Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Week 4-Elementary Art-Lascaux Caves


One of my favorite art subjects to teach kids is about the Lascaux Caves.  If you have never heard of them, check out this video:


I didn't have internet access available to me during class today so I could not show them the above video as I had planned.  Instead I told them the story of how 4 boys and a dog found the cave in 1940 in France.  I showed them photos of the cave drawings from this book:
We talked about all the different images that were drawn and how they might have told stories of hunts in prehistoric times.  I also told them the sad reality that Lascaux is now closed to the public due to bacteria that was brought in by visitors that was contributing to the decay of the paintings.

We then worked on are own cave drawings.  I used brown wrapping paper cut into approx. 16"x20" pieces. We crumbled up the pieces and then added a brown tempera wash over the paper.
While we waited for our paper to dry(a hair dryer helps in this process!), I read a fiction book to them called "The First Drawing" by Mordicai Gerstein.
While doing my research for this project, I came across a lot of different titles that looked great for kids.  I was limited by what my library had to offer.

We made some stencils of different animals that the kids were interested in putting on their drawings.  We had looked at all of the colors used in the original cave paintings which brought a great discussion on earth pigments and the use of these particular colors due to their lasting properties.  For the drawing, we used pastels and I was lucky to find this set of earth tone pastels on Amazon.
The kids had fun trying to decide what they were going to draw.  I thought that they might be frustrated with the limited palette but I didn't hear one kid mention it at all  They really embraced the whole concept of doing accurate cave drawings.
Here are some photos of the kids working on their pieces:

Here are some the kids' final pieces.  By the way, I sprayed fixative on each one so it wouldn't end of being a mess on the car ride home!




Thanks for stopping by!  Next week we will be learning about symmetry in art in the elementary class.


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sunday Art Inspiration

For the last few years, I have been a little obsessed over haystacks.  It is to the point that I saw a painting one of my artist friends did of haystacks and I was actually jealous that she had found some haystacks to paint!

When people think of haystack paintings they automatically think of what Monet did.





Who doesn't love a good haystack painting?

However, all haystack photos are not created equally.  I can drive by some random haystacks in the mountains but if the day and time are not right it doesn't make such an interesting photo.

Carlton Farms in Williamsburg has plenty of horses grazing around but just recently they added some haystacks.  In 10 years of living here, I don't remember seeing haystacks there but I'm lucky that they are so close.

Last night after I left my new studio(more information on that later!) I thought the sky looked beautiful so I drove over to see what the haystacks looked like.  I was able to get a few nice photographs.




I have no idea if I can paint anything from these but one has to admit that these are some beautiful sky photos.  What a beautiful night.

I am going to play around and crop some of these and study them for awhile.  I would like to add some color into them like Monet's haystacks.

Stay tuned!



Thursday, September 28, 2017

Weeks 2 & 3-Paper Sculpture Leaves-Elementary/Teen Art Classes



We did a 2 week project in both my elementary and teen classes.  I was really pleased in how it turned out and I think the students enjoyed doing this project as well.  We used a product that I just learned about called Paperclay.
It's available at Michael's, folks!(Bring your 40% off coupon!)
Probably the hardest part of the project is going out and finding suitable leaves.  This is definitely a early fall project here in Virginia because you don't want to use dried leaves.  I went out each morning we were doing this to get fresh leaves for the kids to use.

Disclaimer:  I have to fess up and let you know that this is NOT my original idea for an art project.  I didn't even know Paperclay existed until I found this lesson plan from my good friends at Dick Blick.

The kids rolled out the Paperclay and pressed the clay onto the BACKS of the leaves.  I had to explain to them that it wasn't going to look as nice if we used the fronts because we needed the veins to be protruding on the leaves.  It brought up a great discussion with the little kids on what leaves were the best to use out of the bag I brought.  Hydrangea?  Good leave to use.  Maple?  Not so good but a challenge never-less.

Another challenge was getting the little kids to understand that they needed to make holes in their clay leaves BEFORE the leaves had dried.  I had a couple of kids disappointed when they tried to make holes at the end of the project when they decided they wanted string to hang them.

I used take-out boxes from Dollar Tree for them to place their leaf sculptures in.  This made it easy for me to transport home and bring back to class the next week.

The following week had us use tube watercolor paints to paint our leaves.  I find that most children do not have experience with tube watercolor paints.  They think watercolors are basically the pan watercolors in the 6 dishes that get yucky after you use them for awhile.  I explained to the kids that it is my mission in life to BAN those watercolor boxes from kids' to use!  I think it turns them off from wanting to use watercolors. 


I had the kids try to experiment by using different colors between dried layers of color.  I used my samples to show them how wonderful purple looks shaded on top of green. 

