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Spirit Animals

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Spirit Animals at Art Club! I’ve been loving the advice and illustrations in Power Animals: How to Connect with Your Animal Spirit Guide by Steven Farmer, so naturally I brought that to the kids, masters at loving animals and nature, feeling connections everywhere. We discussed favorite animals, what we like about them, and how we can feel connected to a kind of animal for reasons we understand, and maybe reasons we aren’t aware of. Either way is a-okay.

20141110_162813I provided about twenty different books with animals images, including animal encyclopedias and guides, and… There Is a Bird On Your Head! by Mo Willems, just because I can. Didn’t want the kids to think they had to draw realistically. That is not my style. And so we ended up with some realistic animals, plus an unicorn pegasus, a cyclops cat, an angry sea elephant, and a saber tooth whale. Variety, people.

I drew a few samples from one of my favorite spirit animals: one realistic raccoon, a spiraly-funky raccoon, then a very colorful silly one. During class, I answered calls for help by sketching alongside–a manatee, sea grass, and a barn swallow. At times, watching someone draw an animal (on their own paper, mind) can be just what a young artist needs to make his own come out well.

A lot of spirit animals came out of that group of six lively young artists (click to enlarge):

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Filed under Artist/Author, Books & Media, Drawing, Painting & Mixed Media

Illuminated Letters & Art Journals

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In YAG this week, children from ages 2 to 14 created Art Journals. Always a hit, because you make it and then you get to use it: the art that keeps on giving.

We began with a quick chat about illuminated letters—my suggestion for the cover which they were free to accept or detour. Watercolor paper was given all around, and some of it actually met watercolors, while other artists went for Sharpies. Ah, Sharpies. You stink bad, but we love you.

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I realized that if I had the young artists punch their own paper, they’d be sitting there for a couple of hours, or walk away with a five-sheet journal. I wanted them to make as thick or thin a book as they wanted, so the good folks on Firefly and I tackled the preparations the night before—measuring, cutting paper, and punching holes.

While paintings dried, the journal building began:

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I supplied plain and colored paper, lined loose-leaf paper, and a cardboard backing, all cut to size (8.5 x 6.5 inches). The kids also had on hand a box of magazines, maps, and desk calendars to cut extras from. They sized and punched holes in these themselves.

The books grew beautifully, and while feeding the papers though the loose binder rings was a bit of an awkward task, I reminded myself that it’s not the ease of a project that makes it worthwhile. There’s a lot more involved.

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And the art continued…

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Filed under Crafting, Drawing, Mail Art, Lettering & Writing, Painting & Mixed Media

Watercolor and Frisket

Watercolor class exploring color combinations, masking fluid and salt. Every one unique!

(Red Alert Masking Fluid/Frisket warning—it gums up the brushes like nobody’s business. When I did the sample, I washed out my brush within a minute, so I didn’t realize the danger. But the kids were all painting away until they had a gummy blob at the end of their brush, and were looking at me all confused and “Can I have a new brush?” I was able to save some of the brushes, but others seem beyond hope. I recommend either buying cheap brushes for this, or reminding the kids to wash out their brushes every minute or so.)

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Filed under Painting & Mixed Media