Saturday, August 30, 2014

Happy Saturday | Week One & Done

What a week!  Getting back to work whooped me a little bit, but it's SO good to be back.  There were lots of hugs and "Mrs. Blevins!!!" from across the parking lot.  I thought I was pretty prepared, but I have lots of work to do for this coming week. [So I'm really glad it's a long weekend.]  The weather has been beautiful, so dog walks and flea market shopping were in order.  I hope you're having a great weekend so far!
Happy Saturday!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Friendship and Flowers

What a great week this was!  The weather this summer has been really amazing, especially compared to the stormy summer we had last year.  Even though school "officially" starts on Monday, I don't feel any dread.  I really enjoyed this summer, and I feel super rested and ready to get back to work.  This week was really fun because I met up with my best friend from elementary school [who I haven't seen since the 6th grade]!  We reconnected via social media, and it was like no time had passed at all.  Even after [14 cough*] years, we still had such a great time talking.  Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with technology and the fate of human interaction, but then I'm reminded how awesome it can be.
On the way home from my photo shoot this morning I passed a sunflower field, so naturally I pulled off into a ditch to take photos haha.  I know I looked crazy dressed in my top knot and expensive camera taking photos in a field full of flowers and bees, but it was super fun.  I'm trying to soak up every last minute of this season and weather.  Fall will be here before we know it, but it's my favorite so I'm okay with that.  I hope your weekend is full of friendship and flowers!
*ps- fun fact...I took these with my sunglasses on and could NOT figure out why I couldn't see the LCD screen haha.  Oh well, they turned out okay anyway ;P.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Year 5 | Decorating the Art Room [and the school]

Hello all!  My last post showed my empty classroom, and now it's time to share some progress!  This will be my 5th year teaching [4th at my current school]. Every year I do the big bulletin board as you enter the school using our theme for the year.  This year our theme is a sports theme.  I attached the boards from the past 4 years [the top 2 are from the end of the year after we've added our successes, and the bottom 2 are from the beginning of the year before we've added any].
 Lots of boards!
 I also do the bus students of the month board, and this year it's a hockey board.
 Right beside the bus board is my art display area!
 I stuck with the sports theme obviously :).
 Now...on to my room!
 It's still not finished, but it's come a long way since my last post.  My elements and principles are displayed above the board. [I think these are from Crystal Productions.]
 I have a close-up of my expectations poster here.  I also use this stoplight for controlling volume and it works LIKE A CHARM.  They hate silent art!  They know when it gets to yellow [whispers only] that they better get their mess together!
 I love this coloring poster, and I use it all the time with the younger kids.  This will be my first year using the effort/craftsmanship examples, so we'll see how it goes!
I will obviously be adding my learning goals and essential questions on this board!
 I also use the mistake and when you finish posters quite often.
 My "Art Around the World" and word wall area.
 This is probably one of the most useful [and most pinned] visuals I've made! ^
 My future student artwork areas!
 My art media examples and where I keep all of my supplies [which have not been ordered yet :/ yikes!]
 I keep scissors, glue, pencils, crayons, and other things in these bins and some others that go right in front of these.  The little cans are trash cans for each table.
 These are my table labels this year.  I made them on the fly today because I could not find my original paint buckets and brushes :(.  I think they're okay, so we'll see what happens.  Each spot at the table is a number [1, 2, 3, 4] and I call students by table color or number to do jobs.  Works like a charm, and they clean up in 3 minutes almost every time.
The sink area is not too glamorous [and not finished at all].  I still have to add the brushes and water cups, and the towels fro drying the tables.
That's all for now!  I will probably post a couple more before school starts.  I'd love to see your rooms, so leave a link in the comments!  Have a great year!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My Empty Art Room | Art Room Hanging Essentials

