sat on my feast table this week and I have watched one plant after another, burst forth in colour.

DSC_2079DSC_2086While I have been very slow to progress with my studio furniture…I wanted to give a bit of a sense of where it is going at this time.  As well as what you see here, there will be other layers…text as well as sparrow paintings incorporated in collage techniques.  In the meantime, I continue to sleep on my brand new double box spring and mattress, on my bedroom floor.  I hope to update you again in the spring with the completed furniture.  Painting can be like experiencing the seasons…moving from the blank canvas to an energized piece of colour.

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Palette inspiration.

Historical ‘Rumblings’: Kyaiyi-stamik Sketch on January 28, 2015

Another beautiful evening at the Rumble House!

Big highlight for me was seeing the positivity in our ‘regular’, Enriquito.  Having slipped on ice last week, he suffers from two fractures, a wrist on one arm and an elbow on the other.  But, instead of complaining or being despondent, Enriquito was out to the Rumble and being very supportive of everyone.  I can’t even believe he offered to carry my stuff four blocks to my car for me.  We paused…facing one another at the time, and then both broke out laughing.  I asked, “Do you see yourself? Good Night, Enriquito!”

From Enriquito's Archives

From Enriquito’s Archives

I like the Rumble because of the diversity of the people who attend.  I encourage you, if you haven’t been out yet, to come down to the Rumble House on Wednesday evenings.  Something about this experience feeds your heart.  I really like it.

Last night, Jess Szabo won my painting at auction.  She’s always been encouraging and has often bid on my work, but never won…last night, finally, she did.  Thanks, Jess!

There’s an immediacy about painting in this setting. Over their shoulders, artists feel the gaze of wandering ‘audience’ members.  Now and then, a question comes out…or a comment made.  Connections are quick, but treasured.  Tonight, my friend, Georgie, from the East Village showed up and like a flash, she was gone again.  Georgie was a little sparkle of magic as I dug deep to find the lines I was searching for. In two hours, something of some substance and creativity needs to be completed and then, like a whirl, that piece of art, swooshes out of your hands…no longer a composition to consider, a problem to resolve, a technique not completely explored or an answer discovered.  It is a swirling whirling lit up moment.

Whenever I have opportunity, I like to share a bit of the history of our First Nations.  I also like to explore the subject in my sketches and paintings.  We can all benefit from learning more about historical references.  It’s a difficult thing to enter into a conversation when you haven’t any knowledge on a subject. I think it’s good for Albertans and Canadians to learn the difference between what is called the Blackfoot Confederacy and the “Blackfoot” People/Siksika Nation.  The following information comes from here.

“The Blackfoot Confederacy or Niitsítapi (meaning “original people;” c.f. Ojibwe: Anishinaabeg and Quinnipiac: Eansketambawg) is the collective name of three First Nations in Alberta and one Native American tribe in Montana. The Blackfoot Confederacy consists of the North Peigan (Aapátohsipikàni), the Blackfeet or South Piegan (Aamsskáápipikani), the Kainai Nation (Káínaa: “Blood”), and the Siksika Nation (“Blackfoot”) or more correctly Siksikáwa (“Blackfoot people”). The South Peigan are located in Montana, and the other three are located in Alberta. Together they call themselves the Niitsítapi (the “Original People”). These groups shared a common language and culture, had treaties of mutual defense, and freely intermarried”

I am first to acknowledge that this is not my narrative to share, but I am filled with a deep sense of reverence for the history of our First Nations.  I think that things, at so many points along our communal time line, went so very wrong.  I abhor every situation that led /leads to injustice cast upon other human beings.

Last evening, I wanted to capture a depiction of Chief Bear Bull or Kyaiyi-stamik.  Unlike many other photographs of the same time period, Edward S. Curtis left the background of this particular photograph; warm and understated.  The photographer’s motives and art leave one steeped in a form of controversy, as do, I suppose, my own sketches, drawings and paintings of these beloved ancestors of our First Nations.  My interest lies, mostly, in the fact that photographers of the day had an insatiable appetite for taking photographs of ceremoniously dressed men, women and children, set before a romanticized back drop of a painted forest landscape including such natural elements as the waterfall and soft light bathing dappled foliage.  I feel a sadness as I consider this. With colonization, home was taken from these peoples, in this case, living on the plains…in the archival efforts of the times, it seems an irony to me that the natural landscape was perversely returned for the purpose of a ‘sitting’.  I’m wondering what my readers think.  While it is a wonderful thing to have these references in existence, I wonder the initial motivation for the production of such an archive.  Much to consider.

