Sunday, December 16, 2012

Holiday Gifts of Art

Tis the season to give original artwork. Black and white photographs and handmade collages are available in my Etsy shop at affordable prices. Each item purchased will arrive beautifully wrapped and shipping is free in U.S.

Friday, December 14, 2012

BASC Fall 2012: Sculpture Class

On the last day of our three day Styrofoam sculpture project the students painted their sculptures. The students made palettes on paper plates. They mixed their own unique colors using primary and secondary colors. Almost all used brushes to apply the paint, but some used their fingers as brushes. The plaster strips created many nooks and crannies that were challenging to cover in paint. However, I thought the white areas left behind created texture. Some students who were absent last week used masking tape to cover their Styrofoam sculptures and that worked well too. A wide variety of materials were used for this project. Each phase entailed a great deal of work. I am very proud of my students, who never lost interest or energy. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

BASC Fall 2012: Sculpture Class

Our art studio felt like an art hospital as students wrapped and smoothed their plaster strips onto their Styrofoam sculptures like doctors putting on casts. I bought a 5 lbs. box of plaster strips online and it was enough to cover eight large sculptures. I cut the plaster strips into squares so it would be easier to work with and the waste would be minimized. To activate the plaster strips they had to be submerged in warm water. I found warm water in the school cafeteria, and filled two pans and two containers. The plaster is dusty, but not too messy. The students enjoyed using their hands to wet and smooth the plaster onto their sculptures. They worked really hard. I think it would have been easier for some students if their sculptures were smaller (the size of a loaf of bread). Also, many of the sculptures had odd angles, curves and appendages that made it challenging to cover with the plaster. Overall the students enjoyed exploring this new material and were challenged with applying it onto their sculptures. Some students asked me where they could get plaster strips to use at home. Their interest and enthusiasm showed me that they were transferring what they had learned in the art studio to their real lives. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

BASC Fall 2012: Sculpture Class

For weeks I have been collecting Styrofoam. I gathered Styrofoam molded in interesting shapes from the school trash, where I teach during the day. I also pulled my car over to the side of the road one morning on my way to work, when I saw a recycling bin overflowing with Styrofoam at the end of a driveway. Once I had enough Styrofoam I was ready to teach a three phase sculpture project. The first phase students create a 3-dimensional object using the Styrofoam. Students connect pieces of Styrofoam with toothpicks and tape. They shape the Styrofoam with their hands and scissors. This type of sculpture is called modelling, because it is assembling rather than taking away (carving). The next step students cover the Styrofoam with plaster strips. The students use their hands to lay and smooth the plaster strips onto their pieces. Plaster in strip form (gauze covered in bits of plaster) is a new material we will be exploring. The plaster strips permanently join the pieces of Styrofoam and unify the art work. Once the plaster has dried students can paint their sculptures.

My blog post next week will chronicle the 2nd phase of this sculpture project - using plaster strips!

Friday, November 16, 2012

BASC Fall 2012: Sculpture Class

The students in my sculpture class knew that red, blue and yellow are primary colors. Almost all of the girls knew that green, orange and purple are secondary colors. Fortunately, I had both primary and secondary colors on hand for the students to use, but if they desired another color they would have to mix that color themselves. The girls didn't mind filling their palettes with paint and mixing their desired hues. In fact, I think they enjoyed creating their own custom colors. Even though the wooden sculptures (made during the last class) looked great au natural, they were all getting a coat of paint. Some applied one color, others used two-colors, while even more chose multi-colors. Most used brushes to apply the paint, but a few used other methods. One girl used her fingers to dab the paint on. Two girls created interesting textures - one flung the paint on with her fingers (Jackson Pollack style) and another created a marbleized effect. When I talked to the girls during the art process I asked them how they came up with their painting techniques. They told me that they did it instinctively. I thought they felt safe and secure enough to try new things and take risks. The painted sculpture above looks like a painting. The sculpture and paint have morphed into a cohesive whole.

