Friday, July 25, 2014

CAMPTIME! Flashback to "Artists Out and About"

A week of taking artmaking on the road, out to the yard, for a walk, and to the beach! The star material of the week turned out to be my kid-approved design for travel-easels.

These consisted of pizza boxes (purchased for $1 each at Alexia's pizza) each rigged with:

  •  the tray from a watercolor set (stuck with glue dots to the bottom lip), 
  • A small cup stuck beside it with poster stuff, just weak enough to pop the cup on and off for cleaning the water (from the kids' waterbottles),
  • A length of rope poked through the side that holds a rolled up zip lock with brushes, pencil, eraser, whatever.
  • A large freezer bag attached flat to the back flap, for storing clean sheets of cardstock and later, dried pieces of artwork.
  • A velcro closure flap. The top of the box, folded back as the easel "stand", getd flipped forward and closed.. it had to be kind of trimmed at the closure for our plastic cups to fit. 
  • A rope poked through the top "spine" of the box as a carrying handle. It helped to remind kids to always keep the boxes held upright, and to stack them that way when not using them. 
  • A few pieces of masking tape for each.
Kids got to decorate the front side of the box with glue and tissue paper, to cover the printed pizza-stuff. 
They looked adorable, but more importantly they lasted all week, and "Using the paintbox" was often a favorite part of the day.

We took them downtown one day to do some plein air drawing of a favorite Belfast building... the Colonial Theatre... which just happens to have some shady grass across the street at city hall! The kids stayed busy working for over an hour!


Finally, some kids were done with that and happily busted out some chalk to treat the City Hall folk to some rainbow, washable grafitti to make them smile! Tip: splurge for the boy of Crayola chalks. Great colors, they don't roll or shatter!

Our day out and about had started with a visit to the Farmland Trust Gallery. I have a personal interest in getting local kids and their families accustomed and excited about checking out galleries, and Anna at FTG was just as excited to be a site for that. I gave the kids some time to look around a bit before doing some variations on Visual Thinking Strategies, a simple way of engaging kids in close looking and critical thinking, dialogue, and discovery. It's crazy effective and pretty magical to behold - watching kids go from "eh - cool." to talking..and talking... as they get more and more from a piece of artwork by looking and sharing thoughts as a group. I'm hoping for some grant monies to equip local galleries interested in engaging kids and non-regulars with activity kits to self-guide through a similar looking game.


(Newspaper sunhat in foreground.)

We spent an entire day at the City Park Beach... it was lots of fun and things went at a pretty nice pace.
We started with our paintboxes down on the beach. Livin' the dream, kids!
Watercolor postcards from camp!
Hypothesizing about that mysterious disturbance...

Still life of treasures!
After playing at that most fantastic park, a few of us just HAD to explore the stream under the bridge. Then some torn-paper collage before heading back to the water!

building in the tidal pools

The struggle to create and launch a stick-and weeds vessel

PAPERMAKING! In the back yard, adding found natural stuff to the recycled- paper pulp!



I think this was "out and about" because I expected it to be too messy for indoors. Trying a new batik method using flour+water glue in place of wax for the design, and acrylic paints instead of fabric dye.

Goes without saying but... what a week!
And gorgeous weather for our out-and-aboutness!

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