Jelly Fish in Polluted Bay

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I painted the sea colors with a pan set. The paints left a chalky surface on the paper and didn't blend well, definitely not as satisfying as my tube paints. The ghostly jelly fish are painted in titanium acrylic, watered down quite a bit. I'm really getting more control over my brushes and how well I can paint with less or more pressure. I painted the jelly fish & rays with a number 4 round Connoisseur. This class is helping me a lot with pulse and precision and values. I know I will keep practicing these techniques. Thanks so much, Ana! 

I started my monochrome activity with a pan set to use it, since I have it, right? Not a great idea. The results were poor, my lines were not straight and I was not satisfied enough to show here, a huge sand colored sea shell. Then I thought of kelp and looked for models on the internet. One caught my eye as resembling a wicked woman under water, the end of a story I tell in which the giant ogress who steals wandering children ends up sinking into a bay where she now waits under water, hoping careless children will fall overboard to her. So here's my monochrome activity and I think I will continue working on it until I have a completed picture. For this I mixed my own hues from the basic primary colors I have in a nice tube set by M. Graham & Co.. Better quality paint produces better results for sure. I tried to stay with the kelp-ish hues and vary the wateriness and values. I learned that if I want a particular hue for this activity I better mix up a lot of it to start with because when I used it up it was challenging to recreate it just as it was. In this image so far, I've applied second or even third layers over some of the softer most watery layers. I love how transparency lets my mix hues by layering, getting blends. I used Connoisseur brushes # 4 & 8. I feel like I am getting more control of brushes over time and I can get a pretty fine line with very little pressure now. This image is more like a beginning of layers, not nearly completed. I think I will try more monochrome practices for a couple weeks.

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29 Chinese kids paint Nez Perce story.

When I tell stories I start at the end and that's where I am in this course. I will complete the other assignments but when I saw the galaxy activity I wanted to try it with my 29 English language learners , ages 9-12, who came to our resort town in the Rocky Mountains, Idaho, from such a huge city, Chengdu, China, that most of them would never have seen the night sky as we see it here, far away from a city. I told them the Nez Perce tribe's tale of Coyote making constellations. He put 5 wolves and their little dog, Pleiades, in the sky where they had been watching a Bear, Ursula Major or Big Dipper, from Earth. Such a nice picture for the people, so he left them all in the sky. These star pictures were visible while the children were here.

First I followed Ana's lessons and practiced. 

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I want to keep practicing to make a smooth transition from one hue to the next.

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I'm a little wobbly in precision. It was interesting to see how far I could draw a line before running out of paint, lower left in photo. I did this horizontal. 

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I used this 130 lb paper that I bought at a thrift store for my first try at the galaxy. Poor results are shown in the photo below. Colors don't mix with each other, nor ink. Paper buckles. I have no idea how I will use this pad, maybe for pastels or colored pencils. It has not worked on anything using water yet.

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Then I cut a small piece of 140 lb paper and made my galaxy, stars, and constellations to test how the project might work with children and to plan my lesson for them. Pleiades is a galaxy, not a constellation, so look for 5 stars (wolves) plus a little one (their little dog) left of the shooting star (below). 

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This is on 140 lb paper and colors blended, as did black ink, much more effectively. Bleach seemed to have no effect and it smelled so toxic I did not use it with children, just salt.

Children liked this activity. They painted the background one day and used salt for effects, then the next day they practiced each step on construction paper before applying white ink to their backgrounds. They delighted in seeing how individuals made similar and different paintings. I photographed their paintings in pairs. Here are some samples.

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I wonder if they have been taught to hold a paint brush differently than I modeled, maybe in calligraphy lessons in China. I noticed their grips when I looked at the photos below. When drawing with a pencil their hold is different it seems. I'm interested in the way artists hold their tools, as if their is not right way, whatever works, but could there be a best grip?

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They really concentrated on the process. I showed them some galaxies and constellations, and the Pleiades images on my tablet and let them look for more on their cell phones and books. They seemed to enjoy the freedom to create their own sky pictures and stories, too. 

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Notice how these kids grip pencils for drawing but many used a different grip for painting. 

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That's it for my progress so far in this class. Next I will review and practice more pulse and precision and then do the assignments I skipped. Thanks, Ana, for the lessons and inspiration!

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