Sunday, April 26, 2015

An Art Teacher With a Week of Free Time

In past posts I have written about my own creative time, and the importance to me of being a balanced artist/teacher.  So when time presents itself, I can't help but make stuff.  And in this past week, lots and lots and lots of stuff, which I look forward to sharing over a few posts.  Here is a peek at one of the sillier things I did this week.

After this ridiculously long and cold Winter, I cannot get enough of getting outdoors for hikes in our area. I have been looking for wildflowers (Hepatica are blooming!), watching birds (White Snow Geese right over my house! Red-winged blackbirds are back!), and listening to Wood Frogs in a local vernal pool. But anything green makes me happiest.  Thus, terrariums.  One for my dining table, one for my boys' room.  But what makes them silly?

It's a jungle out there.
Adding Lego people to alter the scale, so I can live his adventure vicariously while I eat breakfast. Did you read Magic School Bus books?  I always wanted to magically shrink like Ms. Frizzle and her lucky students into tiny worlds. Pinecones, moss, lichen, berries, ferns, rocks, and sea glass would be huge.  Hope he is ready for the wild animals that might be around any corner.

Little does he know how many coyote sightings there have been in Burlington's New North End recently...
 Artists play with scale all of the time. It's not only fun and silly, but can really change your perception of an object or situation. Take for example the amazing sculptor Ron Mueck.

Ron Mueck, Boy, mixed media, 1999
This startlingly life-like sculpture of a young boy is even more amazing when you see that in reality, it's over 5 meters tall.
Andrea Merola / Corbis via
Whoa, weird, huh?  It gets even weirder. Giant tiny newborn.

Ron Mueck, Baby, Mixed Media (silicone, polyurethane, wood, synthetic hair), 1996
Or for contrast, this artist, Dalton Ghetti, who carves sculptures out of pencils, the type of work my sculpture professor called monumental miniature.

A tiny saw made out of a single pencil, but it looks like you could use it. via
Usually around the time young artists are around third grade, they start to get a real kick out of altering scale in their own artwork. It works well in landscapes, but there are lots of other ways to play with it as well- my students love to make things unexpectedly tiny- like little dinosaurs crouched under flowers and mushrooms or giant things you'd expect to be tiny- insects bigger than people! Watch out!

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