Make Your Mark – a mixed media art class

This spring I was selected to teach a class that I created called, “Make your Mark”, at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Virginia. Julia in class I have been inspired by a variety of mixed media and painting instructors, but quite often the courses targeted a more advanced student and I noticed that students who were interested in learning new techniques were feeling overwhelmed. During the winter I dedicated myself to researching and learning methods on how to teach painting and mixed media art. My daily exercise routine of watching Netflix movies while on my stationary bike switched to binging on YouTube, viewing art instruction videos and paint demonstrations. As I pedaled my Schwinn, I took notes in a giant sketchbook with a giant Sharpie marker. From these notes,  I created lesson plans which evolved into an eight-week class based on how to tell a visual story with your own unique voice.

virigina art classWhat does it mean to visually tell a story in a painting? How can our own personal marks help illustrate emotion, character, texture etc.

Make your Mark started on April 2nd, 2018 and ran through May 21st. The students had eight classes to learn how to create their own artistic voice. Our first class started with an icebreaker. We painted a collaborativeShenell and students painting on craft paper and used a small palette of paint.  With brushes dipped we walked around to each table and made a mark. Some brushed, some splattered, some dripped. It was fun to see how each of us chose to mark the paper. Shenell and abstract artWe were not creating a masterpiece; just warming up to each other and getting into our painting mode.

As we progressed through the weeks, we learned how to let our lines speak-giving them a true artistic voice. We learned how build character into our work through texture and collage and we created conflict through contrast, value and tone. DeeThere were seven students in all and half way through the session we began to really bond, feeling more comfortable sharing our work and our stories.

Patty with finished tulips

I owe a giant thank you to my friends who signed up for my class and supported my new endeavor. And another thank you to the new students and now friends that I have made during this new adventure. Myrta with abstract artThey worked hard to learn the new techniques and were super supportive of their newbie teacher.  Teaching at the Workhouse was a new challenge that was a bit out of my comfort zone. Dorothy and abstract artEight weeks later, I am feeling proud of myself for not only creating the class but also successfully teaching structured lessons. The feedback from my students has been encouraging and I look forward to planning another 8-week session for my next class. Stay tuned!

Learn more about the Workhouse Art Center by clicking http://www.workhousearts.org/

Remember to visit my website at www.paperjewelsart.com to buy originals or copies of my art in almost any format.  Canvas, prints, art cards, pillows, art cards, tote bags, coffee mugs, phone cases……we have it all!

The Better Way to Read to Your Kids

 

 

Published on Kveller.com 12/13/2012.  Photo by Julia T. Malakoff

Sometimes, while all four children are seated at the table, shoveling cheerios down their o-shaped mouths, I have tried to limit breakfast battles by reading a book.

It does not seem to matter what kind of book I read in the early hour; they all listen and concentrate on the tale at hand. With my children ranging from teen, tween and post-tot, it fascinates me that each child is able to enjoy the story, no matter what their reading level is. This has led me to think about the power of picture books and early reading comprehension. Continue reading

My Fridge Lacks Magnitude!

grand-mom-fridge

Published on Kveller.com 6/26/14

I have a new refrigerator. It is shiny and wide with French doors and sports a special kid-friendly snack drawer for easy to grab cheese sticks and Gogurts. It has a special setting for fruits and veggies and organized doors with shelves for varying sizes of bottles and jars. It even lets me know when it hasn’t been shut properly with a cool bell tone. Continue reading

Have A Ball (or two) This Father’s Day!

