Thursday, March 27, 2014

Updated Quilling Boards

I am preparing for my upcoming spring Beginning Quilling classes at Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames on April 30 and May 28.  Classes are $18 and are 2 fun filled hours.  You get a coupon to use in the store when you register, so hold off on buying supplies if you don't have your own tool at home.

I started by pulling out all my supplies and making sure my glue bottles were unclogged and tools were in sharp ship shape. Then I noticed my very sad and beat up quilling demo boards.

I create these boards for the front of Ben Frankline Crafts and Frames to explain quilling. Once the class is started, I bring the past ones to demonstrate the different cards students can make. Since I've been teaching at the store for a while now, I've accumulated a number of boards and they have been tossed around a time or two in my car.

With spring cleaning in the air and red robins outside my window, I decided today would be the day to redo all the boards.
First thing I did was make all the new demo boards the same size. I have mat board in my studio that I cut to 12x12 inches to fit inside a newly purchased carrying case. Then I took the cards off the old boards with a heat gun. 

Don't worry, the bunny was saved.
These liberated cards were added to the new, smaller boards. They will be much easier to carry in the new case, with room on the side so I can surround them with tissue wrap.  Now they are in great shape for the April and May classes.

I hope you sign up for class so you can see them in person!
Teardrop and fringed flower cards.

Tight and small rolls can make a big impact.

Different quilled shapes can be used on the same card.

Sometimes inspirations can come from anywhere.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

New Year, New Look

I recently went to a website mentor meeting at the Greater Seattle SCORE to discuss my website, which has been getting heavily neglected by me lately.  These informative meetings are provided free of charge to any entrepreneurs.

After an hour long meeting, the number one take away was that I need a new look.

Basically she told me that while my Arabic Alphabet Poster and it's product line is one thing that A Crafty Arab does, it's not the main thing.  She said as a non-Arab, she didn't understand that the symbols next to the animals on my banner are Arabic letters.  Plus the animals look childish, but when she looks at my other products, they are not designed for children.

Here was my website front page:

She also said that nothing on my website looks like my logo, which is the main thread between all my websites (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc).

After a few days of reading articles like this and this, I decided that it was time to simplify my look with just a yellow Arabesque pattern and my tag line.

I'm going to sit on it for a week and see how it works for me.  I'd love feedback, whether you hate it or love it.

1 comment:

Connie Hill said...
I would have to agree - while your alphabet poster is great, it is not a good summary of all that you do. And, you really don't have anything that looks like your logo (but I do like it as a logo).

The arabesque pattern is okay, but the color of it is a bit eye-twitching... perhaps a color not so... loud?

Give lots of thought to your new logo/theme. Be sure they represent you, your business, and your products. And if there is a chance you may change your products in the future, make your new theme/logo adaptable.

If I was more awake and not leaving for work, I'd try to offer more helpful suggestions...


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Camel Crossing

I've had a deep passion for camels for years and have made no secret of it. So when I had an extra large clock part from a custom order, I decided to turn it into an homage to my favorite animal. 

Don't worry, I have more clock parts if you'd also like an Arab clock made for you.

I've been working on this piece for over three months, but today I finally signed it and put it on my wall.  It will not be available for sale. 

Camel Crossing
Close up of glittered, layered, hand cut camel
Paper is layered on paper is layered on metal is layered on paint is layered on decoupage wood.

Close up of metal & glass star brad and hand painted metal.
Close up of henna patterns that have been added to the sides.

I added a glitter dot to every floral center background and hand cut the layered camel.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Reactions to Why I can't stand any belly dancers

I had some really great comments (from ACraftyArab.blogspot) on my How to talk to your Why I can't stand any belly dancers post yesterday that I wanted to preserve -


Anonymous said...
You make an interesting analogy.

And honestly, I do think Jarrar makes some good points about stereotyping in her article. It is something that needs to be examined. And it's a reason I've shied away from belly dancing, despite learning originally from an Egyptian roommate and having turkish roots myself. Whenever I looked up classes online, the offerings left a bad taste in my mouth, with the "Arabian nights" themes and what not.

Where I REALLY disagree with jarrar is that learning belly dance is inherently racist. I think that's absolutely ridiculous. According to her, even if you choose a teacher from a culture where belly dancing originates and treat it as respectfully as a ballerina would ballet, a white woman is still racist for her interest. Although I do believe it is possible to appropriate sacred dances, belly dancing has such a long and varied history that it's impossible to tie it down to one culture, one origin, one religion.

