Musings about the importance and impact of art and art education in the 21st century.

Best T-Shirt EVER!

♠ Posted by ArtMuse

* Shirt and illustration by animabase designs

Maybe its because I'm a Boston Terrier owner, and maybe its because I just finished writing a kindergarten lesson based on snails yesterday, but when I gooogled 'snails in art' this t-shirt design was one of the first images that popped up. It's FANTASTIC isn't it?

The shirt came from a website called Designs by Humans which features a slew of wonderfully original t-shirt designs from various artists all over the globe. The best part is, the shirts are really affordably priced (from about 15-25) so not only can you appreciate the art, but you can wear it too! What's better than that!?

Latin American Art Ideas

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

While I was packing up my classroom in late June I decided to take home a few old books that I had stuck on a bookshelf that had been in my room before I even got there. One of the books I took you can't even buy anymore. Its from 1976, and its based on Latin American Art. All in all, it's a pretty good book and has about a dozen good art project ideas for all grade ranges. Here are a few ideas I found from it.

Above: Yarn used to create a relief surface with gold paint over it.

Above: Cardboard relief used to make a mask

Pre-columbian yarn 'painting'

Repousse masks replicating gold relief

3rd Craft Project Completed! Basket Weaving

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

Basket weaving was new to me before this year. What's great about it is that you get really nice impressive results from a relatively easy process. Basically, I ordered the kits which come with a round pre-drilled wooden base with thin reeds and thick reeds. After you soak some reeds for about 10 minutes, you use the heavier, or thicker ones for the armature structure, and the thinner ones to weave in and out of them creating the walls. The best part? The kids really liked doing it!

2nd Craft Project Completed! Ugly Dolls

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

Here we are: Ugly Dolls, which are in fact, not ugly at all but very cute! The best part was that some of my students had never heard of them before and really enjoyed creating them.

One of my fellow bloggers gave me the idea when she raved about Ugly dolls and the process of making them with her middle school children. Not only did she have her students make them, but then they photographed them as well. I can't remember who the blogger was though, so if you see this, leave me a comment so I can add a link to your blog from this post and give you your credit!

Lori Nix

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

Lori Nix is one of my favorite artists...I had originally came across her work on a PBS-type show that was highlighting various contemporary American artists. I also got a chance to see her work at one of the Armory shows in NYC.
What's great about her photography is that is all created from tiny dioramas. The small-scale sets then get photographed and enlarged making them seem like these surreal settings. Here are a few links, she is definitely worth checking out!

Lori Nix's Website

Clamp Art (Gallery) NY

Ellen Miller Gallery

The importance of Poetry

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

Robert Frost's Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

I read a passionate article I really enjoyed in the summer issue of the AFT's 'American Educator' magazine. The article advocated the importance of having students memorize poetry for, well, poetry's sake. Without writing too much about the article, here is the link to the original source and an excerpt from it.

'Why I Force My Students to Memorize Poetry- Andy Waddell

AFT Website

Excerpt from the article:
"But some nod must be given to a larger idea: that we live through our consciousness, that a thought is composed of words, that as English teachers we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to put words into our students' heads-crisp, delicious words, " words opalescent, cool and pearly," words to entertain and sustain them. Words they may never forget."

And yes, I'm posting about a poem set in the dead of winter by Frost, in the middle of a 100 degree heat wave :) :)

Artist Study-Piet Mondrian

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

I've been doing some research on a number of artists for my curriculum next year and one such artist is Piet Mondrian. After reading a book on him, I've compiled some information and images and thought I'd share them with you! of the 'Great Modern Masters' Series of books

1. 1. 1872-1944 born Pieter Cornelius Mondrian. He shortened his first name when we moved to Paris in 1912. Bus was born in Amersfoort and is Dutch.

2. 2. His father was a school master and after joining the Academy of Fine Art in Amsterdam he discovered Theosophy and gradually became less Calvinistic.

