Monday, July 22, 2013

Time out for Travel

I just have to share some of the artistic highlights of my annual summer "girlfriend week" before I continue posting about iPads and art lessons! I just returned from spending five days with two former teaching partners who have long since moved away from Centerville, Ohio, to more exciting cities like Boston and Philadelphia. Our annual visits over the past seventeen summers have often included trips to art museums, galleries, and theaters and this year was no exception. However, instead of taking the train to NYC, as we often do when our base is friend Alice's home near Philadelphia, we decided to venture south to the nation's capital, a city that was a totally new experience to me.

Although the famous monuments and memorials were wonderful to see, one of the highlights of my day in D.C. was a stroll through the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. I just love the chance to see works of art that I have only seen in photographs, especially works that I use as the inspiration for classroom art lessons. So I can't begin to describe how excited I was to see Roy Lichtenstein's House 1 and Claes Oldenburg/Coosie Van Bruggen's Typewriter Eraser, Scale X, two sculptures that I have often shown to my middle school students.
I especially liked being able to stand by the Oldenburg sculpture in order to give my students a better sense of its size.

I also discovered two new sculptures and artists, or at least new to me, while walking through the gardens. Roxy Paine's Graft was an amazing stainless steel and concrete tree. My photograph can't really do it justice, but in the afternoon sunlight it was simply exquisite.

My second discovery was a humorous parody of Rodin's famous Thinker, which can be seen at the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia. This sculpture by American artist, Barry Flanagan, titled Thinker on a Rock made me smile because for years I have collected various and sundry items with a rabbit motif, something that goes back to my childhood fondness for the animal for reasons I have long forgotten and can no longer explain!
Back in Philadelphia, we spent an afternoon at a fabulous art museum that I had never heard of before. The Barnes Foundation Museum houses one of the world's largest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist, and early modern European paintings, thanks to its founder, Dr. Albert C. Barnes. Not only were we amazed by the sheer number of works by Renoir, Cezanne, Matisse, Modigliani, and others, but we were enthralled by the way the works were displayed, as if each painting were hung as it was acquired, rather than by period or artist, as we usually expect in an art museum. What a treasure for the city of Philadelphia!
Check it out at, or better yet, pay a visit next time you're in town. And while you're there, have one of the best deli sandwiches anywhere at The Famous Fourth Street Delicatessen...yum!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Five Favorite Photo far!

This past school year was my first with iPads in my art room. My first grade students were the first group to go 1:1 with iPads which they were able to bring to art class on several occasions. Later in the year, I finally was able to add nine iPads specifically for art room use.

Although my experience with iPads and apps in the classroom is recent and somewhat limited, I have found a few that seemed to resonate with my students at different grade levels.

Percolator with ArtDoodles lettering
1. Camera! Although the iPad camera is just fine, I like the way this app allows students to use the different grids and a level to compose their photographs. There are multiple special effects and a video option as well. Just enough for elementary students who are ready for a little more than point and shoot.

2. Percolator: My students loved the various effects created by "percolating" their photographs, especially photographs of their original art work. 

WordFoto with ArtDoodles app

WordFoto with Camera!
3. WordFoto: This app is an easy way to add descriptive words and phrases into artwork. The free version of the app has plenty of options, although in-app purchases can be made to add more variety.   

4. Halftone: Who can resist creating cartoons? With this app, students can add word balloons and captions to their photographs, just for the sheer delight of being silly, or to tell a story with their images. This example was a photo taken with my Canon camera which had been transferred to my iPad using the iPad Camera Connection Kit.

5. Pic Collage: This app is a simple format for students at the elementary level to create "collections" of their photographs. The free version is a bit limited in its collection of "stickers", but there are still enough options to make some very nice presentations.

This summer I am downloading and experimenting with several other photo editing apps, but have yet to find any that are as student-friendly as these five.

If you are using photo editing apps on your iPads, what are some of your favorites?