I Hate Goodbyes

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

In a Bob Dylan state of mind tonight.  I'm in the process of processing all the changes that have recently taken place in my life.  As we transition into the new month of March I have started a new phase of my life and taken a new job.  While you might say a job is a job, I've been lucky enough to say mine has been so much more.   

To sum it up I'd have to say I just left a job I loved for a job I am excited about. For the past 3 1/2 year I've had the privilege of working with some truly amazing people that have taught me a lot about life, faith, friendship and myself.  

I've coordinated activities for a retirement community of over 100 people that have let me into their homes and lives.  I've played a lot of bingo, made a lot of crafts, baked endless amounts of cookies, listened to a lot of songs well before my time but most importantly I've made a lot of memories.  Whether they were good, bad, sad, happy or a little bit of everything in between they are all pretty special to me. 

I've been blessed to be able to share my life and my boy's life with all of these people.  They've watched Cy grow from an 18 month toddler, when I started, into a little boy now in school, and with Sage since before he was even here they shared the excitement and anticipation of his birth.  And I found a lot of love and support when Sean followed his dream of opening his own business.  From all the special moments to everyday moments we've all shared, it's meant something.

I'm going to miss my circle of co-workers, all special women that have helped show me how to lay the path that I think is so important to balancing work, children and family.  We've shared a lot over the last couple of years along with a lot of laughs along the way.  

I'm not a person that likes or is good with goodbyes.  I do see the new path that is laid out in front of me and for myself and my family it is a direction I want to take.  I've gone back and forth whether I was going to write this post and if I could even get myself to type it.  For someone that has wrote about almost every aspect of my life for the past year on this blog I thought it was right, it was needed, I had to bring myself to do it.  So bear with me for a little of this in between.  

I'm looking forward to getting into our new schedule and new routine.   I definitely need to get around to updates about my boys and their latest endeavors in life.  We have a big birthday, #5 for a special someone right around the corner in March.  The times are always going to be changing I'll take with it that's life and be thankful for where it turns.



Friday Finds: Abstract Art Project Ideas

I've been working on a new article, Abstract Art with Children.  Here were my top 3 project picks I featured in the article:

Abstract Stamp It Art, I did this project beginning of last summer with Cy.  Using kitchen tools/ utensils & recyclables and toys Cy dipped them in paint and stamp them on his paper making a composition.

DIY printmaking using styrofoam meat trays, dull pen or pencil to draw on.  Haven't done this one with Cy yet but it's on the list- photo/project link tinkerlab.com

If you have a salad spinner in your kitchen you HAVE to do this project with your kids.  I've done it with Cy and the EXPLORE ART class- haven't posted about it yet sorry.  Cut paper to fit and drop paint into spinner let the kids go.  So much fun, image/project link A Little Bit of Sunshine Blog.


EXPLORE ART: Sage's 1st Art Video

I've been waiting to share this short video clip of Sage making art.  It was a pretty successful art session, he didn't try and eat the brushes or paint and had fun exploring what they could do. 


EXPLORE ART: Mini Wassily Kandinsky Lesson

Wassily Kandinsky is a largely recognizable artist, many have seen his artwork- repeated circles in squares reproduced in many doctor offices and ideas for this project are all over the web.  Here's a little mini lesson, with a little background about Kandinsky with some fun facts for working with children.  He was a truly influential artist if you can take the time to read more about him, his theories and his influence on modern art. 

Kandinsky is quoted for saying Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.

Kandinsky is known for his associations of art/color with music.  He saw the opportunities that art had to make the impressions music can have on a person. Kandinsky was fascinated with the emotional powers of music and how they can be interpreted and transformed by one's imagination and emotional response. 

Kandinsky was one of the founders of the art movement the Blue Rider, which focused on revealing the properties of line, color and composition.  It also had ties and influences with cubism, fauvism, primitive and medieval art. 

Kandinsky related spontaneous paintings to "Improvisations" as titled the piece above and more concentrated works "Compositions".  Take a look at his abstract art work and open up discussion with your child.

What type of colors does Kandinsky use in his art work?  How does he use line?  What do you think of his composition and how he uses lines, colors, shapes throughout his art work?
And then get into some fun questions: What type of music does this work remind you of?  Is it real fast, loud music, maybe soft and slow?  Ask your child what type of music do they like and how do they think they could paint it?

