In October of 2020 I was fortunate to be able to present art making workshops at Circulo de la Hispanidad on Long Island, Colgate University and La Casita Cultural Center in Syracuse. This was made possible in part, by a NYSCA Decentralization Grant award.
These experiences allowed me to present a variety of programs to such a diverse group of people, who created amazing work based on their identity and culture. I was especially proud of the fact that most of the participants were women who, in their own words, had never considered themselves capapble of creating “art” and brought their own traditions and experiences to the process, producing thoughtful artwork and very fond memories.
When I was teaching technology in a private elementary school, one of my favorite projects was this family history/art/literacy/social studies mashup. I began the project by telling the students a story my mom used to tell me about how she grew up on a farm at the edge of the ocean in Colombia, South America with my grandparents and her 3 brothers and 2 sisters. Each day they would all would wake up right before dawn and have breakfast, which consisted of a boiled egg and unpasteurized milk still warm, directly from the cow. Then the “girl”, sort of a nanny that was in charge of taking care of them, would march them all down to the ocean to bathe before they went to school or started their daily events. It all seemed so magically strange to me as a child and so incredibly different than our own morning routine.
My mom, abuela and great-aunts were always telling stories about their childhood and our family. The more I heard these stories, the more I realized what a rich history I was a part of. I’ve done my best to keep these stories alive through my art and re-telling to any one of my 3 children that will listen.
I presented the project to the students as an interview. A way for them to create questions that would provide them with knowledge about their families that they might not be aware of, they could choose anyone they wanted to interview. Most of them chose to contact grandparents, some of which were in other countries or states. They used email and phone calls to reach them. I was amazed at some of the stories that they were able to transcribe. I know they were pretty amazed themselves!
We learned about the grandfather who was taken hostage in the Middle East (he survived), the Hakka people of China, why a mom became a speech pathologist , early immigrant life in New York and so much more.
By sharing their stories, we all learned about geography, cultures, history and each other. Our older generation has a lot to say and some day we will be there as well, with our own stories to pass along.
This project is a great way to bring family together and preserve oral histories. Right now families are not just separated by distance, this is a great way to bring us all closer together to celebrate our humanity. We can now also go beyond email to Skype and zoom and interview family and extended family all over the world. What a wonderful way to learn that we all have stories to tell.
Click on the blue link for some prompts you can download to get you or your students started with the interview process: TELL ME A STORY The image on this page is of a book I made about my abuela Luisa, using the prompts.
If you’d like to see a step by step video on how to make an accordion book to preserve your family stories, visit Art Out of Anything on FB. You can also subscribe to our You Tube channel for more project videos.
I hope you consider doing this project with your class, your family or on your own. You can always contact me at email@example.com with any questions, schedule a full PD workshop or share your artwork.
No paint at home? No problem! You can make dyes and paint at home using vegetable scraps and fruit. In one of my previous videos, Drawing with Glue, I showed you how to use condiments like turmeric, paprika and cinnamon as pigments, today we’ll be using food!
** Be sure to have help from a grownup because there is some boiling water involved**
In today’s video available at these links – on FB and Instagram you’ll see how you can use carrot, beet, lemon and blackberry dyes to make a bubble painting, straw painting and a funky texture painting.
I have included the link to download a wonderful picture tutorial from http://meyamo.com/ that I followed to make these dyes.
I didn’t have any powdered sugar, so I left that out. This gave me a paint that is very close to watercolor and I was able to use the same techniques I use with watercolor paint.
Orange carrots, purple carrot, frozen beets, blackberries and lemon
Watercolor paper – you will need sturdy paper. If you don’t have card stock or watercolor paper, I suggest gluing a few pages of copy paper together or gluing copy paper to a piece of cardboard. This will prevent the paint from soaking into the paper completely.
This is a great use for any older fruits and vegetable scraps you have. You can also use any jars or plastic containers you’ve been saving or have in the recycling pile to store your paint for future paintings.
The concentration of color depends on how much water is added to the fruit and vegetables. Although the color may be very light at first, it does dry darker and once your first layer of paint is dry you can add more to make your color more vibrant.
Make the straw painting by dropping puddles of paint on the paper with a brush or spoon and blowing the paint around, producing some really abstract designs.
Adding salt to the wet paint will give you an interesting texture. See how the texture changes by adding more or less. Once dry, brush or tap off the salt and see what your texture looks like.