A very short audio tape can be accessed here, speaking, in short, about a member of this confederacy, Kayne-ina Bear Bull.  I am left wondering more about Chief Bear Bull as I discover small parts of his personal story through my reading. Such a great man, he must have been, given that he was a carrier of a Medicine Bundle.

While I did not capture the power of the photographic image…I did get a sense of the noble figure.  The piece of wood was 1/2 inch thick.  This made a difference for me.  There were beautiful markings in the wood itself that informed the piece.  To the left of the profile, I included the words from the book, The Book of Qualities by J. Ruth Gendler


Jess's Photo

Jess’s Photo

DSC_2073“When Imagination walks, she writes letters to the earth . When she runs, her feet trace postcards to the sun. And when she dances, when she dances, she sends love letters to the stars.”

Photo below of nice guy taking photos…never caught his name, but grateful that he bid on my work.

DSC_2057Thanks, Louise and Elena!  You know I’m excited!

Thanks to Andy…and get better, Jenn.

Some day, Aaron!

Georgie…such a beautiful person!

Paula!!  Finally we meet and I’m gettin’ me one of those caddies!


Grade Fours Doodle a Paul Klee

Using leftover paints quickly involves dumping complementary colours together and mixing them to get a variety of earth tones and browns.  This way, the art teacher can get a lunch time jump start on cleaning buckets out before the weekend.

The artist, Paul Klee, has an amazing history.  I am absolutely entertained by his work and have read extensively about him.  His journals, found in The Diaries of Paul Klee: 1898 – 1918 is fascinating and captures the huge link between his passion for music and for art.

Diaries of Paul KleeHis journals are filled with diagrams and notations, but most interesting to me are his observations of nature, weather, time and the city.  He was a master of observation and yet his schematics are other-worldly and child like.

Paul Klee 2 Paul Klee 1An interesting phenomena happens with children in school art programs or structured after-school art classes.  Basically, they have a desire to draw LIKE GROWN UPS…make everything LOOK REAL.  So, this activity turned out to be much more difficult than my readers might imagine.  I needed to give the children permission over and over again to be playful and to invent and to doodle and let go of their wish to make things ‘look real’.

At snack time, the students have been listening to a settling CD…the story of Harry Potter.  In today’s pre-recess listening session, images of shooting stars pouring out of the sky, owls filling the skies, skinny people, characters wrapped in cloaks all came up.  I hoped that later on, the images would spark some design and pattern ideas.

Just a half hour before lunch, I had the students divide their square formats into four triangles, using chalk for their drawing. As a way of simulating Paul Klee’s work, this would pick up on the geometric division of space that is often seen in the artist’s works.

We looked at a piece by Paul Klee titled Plants, Earth and Empire 1918 that was similarly divided into four triangles.  I haven’t been able to find an image of this piece on line, however the piece below has similar elements to this one (House Interior 1918), but with a single line later being the division between an ‘above ground’  world and a ‘below ground’ world, organized above and below a diagonal organic line..

DSC_1958The students shared the paint palette (station), selecting four different earth tones for their compositions.  I’ve explained how to set up for painting in this lesson. The pre-lunch painting gave the lunch break for the tempera paintings to dry.

After lunch, I gave the students a brief introduction to Paul Klee, the artist, along with the following video projection.

Here’s a better one…if you have the time!  In fact, this is beautiful and you may want to sit with your coffee, readers, and just enjoy.

I turned on the funk music and had the students practice depicting their imagined world, after looking at this video of Paul Klee’s works.  I had the students fold over their drawing paper in order to use a square format, the same as their composition.  I spoke to them about creating a line that moved from one side of the square to the other.  This would create a division between an imaginary world above the ground and under the ground.  I suggested that if it was hard ‘to start’, they could begin with the list of Harry Potter images we had left on the white board.

DSC_1905 DSC_1904 DSC_1903When the students felt ready, they could begin working on their larger compositions.  I suggested that they draw first with pencil and then retrace their pencil lines with permanent black marker.  I felt that there was some preciousness or concern in the students and thought this might give them more confidence.  In future, I’d hand them over the permanent markers and skip the pencil step. To create accents, I suggested that the students use oil pastel to colour in  three or five or seven or nine or eleven shapes. Here is a little of what they came up with while the funk music played in the background.