So, for me, it's a matter of the stereotyping being racist, not the actual interest in the dance. And I'm sorry, but Jarrar has yet to convince me of otherwise. I guess its good she started a dialogue, though.

(Sorry for being anon; I just don't really feel like getting into it with random strangers via email (not meaning you!)).
Tamalyn Dallal said...

From a "bellydancer" with 38 years experience dancing and teaching in 40 countries:
Hollywood inspired the Egyptian film industry to put the dance into bras and belts. American bellydancers get their costumes from Egypt and Turkey, which are conservative compared to what Egyptian dancers wear , or what Turkish dancers wore in the 70's.
This bellydance costumes for foreigners industry keeps thousands of Egyptians employed during a time when there is little employment.
I see the points you make (and laughed my head off at the speedo analogy). I see the pointes Randa Jarar makes too. I have spent a lot of time in the Middle EAst, North Africa and EAst Africa. I would love to arrange a dialogue between women "of the culture" and belly dancers who are not.
But dialogue, not hate is what is missing.
Tamalyn Dallal
Tamalyn Dallal said...
Oops. I wasn't finished. I see the points, but don't agree with all of them because they are under researched. I can't take Randa Jarrar's article seriously because of the way it is presented- niot in the spirit of encuraging understanding. It is divisive and racist in ots own right.This is too bad because some of the things she says with hate are what I have been hoping to find ways to resolve through bringing western and Asian "bellydancers" to Zanzibar and the Siwa Oasis of Egypt and spending time with local women (6 trips so far), writing, film making, teaching workshops...
Not spewing nastiness toward other women.
BTW, how does one determine if they are brown, white or beige? Is there a device to measure that? (LOL) I'm getting tired of trying to figure out what color people are.
Leela said...
Professional Egyptian-style dancer here. I love your speedo analogy and think the image is hilarious, but it doesn't really speak to the story of how the bra and belt combo became de rigeur for the bellydancer. Or, it does, but only part of the story. Fifi Abdo remains one of the greatest practitioners of the art no matter what she wore, but the performances she did in the white galabeya are very specific to a particular style and character that she was portraying in that portion of her show. If I showed up to a gig in a galabeya, no one would want to watch me, and it's not because they want to see my body, it's because they didn't hire me for a folklore show if it's a restaurant or a party. The white galabeya performances she did are famous and iconic, but they're only part of her repertoire, and if you search for her on Youtube you will find her in many different costumes, from bra and belt sets with a flowing skirt, to melaya leff, to beledi dresses, etc.

I'm very sorry if a bellydancer got her fringe in your baba ganoush in the past. We all fear that, and try to avoid it. Those of us who care deeply about the art also care deeply about our audiences and try hard not to get our beads and sequins in their food.

