Saturday, December 12, 2015

Alexander Calder

There is something magical about moving sculptures.  This month we are going to be studying the master of kinetic art, Alexander Calder.
Alexander Calder

Since this work is best seen in motion, I hope you will enjoy watching Calder playing with his circus sculptures in this fun video.

We are going to be making our own kinetic Christmas ornaments.  To complete this project, you will need the following supplies:

  • Crayons - minimum 8 color set, we recommend Prang *can be shared
  • Oil Pastels, 12 piece set, we recommend Pentel *can be shared

You may also want:
 I look forward to seeing you at 6:30 on Friday, December 18th!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Mary Azarian lesson extension activities

The snowflake prints that you made are stunning!  Great job!  

Complete project instructions available at

Mary Azarian’s beautiful painted woodcut prints highlight life in rural Vermont.  Her folk-art is featured in more than 50 books, and earned her the Caldecott medal in 1999 for her work illustrating “Snowflake Bentley.”


There are many books illustrated by Mary Azarian that you can borrow from your local library.  Here are a few of my favorites:


Watch a video of Mary Azarian describing her work on Snowflake Bentley & other woodcuts:


Read about Mary Azarian’s print making process

Visit the artist’s own site


Now that you've made your own print block, you can print it as many times as you would like.  Turn it into a tee-shirt with these simple directions.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Mary Azarian

This month's featured artist is Mary Azarian.  Her beautiful wood-cuts beautifully capture the New England landscape.  I'm looking forward to creating our own Christmas gift tags!

Please take some time to study the following image before class.  Can you describe the relationship between the people in this image?

A Gardener's Alphabet
Mary Azarian
To complete this month's project you will need the following items:

  • 12x18" construction paper, white - cut down to 12x15" 2 sheets per student 
  • 6-8 sheets of 8 1/2 x 11" scrap paper
  • Crayons - minimum 8 color set, we recommend Prang *can be shared
  • 9x12" Printing foam *1 sheet per student (can substitute a foam tray or plate cut flat)
  • safety gloves child size *1 pair per student (optional - to keep hands clean when handling ink)
  • Acrylic paint,12 piece set, we recommend Reeves *can be shared
  • everyday pencil - *2 per student, any quality.  You may also want a pencil sharpener if your child tends to press very hard.
  • Paint Palette (can substitute a few paper plates) *1 per student
Looking forward to seeing you on Friday, November 20th at 6:30!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Chagall Glass-work display

Our artwork is on display at the Bedford Public Library!  Stop by to take a look.  Hours and directions available here.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Chagall Extension Activities

Chagall was a pioneer of modern art. His brightly colored work drew from memories of his childhood, Judaism, and Russian folktales. Filled with fantastical creatures and surreal events, the creativity of these pieces continues to inspire viewers to search for meaning in his images.


A Picture for Marc  - This fictional story is based on Marc Chagall's claim that he never saw a drawing until age 16, when a classmate taught him to trace a magazine picture.

Papa Chagall, Tell Us a Story  - Reviews the life of Marc Chagall through stories that he tells his twin grandchildren.  Beautiful illustrations.


  • Try making your own gravity defying drawings using these instructions Bake your art! 
  • Stained glass window cookies are just as beautiful as they are delicious. Recipe


chagall quote rock
  • View images along with discussions of Chagall's work at artstory 
  • Color "I and the Village" onlin


Marc Chagall once said "When I am finishing a picture, I hold some God-made object up to it - a rock, a flower, the branch of a tree or my hand - as a final test. If the painting stands up beside a thing man cannot make, the painting is authentic. If there's a clash between the two, it's bad art." 
Do you agree?

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Marc Chagall

We are going to be studying an early modernist who worked in almost every medium you can imagine, Marc Chagall.
Marc Chagall
Calvary (Golgotha) Christus gewidmet
oil on canvas
Museum of Modern Art, New York
This month we will be working with glass. How fun is that?!  Please feel free to bring in a stroller or high chair to keep babies contained - we will do our best to keep the shards off of the floor, but I can't guarantee safety for little ones.

To complete this month's project you will need:

  • glass kit - *There are a limited number of glass kits available from our supplier, if you do not see your name on this list with the correct number, please get in touch with me as soon as possible  

  • Crayons - minimum 8 color set, we recommend Prang *can be shared
  • White glue, 4oz *can be shared (glue sticks can not be substituted for white glue)

See you on October 16th at 6:30!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Renoir Lesson Extension Activities

Renoir is best known for helping to establish Impressionism.  This style concentrated on natural unposed outdoor scenes, and dappled light. Instead of focusing on details, they used quick brush strokes to capture bold color rather than precise form. Renoir’s paintings were generally devoted to pleasant scenes of children and landscapes.  