DSC_1906 DSC_1907 DSC_1908 DSC_1910 DSC_1911 DSC_1912 DSC_1913 DSC_1914DSC_1909

DSC_1934 DSC_1932 DSC_1931 DSC_1930 DSC_1929 DSC_1928 DSC_1927 DSC_1926 DSC_1925 DSC_1924 DSC_1923 DSC_1922 DSC_1921 DSC_1919 DSC_1918 DSC_1917 DSC_1915 A great class!

Grade Threes see the Taj Mahal Through Their Own Window

I saw the beautifully illustrated books lining the window sill of the grade three class room and knew that we needed to paint something in the jeweled colours of India.  HOW WONDERFUL!  One illustration, in particular, struck me and so, with this as my inspiration, we began our journey from the soft sculpted forms of the outdoor Taj Mahal, to the highly decorated interior.

DSC_1826This activity was designed for two distinct art experiences.  I didn’t wish the paint to cross over into the delicate pencil crayon drawings.  We spoke about different shapes that make up architecture and I projected an image of the Taj Mahal on the Smart board.  I turned on the Bollywood music and the drawings began.  Of course, the question soon surfaced about how you make things look “NOT FLAT”.  Turning off the music, I gave a basic lesson in how to show light and shadow, to be followed, once colouring, with how colouring practices the same muscles as hand writing does.

“My muscles for handwriting don’t work very well.”

“Well, colouring your Taj Mahal will be like hand writing practice then.”

Reflection and Depiction are so often abandoned for the sake of plowing on through that ‘make an art project’ mindset.

DSC_1817DSC_1821 DSC_1820 DSC_1819The boys started dancing, so the Bollywood music was turned off.

I demonstrated adequate pressure (back and forth, back and forth in small amounts, rather than long airy strokes…not hard…but not soft, either) for the students as they began to colour with their pencil crayons.  And this is when we explored weather, atmosphere…beautiful light.  The students, at this point, told me all about monsoon season.  I always act like I know absolutely nothing about these topics and I become learner and they are the teachers.

“How do I do a white Taj Mahal if I don’t have a white pencil crayon?”

This is where we looked at twenty or so photographs on line…different times of day and different weather changed the colour of the Taj Mahal…so basically, any colour families would do once you, the artist, decided what kind of day it was. I showed the students how they could use yellow to show the light on a purple dome…or how they could use green on a blue dome.  The colouring began!

DSC_1840 DSC_1839 DSC_1838 DSC_1837 DSC_1834 DSC_1832 DSC_1831Once completed, these were cut out and traced, with chalk onto their large composition, then set aside.  Chalk is used to break the entire composition into borders, a window sill and a flower box.


The palette I set up was a mixture of ‘spice’ colours…cumin, cinnamon.  We talked about the spices that get mixed up…we talked about curry and yellow food.  I gave half of the class purple paper and half brown.  The students with purple paper worked with the six buckets of warm colours first for background.  The students with brown paper traveled back and forth from the cool palette for their background.  After lunch and drying time, they would switch palettes for their interior patterns.  There were 22 students in this class, so 11 pods of 2 students. I explain how to do all of this in previous painting lessons.

Backgrounds before lunch…patterns after lunch.  We were sooo busy that I didn’t grab photos for these two steps, but only photographed the end results, after gluing the Taj Mahals into the windows.  Let your paintings dry before the gluing!  We did Math families and agendas before that step!

DSC_1896 ??????????The artist who created the following painting was so intent on her Taj Mahal colouring that she is not quite finished, but she can do that on her large piece…amazing work!   ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? DSC_1889 DSC_1888 ?????????? DSC_1885 ?????????? DSC_1883 ?????????? DSC_1881 ?????????? DSC_1879 ?????????? DSC_1876 ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ??????????These are beautiful, unpredictable and richly coloured.  I totally enjoyed the openness of the students, their excitement, commitment and knowledge.  We can’t all travel to far off place, but we can explore them through books, learning, art and we can open our souls to their colours, textures, sights, smells and sounds.  I am grateful for their teacher.




January 21, 2015 at the Rumble

Sometimes, it’s just a matter of letting your ideas float while painting.  This past week, I had a dream…something about seeing a face looking up out of the bottom of a well.  It was dark down that hole, but I could still see the face.  Instead of being made of rock, the walls were made of lush green foliage and plant life.

