Inspiration!

Poet's Calendar 2010 by bluerabbit
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Here is a calendar I put together a couple of years ago. Each month has a simple poetry challenge. Flip through the virtual pages to find something you like. Think of this as a call from your muse.
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Kirk at Work

While attending a performance of the local symphony, I made some quick sketches of the conductor in action.

A couple of weeks later, as part of a painting demonstration for school children, I pulled the drawings out of my purse. I did this quick painting to show students that you can make drawings at any time and use them later in a composition.

If you teach,

1. Encourage students to fold a sheet of newsprint or recycled white paper once in either direction.

2. Tell them to carry the paper, along with a short pencil, in a pocket for a day.

3. Encourage students to make at least three quick sketches.

4. Allow them time to create a color version of the drawing.

5. Use crayon, tempera, torn paper, textures from magazines, or watercolor to create the composition.

6. Emphasize that the sketch is just a starting place.

Oh, Oh, Oh!

ooo by bluerabbit
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This is one of three large acrylic paintings on canvas done to fit the theme of a contemporary art show in a local gallery. The theme was "Text."

At the time, I had just finished the manuscript for my phonics book, "ABC, Follow Me!" The book concerns itself with the shapes of letters as well as the sounds they represent. It also includes a number of craft projects to teach these shapes. In short, I had letters on my mind.

I started the first painting with an elaborate concept, but it just wasn't working, so I let it dry and moved to another. The same thing happened. The deadline was approaching, and I didn't know what to do.

Then, I decided to use letters as English words. I painted each of the large canvases with a different pure hue. I started with I, I, I, I; moved to three U's ("Oh lucky You"), which add another layer, as they suggest horseshoes. The one shown here is "Oh, Oh, Oh". It calls to mind the famous joke:

A first grade teacher comes out to the parking lot and sees her bumper dented. Then she fumes, "Oh, oh, oh! Look, look, look! Darn, darn, darn!

Recently, I used the concept I developed with these paintings in a demonstration for school children. We made paintings on bright hues if single letters.

Still Life

Orange by bluerabbit
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I did this painting as a demonstration for school children. Betty Edwards has a great recommendation in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. She says to create a one-object still life. She uses potatoes and bits of ribbon. I like fruit. I had a bag of oranges at home, so this orange is what I used.

This is a great painting problem for artists of all ages and stages. There is a lot of room for stylistic interpretation.

Paint Some Sunflowers

Everybody loves sunflowers. They are bold, simple, and colorful. Inspire students by showing them a reproduction of a sunflower painting by Vincent Van Gogh (he did several), and then set up a couple of vases with real, or artificial blooms for your students to draw. They can work in tissue collage, tempera, or crayon. It is a winning project for artists of all ages.