Baseball was never one of my most favorite sports. As a kid, I never understood the concept. I remember watching my first minor league game as a teen and rolling my eyes with boredom as the ball was hit and the players ran their bases only to get out or strike out. The problem was mine. I just did not have an understanding of the game until I became a mom of three boys. They have all taken up the sport and between my husband and I, we must spend literally hundreds of hours on the fields. It’s taken some time, but, I am now a baseball believer. It makes me chuckle to think that my sons, who all have a bit of the “ants in their pants” gene, do not mind the slower pace at times of this sport. They may fiddle in the outfield and chit-chat in the box, but, they are 100% engaged. Here’s to the all American sport of baseball! In honor of our upcoming Father’s Day holiday, I am posting a link to one of my favorite images from my new Father’s Day gallery at: http://www.paperjewels.smugmug.com. Please check out the our photos and have a happy Father’s Day!

“What are We Having for Dinner?”

Menu scan

Published on Kveller.com 1/31/13.  Illustration by Julia T. Malakoff

As my children trickle home from school and their tummies begin to rumble, I can hear the question before it even begins to leave their mouths. With authority that they think is their birthright, they ask me, “What are we having for dinner?” Oh, how I have grown to strongly dislike this inquiry. When the question begins to form, it is not just on the lips of one child but the lips of four little mouths whining in unison. It’s a rhetorical question for sure and experience has taught me that there is no correct answer that will satisfy all eight ears. Continue reading

Trick and Treat

by Julia Malakoff

Published in the Reston Patch, 11/13/2012

It is mid- November and my kids are still munching away at their Halloween candy.  Four kids equals three king size pillowcases and one bucket full of candy left on top of my refrigerator and inside of my cabinets. Each child has chosen their own “secret” spot to hide their bounty. Nice idea, however the candy is creeping out of every crevice in my kitchen and I am ready for it to all go way. We have negotiated with our children to donate half of their candy and it will usually go to a shelter or my husband’s office, for I am sure the people in his corporate workplace must come from families where they don’t have enough sweets of their own and can’t wait to dive into our leftover treats. Nevertheless, even after half of the candy is donated, and all trading has been set aside, we still have too much for one household. I personally am not a big candy person, but, I do enjoy a well baked cookie treat. A few years back, when a cookie mood may have struck and I may have been lacking in chocolate chips, I recall turning to my kids and asking them if anyone had any chocolates in their Halloween candy collection. Continue reading

XYs learning their ABC’s with OT

by Julia Malakoff

A worksheet was sent home from my son’s school with a note from the teacher. Please have your son practice his letters every day. I remember shaking my head in confusion. My son, who was in first grade at the time, had attended three years of preschool and completed public kindergarten. We had arduously reviewed writing the alphabet, using dot to dots, coloring books and tracing letters. I had spent countless hours of one on one time with him, for he was the fortunate oldest child who had my divine attention.  In fact, in my opinion, at the time, he seemed on course and I truly did not realize that he was struggling with his handwriting at school. Continue reading

Fairy Tale Frills

I was brought up by a tomboy mom who preferred blue over pink and preached her own personal mantra of gender equality, deflating the princess spirit that may have arisen in my childhood.  My mom was all about physical fitness and boys and girls playing unisex sports equally as well. She was a child in the 50s, one of three girls; she was the oldest and paraded around the house in her cowgirl outfit, including a holster, hat and boots to match. My grandmother wanted to doll her three girls up in their puffy party dresses and pampered doos. So, when my mom had her girl, pink was out of the question. I had a yellow room, plain and simple. No frills. My clothes were colored and printed, yet pink pastels seemed to be missing from the palette. Continue reading

Catsup Cookies

by Julia Malakoff

Sitting around dinner one evening feasting on fish sticks, my daughter pulled out the giant, family sized catsup bottle. While the usual dinner chaos was filling my ears high-pitched frequencies, I tuned out by reading the back label of the giant, family sized catsup bottle. Tic Tac Toe cookies were listed as their featured recipe. Tic Tac Toe cookies, I said out loud. Hoping to redirect the noise volume, I asked my oldest son to read the recipe out loud. He proceeded to call out the ingredients and when he got to the last ingredient, one cup of catsup, he made a face and looked up to see the reaction from his three siblings. Continue reading