Friday, November 2, 2012

BASC Fall 2012: Sculpture Class

After a tough week dealing with weather related issues The Bronxville School came back to life today. The after school sculpture class was happy to be together again. The girls shared their experiences from the past week, while building wooden sculptures. I ordered two 5 pound boxes of assorted wooden pieces for this project. I sorted the pieces out on a work table by size - small, medium and large. The girls were eager to select their pieces and begin designing. Students made several trips to the box as their sculptures evolved. Many sculptures started out looking like one thing, then transformed into another. I saw students use balance, symmetry, and unity in their sculptures. Each viewer had their own ideas about what the other sculptures in the class looked like - a race track, a bowling ally, a person. I never can be sure what sizes, and shapes the pieces will be in the box, but I know they will provide many creative possibilities. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

BASC Fall 2012: Sculpture Class

A good teacher needs to be prepared for anything! When I came to The Bronxville School to teach my regular Friday afternoon class there was a lot of activity in the classrooms and hallways. Teachers and staff were in the midst of preparing for a potential weather emergency. Since The Bronxville School is prone to flooding anything on the first floor that is mobile was being moved to a higher floor or out of the building as a precaution. My art supplies are kept on the first floor and were being moved out of the building. Instead of painting the soft sculptures the students made the week before, I was left with a bag of assorted materials and a teacher's can do spirit. I had scissors, markers, paper, masking tape, string, foam beads, and self-adhesive letters. Students began by making signs with their names on them, then moved on to beading. A girl spontaneously started to make snowflakes, and before I knew it we were all making cut art. Everyone shared their cutting techniques for unique snowflakes. One girl surprised me by making a mini soft sculpture out of paper scraps and masking tape (photo above). Another girl made small foam sculptures scattered on a piece of paper. She carefully placed one foam bead on top of another and stuck them together with tiny rolled-up pieces of masking tape. All my students used the materials I provided well and were very creative. They also showed me that I am an effective teacher.

Friday, October 19, 2012

BASC Fall 2012: Sculpture Class

Soft sculptures are made with heavy weight paper, staples, and recycled newspaper strips. This project has multiple steps. The most important step is the design process. A design with small, narrow areas will not work. It will be difficult to stuff these areas with newspaper and the paper could tear. Designs with bigger, or more rounded areas will be easier to stuff with newspaper and be more successful. Spend time reviewing designs with students and have them revise their designs if necessary. Use paper that is heavy weight and fold the paper in half. Students should draw their design on one side of the paper. Carefully cut the design out so you have two identical pieces. Staple both pieces of paper together and leave an opening in a strategic spot so you can stuff the sculpture with newspaper. Once the sculpture has been stuffed staple the sculpture closed. The newspaper will bring your sculpture to life. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

BASC Fall 2012: Sculpture Class

A few years ago I went to Alaska and was in awe of the totem poles I saw there. I have been looking for a way to incorporate totem poles into my art classes ever since. Today, I had the kids make their own personal totem poles out of clay. Family, personal interests or pets inspired their totem poles. They rolled, pinched, pulled, and molded the clay. Pieces were attached by scoring (scratching the surfaces of the pieces being attached) and adding slip (a clay paste). Students carved into the clay to add detail. Wings, turtle shells, ears, elephant tusks emerged from the clay giving them dimension and life.

Friday, October 5, 2012

BASC Fall 2012: Sculpture Class

I was excited to meet new and repeating students at my kids sculpture class at the Bronxville After School Club (BASC). BASC is an after school enrichment program offered to students in grades 1 - 5. I have been teaching art at BASC for five years and always get inspired by what my students create. Using recycled foam as a base and pipe cleaners to create forms the students made gardens, cars and abstract designs. One sculpture initially looked like a cage, then turned into a car (photo above). As the students became more comfortable working with the foam and pipe cleaners they began to look for ways to expand on their creations. Toothpicks were used to attach the additional foam pieces. One student made a staircase, and others added on multiple levels that provided more room to create. At the end of class they shared their work proudly with each other and gave nice compliments. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

New Collages on ETSY

Night Sky

To see more collages visit my Etsy shop at:
Over the past few weeks I have been collaging in my summer art studio. I have created over 20 new original collages.
I have incorporated graphic elements such as lines, pops of color, and textures in the collages. Some collages are sleek and modern, while others convey a rustic charm. I have also spent considerable time breaking down my collaging materials, analyzing them, then reassembling them in the cubist style. This collection reflects my love of nature and the natural beauty that surrounds us. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Summer Arts at HBMS

Creating soft sculptures is a multi-step process and can be easily differentiated to meet the needs of your students. This project incorporates fine motor skills such as: drawing, cutting, stapling and painting. First students come up with an idea. The best ideas are ones that stem from their interests. If students are working on something that they know and like it is a sure bet that they will be engaged in the project. Students drew on a large piece of paper. (Make sure that the paper has been folded over like a flap so later when they cut out the object they have two identical pieces.) I use butcher paper, but any heavy weight paper will work. I recommend that the objects don't have any areas that are too pointy or narrow, because it is hard to stuff those areas with newspaper strips. Once the object is cut out the two pieces are matched up (they become the front and back), and stapled together. Leave one area open so that you can stuff the sculpture with recycled newspaper strips. Fill the sculpture until it is plump, then close up the opening with more staples. Painting is the final step and brings the soft sculpture to life. After the paint has dried students can embellish further with colored tissue paper, glitter, yarn, buttons and so on.

