Maurice Sendak

PictureBook Illustrations

Author/Illustrator Maurice Sendak is my choice today. He was born on June 10, 1928 in Brooklyn, New York, to Polish-Jewish immigrant parents. Now that I know he was from NYC, I like him even better. Sendak described his childhood as a “terrible situation” due to the murders of members of his extended family in The Holocaust. I believe that his unusual approach to writing and illustrating was influenced by this .

His Life Story

He was a sickly child, in bed often, who started drawing to fill the time. At the age of twelve, he decided to become an illustrator after watching Walt Disney’s film Fantasia.

I can relate to Sendak because, when I was a child, I used to pretend I was sick so I could go into the guest room and have my mother buy me Katy Keene comics.

Maurice studied at the Art Students League. Like…

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ABC I Like Me

Slanging Paint In 160

Our new project was addressing the art principle of color. We first visualized a rainbow in our heads, and then discussed the colors we saw. This allowed them to be introduced to Roy G. Biv!


After that we watched a video.

Then talked about that there were only three colors that can make all the colors in the rainbow called Primary Colors.


Then we watched another video.

After that read a book called ABC I like Me. We discussed that we would be drawing a self-portrait and we discussed our faces, heads, necks, shoulders, arms, hands, body, and legs while I drew an example from what the students mentioned.

Then they went to their tables and drew themselves starting with a Multicultural Crayon. (We’d also discussed using realistic colors) Then when they had completely drawn themselves, colored in their clothing, skin, etc, they were asked where…

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If You Hold a Seed – Children’s Book Review

Susan Fae Art

If You Hold a Seed – by Elly MacKay

This lovely story is about a growing boy and a seed, it reminds me of the Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. However, the illustrations in If You Hold a Seed are very different. I was pleasantly surprise when I found this book in the children’s section of the library, not only is Elly MacKay a Canadian author & artist she has an Etsy shop,Theater Clouds, where you can purchase her illustrations.

The theme of this story is simple; dream and love what you are dreaming about and it will grow into what you believe. The lighting in the scenes is sensitive and soft, the shadows create the 3D effect. The scene where the little boy has made a tent of fabric and chairs with his teddy bear, tells the part of the story where protection and love help…

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“Why Are There No Blue Dogs?”

Little Bird's Dad

20130904.BlueDog750Tuesday night, after the night shift nurses in the Hospice had dimmed the lights so everyone could settle in for the night, and after everyone left his side,  my Uncle Joe quietly passed away.

I never really got why folks were so impatient with Joe.  A lot of folks thought he was stupid – retarded was not an uncommon description.

In reality, he was just a goofy man.

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Ten Things You Should Never Say To Your Music Teacher

Even though I teach visual arts….I can relate…

The Trombonist's Mouthpiece

Inspired by an excellent post by SamPsychMeds.

We teachers hear lots of different things from our students throughout the day. Some of it brings a big smile to our faces, some of it warms our hearts, and some of it reaffirms why we became teachers. This post is not about those things.

1. Are we playing today? No, we’re not making music in music class today.

2. Can I go down to [insert teacher here]’s class for some extra help? Sure, as long as they send you down here during their class so you can catch up on some of the stuff you missed.

3. I forgot my instrument. That’s cool. I forgot to wear pants today.

4. This piece is dumb. Actually, if you can give me a couple of valid musical reasons for not liking a piece, I might let it slide. Maybe.

5. I can’t make…

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Paint Bellows and Lace Circle Stencils

No matter how young or old my students, they never tire of splattering paint! This is a great alternative to paint brushes for little hands, and the doily a great new alternate way to create an art snowflake! Just have the students repeat the curves on the outer edge by cutting around the shape.


Feature-Image-lacebellowsExtending our exploration of Paint Bellows, I’ll show you how to use this unique painting tool to create beautiful stencil art combined with our Lace Circles! Read on for more details!

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4th Grade finishes up their Trees

Smart idea!

Art Class With LMJ

4th graders are finishing up their collaborative projects by adding the leaves that they collected outside from last week.  Students simply were handed the leaves and as a class, collaborated on what they wanted to do with the leaves.  Some crumpled, some carefully glued them, so broke them apart.  Others kept the leaves in the tree while others spread it out like they were falling off the tree.  This was 100% decided by the groups – I just handed them the glue.

From here we will create frames for our work using cardboard and also bring a writing component into the project.  Not much to report, but wanted to share our progress.

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Printmaking in Middle School

Awesome printmaking ideas!

Art Class With LMJ

One of my all-time favorite units to teach is printmaking. All-time favorite.  I love the possibilities.  Problem is – I also hate messes.  And printmaking? Oh man, without the proper procedures…is a mess!  I have the usual procedures and expectations that help run the class but printmaking always has a few extra procedures for students to take note of.

Printmaking ink is messy.  Of course, so is regular paint.  But the thickness and stickiness of printmaking ink is always on a different level.  It ends up on areas of your clothes you didn’t know for goodness sakes.  To avoid the mess, we open the “Ink Station“.

My basic procedures are simple.  Students treat the ink like Nutella.  A serving size is a a bite size amount on their plate.  It’s not a small taste and it’s not a a big bite that they are looking for.  We walk…

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