I'm glad you posted this, it was a needed laugh after such a poisonous attack piece. But I also want to point out that 90% is a pretty high figure. I don't think that many dancers are "white" (whatever that means, because as you point out, how do you measure that?). There are many, many bellydancers of African-American, Dominican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Argentinian, Brazilian, Persian, Native-American, and other backgrounds, out there performing all over the world. Many people saw Jarrar as silently condemning them, too, without wanting to actually come out and say it. We're a diverse bunch and many of us deeply love the cultures the dances come from, and care about how we perform those dances. We would love to dance with you and your girlfriends, and I promise you that many of us would never be caught dead in Hammer pants and a coin belt.
Anonymous said...
Ridiculousness. Clearly is what this article is all about. You are a Purist, and that is ok. But the Bach analogy made no sense whatsoever. I have lived in New York for 15 years, I have performed and have watched many dance performances in many different venues. The only place that the Bach example would even exist is in a Comedy Club. Yes I do understand what you were trying to explain, but it is simply an opinion with a bit of hostility. I am also a Professional Flamenco dancer. I have also cringed at the Americanized Gypsy Kings version of Flamenco Dance and music. However, To lay claim, that music and or dance was derived from once place in the world and from one people and only one influence and there for is owned and controlled by same, is nothing short of ignorance. There are roots of any type of dance and influences of same in different areas of the world, ethnic backgrounds and cultural flavor. There are different variations and interpretations to every form of art in the world. There will be persons that will will either be open or completely closed off. You are of the later category me thinks, and what a tragedy. If this is an area that causes you disdain, then it is up to you, especially if you are living in American, to do the research to make sure that your special "evening" will go as planned. Just like any other important evening, be in control of your own destiny. And one more thought in closing...I couldn't imagine living in an "artistic" world if we were told as artist, how to perform, what to wear, who can and cannot perform to certain types of music and what music to use and not use, etc.....How exhausting and demoralizing a task that would be... this is a very close minded and small way of thinking in the plethora of artistic energy...had I been sitting there and a guy been playing Bach in a Speedo, I would have started to DANCE!!!! <3 LIVE, LOVE and DANCE
Ruth Schleifer said...
Thanks for your well reasoned and meticulously factual reply. Clearly, will not be publishing your work as their intention was to gauge the ease with which "white women" will embrace another reason to hate themselves. It was not only a racist article, it was oddly mysogynistic. :-)
Anonymous said...
If Fifi is the example, what about the hundreds of times that she also performed in sequined bra and belt costumes?
Anonymous said...
Honestly, I am surprised at how critical the bellydance community is of anything Arab American women say. There is always a reason to dismiss or disvalidate the perspective. Anyway, I think one of the reasons that bellydance has become so sexualized has to do with the fact that Arab men are the ones that connect with the bellydancers. I just do not see bellydancers connecting with Arab women. And from the reactions that I have seen; I am not sure that they are ready. That is what I see. Even though I love the sexy costume that Dina wears I cant agree more with the author that the more traditional aspects are grossly under-represented.
Anonymous said...
The difficulty, of course, is that all public interactions are highly constrained, even in societies that are ostensibly "free." Since artists are required to place their work in the public sphere, despite their fantasies about themselves that they are free to do anything they want, the truth is that they must mold and shape and twist what they do to conform to certain expectations. I am quite convinced this is why we artists are often such unhappy and warped people -- we want nothing more than to connect to others, but we are forced to twist that in highly artificial and manacled ways.

The freedom of dance as flow of exchange that you are talking about here is private discussion amongst friends, when those strictures have been loosened. This is a different kind of art, freeing because it is something that takes place amongst equals, not something that requires hiding itself in acceptable garb to be received by "better" people. Public and private performance take on different meaning and form because the constraints are different.

I think you and Jarrar are speaking of private, egalitarian forms of conversation while the other dancers responding to this are talking about public performance. These are very different things. I would agree with you that the ideal and more humanizing form is that that takes place amongst friends and equals. Sadiqi truth. But there is a role for the more constrained public forms to slip a reminder of humanity to others, in the guise of entertainment. This is subversive in its own way, precisely because it is not amongst equals but is an attempt, with time, to bring the high down to the level of equals, speakers and listeners.
Anonymous said...
rashabellydance said...
The origin of the 2-piece bellydance costume is kind of unclear, but it has been worn by professional dancers in Egypt for the best part of a century. And you might find these photos of Cairo dancer in around 1900 interesting - Their costumes aren't quite the modern two-piece, but nor are they a Fifi-style galabeyya by any means, and you can definitely see a relationship between their embellished cropped vests over sheer blouses, and the embellished bra tops that came a couple of decades later.

I think an important part of the context that is missing in this post and in Randa Jarrar's article is the difference between social dance and professional entertainment. Raqs has always existed as both, as far as I can tell, with normal people dancing at home in their normal clothes, and paid entertainers performing in public in special costumes which varied depending on the era.

