art journals.

tried my hand at some abstract journaling.

tried my hand at some abstract journaling.

Ever since I had the ability to write (non-sensical scribbles of a four year old count) I have kept a “diary.” I don’t know where the compulsion to keep a list of the daily mundane activities as a child: “Today I had rice crispies for breakfast…” The older i got, the more they developed into a living memory box of my life at that moment in time; and perhaps it started as my first paltry attempt at creating a sense of order from my distracted thoughts and messy brain. I have over 30 completed journals, which is roughly one per year.  The style and format of my journals adapts to the seasons of my life. During college and Graduate school, my journal functioned as my day planner and the keeper of my sanity. During periods in my life where I have been happy, I notice that I do more art and very little journaling. During tough times however, my journals are filled with sad song lyrics, to-do lists and life questions.

Do you like to look back at your journals? If so, do you do it often? Is creating a written record of your life to reflect back on a reason for your journaling? I am very interested to know. I can honestly say that, that is not the case with me, as writing for reflection at a later period of time would require to much forethought and planning for me. My journal has become one of my few necessities which I carry with me at all times in my bag. It is given the impossible responsibility of keeping me sane (emotionally balanced and organized enough to survive) ..so when I complete one journal, I see it as a memento of the craziness which is my life- maybe one day, when I am normal, I will want to look back at my journals to feel sorry for my crazy self.

Here are a few of my own art journal pages:

my art journal page

my art journal page

my colorful cacti

my colorful cacti

one of my favorite quotes

one of my favorite quotes

Frida and Virginia from my journal.

Frida and Virginia from my journal.

Anyways, I love nothing more than seeing pages from other peoples’ journals. I feel like I am getting a naked glimpse at their soul. I am always so amazed and inspired by the creative, beautiful things that people put down onto pages. One of my favorite artists,  Geninne Zlatkis, has the most beautiful and awe inspiring journal pages. I love all of her work and I also LOVE how she adapts her art journal entries into a day planner. Genius!!

Geninne’s Journal Page

from her flickr account

from her flickr account (October Days) 

more of Geninne's beauty

more of Geninne’s beauty

Here is the link to her flickr account for you to check her out more!: https://www.flickr.com/photos/geninne/sets/72157594514015991/

Another one of my favorites is Guilherme Dietrich. I fell in love with the bright, bold colors and vivid pieces. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor after I saw these. Unfortunately, his flickr account is no longer active and the website I found him on, isn’t either. But here are some of his beautiful pages to feast your eyes at (pangs me to know I will never create something this beautiful)

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What inspires you? Why do you journal? I would love to see!

Students’ Art Gallery Showcase

The 1st annual Art Gallery Showcase was a success! Haha. At least, I made it through it! Took me forever to put together and hang everything up and within 15 minutes of it starting, students and parents had dismantled my hard work and taken kids’ artwork home. (Which is great!) One student even gave me flowers- (Brought a tear to my eye, I have to admit!) I got some really great feedback from parents and students which is always nice to hear so hopefully I will be getting to do the same thing next year!

Art Lesson for Kids: Canvas Colorfield Art Journals

So, I’ve started my after-school art class at the elementary school where I teach. At first, I was nervously checking the office for completed registration forms and worried I wouldn’t have enough students BUT lo, and behold, I reached my limit of 20 students and went past it, ending up with 24 students in 2nd-4th grade!
In our first class, students created their own art journals using the “colorfield” technique of abstract painting and canvas. I found this lesson on Dick Blick’s website. Here is the link: http://www.dickblick.com/lesson-plans/color-field-sketchbook/
The finished art journals should end up looking something like this:

The kids LOVED making their journals but it was a little messy. I spent a good two hours after they left scrubbing the paint from the tables, stools, and floor. So, just wanted to CAUTION you if you plan on doing this with kids (or even if you do it for yourself) you will need LOTS of old newspaper, or trash bags, and paper towels. 
So, how to make these lovely journals you ask? All you need are various colors of acrylic paints, unprimed canvas, plastic cups, an empty spray bottle and some paint brushes. 
* For each color you want to use, squirt about tablespoon of paint into a disposable cup and then put about a tablespoon of water in the cup (less water for darker colors) and mix with a paintbrush until smooth. Choose 3 or 4 colors you want to use (remember that mixing more than 3 colors together in one place will create a brownish blah color) 
* Fill the spray bottle with water and spray sections of your canvas (this will help create the swirly patterns when the colors mix together with the water and the dry canvas). 
* Pour onto the canvas! 
Experiment with different colors and different “pouring techniques.” Try pouring from far away, to create a splash pattern. Use a paintbrush to flick a spatter pattern, or pour colors, then tip the canvas up, so that the colors create a “raindrop” or “drip” pattern. 
* Be careful of using too much water, or pouring too much, because it will pool on the canvas and mix with all the other colors to create an unpleasant brownish color. 
I spent way to much time on mine…I used a lot of white paint, because I found that it brightened the colors and kept it from becoming to dark. Here’s how mine turned out….I am sure if I was to make another one, it would be completely different. 
I think next time, I want to try a more simple approach; using only 2 or 3 colors and not worrying so much if there was blank canvas. 
These are just a few of the outcomes from my students..I love how unique and colorful they all turned out. I can see their individual personalities in the colors they used and how they mixed them: 

Binding these guys is a whollllle other story!

fun and easy art activity for kids

I love melted rocks. Melted rocks rock. I did this art activity with two 6 and 7 year old boys and I think I enjoyed it more than they did (probably because I wouldn’t let them touch the hot rocks…and you know how boys are…they only want to do what they aren’t allowed to do:) ).  Something about the simplicity of the activity and watching the crayon melt and mix and swirl with the other colors is so relaxing.

