Posted tagged ‘Art’

Thoughts from this Year

December 21, 2017

My love of picture books has made me realize our lives are imitating the art and text found in picture books.

Two-year-old twins and a four-month-old have reduced my daughter and son-in-law into babbling, sleep-deprived parents. They now greet us with, “Welcome to the circus!” Yup, Dr. Seuss’ If I Ran the Circus pretty much says it all for them!

As for Mimi and Poppy (a.k.a. grandma (me) and grandpa), The Poky Little Puppy and The Little Engine that Could aptly describe us as we try to keep up with the endless energy of the little ones. There’s never a dull moment when it comes to babysitting. Our only downtime is when all three are asleep. That’s when Mimi and Poppy enjoy a glass of wine and do a happy dance before we collapse.

The twins are a mixture of classic picture books. They can…

be great friends like Frog and Toad

cause a rumpus like Max in Where the Wild Things Are

misbehave like David in No, David!

share like in A Weekend with Wendell

have a cranky day like Alexander, and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Or they can be adorable and loving like in Guess How Much I Love You

Our newest granddaughter takes it all in and holds her own. She’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, slowly finding her place in the world until she joins the “Twin Pack,” and they become “Three Amigos,” who, undoubtedly, will be up to some mischief.

We love being close to our family, but it’s also nice to be surrounded with the peace and quiet of our home, to enjoy our friends, and to reminisce about our youthful days when we, too, had an endless supply of energy. Luckily for us, we struck gold with our family and friends. Life is good. We hope yours is too!

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Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

 

 

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Radiant Art

May 4, 2017

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.” ~Henry Ward Beecher

I was not familiar with Jean-Michel Basquiat until I read, Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, written and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe, Little, Brown and Company. This book was awarded the 2017 Caldecott Medal, the 2017 Coretta Scott King Award for its illustrations, and the 2017 NAACP Image Award Nomination for Outstanding Literary Work.

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From an early age, Jean-Michel knew he wanted to become a famous artist. His mother was a creative spark in his life, exposing him to literature, theater, museums, and the energy of New York City. His father brought home old paper from the office on which Jean-Michel drew for hours. When his mother became ill, Jean-Michel lost an important mentor in his life. More than ever, drawing and painting were his passion. At night, he spray-painted poems and drawings on the walls in the New York City. His pieces brought attention to the city’s diverse population and its social and political issues. Basquiat’s unique style was embraced by art critics and fans, and, at a young age, he achieved his goal of becoming a famous artist.

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” ~Edgar Degas

What makes this book truly amazing is Javaka Steptoe’s eye-catching illustrations. In the back matter of the book, he provides more information about Jean-Michel Basquiat and adds a poignant author note. Javaka Steptoe was inspired by Basquiat’s work. He saw his graffiti in New York City, read about Basquiat in the newspapers, and went to one of his art shows. In illustrating this book, Steptoe says he used his own interpretations of the artist’s works rather than using copies. The end result is a book filled with vivid illustrations inspired by Basquiat and his unique style. Through his text and art, Javaka Steptoe exposes readers to an extraordinary artist and offers them an opportunity to learn and appreciate artists and their compositions.

“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.” ~Pablo Picasso


 

Color Me Shocked

August 21, 2012

I am a librarian in a very unique school. It’s old. Through the years, there have been many add-ons and changes. The library used to be the girls bathroom, the kindergarten room is the old library, and the art room and pre-k room share space with the cafeteria. A patchwork of floor coverings can be found throughout the school – hardwoods, carpet, tile, and epoxy floor covering. (You can drive your truck on it!)

The hallways and classrooms are a rainbow of colors:

Halloween Orange

In-your-Face Yellow

Boring Baby Blue

Shocking Pink

Pond Scum Green

Putrid Purple

For those of you who are charmed by colorful areas, this could be called a Fun House of Learning, but for an interior decorator, it’s a House of Horrors.

I reside in the In-Your-Face-Yellow room. The color can bring out your sunny personality, or it can give you a killer headache. No matter what, I find our school is a perfect teaching tool for preschoolers to learn their colors.

Get ready, little ones. Your first library experience will be a walking field trip around the school and then it’s time for books – books about colors.

Here are some classic books mixed in with some new ones that are perfect color choices.

Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff

Red Sings from the Treetops:  A Year in Colors written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski

In a Blue Room written by Jim Averbeck and illustrated by Tricia Tusa

Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? written by Bill Martin, Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle

Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni

A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni

Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert

For Fun:

I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! written by Karen Beaumont and illustrated by David Catrow

For Art Lovers:

Vincent’s Colors  by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Vincent van Gogh

Color me read!

Teacher Appreciation Week

May 11, 2012

The teacher’s lounge is filled with cookies, cake, fruit, salty snacks, and candy. It’s Teacher Appreciation Week – also known as The Week You Gain Five Pounds.

Normally, the parents in our school are thoughtful and very supportive, but during Teacher Appreciation Week, they go all out. Besides the goodies in the teacher’s lounge, the Home & School Association treat the teachers and staff to a delicious dinner. Along with the meal, everyone is presented with a gift made by the Pre-K through Eighth grade students.

This year we received note cards. They’re something every teacher can use – for thank yous and for those “we need to talk” moments. I love these note cards!

Pictures were taken of art projects classes worked on throughout the year and made into note cards. Creativity abounds!

Some days being an educator can be disheartening. Then something wonderful happens — a smile, a completed homework assignment, an “aha” moment by a student — that makes you remember why you chose teaching as a career. It’s nice to be recognized by students and parents, but I’m glad Teacher Appreciation Week comes only once a year. Otherwise, we’d all have to join Weight Watchers!

A special shout-out to all you caring parents and students!

A Dork Visits the Library

March 27, 2012

When I told a teacher friend of mine I was going to the Boston Public Library while I was on spring break, she kiddingly called me a dork. Okay, I’m a dork, but I love to visit libraries. Metropolitan cities are known for their culture, art, and history. Boston exudes all of these — just look at the Boston Public Library.

It has an inviting entry.

Look at these doors!

It has sculptures.

It has paintings and murals.

It has amazing architectural details — and people!

 

It has a courtyard to relax, read, and enjoy a bite to eat in a quiet spot.

It has books – lots of books, including 1.2 million rare books and documents. It also has the Bates reading room.

New York Public Library has lions. Boston Public Library has lions, too!

I also visited The Margaret and H.A. Rey Children’s Room. It wasn’t as impressive as the rest of the library, but it was filled with books.

No matter what — the day was bright and brisk. The MBTA, better known as the T, was manageable. The library was awesome, and this dork is glad she went!


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