  “Green is symbolic of communicating care on a subtle, energetic level. When we dream of green, we are imbued with a magical ability to transfer knowledge by unorthodox means. Green facilitates growth, love and healing by mental stimulation. Greeks believed intelligence came from the heart. This combined with the green of the heart chakra talks to us about emotional intelligence and communicating with an open heart. I realize I’m being vague here, this kind of ethereal communication isn’t easily identified. However, we can look to mother nature for help in explanation. She speaks in viridian tongue – communicating a sea of burgeoning growth – all expressed by the color green. When we dream of green we’re experiencing levels of healing and growth that are subtle. It’s time to concentrate on the areas of our lives that need to flourish. Once we hone in, and begin to express our identification on an emotional (heart) level, our growth will be exponential and immense.”

I have no idea what was going on or who it was, but I’ve heard that all characters that one sees in a dream are the self.  I would consider this character to be a shadow person.

Given a two hour time limit, painting at the Rumble House does not always allow for a real resolution to a painting, but rather, allows the artist enough time to put the idea down in an instant.  Most of these works would be considered sketches of a sort.  I did not achieve the depth in this painting that was in my mind.  This would have required many more layers.  I tried to create the sense of coming out of depths quickly, by painting central dark to outward light auras regardless.  I got a quick snap shot, but not the result I had hoped for.

The inspirations that were drawn from the wheel of doom included 1) a whale breaching 2)  These


DSC_1843And 3) hmm….something inspired by a Dylan Thomas poem.  Each evening at Rumble House, as was true of the Gorilla House, these inspirations may be included/explored by the artists in their works or be ignored all together.

Some of the real highlights last night were having ukelele music flowing live out of the heart of Emma Rouleau in the house.

Nina, of Hear’s My Soul Cafe was in the house, along with her friend, Steve.  The two of them had a bit of a bidding war on my piece, but Steve managed the final bid.  Thanks, Steve!  It’s ok…Nina left with two fantastical pieces, one painted by my artist-buddy, Jennifer and the other by a new-to-the-rumble artist, Nick.  Both, beautiful works!

Here’s the lovely Nina with Jennifer Stinson’s work.

DSC_1852It was good to talk to you, Stacey and to learn that you read my blog.  It always surprises me when people connect with my writing.  So, I was grateful for that.

Thanks to Andy for pulling over to say good night.  And, I had a wonderful chat with another artist (I want to say that her name is Lorraine…please send me a message and let me know your name!) (LOUISE!!  Her name is Louise!  She read this and contacted me!  So happy about that!) at the doorway, as I was leaving.  She is a woman after my own heart.  Priscilla, yes, I am coming out of the grief and I have appreciated your inspiration along the way.

Thanks to Steve, who generously purchased this piece at auction.  Now, off to teach grade threes!  We’re painting images based on the Taj Mahal today!  Stay tuned!



Grade Four’s Homage to Ted Harrison

A beautiful person and artist, Ted Harrison passed away on January 16, 2015, at the age of 88.  The world is losing so many heroes…and Ted is one.  Having a beautiful heart and eye for simplicity, he loved the northern skies of the Yukon and never failed to share his delight with anyone he met.

One of my big encounters with his illustrations was in the beautiful version of The Cremation of Sam McGee…a poem I used to challenge my grade sevens to memorize from beginning to end.  And every year, at least three students did!

I recommend that you introduce Ted Harrison to your classes.  For years, Ted’s work has inspired works by school children of every age.  When scented coloured markers came into vogue, so did another lesson based on Harrison.  It’s wild what variety of lessons we invented as art teachers.  The students loved it all!

Ted Harrison in Grade One Ted Harrison in Oil Pastel Ted Harrison in ChalkSomething I appreciate Ted saying in the video below is that if one is ever tired of life or inspiration, try looking up at the sky.

So, today…I looked up at the sky.

This morning, driving to school, I noticed a dappled sky above the rising sun…brilliant yellow, pink and orange, with a soft cerulean blue below an arch of cloud and an electric blue, above.  That was it…in the afternoon, I would paint the SETTING sun with the grade fours…thinking about chinook arches and dappled clouds over the mountains.  And so it went.

