I’ll have to wait to see rosebuds. Snow’s predicted tonight. In the meantime the Library of Congress is celebrating with Spring Fling pop-up exhibits, music and tours. Everyone’s invited!
Swirling Colors, Decorating Papers
Pattern, texture, color, and a project with beautiful surprises! This month twenty-three students at Yorktown High School created designs for book covers. I joined them as a guest artist, collaborating with artist and educator, Erika Lucas. With Erika, the students experimented with watercolor painting and carving and printing stamps. I brought materials for marbling papers.
There are some tricks to successful marbling. A good way to start is with shaving cream. It’s easy to squirt the cream onto a flat surface, spread it, and then gently drop or splatter ink on top. Drawing ever-so-lightly with the tip of a skewer or plastic spoon, the students made swirls and patterns in the colors. They placed a paper on top of each design and pressed softly to make contact everywhere. Then, lifting up, gently scraping the cream from the paper, and rinsing revealed a bright image!
The students went on to explore more traditional techniques. Once again, a light-as-a-feather touch led to success — swirling patterns of color.
My daughter planted seeds and placed the pots in our kitchen window. They’ve sprouted! We forgot to label the containers, but we’ll recognize some of the vegetables by the shapes of their leaves. As for the others … oops! Expect a few surprises.
In April and May, I’ll join first graders to create art inspired by nature. One of the first things we’ll do is sketch the plants sprouting up at school. The students love to remind me to “visualize.” It’s fun to close our eyes and think of a picture and then paint it! Here’s my painting of the salad I’ll eat — made up of vegetables grown in the next few months.
How do you imagine you’ll enjoy the outdoors this spring?
I’m excited to hear from Mary Van Dyke at Green STEM Learning about a group that shares ideas for school gardens and outdoor learning — the Virginia Association for Environmental Educators.
For information on caring for a backyard garden, I check the web site of The Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia.
And when I feel like sitting down with a book, I read about vegetables, herbs and their botanical families in Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison.
Looking forward to spring harvests!
updated: March 17, 2016
Dancing. In my dreams. Last month I broke my femur. Thank goodness the surgeon put it back together. Now I’m painting and thinking about dancing. Maybe in the spring.
One of my favorite fairy tales is The Twelve Dancing Princesses by Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm. I have A Little Golden Book published in 1954. The story is retold by Jane Werner with pictures by Sheilah Beckett. I love the colorful dresses, the trees studded with leaves of silver, gold and diamonds, and the mystery of it all. Where do the princesses disappear to in the night?
What is your favorite fairy tale?
Drawing at the Smithsonian American Art Museum
This fall I’ve enjoyed drawing in the courtyard at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. I’ve met several talented young people, and three of them allowed me to photograph their work. Jennifer’s drawing (on the left) captures the activity at the museum during the Big Draw Family Day, and Amelia’s (in the center) is a colorful design of her dream house. A third anonymous artist drew the geometry of the courtyard skylight in bold black and white.
The museum offers free drawing sessions in the Luce Foundation Center on Tuesday afternoons. The exhibit, The Civil War in American Art, recently opened and will be on display until April 28, 2013. Don’t miss it!
A Moment for Art
How to enjoy a moment of relaxation and fun at noon? I spent an hour today with the staff of Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. First we sampled a delicious assortment of salads by artist and chef Nevin Bossart. Then we experimented with printmaking. I brought the paints and colored papers, as well as a collection of leaves and flowers — maple, sweetgum, peony, yarrow and lavender. Part of the fun was seeing all the amazing creations. I met nurses, chaplains, interns and clinicians, and we chatted about art, color, techniques, day-to-day activities and the scrumptious food! Everyone celebrated with cake and bid farewell to a staff member who is moving overseas. The event, a monthly feature of “Caring for the Caregivers, ” is sponsored by Lombardi’s Arts and Humanities Program under the direction of Nancy Morgan.
Persephone and the Pomegranate
Preparing for a funeral …
I stepped into a virtual tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and paused to read about a Greek marble relief showing Persephone and Demeter. You might remember the myth as I do. Persephone is kidnapped by Hades and tricked into remaining in the underworld for several months each year. He tempts her with the divinely ripe red seeds of the pomegranate.
Yellow, pink and blue irises bloomed near my door this month!
I’m starting to paint again.
Also, I’m updating my web site at www.lizmacklin.com
Shops open in Cairo today. May peace, religious freedom and respect for individual rights prevail in Egypt, in the United States and throughout the world!
Who can resist browsing through galleries with elaborately decorated coffins, mummified ibis, bronze cobras, linen baboons and gold amulets inlaid with stones in brilliant blues? Egypt, your antiquities provided inspiration for me time and time again.
I send my gratitude to the young people standing guard at the Egyptian Museum. When its website reopens, visit the collection. Until then, take a virtual tour of the Brooklyn Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Two of my favorite books for children include
ABC: Egyptian Art from The Brooklyn Museum by Florence Cassen Mayers, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, 1988
Aida, the story of an Ethiopian princess who falls in love with an Egyptian warrior, as told in the opera by Giuseppe Verdi, retold by Leontyne Price and illustrated by the award winning artists, Leo and Diane Dillon, Harcourt Brace and Company, 1990