The 2-piece costume is standard for *professional* Raqs Sharqi dancers in Egypt today except for during the folklore parts of their shows, but I'd guess (hope)that most Western dancers are aware that ordinary Arab women would never dress up like that when dancing socially. It's not meant to represent 'Arab women' as a whole, but professional performers of Raqs Sharqi. Of course it's not normal clothes, any more than a samba costume represents normal day-to-day Brazilian dress, or French people actually walk around Paris in tights and tutus. People watching a professional entertainer, on a basic level, generally don't want to see someone looking normal and everyday.
Anonymous said...
Since the title of the original article was "Why I can't stand white belly dancers," I should point out that Fif Abdo is as white as you can get.
Anonymous said...
Your analogy of Bach being performed in a Speedo is definitely amusing but it does not really coincide with the history of bellydance performance and its costuming. First of all Hollywood did not put dancers in the 'speedo' so to speak. During the time that professional raqs sharqi rose to prevalence, Egyptian music, dance and film was certainly taking a lot of inspiration from the West, but they took the things they wanted and incorporated them into their own expression. The two piece, sparkly costume was invented as the iconic costume for the perfomance of raqs sharqi by Arabs. As noted in the article that rashabellydance links above, it took at least as much inspiration from professional dance costumes that preceded it as it did from Hollywood. Yes... that's professional bellydance..which though related movement wise to social dance, has its own history. When I, or any other dancer, of any color, puts on a bellydance costume (even if its a cheesy costume) and makeup, they are not dressing as an Arab woman, they are dressing as a the costume designed for performance of that dance.
Leela said...
To tha anonymous poster who commented that bellydancers are dismissive of anything an Arab woman has to say: I and my colleagues aren't dismissing all Arab female opinion. We are dismissing Randa Jarrar's Salon article because it is factually incorrect, completely ignorant of the history of the professional dance, and written from a place of bitterness and rejection. She conflates the social dance with the professional dance, and between the lines, many of us heard a very different point being made: that very familiar Arab discomfort and prejudice against professional dance and its practitioners. There is much to unpack there, but at the moment I don't have the time. The short answer is that the professional dance in Egypt and elsewhere has always been performed by non-Arabs. It would be hard for Jarrar to find an Arab dancer to hire, or at least one she would approve of.

There are also glaring class issues in Egyptian dance, and massive racism against black people there. Again, more on that later.

I'll just conclude by saying that I don't dance "for Arab men". I don't sexualize my dance. I dance for families. Arab women have been some of my biggest fans and supporters. And teachers!
Anonymous said...
“When in reality, all we want is for YoYo to wear a suit, just like when Bach is performed in Germany. Otherwise YoYo doesn't really understand Bach and what he means historically to the German culture. Because no matter what his skin color is, if he is in a speedo, he is not showcasing Bach.
Let me repeat that because it was missed in the article by Ms. Jarrar: If YoYo is in a speedo, he doesn't know Bach.”

I would not have a problem with your example except that it’s not a good comparison for what Jarrar said. She WOULD have a problem with a white belly dancer no matter what they wore. She clearly stated that white women should not belly dance ever, for any reason. She says/implies it more than once but the first time was this: “Find another form of self-expression. Make sure you’re not appropriating someone else’s.”

Also – regarding attire. All her named belly dancers that she approves of, including FiFi, have worn the costume you claim is offensive. FiFi has worn a variety of outfits when dancing – sometimes in the more traditional white covering, sometimes she wore the two piece sparkly jangly costumes. It depends on the environment and nature of the performance - key word being performance – Fifi and others PERFORM in public which is different than the more family/community oriented social dancing. You are talking about two different things. It only took a minite to find a plethora of photos and videos of them wearing a variety of costumes – Fifi included.

Laila said...
Thank you for your support of the article as the barrage of rants against her are overwhelming.

I always had a negative visceral response when I saw belly dancers (Arab or not) in skimpy outfits and globs of glittery makeup and I never had the words to express where that discomfort came from. So, when I first read Jarrar's article I felt validated that not only am I not the only one who felt that way but she gave me the rationalization for the response. And it made sense to me, if it's about the dance and not the Orientalization of the dance then what is the need of all this over-sexualization.

Upon re-reading the article and I can see how saying white women shouldn't belly dance can rub people the wrong way. Nobody wants to be told they can't do something. And yes, she could have been more diplomatic with her words but I just want to give a few more examples of why I feel Randa has a valid point.

It's one thing to appropriate culture. We as Americans do it (and do it poorly) ALL the time; we have yoga studios on every street, we have Taco Bell, I think I make a great tamale. But, in general it is not acceptable to add racist components to our appropriation; what we don't do is wear Turbans to yoga, or ask all employees at Taco Bell to wear sombreros and take on a "Mexican" name. And I wouldn't open up a food truck and call it Rosita's Tamales and sell them wearing a poncho.

So, she is challenging this on the belly dancing front. Why can a person (and I do wish she left out the word white as it seems to be the focus of the responses) come out in a bad stereotype of another culture and have it be acceptable.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Why I can't stand any belly dancers

Randa Jarrar, a beloved author whom I meet breifly in 2006, has recently written an article in Salon called "Why I can't stand white belly dancers."

What a shit storm this has generated, mostly from the very white belly dancers the article is addressed towards.  Well of course they are gong to get upset, Ms. Jarrar, you just burst their bubble.

It's hard to hold up a mirror to the belly dance community and ask them to examine why they need the name and the get-up, what is thier fascination with all the Hollywood gimmicks surrounding this dance?