If you have the opportunity turn on some music and let your children paint what they feel, hear in the music.  This would be a fun "Improvisational"  Kandinksy piece.  Cyrus and I worked on more of a "Composition" Kandinsky project last weekend.  I showed him several examples of his work and we reproduced his version of the circles in squares artwork.  

Cy used paper, crayons and watercolors.  I folded the paper in half width wise and then into equal quarters, to have eight squares.  I demonstrated how to draw different color consecutive circles in each square.

Talk about the different types of colors you can use in this project and the type Kandinsky used.  Kandinsky developed many theories about colors, their energies and spirituality in art.  While you don't have to get too deep in philosophical discussion with your child talk about the calming nature of the circles they are making.  Children like the recognizable shape, as it's something they are comfortable with they get to repeat it throughout this project gaining more familiarity with it.

Once they have drawn their desired amount of consecutive circles in each square with the crayons get out the watercolors.  They can paint their choice of colors over the colored circles.  This is a great opportunity to talk with your child about how colors relate and for them to experiment with how different colors look next to each other. 

Music and art are two great avenues for children to learn, explore and express themselves.  While I can't play a note or even hum in tune I'm  glad my husband is a "music freak" as he likes to say and presents the opportunities for both kids to be exposed to different types and kinds of music.  I know art isn't everyone's thing but like music you don't have to be able to create a masterpiece yourself to appreciate it.  

 Cy's developing his own appreciation for each, Saturday by his request he was listening to Sean's dub Pandora station and making sticker art pictures on the living room floor.  Pretty neat, unique 4 1/2 year old and I'm glad I can say he's mine! 

We're finally getting back into the swing of things for 2012, I've updated the EXPLORE ART page  with direct links to our last projects. We're even up to two baby/toddler art projects with Sage!  I'm excited to share another with you next week, a big first for Sage my 18 month old. 


Cyrus' 2012 Valentine's

The evolution of Cyrus' valentines for Pre-K

Stick with me, that's 12 silly mustaches........

on 12 cooky glasses........

with 12 goofy faces............

and what will they make with 12 kissy lips?

Cyrus adds in the finishing touches and .....

12 very silly, cooky, goofy, kissy "mustache" face valentines!
Happy Valentine's Day 2012-- may your day be filled with love and lots of little smiles!


Friday Finds: Valetine's

 We're finishing up Cy's valentine's for his Pre-K class this weekend.  I'll have to post pics, because well they're pretty awesome.  But in the mean time here's some other great ideas I've seen out there. Enjoy:

 love this idea, it's easier than it looks at makingitfeellikehome.blogspot.com


Explore Art: Mini Marc Chagall Lesson

I introduced Cy to a new artist this weekend.  Something fun that I knew would inspire a little art making.  Marc Chagall is a modernist painter who dabbled in a little bit of everything from expressionism, symbolism, cubism and fauvism.

Chagall is a great artist to look at with children.  His work is often "fancy free" and at times "childish" it is inspired by his own childhood, scriptures, Russian folk art and icon paintings.  Chagall provokes thoughts of fantasy, dreams and childhood imagination.

Chagall's Me and My Village is one of his most recognizable paintings.  It also illustrates a few of his styles, Chagall wastes no space in using every portion of his canvas, he is also well noted for bold, bright and vibrant color reminiscent of the Fauvist.  You can see Chagall's interest in Cubism in this image, his use of multiple view points and geometric shapes to create an image.


Chagall considered his style and images part of his own personal language, symbols and images that were meaningful to him.  He is also recognized for his everyday scenes and quirky motifs like the fiddler.  

Chagall is just a fun artist to look at with children, it gets down to their level. Images and scenes are recognizable while also being fun and playful.  They provoke creativity and imagination as children see it's okay to express yourself and dream in the world of art.

Google Marc Chagall and take a look at some of the images that come up from his paintings.  Let your child look on and open up an art discussion. 
What do they think of the artwork?
How does it make them feel?
What do they see?  Does it look like real life or a dream?
How would you make a dream/ fantasy picture?
What colors would you use?
-and so on, see where the conversation goes and if they'll be inspired for a little art making when you're done.
Here's Cy's Chagall inspired art work:
His pink circus girl who later turned into the ballerina.  He was using "mixed media" something else new we were talking about- crayons, markers and watercolors. 

