Everyone, Happy Christmas from my house to yours!

See the tree below?  Well this tree came to be because I could not get my family to cooperate and go get a real tree from the farmer’s market.  So this morning, December 22, I said to my son, “We are going to Walmart to get a tree.”

So here we go to Walmart at 8 AM.  We decided on a white tree with white lights.  We scooted out.  After we get home and get the tree set up, my daughter wakes up and is like, “NO!”

I knew that I had to come up with a plan.  I had wrapped all my presents in smiley face paper and I thoughts well, that is happy.
Then, I remembered that my daughter and husband had gone to meet an artist from Augusta, Georgia, that did happy art.
Here is a picture of the Happy artist, Leonard “Porkchop” Zimmerman with my daughter.  Click Here for previous post on Porkchop. We were doing a gift that included items from Augusta and Porkchop was kind enough to sign about 20 or so prints.  Porkchop met my family at the local coffee shop and signed in pencil, of course.
I illegally ran copies of Happy and shrunk 50 percent on the copy machine.  Then, I put red yarn on the art to make ornaments.  After that I used some painted paper to cut out “Happy Christmas”.

My daughter came in and smiled.
My husband came in and laughed.

Oh my son and I were so happy that Porkchop’s “Happy” had made our Christmas season so very Happy!

It is that time of year to undecorate, but I wanted to do one more Christmas art post.
9×12 drawing paper
Discuss the Element of Art: Line
How to create a drawn ornament using many different lines.
Pretty straight forward. Give it a try.
I am not sure why these reindeer have moose antlers.  When you let kids freestyle, they tend to change it up a little.  I like change.  Change is good for everyone. 
To view other reindeer posts, click HERE!

Directions for the project:

The kids drew their reindeer.  I encouraged them to chill on the details. 
They painted the background and then, the deer.
They used oil pastels to touch up and make snowflakes.
I like.
Some kids did not “ground” their reindeer, but that is okay because reindeer fly.  And well, Moosiefied Reindeer fly, too!

Here is Hozier “Changing Up” ‘Changes’ by David Bowie.

Kim and Karen both love Romero Britto.  To see previous posts, click HERE!   The project below was done by 3rd Graders.  Before the project began, I encouraged them to “not be so detailed.”  After they got their drawings done, I decided they did not listen to my pitch on less detail.  Oh well, the details really made the projects so much more fun!

We talked a little about Romero Britto.
The kids drew with pencil and then outlined with sharpie.
The kids painted the background.
The kids painted the trees.
The kids outlined.
Yes, the project took several weeks to complete.
I think the hard work was definitely worth it.
Check them out!

In my opinion, this project was a learning experience for the third graders.  They were told to consider not being so detailed, but many chose to ignore my recommendations.  It is all good though.  The kids did what they wanted to do.  I saw them going down Detail Road.  Eventually, they got to the red stop sign.  Then, they realized the devil was in the details.  I think it is much better for kids to realize some things on their own.  Until you experience some things first hand, you really do not get it.

I recently heard this song by James Brown and it really cracks me up.  It is a Christmas song full of soul and called “Soulful Christmas.”

Ever used hot glue, let it cool, then colored it with sharpie?  Well, we did.  I read somewhere online (I wish I could find the source) that you could use hot glue like black Elmer’s glue.  We gave it a try and Wa-lah!  Have a look at the middle school project.

I talked a little about Romero Britto.  I showed some of his work.  We have posted on Romero Britto in the past.  Click HERE to see previous Romero Britto posts

I told the kids that the work would be displayed in the hall during Christmas.

The kids drew with pencil their plan for the project.

The kids hot glued all over the pencil marks.

The kids used a black sharpie and colored over hot glue.

The kids painted with acrylic.

The kids colored back over hot glue with sharpie to touch up.

Check these cool projects out!

Classic Christmas song by Coldplay
L O V E Coldplay
First Grade made these very large ornaments.  I think this is one of their favorite projects so far this year. 

I traced the round part on the bottom of a stool that had fallen off one of the art room stools. (oh yeah, we can make art using anything) 
I drew a square on the top of the traced circle.
I traced and cut out 16 ornaments.
I laid out the 16 ornaments on the table.
The kids used sponges and dabbed the sponges into tempera cakes and painted the entire ornament ONE COLOR.
Then, they used liquid tempera and dabbed with spouncer sponges on the ornament.
Lastly, we painted silver across the top of ornaments.

and we were done!

Have a look!
When we were done, the kids were so excited that they had paint all over their hands.  They wanted to get a picture with their rainbow colored hands.  Unfortunately, we did not because the teacher’s hands were rainbow painted and picture taking was not an option.  So folks, just use your imagination.  
Rolling Stones singing “Just my Imagination.”

