Monday, August 30, 2010

More Paris

Well I'm back from Paris after a whirlwind 10 days. Still struggling with jet lag and trying to get organized for school which starts in 3 days.

It's hard to belive so much history, culture, architecture, and art can be contained in one city.....truly inspiring.
If you bear with me I just have to post a few more pictures......

Here is the main gate to Versailles. Originally a hunting lodge for the King it became the main palace for Louis the 14th.  Please feel free to click on the photos to see larger.

Inside you once again find yourself staring at ceilings......

Here is a portrait of Marie-Atoinette who was married to Louis the 16th.

This is the famous Hall of Mirrors 70 metres long with an amazing ceiling and mulitplie works of art.

The treaty of Versailles was ratified here in 1919 ending World War 1.

Here is a gallerie at the Grand Trianon or the summer palace which is in walking distance of the main palace.

Here is my photo of the Louvre back at the old palace in the Tuileries quarter.

Here is the "Wedding Feast at Cana" by Polo Caliari or Veronese which is in the same room as Mona but tends to get overlooked.  Veronese packed 130 life sized figures onto this 7x10 metre canvas. I loved the cat in the bottom right hand corner.

Another favorite is Coronation of Josephine by Jacques-Louis David.  Another 6x10 metre canvas that you need to see to appreciate.

 and a view of the Arc de Triomphe from the street.
That's it for now.  My husband has the bulk of the photos but he is still in Europe.  My head is buzzing with ways I can incorporate everything I saw into new projects. Thanks for suffering thru the vacation photos and I hope to have new tutorials up shortly.

P.S. sorry for all the spam in the comments section but it seems I have been targeted by some unscrupulous vendors........I'll try to keep a handle on it. They are just so annoying...I'm averaging about 8 a day.
See you soon!

Friday, August 20, 2010


Well I'm here in Paris having an amazing time.  Despite my jet lag I have been pounding the pavement the last few days trying to take everything in.   Everywhere you turn there is something awe inspiring.  I just want to paint every street scene.

Here is Notre-Dame.

With incredible it's incredible facade.  This is part of the Portac of St. Anne as you are walking in the door.

Once you are inside there is stained glass at every turn capturing your attention.

  I made my first trip to the Louvre yesterday.  I was there when it opened and ran to the Grande Gallerie with everyone else to get my 10 seconds with "Mona".  I could then relax and take in and contemplate all the other work that fills the Denon wing.

Like Ghirlandaio's "Portrait of an Old Man and a Boy"

and Caravaggio's "The Fortune Teller".

The "Venus de Milo" did not disappoint.

The ceilings were absolutely breathtaking and more elaborate as you went on.

I can't wait to see Versailles tomorrow.

I'll try to post more photos when I get a chance...the Wi Fi is pricey and a bit tempermental.

See you soon. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

An Adventure in Paris

Well I am off to Paris tomorrow where I plan on spending lots of time here at the Louvre as well as Orsay, the  Musee Orangerie, the Musee Rodin etc, etc,......

This is my first visit so I am very excited to immerse myself into all this culture and history. As well as a chance to try out my rusty French.

I plan to blog along to keep my family up to date so if you are interested you can tag along.

Au revoir and I'll see you soon!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Mini Landscapes- A lesson in Horizon Lines

Part of teaching art is dealing with concepts that can be "boring" for kids.  By this I mean all the guidelines for composition, color theory, tonal value, etc........So I'm always trying to find projects to teach them basic concepts but are a bit more fun.  When you deal with composition you are trying to instill that "artist's eye", that sense of proportion that captures attention.
One of the main guidelines for composition is the Horizon Line or if you want to get fancy "eye level line or line of sight".  I use Horizon Line as kids in Division 1 (Kindergarten to Grade 3)  quickly grasp what a horizon is, we just look out the window. (Horizon: where the sky and the earth meet)

If you ask a child to draw a horizon line, chances are they will take a piece of paper and draw a line horizontally smack dab in the middle or will use the bottom edge of the paper as their horizon line so everything tends to be "floating".

We want to teach them the rule of 3rds but me talking about it won't get their attention they need to see for themselves and this is where my mini landscapes come in.  Incidently this is an important concept for all you adult artists so give it a try.

Some of the things I collect for school are old calendars and mats.  You need both for this project.  You can also make a mat using paper strips taped together.  Take a good landscape image and ask each student to place the mat on the picture and find a good view.  Often kids choose a view with the horizon dead center.

Get them to move it around until they find a few good views.  At this point I'll bring up the "rule of 3rds", how the picture seems more captivating if the sky and land are unequal....  if the horizon is in the lower third or the upper third of the picture.  I also talk about putting an object of interest (like a tree, mountain) off center.                                                             Take some watercolor paper and divide into sections.  Here I'm using 9.5x11 paper so I'm just dividing into quarters....if your picture is larger you can have more sections.  Each area is only about 3x4 or so don't make them too large. (than it won't be a mini)

Using painter's masking tape, tape off your sections.
Select a view and start painting it.   Then move your mat around for a second view and paint it.

Keep painting 4 different views with the horizon in different proportion.  For really young kids keep it simple, blue sky, the ground, and maybe a tree.

Leave to dry fully and then remove the tape.  You can keep it as one page or cut into sections.  A good display is showcasing the series of mini landscapes with the reference photo.

After completion I ask the kids to pick their favorite view and lo and behold it is usually a horizon in the lower or upper third.  Give it a try and I'll see you next time.