Summer Arts Program at HBMS

I believe that it is important that children learn to work together to achieve a common goal. Over a four day period I selected two different art projects to stress collaboration in my art classes. 
 During the beginning of the week the students worked together on a mural. The first step was to brain storm ideas, decide on a design and begin to sketch elements. It is important that children get a chance to share their ideas as well as listen respectfully to others. Students can be selected to write down the ideas and sketch out the design. The second day students began painting the mural. The final day was spent discussing how to make improvements to the mural and adding embellishments. Overall, students worked well together and the most successful murals were the ones where everyone participated. 
The second art project was a shared collage. Students glued one item on a piece of paper then passed their collage to the person on their right who continued the collaging process. Students were hesitant at first to share their collage, because they were afraid another person would "mess it up". However, I observed the students were equally creative and respectful of each other's art. The finished collages came back to the original person with new twists on the earlier versions of their collage. In the end I think everyone was satisfied with their finished collage.

Summer Arts Program at HBMS

Over the course of several days students at the Summer Arts Program at Hoff-Barthelson Music School explored painting without brushes. 
Students used golf balls dipped in paint to create paintings that had energy and movement like Jackson Pollack's action paintings. A palette of light and dark colors that worked well together produced endless combinations of unique paintings. 
Mark Making is a technique students used to create a variety of designs using the edges of index cards dipped in paint. Index card edges were used straight, curved, and bent in an L shape. Students created a variety of appealing patterns on the paper with their index cards. 
Instead of brushes students blew through straws to move the paint around their paper. Both one color and multiple colors produced interesting and organic paintings. Images naturally revealed themselves to the individual viewer.  

Summer Arts Program at HBMS

Working quickly students placed items from nature on their Sun Print paper before exposing the paper to the summer sun. UV light from the sun reacted to the paper and created positive and negative images. After the paper had been fully exposed to the sun it was placed in a water bath to stop the developing process. Once the water dried the paper turned a deep blue where it was exposed to the sun and white where objects had been place. Sun Print paper was easy to work with and offered endless creative possibilities.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Collage Workshop at MVPL

You could hear a pin drop in the community room at the Mount Vernon Public Library. Everyone was working on their collage with so much concentration that the usual banter amongst the collagers was absent. Bark from a tree, fabric and sports magazines lay next to each other waiting for someone to claim them for their collage. Two boxes overflowed with collaging materials I collected over the past few weeks around my home and from friends. Felt, sponge, a puffy pipe cleaner, a piece of yarn and images from a magazine were collaged together to make a person with a goatee wearing a red scarf (photo above). From so many different pieces comes one great idea!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Collaging Workshop at MVPL

I introduced the students to paper weaving - weaving strips through paper warps. Warps in different colors lay next to a pile of colorful construction paper strips. The strips acted as weft or filler which go through the warp ends. "Over then under, over then under," I repeated. " I know," a student said, "I just follow the pattern." After the first row was completed the next strip went through the warp in the opposite pattern to lock-in the strip above. One student used a yellow warp, and yellow and red strips in his paper weaving. He said it reminded him of ketchup and mustard!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Collage Workshop at MVPL

During the fourth collage workshop at the Mount Vernon Public Library I read Mark Reibstein's Wabi Sabi to the children before they started collaging. Wabi Sabi is a children's story about a Japanese cat named Wabi Sabi, who goes on a journey to find the meaning of his name. After I read the story out loud to the children I asked them if they knew the meaning of their name. Some children nodded their head yes, while others were not so sure. The book peaked their curiosity though and made them want to find out the meaning of their name. The children's name was the central focus of this collage workshop. From a big pile of alphabet stencils children found the letters that spelled their name. I taught the children how to trace the letters by holding down the stencil with one hand, while the other hand went around the edges of the letter with a pencil. Children collaged around the letters and inside the letters using felt, colored tissue paper, plastic shapes, and yarn. Some children used yarn to outline the letters in their name. I saw a wide variety of collages. Every name collage was different just like the children. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Collage Workshop at MVPL