I ran across Alexander Calder’s “Christmas Tree” and decided to try it with my 4th Graders.  According to my research, Calder did his “Christmas Tree” around 1970.
Below, you can see Alexander Calder’s “Christmas Tree”.  Calder used primary colors in his work.  I love it.

Directions for our version of Calder’s “Christmas Tree”

I talked a little bit about Calder.
I had the kids draw the tree with pencil.
The kids used stencils to make circles, yes, with pencil.
The kids outlined the pencil with sharpie.
The kids used acrylic paints for this project.

Results below-

Although, I could not find any information on Calder’s primary color Christmas tree above, I did find some information out about the Christmas tree sculpture by Calder below. 

In 1942 Alexander Calder was asked by a nurse friend to make some things to cheer up wounded soldiers convalescing in a Staten Island military hospital. One of those things: this awesome Christmas tree, cut from a tin can.(http://daddytypes.com/2014/12/25/alexander_calder_christmas_trees.php)

The idea of a nurse friend asking Alexander Calder to make something for wounded soldiers was pretty amazing.  The fact that Calder made something was even more amazing.  In 1942, he had hit the big time.  In 1943, Calder was honored as the youngest artist ever to have a retrospective exhibition at the art most prestigious venue, New York’s Museum of Modern Art. (http://www.theartstory.org/artist-calder-alexander.htm)
Calder making the sculpture for the wounded soldiers was pretty cool.  Obviously, the nurse friend felt comfortable asking her friend to make his art for a good cause.

Maybe all of us “art people” need to be more like Calder.
He had a friend that trusted him to say “yes” and make some art for a good cause.  He respected the wounded soldiers and chose to honor them by creating art.

Artists out there, we all get these requests to make this and that for everyone on a daily basis.  Saying no is much easier than saying yes, but saying yes is always rewarding.  I do not ever recall saying, “Oh boy, I wish that I would not have created that art.”

The song below does not have anything to do with Alexander Calder.  I just finished watching Season 1 of Stranger Things.  My two college aged kids got me interested in this strange show.  Anyway, the song “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash was actually in several episodes.  So, here goes…
I absolutely love Howard Finster’s work.  Howard Finster passed away in 2001, but this art teacher continues to spread his folk art to the younger generations.  Howard was from Summerville, Ga.  You can find loads of information about Howard online at Paradise Garden Foundation. Here’s the link to his homepage that his daughter Beverly still has some of his artwork available for sale.   Howard Finster Homepage.  We have posted several times on Howard Finster.  Have a look HERE.
The project?
It started with the book below.  

From the inside of the dust jacket…..
“Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stocking were hung by the chimney with care, In Hope that St. Nicholas soon would be there…..”
So begins Clement C. Moore’s beloved Christmas classic, illustrated here with the mesmerizing art of Howard Finster.
Illustrated countless times through the years, this ballad by the nineteenth-century poet is now realized for the first time through the eyes of a popular twentieth-century folk artist. An artist with the gift of imagination for making the ordinary extraordinary. Finster transforms these familiar holiday verses with his unparalleled style and brings a fresh new vision to the classic tale.
Vivid paintings bring to life this story of the chance sighting of the world’s best-loved gift giver – Santa Claus. Working in the folk-art tradition, Finster offers an original and exciting visual approach to the well-known Yuletide treasure and creates a fascinating union between the traditional and the uniquely contemporary.
For Finster’s many fans and followers, this book is a showcase for his amazing talents and his positive, spiritual outlook on life. The self-taught folk artist and self-proclaimed Man of Visions who developed an international reputation for capturing divinely inspired images, in wood, in stone, and on glass (or any other handy medium), has now captured the magic of Christmas in twelve stunning illustrations.
A selection of inspirational messages that are always incorporated into Finster’s art surround the poem, and a brief biography of Howard Finster follows the illustrations. Painting the illustrations for The Night Before Christmashas brought this eighty-year-old folk artist back in touch with his own childhood. From an eccentric, world-renowned visionary come pictures of an earlier, simpler time filled with wonder.
The Reverend Howard Finster dedicates the book with love to all children, Big and small, and his dream of restoring Paradise Garden, his outdoor museum in Summerville, Georgia – a true winter wonderland that attracts thousands of visitors every season of the year.”
Howard Finster passed away in October of 2001 at the age of 84. His memory will live on forever in his art and in Paradise Garden in Summerville, Georgia, in the northwest corner of the state.


I talked about Howard Finster and showed an R.E.M. video that was filmed at Paradise Garden. R.E.M. at Paradise Garden.
I showed them the book.  Yes, I have a copy.
They drew.
They painted Santa.
They painted the angels and the clouds.
They put fun smiley faces on clouds.

I love these Santas and I think Howard Finster would too.
Howard Finster.  R.E.M.  The Squalls.  The Squalls?
The Squalls singing “Na Na Na Na.”
The best of times in Athens, GA, in the 1980s.