Art Room, Color Construct Create, Elementary Art, OT, OT Corner, Preschool Art, Therapeutic Art, therapeutic side

The Take Home: Tactile Sensory Processing

One unique aspect of our studio is that we incorporate opportunities for tactile sensory play into our weekly themes.   Many of our artists have notable hypersensitivity or hyposensitivity to tactile input in their daily lives.  Therefore, we include projects and the activities on our “sensory table” that can promote a greater tolerance for textures that might make us uncomfortable or provide textures that kids may seek out and neeeeeeeeeed to touch.  Seriously, have you ever played with kinetic sand or oobleck?

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We think it is important that our artists are exposed to messy, sticky, wet, rough, slimy or powdery media.  These textures are all present in our daily lives, and if we have the opportunity to play with them in this controlled environment (art room), then we can work on our impulsivity to touch, avoidance of touch, and overall tactile sensory integration.

Winter snow bin
Insta-Snow – a fantastically fun medium!!!
Art Room, Artwork, Color Construct Create, Elementary Art

Feed your soul (with art and dessert!!)

We all have things that feed our soul.  It’s different for everyone. For me, it’s teaching art.  This past week, I taught the Art Club kiddos about one of my absolute favorite artists of all time.  Wayne Thiebaud.  Come on, now!  How is it possible to not love Wayne Theibaud’s art?  As a pop art icon, Thiebaud brought us classic Americana with his depiction of diner desserts. We took our inspiration from his work and used oil pastel with watercolor to create our own dreamy desserts.

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Cakes by Wayne Thiebaud, 1963

As we learn about artists and their techniques, I always try to share a general life lesson that pertains to art, our specific subject matter, and the conversations the students generate.  This wasn’t always intentional.  It happened organically, as my students are very deep thinkers and have some pretty remarkable conversations for their age.  Given that our Art Club students are mostly “tweens”, there are often many opportunities for discussion based on what they bring up in class.  This week was no exception.  I noticed that the kids were comparing their work to their classmates.  I expect them to compare but I never want them to feel badly because someone else has better rendering skills or made a really cool design choice.  This is where I typically decide to have a “talk”. I shared with them about my experiences as a student in art school.

I shared how I spent so much time comparing my work to my peers that I often missed the beauty of the experience.   Creating art is very personal.  Comparing what we make to what others make is human nature.  Learning how to balance that with being mindful of the moment is key.  In art club, we focus on the joy of what we are doing as well as the final product.  And sometimes, we eat our cake (or cupcakes) while we create!

Here are our beautiful cakes!

Art Room, Artwork, Color Construct Create, Elementary Art, Therapeutic Art, therapeutic side

SCIENCE and Process Art!

Oh boy, when we take on a crazy task, we sure do take it on!  Our unit on Science and Weather was one of those “great in theory” moments as we tried to figure out the logistics of pendulum painting, plaster casting plants, making rock candy, etc.  It all turned out but we really did stretch ourselves in the process (not a bad thing!!).  Our big take away from this past month was that sometimes process outweighs product.

What the heck is process art, you ask??  Great question.  After the first couple of classes, we teachers spent a few minutes explaining away to our parents.  “The end product might not be what you are used to seeing but here’s how we got there…” With process art, the HOW is just as important as the WHAT.  We did a lot of non-traditional art-making and the kids want bananas over it!

Week #1 was all about MIXTURE!  We blended our favorite liquid water color paints, used Faber-Castell chalk pastels, and used hand sanitizer to “lift” liquid water color off of our beakers to make fizzy bubbles.  The kids also learned about depth and dimension as we “flattened” shapes to draw the beakers accurately.

In Week #2, we explored life science.  We used food coloring to dye flowers and got out the hammers to make some serious noise (and beautiful art).  Our Tea Towels dyed with natural flowers turned out so beautiful.  Then we used plaster casting strips to make “fossils” of ferns.  The best part was painting them with natural paint made from spinach and coffee.  The kids were not amused but the smell!