You told them that the dance they are doing is not culturally yours, despite the fact that they've been told otherwise for years.

In fact you say it plain and clear in the start of paragraph two: "The term “belly dance” itself is a Western one."

However, everyone seems to be caught up in the word *gasp* white in the title, and ignoring the entire point of the article. 

And for those that are curious, but never got around to clicking the link, this is what Fifi Abdo looks like, dressed in robes, dancing at a Arab celebration, in the video Ms. Jarrar included:

Sadly, Fifi Abdo is not the image that pops up when one searches Middle East dance.

YoYo and the Speedo

So I'd like to re-examine Ms. Jarrar's article and hopefully explain what she is trying to say, for those people that can't seem to get past the word "white."  But I'd like to use another analogy so that hopefully white belly dancers everywhere can understand why Ms. Jarrar can't stand to be around you.

Let's take YoYo Ma for example.  Here is an Asian male, performing music by a European male.  Now some would wonder why an Asian man would be interested in music by an European man, while others are happy this Asian man is performing Bach because, honestly, he's the best in the world.

We get that.  Yes, this becomes about race.

But let's put a little twist on it.  Let's say that back in 1920, Hollywood produced a movie, and to add further glamor quotient to this exotic European music, it introduces a new colorful costume, which made it more popular: the speedo.

So now, every time that Bach is performed by men, it is done in a speedo. 

You wonder, what does Bach have to do with a speedo?  That doesn't matter, Hollywood was going for sexy and that is what it has come up with in its brilliance. 

But wait, Hollywood is not done.  It has added some coins hanging off the speedo, and maybe a bra top with fringe. Again, these are items not associated with a speedo, or Bach. It. Doesn't. Matter.

You know what? Hollywood also thinks Bach needs to be performed in bare feet.  Yes, we know that Europeans perform Bach in shoes, but Hollywood says bare feet, so we go with bare feet.  Because who cares?

Flash forward 90 years and now you are taking your honey on a nice romantic dinner at a beautiful German restaurant in California.  Being German yourself, you have been looking forward to this date for awhile.

YoYo Ma arrives performing Bach, twerking his way around the room, his speedo ass in your wurst, while a fringe lands in your Löwensenf .

You are outraged, what the hell is going on?  This is not how Bach was performed at your wedding.  When you went to the Vienna State Opera, there was not a single speedo on the stage, as you enjoyed BWV 225–249.  In fact, in German, no one wears speedos to perform Bach because everyone there understand that Bach has zero, sifer, null to do with a speedo.

So you go complain to the restaurant manager, who tells you to sit down, shut up, and enjoy the show. You try to explain that the speedo is not part of performing Bach, but it falls on deaf ears.

Why?  The restaurant makes tons of money every time YoYo performs in a speedo.

So you go complain to YoYo.  You explain to him that you are German, and this is not how Bach is performed in Germany.  YoYo tells you he went to Germany, studied speedo Bach under Johann Neefe for FIVE years, the best speedo Bach performer in Germany.  So that makes it okay.

He screams at you that as an Asian, he has every right to perform jazz, electro, country, reggae, and rock.  But he doesn't seem to understand that none of those are performed in speedos while wearing enough eyeliner to keep the Hasty Pudding cast members in stock for years.

Again you tell him, the speedo takes away from the music.  It's not about sex or looking sexy, it's not about your body.  The speedo looks wrong, coins have nothing to do with your German culture, the bra is disrespectful, and bare feet are honestly not practical in the European winters.

But for a second time, your concerns fall on deaf ears, and YoYo decides to add salt to your already burning eyes and calls you racist.

You look around the restaurant and realize that it's full of every single skin color under the sun, except for German. 

How do you explain to everyone that what YoYo is wearing is not part of your culture? How do you have an open dialog with an entire restaurant that starts chanting 'racist'?

But it's impossible when the only thing everyone sees is you being against YoYo performing Bach while Asian.

When in reality, all we want is for YoYo to wear a suit, just like when Bach is performed in Germany. Otherwise YoYo doesn't really understand Bach and what he means historically to the German culture. Because no matter what his skin color is, if he is in a speedo, he is not showcasing Bach. 

Let me repeat that because it was missed in the article by Ms. Jarrar: If YoYo is in a speedo, he doesn't know Bach.

So please spare me the dialog about race and look at the article to really understand what is being said: If you are in a belly dance outfit, you are not performing Middle East dance. 