During the third collage workshop at the Mount Vernon Public Library children were able to chose their own collaging materials from a wide assortment of items. Fabric, ribbons, papers, packing materials, plastic netting, bottle tops, and so much more was strewn across the work table. Children pondered the possibilities as they examined the materials. The little girl in the photo above carefully arranged the foil on her cardboard base, then ran back to the materials table to see what else she could find to add to her collage. One child broke the plane of the paper and transformed his collage into a city. Another child made a birthday card with tissue paper hearts and bows. I never get tired of watching the children work. They were excited, and busy creating the entire class. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Collage Workshop at MVPL

Have you ever looked up in the sky and seen a cloud that looked like an animal, or an object, or a person's face? I have. In Eric Carle's Little Cloud a small cloud transforms itself into different things such as a sheep, an airplane, trees, and a hat. This book was the inspiration for cloud collages that the children at the Mount Vernon Public Library created using their memories or imagination. Some clouds came off the page (crumpled paper), others were colorful, and one collage was made up of soothing organic shapes that reminded the artist of the ocean. This collage workshop is funded by a generous grant from ArtsWestchester.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer Arts Program at HBMS

     From June 25th to July 27th I will be teaching art at Hoff-Barthelson's Summer Arts Program (SAP) in Scarsdale, NY. Hoff-Barthelson was established in 1944 and is the largest community music school in the country. Hoff-Barthelson is nationally recognized for providing high quality music education, performance and outreach. 
     I teach four classes daily and each class meets for 45 minutes. Classes are comprised of students from diverse backgrounds with ages ranging from 10 to 15. Students will be exploring different art mediums and artistic styles. This is my 4th summer teaching at SAP.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Collage Workshop at Mt. Vernon Public Library

A Letter To Amy by Ezra Jack Keats was inspiration for the first collage workshop I taught at the Mount Vernon Public Library. Peter, the main character, passes many colorful fences (plywood fences that typically surround a construction site or vacant lot) as he takes his letter to Amy through the rainy, windy, urban streets where he lives. Keats makes the fences beautiful by collaging colorful pieces of paper with interesting designs or type written on it. The children at the Mount Vernon Public Library turned plain newsprint paper into colorful, patterned paper by doing rubbings at designated spots in the room. Once they collected a variety of rubbings they selected a piece of recycled cardboard for their base. Most cut the paper but some tore it to fit their design. They carefully arranged and pasted their papers down on the base. A Letter To Amy gave the students a purpose but once they started collaging their imaginations took off. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Collage Workshops

Every Monday afternoon from June 25th to July 30th you will find me at the Mount Vernon Public Library teaching a collage workshop. Teaching collage in a community center such as the library gives many neighborhood children the chance to be creative while exposing them to collaging techniques and new art materials. I am using children's books such as Carle's Little Cloud, Keats' A Letter To Amy, Lionni's Pezzettino, and Reibstein's Wabi Sabi as inspiration for the collage projects. Recycled materials will be used when possible. These workshops are made possible through a generous grant from ArtsWestchester.

Monday June 25, July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
2 - 4pm

Mount Vernon Public Library
28 South 1st Avenue,
Mt. Vernon, NY

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A New Series of Photographs

Last Winter I began taking a series of photographs that mainly focused on different types of lines. I found that I was able to capture interesting images that contained a variety of line, shape, and texture. I have developed and matted these photographs. They are now available for viewing and purchase online in my ETSY shop.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Pop-Up Photo Album

BASC Spring 2012: Pop-Up Class

The Bronxville After School Club (BASC) concluded their Spring classes this week and my students and I have made our last pop-ups together. They learned a variety of pop-up techniques and created their own pop-up book. I documented the class each week by photographing the children's work. Click on the photo above and it will take you to the pop-up photo album. I hope you enjoy their pop-ups! 