If you don’t have any paintbrushes, you can also use a cotton ball or a make up sponge! This sponge gave me 3 sides to get interesting prints from.
As you can see, there are many ways to experiment with your natural dyes. What other kind of natural paint has been used throughout history?
Here are some links to more resources about that –
Hello! today’s project is super simple but can be expanded and transformed into anything you like! Collage is an art technique that almost everyone has used at some point. It lends itself to so many possibilities and can be created with just about any materials you have on hand.
As always you can see the full video project at Art Out of Anything on Facebook and Instagram. Brand new project videos on Tuesday and Thursday every week.
For today’s project I chose the following supplies –
Paper – all kinds to tear up like magazines, construction paper, tissue paper, copy paper etc.
Pencil and/or marker
Paper to draw my shape on and as the canvas for your collage
Choose shape you would like to fill. I chose a heart but also drew a silhouette of a cat. You can also use coloring book pages or print out coloring pages or line drawings and use those as your shape guide.
Tear the collage paper into small pieces to fit your shape. Optional – you can also cut your paper into pieces with scissors. Tearing is also a really good fine motor skill to practice.
Start gluing your pieces to the inside of your shape as if you were coloring. You can overlap pieces or place them next to each other. You can also leave space in between pieces. Try all different ways to fill in your shape.
Once completed, add one coat of glue to the entire surface of your collage to glue down any loose edges. Here is my completed heart shape collage which I glued onto a page from a magazine, cut around it, then glued onto another full magazine page to make a border. The red page was a perfume ad so the heart smells pretty too!
Of course you can also come up with your own theme for a collage! Here are some examples of collages my students made that describe their favorite place –
You can also make a collage using only shades of the same color, only faces and more. Challenge yourself to create a collage landscape using only pictures, like they did in the examples above of their favorite place. What picture do you think they used to represent the sand? Hint – it’s an advertisement for flooring.
Picasso and Braque were the first to use collage they way we recognize it, in their work. Here’s a link to a fantastic article, with photos of amazing collage work by famous artists My Modern Met – Collage Art
I love insects. I love reading about them, drawing them and creating mashed up illustrations of insects and other animals! David Kirk’s stunning paintings that illustrate Miss Spider’s Wedding, remind us how beautiful insects are and also how beautiful a little feeling called love is too.
When I decided to make insects for this project, I didn’t have any clay or dough and I thought maybe other people might not have any either. SO, I have made some simple insects using paper, tape, straws, shish kabob sticks, paint and glue. You can also use chopsticks and Q-Tips or pencils.
Below you will find links to sites that show you how to make your own dough at home, learn more about insects and some free downloadable templates for inspiration.
Wings – I am sure you have probably seen this classic symmetry activity. It’s the easiest and prettiest way to get pairs of wings for your insect.
fold a piece of paper in half
place paint, directly from bottle or tube, near the center crease of the paper.
add as many colors as you like but make sure you are using small amounts of paint. You don’t want the paint to leak out!
once you have all the paint colors you like, close the paper on the crease so it’s folded again
begin spreading out the paint in between the two halves of the paper.
You can see the paint faintly through the paper and can shape the wings by using your hands and spreading the paint. Open your paper and you have your wings!
In my project, I used an 8.5″ x 11″ piece of copy paper and once dry, was able to cut out 3 pairs of wings.
I also made a “bee” using paper and tape. It’s easy to mold paper into shapes and hold together using tape. You can watch me complete that little bee on the video.
Science Connection – Insects are some of the most interesting species on the planet. Here are some links to learn about the difference between insects, bugs and more –
Today we have 2 projects to explore, one that can be used over and over again and one that is unique and one of a kind.
Finger painting is a great activity for kids of all ages and adults too. It provides a wonderful sensory experience and promotes fine motor skills while providing a relaxing, creative activity. It’s not as popular as other art projects unfortunately because it is most definitely super messy. But what if I told you, you could finger paint without turning your hands (and maybe your furniture) into a paint palette? ?
Well you can, with some simple supplies!
No Mess Finger Painting
Plastic baggie (preferably Ziploc although you can tape the top of the baggie to prevent any paint squeezing out).
Paint – acrylic, tempera, washable paint is best. If you have no paint, you can mix up some instant pudding or use one of the recipes listed in the links below to make your own “paint”.