The final step is what I think makes this project look really good.  I let the kids chose a Pearl EX pigment powder which I mixed in acrylic medium to wash over their leaves. 

It gave the leaves a beautiful iridescent finish that really made them look wonderful.





I would love to know what you think of our project.  I think the kids really enjoyed this one!

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

"Emily's Donuts, #1", Acrylic on Gallery Wrap Canvas, 4"x4", FOR SALE

"Emily's Donuts, #1", acrylic on gallery wrap canvas, 4"x4"
Until very recently I have been grain free/gluten free.  For about 2 years.  For some reason(maybe it's because I have been looking at a lot of Wayne Theibaud paintings), I have fell off the gluten-free wagon.  Usually it's my kids that talk me into going to the closest donut shop.  Recently it is ME who is suggesting donuts.

This is a tiny painting I did.  It's 4 inches by 4 inches on gallery wrap canvas.  I did something different tonight.  Usually I meticulously draw out my subject on the canvas first before I start painting.  My philosophy is that if I can figure out all the problems out in the drawing process then I will have less trouble when I start to paint.

I was just too anxious to get in the studio tonight.  I just wanted to paint but all my "work in progress" paintings were not inspiring me this evening.  So, I unwrapped this small canvas and just started going at in.  It felt great to finish a painting in one evening.  My mixed media paintings take so many steps that it is rare that I get a finished piece in one night.

I am selling this through my Daily Paintworks site.  FREE shipping to the lower 48 states.

Thanks for reading. :)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Social Artworking


Soon I will start offering paint nights using paint and designs from Social Artworking.  I picked the designs from this particular company because I thought the designs were fun to do and look at.  I am available to do paint parties at your location.  Cost per participant will be $35.00 which includes all supplies.  If this is something that you are interested in doing with your friends, please contact me at lisabwiertel@gmail.com and we can talk further.  I have included some of the fall designs that I would like to offer.  I would love to know what you think.





Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 25, 2017

"Merrily, Merrily", Mixed Media on Panel, 6"x6"

This is mixed media piece that is composed of a lot of different materials and has been well over a year in creation.  I know a year sounds like a long time but read below to give you details into my process.

The wren was drawn with Prismacolor art pencils on mixed media paper about a year and a half ago. I tend to keep a portfolio in my car with various art supplies.  I have 3 kids-17, 15 and 10 and I am driving around a lot.  I tend to be waiting for them in cars whether they are a sports practice, doctor's appointments or a music lesson.  I hated not using that time in a fulfilling way.  I was finding myself surfing social media on my iPhone or calling someone on the phone to take about nothing special.  Having my art supplies handy means that I am always creating and a few steps away from a completed painting.

This is how this piece started-in my car being drawn while waiting for my kids.  Just a single solitary wren looking for a home!

The brown background is on a wood panel.  I did something new that I am going to explore more in the future.  I used modeling paste that I colored with Liquitex gold acrylic paint and put it through a stencil.  I still had no idea what the end result was going to be.  I added the vintage sheet music and pieces of lace that I cut out.    Then I realized that this was a good surface place to put the wren that had been nesting in my studio.

This piece is available to purchase through Daily Paintworks.

Thanks for stopping by!




Monday, September 18, 2017

Sunday Art Inspiration

My son has been mountain-biking for over a year now.  That means that I spend a lot of time at various parks hiking while he mountain bikes with his team.  That is great for me because I love being outdoors in any kind of weather.  I find that being outside inspires me continually.  I see things and it is almost like it goes in a file cabinet in my brain to recall when I need inspiration.  I find this especially true on cold, dark winter days.  Sometimes I think that those memories are what get me through winter.

I thought it would be nice to share images that I took on Sunday as I hiked close to 6 miles in Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield County, Virginia.  I had never been there before and I won't make it my last visit.
Light reflecting off of leaves is something that I find myself over and over again taking pictures of or just staring at.  Sometimes it's trying to figure out all the different colors of green that I am seeing.  Or it might be how the light shines on certain leaves almost making them turn white.  How the limbs of trees intersect each other and the designs they create entertain me.


Being outside in nature relaxes me in a way that nothing else does. I don't feel anxious at all being by myself even if I am miles away from the nearest parking lot or road.  My senses are more in-tuned with what is around me.  I feel comfort being there at that moment.

Sometimes I fantasize about hiking the whole AT.  I would love to have my body synchronize to the light.  I would love to wake up in the early morning and go to sleep when it's dark.   Most of all I would love to experience everything that the Appalachian Trail has to offer me as an artist.  More things to file in my file cabinet in my brain.

Thanks for reading my random thoughts,