I line the back of construction paper with masking tape, when I can find the time.  This allows some durability.  Tempera paint tends to make paper, especially cheap paper, a bit crunchy after a while.  This way the work can be preserved for those folks who like to save things forever. (pointing at myself)

??????????Always use coloured paper for these paints as it creates a bit of an ‘under painting’ and activates the surface, taking away the intimidation of white or that ucky beige.  Below…see my favourite yogurt buckets.  Every art storage room needs at least twenty of these to be shared around.

DSC_1942Recess and the painting pods are readied…that, and a piece of chalk for drawing, placed at each desk.

??????????A paint station (Palette) is readied…two brushes in each bucket.  Students travel back and forth with colours agreed upon by every pair…back and forth they go.  The place is like a HAPPENING!

DSC_1945 DSC_1946I always work through a sample…don’t expect to have the students do something that you haven’t…how else will you know their struggles or the pitfalls of the lesson?

First…the short ‘review’ of dip, wipe and stroke.  Surprise!  You always discover that a lot of students haven’t handled a brush very much.  (Painting IS MESSY!!) Show them where to hold the brush…not at the white tip.  :0)  Explain how to share the paint center and remind them to keep two hands on the bucket on each journey to and from.

Regarding the composition, first I spoke about portrait as compared to landscape format and explained that just for today, the composition would be landscape.  I explained how clouds that are closest to the horizon line appear smaller…and as they are found higher in the picture plane, they can be depicted as larger and then they almost seem to come over our heads.  “Often, Ted Harrison outlined some basic shapes in his paintings and serigraphs…instead of painting up to the chalk lines, how about leaving some of the paper unpainted and the coloured paper will become the lines?” (some of the students got this)

“No…I don’t want you to do a giant sun.  No…no sunglasses…no rays…not today.”  I went back to describing how the morning sun had not yet shown itself, but that there was a really bright light next to the land.  I knew the sun was coming up.  So…for the sunset paintings, I hoped that the sun would be almost gone from the sky.  The teacher can always drive the vision…as long as he/she has one.  I’m sharing mine with my readers.  The teacher also benefits by allowing freedom within the vision.

“OH!  Why are those small clouds near the mountains the brightest?  YES!  The light from the sun is hitting them first because they are the closest to the light!

I explained that because the students were focused on the sky, the mountains needed to be located below the one third line. (Yes!  You’ll have to talk about dividing the landscape into thirds.)

The chalk is picked up and the students begin drawing, planning, and problem solving.

“Yes!  As soon as you’re ready, you can get your first colour. PLEASE, don’t everybody begin with the mountains!  Choose any colour and away you go!”

Magic happened.

DSC_1948 DSC_1949 DSC_1950 DSC_1951 DSC_1952 DSC_1953 DSC_1954 “Pick up a paper towel with your first bucket of paint.  This will be your place mat…slip it along the edges as you go and then you won’t have to wash your desk!  If this gets super sloppy, you might need a second place mat.” DSC_1956I asked the kind caretaker if I might have a bucket half filled with water in my classroom.  This would provide a portable sink.DSC_1957 DSC_1958 DSC_1959 DSC_1960 DSC_1961 ??????????Tonight, as I walked Max at the pond…I captured some of the clouds.  We had an energetic hike about the area.  It was so darned beautiful!

DSC_1968 DSC_1967 DSC_1966 DSC_1964A wonderful class!

Four Artists Paint One Tree

Oh my goodness…University-friend, Robert Waldren, posted this Youtube video on Facebook this evening!!  I must confess that for the first ten years of my 30 year teaching career, I booked out the 16 mm. film, Four Artists Paint One Tree, from IMC.  If one of my readers is a student from that period, let me know if you remember it!  In the day, it was sometimes tricky dragging the equipment into the classroom, pulling down the screen, and successfully threading the movie in the projector.  More than once, I looked behind the cart and found meters of film poured out onto the floor.

4ArtistsPaint1TreeBelieve it or not, this was very innovative for the time.  It makes me laugh as I listen to the background soundtrack and musical choices.  After this viewing, I stressed the point of developing an individual style and even more particular to that, determining your favourite mark making tools and marks.  One of my art teachers had really made an impression with me regarding mark making some time before 1976.   This film was originally made in 1958: Walt Disney made observations of how Marc Davis, Eyvind Earle, Josh Meador and Walt Peregoy each painted one tree and background.  LOVE THIS!!  This was a huge walk down memory lane and I thank you, Robert Waldren!