Friday, March 30, 2012

BASC Spring '12: Fasteners

"A bee's legs fold-up when they fly," explained a boy in my pop-up class. His bee is attached to the paper with fasteners so he can manipulate the body and head. The sun rotates as well. Students were eager to use the fasteners but struggled to come up with ideas. They eventually came up with some very interesting moving parts. One student made a dog flip around; another created a movable roof on a house; and several others had twirling flowers. The best part for me, after the teaching, was giving them the freedom to imagine and the tools to bring their ideas to life. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

BASC Spring '12: Slides

These are not playground slides but pop-up slides! Pop-up slides are images that move up and down or side to side on a strip of paper that is woven through another paper (inserted between slits in the paper to be exact). Images can be of anything. It's fun to use images that some how alter the scene on the page. For example, the slide could be a hat that moves on and off a person's head. Another idea for a slide is a dog that looks like it is going for a walk as the slide moves back and forth. It is important to use heavy weight paper like card stock so the slide works smoothly. Tabs at the end of the slide that say "push" or "pull" in a different color from the slide are a nice detail to add.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


MYLAR, a poetry collection, by Eric Wertheimer is now published and can be ordered directly from BlazeVOX
I designed the book cover for this little gem. It is exciting to know that my creative efforts will be a part of Eric's writing legacy. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

BASC Spring '12: Pop-Ups

After teaching my students how to make pop-up mouths and noses I showed them how to make a Vase. Basically, a Vase is an upside down nose. I reviewed with the students how to make the cut and folds. Once they made a Vase I asked them what they were going to put in their Vase. Some students turned their Vase into a cone and added scoops to the top. Other students had an animal like a dog (above) or rabbit coming out of the top of their Vase. And, a few had Easter eggs popping up. Whatever the students chose they made it their own by adding distinguishing details and color.

Friday, March 2, 2012

BASC Spring '12: Pop-Ups

Teaching pop-ups can be challenging when you are working with children who are on different levels developmentally. Every time I teach a pop-up lesson I think a lot about how I am going to teach. Today, I had the kids follow along with me step-by-step as I demonstrated how to make pop-up mouths and noses. I felt this teaching strategy has been the most successful so far. All the children were engaged in the learning and fewer children needed one-on-one assistance. In between teaching I quickly moved around the room to check in with my students. All of them did a mouth and some a mouth and a nose. The children's art work is evidence of their learning. A few folds and a cut produce mouths and noses that are then transformed by the children into incredible characters.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Gallery Exhibit: Piecing it Together

Piecing it Together at the Mount Vernon Public Library
February 9 - March 27, 2012

Natalya Aikens
Michael Albert
Dara Kane
Luis Perelman

Piecing it Together is an exhibition of works by four Westchester artists who exemplify the range of this quintessentially modernist medium in the 21st century. Their pieced-together art works challenge the expected and the everyday.

Mount Vernon Public Library
28 South First Avenue
Mount Vernon, NY 10550

Art work credit: "Brillo Flag" by Michael Albert

Friday, February 17, 2012

BASC Spring '12: Flaps

During my pop-up class I introduced four different types of flaps - regular flaps, hinge flaps, any shape flaps and fold out flaps. Flaps are made out of paper and are affixed to another support. They can cover an illustration, text or movable illustration. When the flap is lifted it reveals an image or word. I demonstrated how to make each type of flap; I used a pop-up book to show examples of each type of flap; and gave students a handout on flaps to use as a visual aid. The students who are older and more confident sat together to work on their flaps. At another table I worked one-on-one with a smaller group of students who needed my guidance. Once students mastered making the flaps they set to work on drawings that would give their viewer the biggest surprise. I think they showed a lot of creativity with the designs they put on and under their flaps. Yum, yum!

Monday, February 6, 2012

BASC Spring '12: Pop-Ups

The Bronxville After School Club (BASC) started Spring Classes last week. I am teaching a new art class that focuses mostly on pop-ups. Pop-ups have always intrigued me, so I am excited about learning and teaching students how to create all types of pop-ups. During the first class students learned how to make a Step. Although it was difficult at first to cut and fold the paper properly to create a crisp Step many students quickly got the hang of it. I was impressed that some students even took the time to create a scene around their pop-up. Each student got a blank book which they will fill weekly with the pop-up they learned that day. By the end of the course each student will have made their very own pop-up book.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Connections: The Teaching Artists of Westchester

View four of my original collages in a group show
at the ArtsWestchester Bank Building, White Plains, NY

Please join me on 
January 13th for the opening reception
from 6 - 7:30pm 

Friday January 13, 2012 - Saturday February 11, 2012
Artists from ArtsWestchester’s teaching artist directory present their work of painting, sculpture, digital art, photography, film-making and acting in an all media exhibition

Friday January 13, 2012 - Saturday February 11, 2012
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Tues-Sat, 12-5pm;
Opening Reception: 1/13, 6-7:30pm