Today was my first day back at school. Well, today was really a half-day, and not even a workday yet for me.  I do the big bulletin board[s] at schools, so I was meeting with my principal/unloading boxes of stuff into my room.  My meeting was about an hour and a half later than I expected, so I had some down time to work on hanging things in my room.  
My husband [bless him] came to help me reach all of the tall places.  He really came to help me unload boxes and take down the monster bulletin board, but we only had about 20 minutes to work on it in the end.
 [Isn't he cute in his scrubs? :P]
Since I don't have any fun, themed bulletin boards or finished room photos to show you, I figured I'd share my absolute favorite, fail-safe art hanging supplies for cinder blocks.  Most of the places I hang things cannot be reached by a glue gun [which is apparently a good tool for hanging].  I'd rather not balance on a ladder while holding something covered in hot glue. [yes?]
1- Wide Scotch Tape
This used to be my standard go-to hanging supply for hanging art on cinder blocks, and I still use it for a lot of things.  For some reason this tape works way better than duct tape for me.
2- These are MAGIC.  They hold everything up forever, don't damage the thing you're hanging or the wall AT ALL.  Last year I used them to hang everything, including heavy magnets, and I used the magnets to hold art work.
3- These are pretty standard, and always do a great job.  I'm going to use these to display student artwork this year.

When I had regular walls I used staples...probably way to much to be honest.  Cinder blocks are a different story.  What are your favorite wall hanging supplies?

Monday, August 11, 2014

See the World Anew

 [one of my favorite quotes from Patch Adams]

What a sad few days it has been.  
News of death, sadness, sickness. [Always I guess.]
The news from Iraq was so shocking, it really makes you concentrate on what's truly important in this life.  Celebrity death has also been in the news with Tony Stewart's accident and Robin Williams' passing.  Life is short, fragile, and full of uncertainty.  All death, especially suicide and murder is tragic, celebrity or not.  I think it's okay to feel sad about losing people we've never met or seen.  They were still someone's daughter, son, brother, or friend.  Some days, the terrible realities of the world weigh heavy on my heart, and other days I'm able to push the negative aside and simply enjoy every moment.  This week was a hard one, and I know I didn't lose anyone personally, but it still makes you think and pulls your thoughts to dark places.  Weeks like this are a reminder to live each moment to the fullest, and see the world anew each day.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Summer's slipping away...

School starts for me on Friday, so I'm definitely getting that creeping feeling.  I'm trying to get all caught up because I already have some work to do at school before the first workday.  I finished all of my custom illustrations for now, and 2 photo shoots today, so that's a start.  I hope you're having a fun and productive weekend! [And don't forget to visit my Etsy shop!]

Friday, August 8, 2014

Photoshop Watercolor Tutorial

 Like I said yesterday, I just got some new watercolor brushes for Photoshop!  I've been having a blast playing around with them, so I decided to do a super fun, fast, and easy tutorial.
 You can easily just paint with these brushes, and they look really nice layered.
I've been playing around with photos too using these, and I think it looks super neat!
Here's a little step-by-step on using brushes to make fun photo art!

Open your photo and make sure to unlock the background.  Add a layer mask and invert it [by pressing command i].
When you invert the photo layer, you will only see the transparent background, so you'll need to create a fill layer.  I used white, but I'll show you later how different backgrounds look.  Make sure you are clicked on the inverted layer mask, and your paint brush tool, and open your brush options.  You will want your brush color to be white.

Select a watercolor brush and make sure the size is very large.  The largest they can go is 2500, and if your photo is small you'll need to adjust. Begin clicking on the layer mask with your brush.  I only clicked once or twice without moving the brush to get the desired opacity.
Keep changing brushes and size until you get the look you want.
You can also change the background [or fill layer] if you want to.  I really like how black looks with these brushes.   No matter what your background color is, I think it looks neat to go back and actually paint on top of the photo using the fill layer color.  I did it below using black.  It just adds some neat texture. [I like to do that on a new layer in case I don't like it.]
You can also add a textured paper layer, which is always nice.
And that's it!  If you're familiar with Photoshop then you just said "that's sooo easy!"  I hope you enjoy playing around, and even if you don't have watercolor brushes, you can use other Photoshop brushes to create similar effects.  I'd love to see what you think of the tutorial and how you use it, so leave a comment below!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Art of Loving People

I got a new set of Photoshop brushes, so naturally I'm having way too much fun!
I've always loved this quote and wanted to do something fun and artsy with it.  I have a full weekend of painting portraits, doing photo shoots, and working on back-to-school prep coming up.
[And then back to school next week!!!]
 What are you going to be up to this weekend?