Optional – Q-Tips, end of paintbrush handle or pencil
Pour paint into the plastic baggie. If the paint is too thick, mix it with a splash of water before you pour it into the baggie. Paint should not be too thin.
Carefully squeeze out all excess air before sealing bag. Add tape to the top to prevent any leaking.
Once your baggie is ready, you can use your fingers, Q -Tips, or the rounded end of the paintbrush handle or pencil eraser end to create designs.
It’s fun to “paint” by removing, or “erasing” pigment instead of adding pigment, by moving the paint around and creating designs. This activity is also a wonderful way to explore elements of art such as color (primary and secondary colors) and negative space (the space around and between the subject of an image).
It’s super relaxing and fun to watch the colors mix and spread. Plus you can “erase” designs by gently rubbing and moving the paint around. You get a new canvas to create!
Our second project today is a MONOPRINT, a form of printmaking where the design or drawing can only be made once.
Cookie sheet or aluminum tray. I used a pizza tray today in my video, but I usually use disposable aluminum trays in my workshops. As long as your paint is non-toxic and water soluble you can always clean the tray after using.
Paint or a homemade substitute (see link below)
Mark making materials like Q-Tips, combs, fingers, plastic utensils etc.
Paint spreader – you can use a brush, stiff cardboard, paint roller or a brayer (if you have one!)
Spread paint evenly onto the tray with your paint spreader. The paint should be opaque and smooth, a nice thin layer is best.
Use your mark making tools to create a design. Try to work quickly since the paint may begin to dry and that would prevent getting a good print.
Your design will be reversed, so remember that if you are using words.
Once your design is ready, place the paper on top and gently burnish (rub) the surface of the paper to transfer the design from the tray to the paper.
Pull the print – as you’ve seen in our previous videos, gently lift off the paper, starting at the top from the tray.
As you can see above, some of my paint had started to dry so I ended up with a slightly uneven print. Sort of looks like a woodcut! This can also be called a reverse print because the design is made by the lines where there is no paint.
Here are some links to learn more about the elements of art and ways to make your own paint.
Be sure to visit, like and follow us on FB and Instagram for weekly project videos and read aloud story time for all ages. Contact Patty at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our professional development workshops, now available via Zoom and/or Google Hangouts.
You can also visit his house on the east end of Long Island in NY or virtually at Pollock-Krasner House. His wife, Lee Krasner was also an amazing artist.
Pollock’s paintings are not only colorful and lively, they also contain fractals, which is another example of how math can be found everywhere in art.
Today we will make our own action painting using yarn and paint.
Project Steps – the steps for this project work best being viewed but I will give you the abridged version here.
gather your materials – I used acrylic paint, pieces of yarn and embroidery thread, clothespins, cups, paper and paint.
cover you work space with an old sheet or tablecloth or even a garbage bag.
pour paint into cups, add a splash of water if paint is too thick
clothespins are used to pick up yarn pieces and dip them into the paint cups. Make sure to coat the yarn as much as possible with the paint.
once your yarn is ready, lift it out of the cup with the clothespin and drop it onto the paper that is your canvas. You can also drag the yarn on the paper or shake it so it create splatters.
I would suggest leaving the yarn on the paper until you have completed your piece so that the paint has time to soak into the paper. This also creates a more cohesive finished piece.
once you feel your piece is done, remove the yarn using the clothespins or your fingers. You can even use chopsticks or tweezers!
You can lay your finished masterpiece flat to dry or hang it. If you have runny paint on your piece, your painting will change as the paint drips while it is hanging. Just be sure to place some newspaper or another garbage bag under the hanging painting to catch the drips.
I mentioned the word fractals earlier. A fractal is a never ending pattern. They can be found in math equations and in the world all around us from tree branches to snowflakes. Scientists who have analyzed Pollock’s seemingly random placement of paint, have discovered these never ending patterns in his work. Can you think of how that would happen when he was dripping and dropping paint and lots of other objects into his paintings without any obvious intentional placement? I have my own theory but you have to watch the project video for that!
Here are some links to really interesting articles about their theories and what they found –
I hope you enjoy getting messy and exploring the wonderful world of fractals and art.
Follow us on FB and Instagram @artoutofanything for weekly videos and activities. You can also contact us at email@example.com or direct message us at FB and Instagram if you are interested in remote professional development workshops or homeschooling workshops.