3. 3. His family was upset when he left his job as an art professor to pursue painting full time.

4. 4. Calvinist upbringing

5. 5. He was rare in that throughout his career he made a living creating ‘hack’ paintings while simultaneously creating his own personal work. He was much criticized by other artists for doing this.

6. 6. His art was a combination of his personality and the style of abstraction and of breaking with traditional classicism that the impressionists enabled their predecessors enabled.

7. 7. Called his work neo-plasticism, which rejected representation, to cleanse the vocabulary and grammar of art.

8. 8. He wanted to articulate and artistic language based on the opposition of horizontal and vertical lines and non-colored planes-the immutable or spiritual element-on the one side, and on the other, the variable or natural element introduced by the proportions between the planes and the relations between the three primary colors as well as between colors and non-colors.

9. 9. Influenced by Bart van der Leck

Ea 10. Early works reflected the warm, moist, foggy Dutch countryside. It also demonstrated recurrent themes of meadows, windmills, and farms using earthy tones that reflected the woodland areas.

1. 11. His was influenced by his uncle Fritz Mondrian who painted in the style of the Hague School.

- The Hague school was like the Barbizon School in France, only it was in South Holland.

- The school tried to distance itself from the academic art and rules, as well as mythological and historical themes. They focused on landscapes of the countryside or the rustic interiors of farms.

Boat on the Amstel at Sunset 1902

2. 12. After seeing the works of Van Gogh, Kees van Dongen, and Edvard Munch, there is evident of early German Expressionism. His use of color became less natural. However his methodical disposition was antipathetic to any show of emotion shown in the expressionist style.

1. 13. Around 1908-1910 he joined an artist group led by Jan Toorop and adopted Luminist and then Divisionist principles in his art. Luminism was concerned with the exact precise rendering of natural and atmospheric light and the perceived effects of light on objects. Divisionism is considered part of neo-impressionism where everything is broken into colored dots.

1. 15. In 1909-11 he joined the Dutch Theosophical society, where his work became much more symbolic in nature; this style reflected his interest in esotericism.

a. Theosophy ties to unify scientific, philosophical, and religious views into 1 world view.

b. Esotericism is the study of marginal religious or philosophical ideologies.

1. 16. 1911 he was influenced by Picasso and Braque. His move to Paris helped mature his style, although in viewing his early abstract works there is a definite tendency towards synthetic cubism. Guillaume Appolliinaire, a French poet and notable advocate of Cubism, praised the originality of Mondrian’s work. Mondrian kept his studio in France till 1935 with a stipend from the Kroller-Mullers a wealthy industrialist family.

a. Synthetic cubism-flattened areas, more lines, and introduction of collage elements, so music sheets would replace painted representations of music sheets, colored paper would replace painted representations of colored paper. Synthetic cubism evolved from analytic cubism.

1. 17. During the outbreak of WWI Mondrian returned to the Netherlands for 4 years and was influenced by Dutch painter van der Leck, and explored his ideas in the magazine De Stijl, created by artist Theo van Doesburg


2. 18. Mondrian was also influenced in his later work by Theosophist and mathematician M.J. H Shoenmaekers.

- schoenmakers wrote in his essay “The New Image of the World”: The two fundamental and absolute extremes that shape our planet are: on the one hand the line of the horizontal force, namely the trajectory of the Earth around the Sun, and on the other the vertical and essentially spatial movement of the rays that issue from the center of the Sun…the three essential colors are yellow, blue, and red. There exist no other colors besides these three.”Building on these tenets, Mondrian developed a program that conceived of the work of art as a vehicle for expressing the force and harmony of the universe by exclusively physical means.

3. 19. 1919 Mondrian returns to Paris and his works gains some notoriety thereafter.

4. 20. In 1938 he moved to England to escape the threat of WW II

1. 21. In 1940 he moved to New York and his work took on more emphasis on color (over line).