Week #3 was all about weather.  Mixed media is always fun.  It was a sensory experience, too, when we used baby oil to blend.  We made our own rain storms using oil pastels. It was a sensory experience, too, when we used baby oil to blend the colors.fullsizeoutput_3490

Last but not least, in Week #4 we explored physical science by making art with a pendulum.  Holy mess, Batman!!  One would think that painting with pendulums and making an epic mess would be chaotic.  Well, much to our surprise, it wasn’t!  The kids were so enthralled by the art they were making that everyone was calm and totally on-task.  It was awesome!  The end results turned out pretty cool.  Check out our next blog post to find out how we did it!

Oh, and check out these adorable little mad scientists!

Art Room, Business, Color Construct Create, How We Roll

New year, new look!

It is hard to believe that our little art studio has been around for 5 years now!  What started as a little seed has blossomed into our pride and joy!  We are so proud of what we have accomplished these past few years and cannot wait for the future.  Our 5 year Anniversary seemed like a great time to update and refresh our look.  After much deliberation, we chose a design for our logo and are so excited to share it with the world.  Let us know what you think!

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Art Room, Color Construct Create, Elementary Art, OT, OT Corner, Preschool Art, Therapeutic Art, therapeutic side

The Take Home: Finger Strength

Our hands are amazing.  They are, quite possibly, the most useful parts of our bodies. Hands are a key component to art-making (and pretty much every other facet of our existence).  Our ability to make art starts at the earliest stages of our development.  As babies, motor movements are often reflexive.  Once babies begin to interact with their environment,  their movement patterns become volitional and begin to override their reflexes.  These multi-sensory play experiences form the foundation for higher level skill development.  For babies and toddlers, hand and finger strength is built through play.  They see a toy, they grab it with their tiny little hands.  They want to manipulate it to get it into their mouth, they have to work really hard at it.  With practice, those movements become more fluid and they move toward mastery.  As children become more independent, learning to feed and dress themselves and mimicking our activities, the fine motor demands grow exponentially.

The process of completing a simple drawing task, painting a picture, or molding a dish out of clay is a multi-sensory experience that demands much from our artists small hands. Each week, we create opportunities to promote the development of finger strength.  This week was no exception!  As they became scientists working in our “lab” they used their pincers to drop colored vinegar onto a tray of baking soda, they used pencil and sharpie to draw their beakers and test tubes, and they squeezed out drops of food coloring to dye their sugar solutions.  All the while, they didn’t realize that they were building strength, dexterity and finger endurance!

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Artwork, Color Construct Create, Elementary Art

California Beautiful

Oh my goodness!  Ours students never cease to amaze us.  When you see the work our Art Club students just completed, you will know why I’m beyond excited!  During the month of January, Art Club focused on  our beautiful California coastline.  The California Coastal Commission holds an annual art and poetry contest and our students couldn’t wait to enter!  We started off the month with a study of California Brown Pelicans.  The kids dissected (with their eyes and pencils!!) the shapes within the birds and then recreated them on the page using the shapes as guidelines.

art-contest

We, then, used charcoal to draw ocean waves.  The beach can be very challenging and charcoal is the perfect medium because it is so forgiving.  The students were able to show the waves arc as well as the splash and horizon.  That was fun!

Our culminating activity was a free choice drawing or painting of something that inspires them about the California Coast.  This was to be their contest entry.  Each student chose something completely different.  We have mammals, fish, plant life, and landscapes all beautifully represented.  One of the best parts of this activity were the contest rules.  No one was allowed to complete any part of the artwork except the student.  I took this a step further and facilitated the students making the bulk of the design choices as well.  I love my kiddos.  They are so talented.  They are also relatively inexperienced and often hesitate to make a decision without my input.  I hope I helped them to feel empowered to make choices regarding their art.  The end results take my breath away!  Remember, these kids are in elementary school!