Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Just Sketchin' Around

As an art teacher my favorite way to keep kids busy and out of trouble is art making. This is true in and out of the art room.

Case in point, my current "job" is not as an art teacher. It is as an office manager at a music school where kids come for lessons everyday. Some days these kids can be a little rowdy, especially in the summer and especially when they come with friends because mom is babysitting. This was the case last week. Some very sweet and angelic on their own girls were getting a little antsy being inside on a warm summer day. Initially, I gave them all blank copy paper on clipboards and encouraged them to make some drawings of instruments. The girls had a better idea. They were going to draw each other. "Portraits! How wonderful!" I thought. Then suddenly they all decided to draw me.

Well, if they were drawing me then I was going to draw them. There was not much time, but I did manage a quick sketch of the youngest of the girls who sat near the window and very seriously worked on her own drawing. Here is that sketch:

"Lauren" Copyright Margaurita Spear, July 2014, Graphite on Copier Paper

Sunday, July 20, 2014

June Art Journal Exchange: Wild Rabbits!

The art teacher journal exchange has sadly lost some of its momentum. Several members have delayed completing and forwarding their journal entries, but life happens, so what can be done. The "May" journal did not arrive to me until late June, so it was not completed until almost July and then I forgot to post about it. So here it is.

For this journal entry I decided to share a little story involving two wild brown rabbits that were spotted on the side of the road. This painting is a two-page spread completed in Acrylic.

"Two Brown Rabbits: A True Story" Copyright Margaurita Spear, June 2014, Acrylic on Paper, Private Collection of: Lisa Blitstein-Beynon

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

This Printmaking Project Was A Hoot To Make: "Owl"

Since I had pulled out my lino-cutting/printing supplies for the collaborative print, I decided to try another reductive block print on my own. This particular print series isn't exactly a straight forward block print though because the backgrounds are all monoprints so there is definite variation.

Here are the backgrounds before the image was begun:


And here is one of the finished prints. I pulled four artist proofs and ten finished prints.

"Owl" 2/10 Limited Edition Print, Copyright Margaurita Spear 2014

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Collaborative Print Project

My gosh! I am behind on post updates, but that doesn't mean I haven't been busy. Maybe just a little forgetful.

Back in June, I created an alphabet lino-cut for a collaborative print project. This is the print being pulled (photo: The Museum of Printing, North Andover, MA); mine was the letter "I".


And here is the block and a test proof that I pulled before sending it along.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

North Shore Art Teachers Association Needle Felting Workshop

As an art teacher, it is such a compliment to be invited to present a workshop to other art teachers. That is the compliment I was given a few weeks ago when I presented a needle felting workshop at the North Shore Art Teachers Association.

I realized a few things during this workshop. One is that I make strange shapes with my mouth when I talk (or maybe its just that the camera always caught me forming a vowel sound). Another is that art teachers are amazing art students. Even though they came to the meeting tired after a long day of teaching, they all left feeling relaxed and happy and with tools, knowledge and materials to make more felt creations on their own.

Here are some images from the workshop. And at the very end of this post, you can find the pdf of the handout all the teachers received. This handout is packed full with historical context, online resources, shopping guides, tips and tricks, and step-by-step photos of projects. Happy felting!

Here you can see the selection of sample needle felted animals I brought along.   



There's one of those weird mouth shapes I mentioned. And a good image of my favorite beginner book Wool Pets.  












 



These are some of the teachers in the process of felting...





And some happy faces and projects by the end of the workshop...






And, as promised, you can download your own pdf of the informational handout here:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Needle Felted Wool Critters

In gearing up for a workshop I made lots of sample projects. Each one took a few hours and all were "first time ever" attempts. Here they are:

Little lamb... this one was one of the easier forms to work with.

Sleeping kitty... close up you would see some of the careful sculpting and musculature.

The unicorn may be my favorite.

This one had a mind of its own... I had not started out making a bird but the form appeared.

Tried my hand at some embroidery effects, but all with wool not embroidery floss.

The Cadbury bunny from last month's workshop joins the menagerie.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

April Art Journal Exchange: Paint, Texture & Aquatic Inspiration

I'm really glad I joined in on the art journal exchange for 2014. At the very least it forces me to do SOMETHING creative each month, even if it is just this two-page spread. In April's entry, the owner of the art journal made her own book using painted papers. I chose two pages that spoke to me is some way and added more paint, used some texture tools (like paint scrapers and bath poofs -- yes, I LOVE using poofs to get texture), envisioned sea creatures, made the drawings, and voila --- a work of art!