You never know where art or life will take you -- enjoy the moment


Friday Finds: ART BLOGS

Some other blogs focusing and children's art.  Enjoy!

Art for Small Hands great project based ideas from an art teacher with 25 years experience.
"This website is for any adult teachers, parents looking for step-by-step guidance in how to instruct and develop, without overwhelming or dampening, the artist inside every child."

Dilly-Dali Art blog by a stay at home mom with two young daughters, who holds art groups.  Focuses on the process over the product of art.

Artful Parent is pretty well known.  I like her approach and project ideas.  She also gives reviews and engages discussion about views on art and children.

Deep Space Sparkle is a very organized art teacher site.  Offers tons of free art project ideas, she even sells full lesson plans. 

Crafty Crow- craft collective I love this site.  Sign up for their daily email newsletter, I get excited for the morning email with tons of craft/ art ideas. 

Growing up creative someone who shares my thoughts it's okay to draw/paint on the wall- not so sure my husband would agree!

Laugh Paint Create, fabulous site for famous artist, structured projects! Teaching artist and mom who works in art museum doing children's art classes.

Teach Kids Art a site for teachers or moms with project ideas.  Art is part of a well rounded education!

 Preschool Picasso I friend from high school who just started a children's art blog.  Lindsey's an art teacher and mom.  Love your projects!


EXPLORE ART: Crayons article link

So our Wednesday explore art has been on a bit of a hiatus, not that we don't have several projects going or that our fridge is lacking any Cyrus originals.  The process of making art and chronicling our art making just haven't found a good time to mesh. 

I've got to take some pictures of Cy's artwork he's been doing at school.  I love seeing what he comes home with in his folder and even more fun is his explanation of everything.  A couple weeks ago he had a nice series going inspired but the letter H and horses, horses in fields of flowers, a farm scene with horses and a big top tent for a barn.  Yeah, they are great.

If I can get it together I'd love to do a series featuring how to preserve/ archive children's artwork, including taking digital photos, cropping and saving them to make a slide show.  Trust me I need to, Cy's portfolio downstairs has turned into an old diaper box piled with art work.  While I'd love to save it all I really need to turn half of it into digital files or start looking for a storage unit. 

Getting on with today's explore art post it's a bit of a cheat.  Here's the first part of an article I wrote for PG, Parental Guidance Magazine, a monthly magazine distributed through our community. All about crayons, where they came from and how your child can use them to make art.  Here's the start of the article followed by a link to read more:

* If you go on to read the rest of the article on the Post Journal site I've linked, just an fyi some of the titles that were meant to separate sections are in the main part of the paragraphs.  I think it makes more sense if you keep that in mind, not really sure what happened when they posted it? ie, Explore the World of Art is a section title not meant to be in that paragraph*

C-R-A-Y-O-N. Those six letters have spelled out countless hours of entertainment and fun for little and big kids alike. Crayons are easy to work with, not messy, blunt, non-toxic, very inexpensive, and available in a wide variety of colors. Every mother’s dream right?

According to Wikipedia.com, crayons can be traced as far back as the Egyptians who used a form of beeswax and pigment to fix an image on stone, known as encaustic painting. The basic idea of the more contemporary crayon appeared in Europe around the late 1700’s; used by artists like Leonardo da Vinci. It was not until the late 19th century, early 20th century that big companies like Crayola and American Crayon saw the money making potential of marketing crayons to educational/ classroom and crafts for children.

Crayons as we know them became more widely used in the beginning to middle of the 20th century with Crayola becoming the leading crayon brand in the 1950s.

So we know where they’ve come from but what else is there to know about children using crayons?

Outside the Coloring Book
While we all have owned a box of crayolas and a coloring book at some point in our lives, but don’t be afraid to step out of the coloring book a little. The traditional use of crayons is often to entertain a small child with coloring sheets. But don’t stop there, encourage them to go further. A blank sheet of paper will go a long way allowing a child to be creative, use their imagination and express themselves. By encouraging a child to make their own picture you can watch how they view and process the world around us.

Coloring is a great release of emotions and feelings. Have you as an adult ever sat down and felt the therapeutic benefits of making a picture? Therapists who specialize in art therapy use the process of creating art as a way to approach and talk to children. Once engaged in the process of creating art a child will relax and open to guided conversation. Give it a try with your children, not that you have to give them a therapy session; but use art or coloring as a tool to bond and talk together.
Read More......


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