It seems as though every artist has particular subjects that they draw and paint over and over again from their earliest explorations, discovering an approach to things…for me, it was a tree and an eye.  It is no wonder I was drawn to this movie.

What amazes me is that as I search, I learn how many people have written about this particular film.



The elevator repair has gone on a tad longer than expected.  Wendy Lees and her band of creatives from create! at the Golden Age Club, have spent some time relocated to another space while renovations and such were taking place, but…now, back at home in the Golden Age Venue, the elevator is still not fixed.  “Soon”, everyone hopes.

Sometimes when I read what people struggle with or what they take issue with, I have a tricky time feeling empathy.  Sometimes we are each ‘devastated’ by such benign issues and so in order to withhold judgment of ourselves and the other, it is important to consider each issue as it relates to current conditions/variables.  An example: We can celebrate that Target closing down can be a problem for someone because this means…their health is good…they live in a warm home…they have the food and water they require and they likely have family and friends for company and support.  They ALSO have the cash in their pockets to go shopping.  But let’s simply look at the very first…GOOD HEALTH.

Loretta told me that she didn’t mind me telling her story. I explained that she’s just so inspired me this week, that I wanted to try to capture that inspiration in a post!  Loretta is a woman who has such a positive attitude about her life and is willing to do almost anything in order to express her creativity, whatever form that might take. All is done with a sense of humour.  Over time, Loretta has suffered six different strokes, but the fact that this has impeded movement and function on her right hand side, has not stopped her from being a dancer with MoMo Dance Theatre or making paintings, mosaics and recently, papier mache! (That’s Loretta on the left.)

MoMoOn Tuesday, I was witness to Loretta’s climb of the stairs to arrive at our papier mache experience and I have to say that her determination caused something more than awe in me.  I guess that’s why I’m writing.

?????????? ??????????She began her bowl project, with enthusiasm…and with the use of her left hand only. By the time that the class had ended, she had applied three layers of Handel’s Messiah, in strips, to her form and with some assistance from me, applied a pedestal stand as well.  We all gave one another hugs good-bye after our clean-up and one last cookie. :0)

As the story continues, Loretta came into the Golden Age Club yesterday, thinking that it was art day…looked at the stairs…and said to herself, “I just can’t do it.”  She went home, she said, and had a good cry (at this point in the story, we embraced) because she really really wanted to paint her bowl.

Well…if she didn’t run into Michael at some point in the afternoon and she told him that she couldn’t get up to create!  He gave her the news that, in fact, it was scheduled for Friday…TODAY!!   Loretta made it up those stairs again, to her waiting project and created spectacular transparent layers of paint!

I cherish my friends at Create! and every one of us also has a story.  Each participant (I include myself here) in the experience is vulnerable in their own way, but we carry on, especially cherishing good health and creative experiences that find us sharing positivity, good laughs, support and friendship.  Thank you to Georgie, Michael, Brian, Marian, Patruch (can’t say it…can’t spell it…and he knows it!), Tony, Joanne, Patrick, Leslie, Nicole, Margaret and Loretta…and our other Loretta.   Charcoal sketching with Gary next week!

??????????DSC_1931 DSC_1930 ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ??????????We missed you, Wendy…but you reveal yourself even when you’re not in the room with us.  See you soon! ?????????? ?????????? DSC_1912 ?????????? ?????????? ??????????


A Space to Inspire: Elisa’s Classroom

Are grade twos always wonderful?  I’m beginning to think so!  I only had an afternoon with these students and, again, I felt as though the children could run the show.  Things felt so zen-like and orderly that the space created a sense of calm.  Attendance…the trading of home reading books and the exchange of book cards…and then, reading from the collection of ‘winter books’.  I was asked if I would read a book aloud and so I did.  The Snow Child: A Russian Folktale by Freya Littledale. 

Snow Child

I’ll tell you what…if I had ever read this beautiful folk tale before, I would have made art based on the invention of snow children…but, as it was, I ended up slightly revising an earlier cardinals in winter trees activity that I have previously posted, but on half sheets of blue paper.  The students in Elisa’s class work in table pods and so sometimes art lessons have to be modified.

Since I’m featuring Elisa’s class here, I wanted to show you some beautiful ideas for organizing…and it feels as though there is a real focus on numeracy and literacy in this space.  I love that the children have access to lots and lots of books.

