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Visiting Artist & Pet/Animal Collages

Ok, I'll admit that today I am whipped. I spent the whole day with a horde of 4th graders, working on collaged pet portraits and animal paintings. Took a mess of photos, but until I get permission from the school to share the student's faces, you'll have to be appeased with images of their work, which really is exemplary.
I visited their classes last week and shared slides of artists who inspired me. We talked about some basic art concepts - positive and negative space, cropping, patterning, tension, emotion, edges, layers, symbolism - and dissected a variety of artwork using those terms. The students were even given homework - to identify an animal, think about the characteristics of that animal, assign colors or patterns that would help to tell that animal's story, and return to the classroom this week ready to build a collage.
After 9 straight hours of collaging and clean up**, I can tell you I'm done with scrubbing stamps and brushes. I even had to break out the "Jesus Heals" bandaids to cover my blistered fingers (no joke - the blisters & the bandaids are both for real). But my head is swimming with the delight over the myriad of little victories, the details of their stories, and the depth of their expression.
I can't wait to do this again! Maybe I missed my calling or am just discovering a new passion. Regardless, I am looking forward to becoming a better teacher and introducing another group of students to the power of visual creation. (I've got a number of smaller courses scheduled this summer)
Tomorrow it's back to my own palette and easel.
Tonite, however, I will sleep. Very well.
Thanks as always,
**PS Sorry, but have to do a Mom Brag:  The day at school was followed with a soccer game conveniently sandwiched between thunderstorms. Emerging from an angry swarm of starving skeeters (or perhaps hounded by them), my son scored the winning goal with 30 seconds remaining. He deserved this - he's had some tough games lately. Nice work, Domenic!!


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