The artwork we created this month will be printed onto gospels by the Pocket Testament League! Please volunteer to help with assembly if you can, and vote for your favorite two images.  The winning artwork will be professionally printed and distributed.


(note: the links below are affiliate links - thank you for your support.) 

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, The Primary Source Library of Famous Artists by Catherine Nichols
A simple yet detailed biography
Fun story with a mixture of real art pieces and illustrations



  • If you missed class, full instructions are available: Renoir inspired artwork
  • Don't forget to take out your supplies and experiment with them!  Lots of great oil pastel and watercolor resist inspiration is available here


Renoir once wrote, “I believe that I am nearer to God by being humble before this splendor (nature); by accepting the role I have been given to play in life; by honoring this majesty without self-interest, and, above all, without asking for anything, being confident that He who has created everything has forgotten nothing.” -source

What helps you to feel near to God?

Look up the word humility.  Do you think it is an important trait?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Pierre Auguste Renoir

Welcome to the 6th season of SKETCH!!!  I am thrilled to be able to share yet another year with you learning about amazing artists and their work.

Our first class is always a bit busy with supply distribution and introductory information.  I appreciate everyone's patience as we get started.  

Feel free to enter through either the front or the side door of the church. (directions here) I will have the registration table set up in the sanctuary, so just stop by on your way in and choose any table you'd like to work at.

When you arrive please sign-in and write name-tags for each child (and parents too!).  I try to use the kids' names as often as possible, but fully admit that I don't have everyone memorized despite my best efforts.  You can then pick up any materials that you ordered.  It is essential that you check your order for accuracy.  I will include a copy of your order form and will note if anything is backordered. Please let me know asap if there are materials that you are missing.

Self Portrait
Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Oil on Canvas
Private Collection


Each month I will be sending you an image to study prior to class. This will help your child to become familiar with the artist, and will give them time to really appreciate the different techniques that are used. These are low resolution, and can be printed for educational purposes only.  If you are looking for art to decorate your home, please purchase prints.  The artists and museums will appreciate your support.

Place the assigned image where your child will see it often. Personally, I like to hang prints beside the children's bathroom mirror where they can look at it while brushing their teeth. This may seem a bit irreverent, but really, where else will they have time to simply gaze at a picture several times every single day? Other options include sliding it inside the front cover of the child's favorite school binder, posting it on the refrigerator with magnets, or using it as the screen saver on your computer.

This month we are going to be looking at the work of:
Pierre-Auguste Renoir 
February 25, 1841 – December 3, 1919
Girl with a Watering Can
Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Oil on Canvas
National Gallery of Art

We will be learning about impressionism as we create using a resist technique with oil pastels & watercolors. 


You do not need to bring every item on our supply list to class each month.  In order to complete this month's project each student will need to bring to class:
    • Watercolors - 8 color set, we recommend Prang  *can be shared
    • Water brush medium point *1 per student (Note: this is not the same as a watercolor brush) click through to see exactly what is recommended for the class.  If you can not find a water brush students may use any brush, however the techniques you will use in class will be a bit different.  Please come with your water brush filled - they do not leak when capped properly.
    • Oil Pastels, 12 piece set, we recommend Pentel *can be shared
    • everyday pencil of any quality for use on introductory exercises 
    • Crayons - minimum 8 color set, we recommend Prang *can be shared for use on introductory exercises (crayons do not need to be new)
Optional supplies: Parents, please remember that this is not a drop-off group.  Come prepared to enjoy working alongside your child.
See you at 6:30 on Friday, September 25th!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

2015/2016 Session Details

Registration time is here! Take a look at the the fun artists we will be studying this year.

Friday, September 25th 2015 (note variation from 3 Friday of the Month schedule)
Pierre-Auguste Renoir - oil pastel & watercolor resist
Bible covers for Pocket Testament League

Friday, October 16th 2015 

Marc Chagall - fused glass
local display

Friday, November 20th 2015 
Mary Azarian - wood block prints puzzles
for senior center

Friday, December 18th 2015
Alexander Calder - abstract wire sculpture
Christmas ornament display

Friday, January 15th 2016 
Norman Rockwell - mixed media painting
gifts for the ill

Friday, February 19th 2016 
Paul Signac - pointillism & negative space in acrylic
bags for sick children

Friday, March 18th 2016 
Theodor Seuss Geisel - ink & oil pastel
labels for donated books

Friday, April 15th 2016 
Albrecht Durer - wet on wet watercolor
parade route display

Friday, May 20th 2016 
Year End Celebration!!!