??????????Winter theme…lots of amazing stories!  Personally, I LOVE Owl Moon!  Read it!
DSC_1843Word walls…first dictionaries! DSC_1842 Teacher’s books saved up for each theme…love the amount of shelving in these newish classrooms, don’t you?DSC_1841 Math manipulatives of every sort…when I took on a contract with a grade one class, I fell in love with linking toys for the sake of practicing grouping.DSC_1840I like the caddies on the backs of the chairs…they keep things in order.  I’ve seen these in several Division I classrooms (that would be grades one, two and three for my international readers.  lol)DSC_1839 DSC_1838 ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ??????????
A great space…and then we created our own particular magic!  We got the chalk drawings and white painting done prior to music class and in the remaining twenty five minutes before home-time, we tackled the cardinals…this, after having practice sketching in sketchbooks. Didn’t get those archives as I was on the run.  lol Cardinals are whimsical and based on Charlie Harper’s illustrations.  See the lesson, in detail, here.
?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? DSC_1851Thanks to Elisa Rapisarda, for sharing your space and your students with me.  It was a wonderful afternoon!

A Two Hour Vacation at Rumble House

My daughter, Cayley, and I tore out of the house after putting back a quick piece of steak and dawning our ‘workout’ clothes.  I was heading down to Rumble House.  She gently reminded me while listening to Crooked Brothers on 93.7 that I didn’t need to drive like a maniac.  I could begin painting when I got there.  I asked, “What’s wrong with my driving?  I always drive like this.”  She replied, “You drive differently when you’re determined to get somewhere.”  Hmmm…

I arrived at Rumble House at 6:45, taking Deerfoot, Southland, Glenmore, Crowchild, Bow Trail, 9th, 11th and 8th.  A direct route and no traffic. This worked out better than the C-train of last week…however, the roads were also very good. That makes a difference.  It was a warm weather sort of winter day.

I’m determined to get into the studio and move all of the art-painted furniture out…a Fibonaccia Series, Studio Chiefs and Pipeline Wildlife…all have been incubating long enough.  Time to get these things out of my brain and onto panels.  For tonight, I decided to fore-go the wheel again and to paint like a lone wolf…subject matter as rehearsal and practice for up and coming studio works.

I’ve read a lot about the Oglala Lakota, Sioux…after visiting the site of the Little Big Horn battle and having read about the loss of the Ghost Dance…I really wanted to include the First Nations of Montana…for in our early Canadian/American history, these darned borders didn’t exist.  It was a horrible and dramatic impact that was had on the primarily nomadic peoples of the prairies and mountain regions.

Once unloading my items in the House…I collected up hugs from the people I look forward to seeing each week.  It was the first time I saw Jeff Watts since the Gorilla House closed…and there were Johanne and Rich, Jess and Andy (WHERE WAS MY BUDDY, JENN?).  Cayley settled into a piece of the floor and I pulled up my piece next to her.  In front, Ringo was playing the cover I Will by the Beatles.  It already felt like it was going to be a lovely energy in the place…and as it turned out, it was beautiful!

I decided to paint a portrait, working from a vintage photograph taken in studio by L. A. Huffman (photographer of the WILD WEST…SIGH). High Bear, Oglala Lakota 1880s, Montana.  We can find a variety of narratives about High Bear, especially in books like Lakota and Cheyenne: Indian Views of the Great Sioux War, 1876-1877.  There are some discrepancies on the research regarding High Bear’s passing, but more than likely, it takes place in this brutal period of history.

Kath Rumble House January 14, 2015

I was captivated by the strong lights and dark in the old images.  And while I did not achieve the dramatic facial expression I was hoping for, I practiced.  I painted very quickly last night…it just spilled out of me.

??????????Some highlights for me included the fact that my daughter made her first purchase of original art, acquiring a real beauty painted by Enriquito.  I also picked up two beautiful pieces.  The energy was so positive.  Ringo’s music was nostalgic and positive.  Jenn arrived.  Sam generously purchased my piece at auction…and I learned that her sister, Sabrina, out on the east coast, had purchased a piece ages ago…“Memory Leans Back  in the Branches of a Tree”.  So, another beautiful circle of events came around…another piece of magic.  It was a blessing to meet you, Samantha.  Cayley, it was great having you along side…drawing…taking in the energy!

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