Handmade paper using tissue paper scraps and Mod Podge.
Hello everyone, it’s a stormy day here in NY and perfect for making some home made paper.
There are a few different ways to make your own paper using recycled materials, most of them involve making paper pulp and lengthy drying times. Although this version is not as versatile as conventional paper making techniques, it is a lot quicker and can be done with a few simple ingredients.
Our new paper will also help us to explore the properties of transparency (see-through), translucency (partially see-through) and opaqueness (not at all see-through).
Supplies – plastic baggie ( I prefer the gallon size), white glue or decoupage glue (like Mod Podge), brushes, water, container, paper scraps. Paper scraps can include tissue paper, newspaper, magazines, paper towels, parchment paper (used for baking), gift wrap paper, tracing paper. Any paper that is on the thin side will work. Copy paper, construction paper and the like will probably not give you the same results, although I always encourage experimentation with materials! Knowing what doesn’t work is just as important as knowing what does.
cut the plastic baggie so you have 2 flat pieces of plastic. You will use one piece for now.
tear paper into strips and/or smaller pieces.
Glue method –
add some water to white glue in a container. The mix should look like thin pancake mix. If it’s too thick, it will take too long to dry.
Use the brush to “paint” glue mixture onto the plastic baggie. I do this in sections instead of covering the whole piece. This way the glue doesn’t dry out quickly.
lay down a layer of paper scraps on top of glue and “paint” another coat of glue on top of the first layer of paper. Place paper scraps on top of each other in different directions to make them bond to each other better. Think of a fabric weave, how the crossing threads bind the fabric together.
continue layering paper and coating with glue in between until you have at least 3 layers of paper and glue.
give the entire surface one last coat of glue mixture and set aside to dry.
Once dry, peel new paper off plastic baggie carefully. The glue method took a few hours to dry and produced a matte (not shiny), textured surface of new paper.
Decoupage Glue Method –
follow the same steps as above, but do not dilute the decoupage glue.
this method dries much quicker (30-45 minutes) and produces a glossy (shiny), smooth surface.
What can I do with my new paper?
Your new paper can be used to draw on, as collage materials for another project, as a window decoration even as wrapping paper!
Be sure to visit Art Out of Anything on FB for today’s complete video with step by step demos and more ideas to extend this project.
Here are some links to explore–
Free Stained Glass Patterns– print out these templates and trace onto the plastic sheets with a permanent marker to make a design with your paper scraps. Once dry, you can trace over the design with the marker again to make a stained glass window effect.
Although I have been presenting Professional Development workshops for teachers for quite a few years, I just recently started offering them as an independent presenter. I was thrilled to have been able to offer this workshop for Long Island teachers via the Huntington Arts’ Journeys in Education Program, which brings multicultural programming to Long Island schools.
The Path is Made by Walking: using Proverbs to Develop Cross Cultural Competence –
An introduction to cross-cultural competence in the classroom. Cultural competence is the ability to successfully teach students who come from a culture or cultures other than our own. By participating in activities that connect the cultures that shape us personally and professionally, we can begin to develop personal and interpersonal awareness and sensitivities that lead us to understanding certain bodies of cultural knowledge, to begin to acquire a skill set of effective cross-cultural and culturally responsive teaching.
Every culture passes down proverbs in the oral tradition. These traditions cross cultural lines by connecting us in a way that is personal and human. Participants will share proverbs and sayings that they remember from their childhood or adolescence. In choosing proverbs, we understand the commonality of cultures. In this workshop, participants create mixed media collages using a chosen proverb, followed by sharing time, discussion and Q&A.
It was a fantastic experience to meet 24 enthusiastic, engaged and talented teachers from many different backgrounds and disciplines. It was really special to know that not all were art teachers since this workshop is designed as a multidisciplinary project.
I am happy to see more core curriculum teachers embrace the idea of an arts integrated lesson and explore their own creativity.
Here are some in-progress and finished pieces from that day and some super nice quotes from participating teachers.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form below, if you are interested in bringing Art Out of Anything classroom or PD workshops to you school or organization.
“I love the idea of having kids choose a proverb that means something to them and illustrating it.” “Super engaging and insightful! ”
“Presenter was very knowledgeable and easy to listen to and understand.” “I’ll do some of the activities she demonstrated.”