Download your registration paperwork to reserve your spot!

Trouble downloading?  Try this link instead

Update:  Unfortunately the deadline for participating in our bulk materials order has passed, but you can continue to add additional glass firing kits at any time.  

Looking forward to creating some beautiful projects with you!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Preparation for 2015/2016

I can't tell you how much fun I've been having pulling together plans for the sixth year of SKETCH.

As a quick update, we will continue to meet on the 3rd Friday of each month (any exceptions will be noted on the class calendar).  This year we will be covering the art of Chagall, Calder, Rockwell, and more.  I'm especially excited to offer our students the opportunity to learn how to fuse glass with the help of local artists.

Keep an eye on the class site!  I am beginning to pull together our supply lists and calendar, and will post them as they are finished.  Class registration will begin on August 1st.  If you'd like a reminder e-mail just pop me a message and I will add you to my list.

Enjoy your summer!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Grandma Moses Lesson Extension Activities

grandma moses lesson 1Grandma Moses is famous for her American folk art.
Her independent spirit and confident portrayals of rural landscapes as the backdrop for the “old time virtues” are compelling.  
Grandma Moses might just be best loved because she not only painted simplistically, but because she lived the image she portrayed, a simple farm wife who enjoyed farm life, hard work, family, church, and community.


Grandma Moses witnessed the multiple world wars, the great depression and a barrage of inventions from the telephone to the car.  Despite all the change around her, she was always the same person inside that she portrayed to the world. She once said:
“Well, people tell me they’re proud to be seen on the street with me … but I just say, well, why weren’t you proud to be seen with me before.”
Do you think you would react the same way to fame?
How do you think God would want you to react?  
Romans 12:16English Standard Version (ESV)16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

Online Activities:

If you missed completing this craft with us, full instructions are available at

Friday, April 17, 2015

Grandma Anna Mary Robertson Moses

Grandma Moses is the subject of this month's Sketch Program. Time for some fun with old-time rural folk-art. This is a great project for kids who worry about perfection and getting their art "right" - our goal is to create simple, naive looking images!

You will need to bring the following items to class:
  • Tru Ray Acid Free Construction Paper - 12”x18” - 4 pieces of various colors 
  • Reeves Water Soluble Wax Pastels - (if necessary you can substitute regular crayons if you do not have water soluble crayons) 
  • Red ink pad - can be shared 
  • Grumbacher Filbert Brush synthetic, size 8- 1 per student (or if this brush has been too big for your students, just bring several cotton swabs) 
  • Wool roving - .1oz (basically, just bring any leftovers you have from our previous project) 
  • 1 glue stick or bottle of glue - can be shared 
  • 1 pair Scissors - need 1 per student 
  • 1 extra small container with lid - need 1 per student 
  • 1 everyday pencil
See you Friday at 6:30!

Vermeer Extension Activities

Vermeer was not a note-taker, so much of his life remains a mystery. We learn through public records that his grandfather was a convicted counterfeiter, his grandmother ran illegal lotteries, and he married a woman outside of his own faith. 
Vermeer's distinctive style makes his work easy to identify. Look closely and you will often see ladies, windows, tapestry table coverings, bowls of fruit, and pearls. Items of daily life. You might even notice that he uses the exact same item in more than one painting.


A fun way to learn about the time and art of Vermeer is through the historic fiction Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett. It is artistically accurate, suspenseful, and magical.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Johannes Vermeer

This month's featured artist is Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (c. 1632–c. 1675)
The Procuress.
Purported to be the only self-portrait of Vermeer.
oil on canvas
Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister 
One of the most highly regarded Dutch artists of all time, Vermeer is best known for his paintings of the indoor life of the middle class.
Het melkmeisje
The Milkmaid 
circa 1660
oil on canvas
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam  

To complete this month's project you will need the following items:

  • 2 sheets Tru Ray Acid Free Construction Paper (1 white, 1 any color) - 12”x18” 
  • Prang crayons, one 8 color set - need: 1 set per student
  •  glue stick - can be shared
  • 1 pair Scissors - need 1 per student
  • 1 ruler (or any item with a straight edge for drawing lines. ex. book) - we will be working extensively with these, so please make sure you bring enough for your students.
  • 1 everyday pencil (drawing pencil not needed)

  • See you at 6:30 on Friday March 20th!