Tuesday, April 24, 2012

texas draws II (through iphonography)

it's that time again...that time of the month where i link to dave's app recipe book, which goes live wednesday, april 25th.  if you have not discovered the vast world of smartphone camera apps, you are missing out.  long gone are the days when you had to carry around a large camera to get high quality photographs.  this past weekend, we were in my hometown of san antonio for an art committee meeting.  on our way out of town on sunday, we stopped at the southwest school of art to check out the texas draws II exhibit, which our good friend, and colleague of my husband, rosemary meza-desplas, was in.  i thought this was a great opportunity to test out some of my apps on photographing art in a gallery. 

photographing art in a gallery (if they will even allow it) can be very tricky due to low lighting, and the fact that flashes are not allowed.  but flashes are bad news when it comes to photographing art anyways.  so i thought this would be a great challenge to see just what the apps could do.  so without further ado...here are some highlights from texas draws II...which is a fantastic show, by the way.

*all the photographs were taken with camera+ and edited one time with either the portrait, auto or clarity filter. then they were processed with one additional filter in phototoaster.

texas draws logo  (phototoaster- newsprint filter)






gallery shot   (phototoaster-  tune up filter)
  

one of my faves...looks absolutely amazing in person, but so hard to shoot.  it takes drawing into 3 dimensions.


"taken"  by beili liu, reed, 2009     (phototoaster- pro filter)


the boys' favorite.  zac even made mickey mouse look- lol

"our koruna muse" by ian ingram, charcoal, pastel, silver leaf and butterflies on paper, 2009   (phototoaster- clarify filter)


i even tried to crop in for some detail shots, just to see if i could.  the first one is rosemary's, and is another favorite of mine in the show.  these intricate drawings are done with human hair!

"you've come a long way, baby" (detail) by rosemary meza-desplas, hand sewn human hair on canvas, 2012     (phototoaster- newsprint filter)



this next detail is from a large scale drawing (42" x 24" to be exact) in graphite. as someone who has spent her entire artistic career trying to master the graphite pencil, these works really got my attention.

"mano de dios" (detail) by alex rubio, graphite on paper, 2012     (phototoaster-  clarify filter and crop)

and last but not least, my boys had to add their contributions to the "collaborative continuous drawing" on display at the entrance to the gallery.

(phototoaster- rockwell filter)

(phototoaster- dramatic filter)


 
(phototoaster- old school filter)

if you are in san antonio, or anywhere close, swing by the texas draws exhibit.  you won't be sorry.  and click over to dave's page to see the other iphonographers who are participating in this challenge.  trust me, mine are just the tip of the iceberg.  then, grab your phone and start shooting, so you can join us next month!

here's to broadening your horizons!

-julia


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

outside the box

we have been working on color mixing in my preschool class, and i have been really happy about how well it has been going.  i wanted to show you these venn diagrams we made.  they had to draw their own overlapping circles, and i won't lie, some needed assistance.  this is really hard for 4 year olds.  then they got to choose the two primary colors that they wanted to mix.  i think this was very successful!


while those we drying, we started this concentric circle project.  now, i'm pretty sure every art teacher on the face of the earth has used this painting by wassily kandinsky to teach a lesson.  even when i taught in the regular classroom i did it every year.

farbstudie quadrate,  1913  by wassily kandinsky

but when i saw this version by katie morris at adventures of an art teacher, i knew i had to do this with my preschool class.  i knew that just the drawing of the concentric circles was going to be hard for them, but i also knew that they were up for the challenge.  and they did not disappoint!  aren't they great?  yes, these are by 4 year olds! 



blogger is being temperamental today, so for the safety of my computer and the huge window in my studio, i will just show you those two.  for those of you who want to try this at home, we drew the circles with oil pastels on watercolor paper and then painted in the remaining white areas with the same tempera paint we had already mixed into different colors.  but you can also just use watercolors. 

my other students are all over the place with their projects...from large scale drawings to clay to mixed media creations.  one thing that i have increasingly become aware of with all of them is how hard it is for them to understand the concepts of background and layering.  for those that are older and have been with me longer, i've been really trying to push the ideas of process and patience.  kids are generally not good with either of those.  they want product and they want it fast.    

i believe what is successful about my own work is the complexity that is achieved through the layers.  and that just cannot be rushed.  remember this pic from last week? 


this is a detail shot of one of my new paintings, after probably a dozen layers.  here is the same detail now after several more.  and it's not done yet.  


and here is a detail shot of the other large mixed media piece i'm trying to finish.



it's all about process, and just like archaeology, the good stuff is in the layers.  so my new idea?  my more advanced students are going to do one with me.
 

think i'm crazy?  don't worry...carly (pictured here) does too!  and, no, i have no idea where this is going.  but i can tell you it will have layers and layers and layers.  here it is after layer 1.


so this week, here's to thinking outside the box, to being brave, and to a little bit of crazy!

-julia


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

clay dinosaur imprints

i am not a ceramist.  but when you study for an art degree, you have to study all mediums, so i did take a ceramics class in college. it was a very intense, very time consuming class which left me with a great appreciation for ceramists. 

when carly came to me a couple of years ago, right away i was struck by her love of sculpting and amazing ability to render, especially small scale.  so i knew i had to refresh my memories of clay, and we had to give it a whirl.

carly working with modeling clay

obviously, being a painter, i don't have a kiln, so i knew i would need to find a clay that would either be fired in the oven or air dried.  i also wanted one that was as close to the clay i used in ceramics in college as possible.  after some trial and error, i finally found this ovencraft clay by laguna that we have been happy with.  and, over the past couple of years, carly has made some beautiful things with it.

"birds in a tree"   12 inches high   by carly age 10

working with carly has reignited my interest in clay.  there's something about working with clay that is just good for the soul.  therapeutic even.  so, when i came across this post about making clay dino fossils by the art education blog use your colored pencils, i knew i had to do this with my boys. we used the same oven bake clay that carly and i use, but, i will warn you, that it does not smell good when it is being fired in your oven and you have to make sure you are well ventilated.  if you don't want to have to deal with that, you could find an air dry clay at any arts and craft store.  even crayola makes one now.  the air dry clays that i have seen are usually white, but if that bothers you, your kids could always paint them with acrylics after they are dry. 

this project was so simple, yet so fun.  first we gathered up a couple plastic dinosaurs from our massive collection and a plastic tree from our army man collection.  my oldest son has declared his intention to be a paleontologist when he grows up since he was 2 years old, so luckily we had dinos of every shape and size, including these skeleton ones i had found at the dollar store a while back.  don't worry if you don't have this kind because the regular ones will work just fine. 


next we rolled out a slab of clay, making sure it was not too thin.  ours was probably a half inch thick.  also, don't worry about it being a perfect shape.  that's what will make it look like it was chipped out of the ground.  then we pressed the dinosaurs and tree leaves into the wet clay, making sure there was enough pressure to get a good print.  with the dinosaurs, we did an imprint on the side and then also imprints of the feet to see how the footprints were made.



here is the finished product, while it was still wet.



if you are going to fire it in the oven, you have to make sure it is dried thoroughly.  i bet i let this sit in my studio for a couple weeks before i fired it.  our imprints came out with pretty good contrast on their own.  but if you wanted to highlight the imprints, after it is dry, you could rub some white paint on the top with a sponge to highlight them, like they did here

 here ours is dry and fired.


and here it is displayed in their room.



i hope some of you will give this a try.  if you have any questions at all, feel free to contact me.

here's to trying new things...and for me, trying old things!

-julia
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