Sunday, August 14, 2011

Enjoying Summer!

Here is a picture of Tamari and I enjoying the gas firepit on our deck.  The weather this summer here in Rhode Island has been great!  The humidity has been fairly tolerable considering that some years it can become almost unbearable by August.  It's been a lot of fun to spend time hanging out and relaxing on the deck with Jim and the dogs.  We were lucky enough to get some new comfortable chairs for out there and they have been a nice addition.  After this picture, Mari turned around and squished his big body into the chair where he sat on my lap for the next five minutes.  He is so funny because he doesn't have any idea that he's big!

I know that Tamari gets all of the attention in the posts on this blog, so here is a picture of Kintu with me.  Kintu is older, more serious and more shy than Tamari.  He isn't much for photo ops, so to get him to pose for this picture was a big deal.  He would rather be upstairs on the bed or sitting on the landing upstairs looking out the window.  I had to make sure that he didn't burn his tail when he turned around to get into position for the picture!  I hope your summer has been as pleasant and enjoyable as ours!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Teapot Paintings: The Results!

Laura's teapot has a sense of humor!  I especially like the "bite" out of the apple!

Sophia's seahorse and coral teapot is a subtle blend of functional parts.

Megan's work is moody and makes good use of dramatic lighting.
Jina's use of value is gentle and delicate just like the deer that inspired her teapot.

Here are some of the wonderful monochromatic teapot paintings that were painted by students in my Art Studio class at The Rhode Island School of Design.  See if you can find a spout, a lid and a handle in each picture.  I asked the students to create a design that merged form and function.  I think the results are attractive and original!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Monochromatic Watercolor Teapots

The shell design on Rachel's tortoise-inspired teapot looks rugged and deeply grooved just like a real turtle shell!  She experimented with using a range of values from super light to very dark. This helped her painting to have a strong sense of form.
Alex works to add texture to a teapot design inspired by her observations of a squirrel.  In the foreground we see samples of different values of payne's gray watercolor paint.

Megan adds darker values to add interest to her painting. Look closely and you can see what she was inspired by:  animal horns, a ribcage and the teeth from an ox!

This summer I am also teaching an Art Studio class at RISD.  I am really enjoying the fourteen young ladies in the class who range in age from thirteen to seventeen.  The students are eager to learn new techniques and that is great since I will be covering a lot of information over the ten classes.  For this lesson,  I took them to the nature lab to view a variety of natural specimens.  The lab is on campus and has a huge collection of nature samples that can be handled by students. There is everything from taxidermy animals, human and animal skeletons, fossils, insects, reptiles, plants, and several living animals.  It is always inspiring to take students here where they can select something to study and really look at it up close for an extended period of time.
For this lesson I challenged the students to design a teapot that was inspired by something from nature.  I discussed the Chinese ritual of drinking tea from an individual sized teapot made of clay called an Xixing ( Pronounced Ee-shing) teapot.  I explained that an interesting teapot design must consist of a strong form as well as be able to function.  In other words,  just making something that looked "cool" wouldn't be enough; we would need to discuss the possibilities of it functioning successfully as well!
The students completed a series of three sketches at the nature lab and continued to develop their strongest sketch back in the studio.  From there they began to work on the watercolor paper, first drawing their design lightly in pencil.  I did a demonstration and led a discussion about the basic properties of watercolor including how to dilute the paint to achieve different lights and darks.   Check back to see how these teapots turned out! It's fun to see if you can find the spout, handle and lid on each one!