You will need:

  • smooth rocks- pick out some rocks from your garden (preferably smooth rocks with flattened tops) or you can buy a bag of river rocks from a craft supply store for fairly cheap. 
  • crayons- The Crayola brand work perfectly fine…I had some oil pastels I also tried using…a few of them worked, the more thicker and more expensive they were, the LESS they worked because they didn’t melt as easy and didn’t mix with the other crayons. ALTHOUGH, saying that, one gold oil pastel I had from Blicks art store turned out to be the best. So, try a few different types and experiment. 
  • an oven- or access to one. 
  • An oven mitts (those babies come out of the oven hot) 
  • Foil paper
  • a large (and preferably old and well used) baking tray
Instructions: 
  •  Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit 
  • Wash off and dry the rocks if you grabbed them from the garden
  • Peel the paper off the crayons you want to use 
  • Put foil paper on the oven tray (to keep any melted crayons from getting on the tray)
  • Place the rocks on the tray and put them in the oven for at least 15 minutes (the hotter they are the better) 
  • Take the rocks out using the oven mitt (if you are doing this with children make sure to warn them NOT to place their hands directly onto the rock because they will born themselves) and place them on paper plates or foil sheets
  • Put the crayon onto the surface of the rock and push down firmly for a few moments. Use several different colors to get a colorful effect. 
  • Let them cool. 

and WHALAAA! Glorious- beautimus rocks!

where have i been??

okay, laugh if you want…but this weekend I found out about A.T.C’s for the first time ever! I can’t believe it has taken me this long to get it in on this wondrous artistic movement. Maybe this is old news to you but A.T.C’s (or Artist’s Trading Cards) are these lovely little baseball card sized pieces of artwork that artists then trade with friends, family and artists around the globe!

Here are just a few of some the amazing cards I found and love:

an incredible way to organize cards via http://ramblingrose.typepad.com/journal/sprapodex/

The only rule to A.T.C’s are that they must be 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ in size. But that’s it. I stumbled upon ATCs while I was looking for some good art lessons for an after school art club curriculum I am putting together for 2nd through 4th graders. I found an art lesson on the subject of ATC’s on Dick Blick’s website: http://www.dickblick.com/lesson-plans/atc-artist-trading-cards/ (They have so many amazing art lessons).  After looking over the lesson and getting excited about the idea….I then googled ATCs and it was like a hidden (or I guess not so hidden) world of ATC artists, galleries, international swaps, ideas, ect. Needless to say, I spent about 6 hours glued to my laptop (nothing new there I guess) and then another 6 hours trying to make some samples…and I am hooked. HOOKED!

And of course, you didn’t think I could spend so much time falling in love with these things without trying some out for myself…so here are my first attempts at ATC cards:

So…if you are interested here are some websites that I found along the way…..


Also, if you are interested in a swap or know of any swaps I would LOVE to be apart of that. Also, probably in the spring of 2012, I will have a group of elementary aged kids who would love to swap with other kids (preferabbly not in Illinois).

gum on my shoe.

wow. Has it really been four years since my life changing journey to the Phillipines?
it is truly shocking how quickly time goes by but how some moments in life stick with you like gum on the bottom of your shoes; always there, always a part of you, always waiting for you to take a fork and to pick at the memories left behind….

the philippines wasn’t gum on my shoe, it was more than that and will always be one of the purest and clear times of my life…in a way, its sad that the phillipines didn’t play a bigger role in my life than i thought it would at one point, i saw myself there, cooking beef patties and sweating through typhoons, but life moves and we move with it.

i close my eyes and when i open them, four years have past, and i have to ask myself where i have landed.

and i’m here. in chicago. a quick summary of the important parts of those four years include: meeting and marrying the man of my dreams, mark, enrolling in grad school in chicago for a masters in elementary education, getting Henri (my wacky miniature dachsund), and now student teaching in a 5th grade class in evanston.

and im back. I wanted a place to reflect on my teaching, a place maybe where i can learn and hear from other educators, past educators, (or hopefully soon to be teachers like me), learn from them, or just to write this all down for myself, even if nobody else cares. and post my shiyza out into cyberspace to clang about and make noise with millions of others who occasionally have the urge to blog it up. like me..

…i am a life long learner. so the title stays and i like it, b.c. its true, and im here again. searching for truth, meaning, knowledge, understanding. and how to deal with seventeen 10 and 11 year olds who only care about Twilight, or miley whats-a-doodle, and their cell phones(!!?!) and facebook.