"Sea Creature" Mixed Media on paper, © Margaurita Spear, April 2014, Private Collection: Beth Allums

Monday, May 5, 2014

Rotational Motif #10 "Chakra Energy"

Rotational Motif #10 "Chakra Energy"  © Margaurita Spear, May 2014
The latest in the rotational series of paper quilled works was created as a gift for a woman housing a beautiful healing spirit. The colors and even the central imagery were inspired by the seven chakra points: root at the bottom and working upward to sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye and crown. The same colors circle the outer edge and appear in the border. The circle around the central design is golden yellow representing healing energy/light.

As with previous pieces, this piece incorporates repetition, pattern, and symmetry. It is only 5 1/2" square, but because of the intricacy inherent in its design still took almost 30 hours to complete.

Friday, April 18, 2014

First Ever Felting Workshop... A Success!

Wool felting comes in lots of colors!
 While I've done needle felting myself, I had never taught a class on it until today...

The calm before the class arrived.
It was a small workshop of only 9 students ranging in age from 8 to 18 years old. Most were closer to twelve though. I started out with a brief intro about the materials leading into a very stern safety talk about the sharpness of the needles and the importance of staying focused while felting to prevent serious injury. I did also say that as beginners they probably would either stick themselves with the needle or break the needle and that both were okay (we had a supply of band-aids and extra needles just in case).

Some in progress images...
My 18-year old student shaping the end of her bunny's "body".
Attaching a head takes some patience.
Shaping some hind legs.

Some "finished" bunnies and one guinea pig...

Yup... that's a band-aid from a needle felting injury.
This young crafter had a fear of bunnies so she made hers a guinea pig instead.


Friday, April 4, 2014

March Art Journal Entry: Inspired By Books

With my recent involvement in promoting art workshops and fundraisers that are coming up, I forgot completely to post the March art journal entry from the year long art journal exchange I am participating in. 

The March art journal prompt came from a fellow art teacher who is making her art journal out of a book of fiction. She gave many suggestions for how to add to the book and my page was inspired by the text itself. Here is the entry for March, "Tales of Creatures That Flew". I think I was envisioning gargoyles.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Danvers Dog Park Fundraiser: Learn to Make A Charcoal Dog Portrait

You may remember about a year ago I donated a pair of oil painting for an art auction to benefit the Danvers Dog Park. Well, the park is still raising funds -- it costs a lot to build after all. This time I am donating my time and talents in a different way. For starters, I will be offering two workshops during the April Vacation Week (one for kids and one for teens/adults). In these workshops I will teach participants how to work from a photograph of their pet to make a portrait using charcoal.

The date: Thursday, April 24th
The time: 3 - 5pm for ages 8 - 12 and 6 - 8pm for teens & adults
The place: Hosted by the Salem School of Music, 3 Pleasant Street, Salem, MA 01970

All proceeds go to the park fund. I am taking no fee as an instructor and the Salem School of Music is donating the use of their space.

Here is the flyer with all the info on that...



And in tandem with the upcoming workshops, I will be making lots of charcoal dog portraits. Its been a while since I took commissions, so I wanted to revive the muscle memory through practice, practice, practice. To get my source material I had to ask my friends and they came through with lots of photos of their doggies. For each portrait I make, if the owner wants to purchase it, I will donate all of the sale price to the dog park. Stay tuned, for posts of the results.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wool Felting Workshop at the Wenham Museum


I will be offering a workshop for crafters age 8 to 100+ at the Wenham Museum on Good Friday. And what better project to make than a little felted bunny, just in time for Easter. So check out:

 "Wool Felting Fun"
Friday, April 18; 1:00 – 3:30 pm
Members: $20, Non – Members: $25
Register by: Sunday, April 6
Learn to craft a palm–sized felted animal to take home, along with some tools and instructions so you can continue to craft with confidence. Art instructor Margaurita Spear will teach you how to work with unspun wool roving and a few other easy to find materials.  
Ages 8+ 
978-468-2377 | Info@wenhammuseum.Org