Ms. Jarrar put white in the title, because let's be honest, 90% of belly dancing is performed by white women.  However, it doesn't matter what you skin color is because the bottom line is what you are wearing has really insulting negative implications.

I want to have a dialog.

The dialog I want to have is why when I search the word 'Middle East dance', the first images I see are of women in Disney Aladdin pants, with jingling coins, a low cut bra, fringe, and bare feet.  Why do I not see more women dressed like Fifi, who in reality is representing me, my mother, my grandmother?

I'd love to understand how an outfit that I would never be caught dead in, because my Middle East mother would have died from shame, is okay because it showcases "my" culture.

I'd also love to go an Arab restaurant and not have to pick coins out of my hummus, because a woman, one Velcro strap away from a Vegas showgirl costume, is belly dancing.  But we can leave that story for another blog post.

For the record, I have enjoyed many a Middle East nights with my girl friends, dancing for hours for each other, in a room with every type of skin color, at a Laylit al-Binat.  However, the only people in the fringed bra and jiggling MC Hammer pants are always non-Arab women. 

Come dance WITH ME, don't mimic me.

The point the article was trying to make is that you do not need to wear this Arab Drag to represent my culture.  I would love to be with you covered up, so we can both enjoy the dance, the movement, and the true bonding that happens when a group of women are set free together in a room of music.

Ms. Jarrar has had to close the comment section of her article for all the hate it has generated from people that missed the point, so I'd like to open up my comment section below (unless you exhibit rudeness) to you as a way to share how this article impacted you.

If you are a belly dancer, I would love to hear your thoughts on how your costume, worn in whatever skin color you happen to have, is okay on stage representing me, showcases my Arab roots.

A costume, by the way, invented by a male costumer designer in Hollywood who saw an image of a woman in an Indian sari and got the two cultures confused.

I really do want to try understand why YoYo must perform Bach in a bra and speedo, contemplating changing his name to JoJo Müller. 


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Kindergarten, 1st and 5th grade - snakes, van Gogh, and O'Keefe

Today was art day at my daughter's school, where I volunteer to teach in three classes, every other Thursday. 

Because I had fun spending the week playing tourist to a wonderful out of town friend, I only had a few hours to come up with the lesson plans this morning, as I went to my beloved Mrs. Brown's Art Class for inspiration.

Kindergarten - Pattern Snake
Objective - To have students understand that repeating the same shape over and over again creates a pattern.  Also, when cutting a circular swirl, a wind chime is created.

For the today's lesson, we used black ink to draw out a curled up snake and filled it with many patterns of shapes and colors.  Once they finished coloring in the snakes, the students cut them out and the snakes were hung down to unravel itself. 

We started out by making a big spiral shape with a sharpie that took up our entire page.  Then we drew a face on one end of the spiral and added lines throughout.  Watercolor markers were distributed to color in patterns and shapes.

The snakes created ended up being the best looking snakes I've ever seen in my life:

1st Grade - Georgia O'Keefe Oil Pastel & Watercolor Flowers
Objective - To have students focus on drawing a single object of nature using and exaggerated angle to fill a whole painting space.

I introduced Georgia O'Keefe to the first graders by talking about her art and showing them her use of colors in oversized flowers paintings.  We then outlined the middle of our flowers with oil pastels.  I reminded them that the O'Keefe flowers filled up the entire canvas, so we had to make sure to draw big, giant petals that touch all four sides of our watercolor paper. 

We added two leaves to the side by also outlining them with oil pastels before we brought out the watercolor paint.  Everyone got to pick four colors, two for the flower, one for the leaves and the final as a background.

The students loved watching how the oil pastels and watercolor paints mixed on their papers.

Here are some of their end results.

5th Grade - Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night in an oil wash
Objective - To lead students into step by step painting with quick paced instructions. Students also learned about Vincent van Gogh and his painting Starry Night.

Students were given 4B pencils and asked to loosely trace out their left hand on the left side of their watercolor paper.  I asked them to make the middle finger long and wavy, as if blowing in a breeze.  We all drew a slanted horizon going from one side of our paper to the other and then put away our pencils.

The students were then given oil pastels and walked though a fast pasted series of drawing the wind, the stars, the sky, the mountains, farms, and the village.  Once everything was drawn out in outlines, the students used watercolor paint to wash out the oil pastels of the sky, wind blown tree and foreground.

The results surprised many of them, but I knew all along that I had a room full of van Goghs: