Monday, November 30, 2015

what they noticed 6 - inside a house

Portions continue from one class period on Tuesday, Nov.17th. Sharing painted panels with art students at Carrollton Elementary School, in Carrollton, MO (Students are unnamed) Double click on images.

Karl Marxhausen (KM): Okay, everybody needs to have their eyes up here. You guys are doing really good. (to presenter) Go ahead. (sit down to listen) Show them the picture and take your time.

A student with Grey Shirt Blue Pants (GSBP) shares a 12 x 8 inch panel.
"My group thought this was a grandfather holding his grandson. They are in a dark room or a dark house. You can tell they are inside because there is a window or a door." GSBP
KM: Now I have a question for you. Do you know what country this guy might be from?

GSBP: Africa.

KM: Okay. Good. And what can you tell me about his clothing? Is it something you would see in Carrollton?

GSBP: No, not really.

KM: does he have a hat?

GSBP: Yeah, he might have been a baker, a bread baker.

KM: Good. Excellent. One more thing about this (student hands over panel, I hold it up)

Ms Jan, Art Teacher (MJ): About eighteen minutes are left.

KM: Eighteen minutes? Okay, I appreciate that.

KM: Uh, faces are really hard to do. All our FACES ARE UNIQUE, because it's the space between our eyes, where the ears are in relation to stuff, take A LOT OF PRACTICE!! So I was working from a photo, and, uh, there are a lot of wrinkles on this guy's face. There are many details to consider. Even when you do fabric like on a blanket or, as I look around the room (the types of textures on our clothing), even the seam on my jeans, there are ALL THESE DETAILS As an artist you must decide: "Am I going to do EVERY detail? Or just SOME details?"


what they noticed 5 - squirrel

My wife invited me to speak to her fifth and sixth grade art classes November 16th, 17th, 18th  and 19th. Four days, eight classes, about fourteen students to a class. Portions continue from one class period on Tuesday, Nov.17th. Sharing painted panels with art students at Carrollton Elementary School, in Carrollton, MO (Students are unnamed) Double click on images.

Karl Marxhausen: Shhhh. Listen!!

A student with Frizzy Hair glasses Striped shirt (FHS) holds 11 x 14 inch panel.
"Okay, I have a picture that looks like a tree with a little squirrel in it. A little tree with a squirrel in it. These are words on the back of it." FHS
KM: Can you read what it says?
"Title: Holy Child." acrylic 11" x 14" 1999 accompanied with poem: "Weak Like Me." Karl Marxhausen 1999"  FHS

KM: Good. Hold it a minute. SO THIS IS A PUZZLE. I am purposely throwing you a curved ball. Does anyone else have an idea? If the title is called the "Holy Child" and it looks like a squirrel in a tree, what do you think, what do you think? Thank you for your presentation! I really appreciate it. I am OPENING THIS UP to conversation. RAISE YOUR HAND if you have an idea. This guy here. Just your thoughts. There are many ways to look at a painting.
"I was thinking it was like an ultra-sound of a kid." BB
KM: What is an ultra-sound?
"Like his mom was pregnant, like an ultra-sound." BB
KM: So WHAT does THAT have to do with THE TITLE? But he has a CLUE there. What do you think?
"I think what he is saying, is that that could have been a baby like Jesus." XG
KM: Yeah, he was a baby. So here was a baby. So, it was a thought. Yes, I want to hear another thought.
"It looks like a baby in the womb." XV

KM: Now, NOW let's take it to ANOTHER LEVEL. IF it is a baby in the womb, that is what this might look like, WHAT would ALL THAT YELLOW around there? Now see, some art you see it "what-it-is." Some of it is more SYMBOLIC. Artists try to take it to another level. Sort of like Play Station goes to another level. Yeah, what do you think? Why would there be yellow all around there? Think about it for a minute. What is yellow? Is it a dark color?
"It's a bright color." DS
KM: Raise your hand if you have any thoughts. Yes?
 "Could it be the SKIN?" DL
KM: What?
"The skin?" DL
"A happy color?" DE
KM: A happy color. So, with Christmas right around the corner. Some people go with the baby Jesus and all that, maybe the yellow is saying something HAPPY about that occasion. That is what I did one Christmas. But it could be a squirrel in the tree.
"It could be HOLINESS. The bright light from heaven or something." MJ
KM: Oh yeah. Maybe that's a picture of heaven around it.
"Yeah, that's what I was thinking too, Ms. Jan!" DZ


what they noticed 4 - silhouette

Portions continue from one class period on Tuesday, Nov.17th. Sharing painted panels with art students at Carrollton Elementary School, in Carrollton, MO (Students are unnamed) Double click on images.

Karl Marxhausen (KM): Okay, we are going to do another round (pulls out various panels and distributes them to the tables.)
Student: Yea!!

Students handled the varnished panels. Lots of discussion. Engaged for two minutes. What a delight.

KM: Okay, time's up. (Students go forward) Okay, I need you attention up here. Please quiet. Give them your full attention. Okay, go ahead. (I take a seat to listen) Hold it UP so they can see it.

A student with Glasses Black Gray shirt (GBG) holds up large 22 x 15 inch watercolor sheet and shares.
"This is like a garden outside and people inside and the doors you push open. And there is gray around it. There is a person on the left with a kid." GBG
KM: Okay, I have a question for you? It this somewhere in this building? Could it be?
GBG: Um, I don't know.
X: Oh! It's right out there.
Ms. Jan (MJ): Not this building.
KM: Over by the high school, across from what used to be the library. Now I have another question for you. Why do you think the people don't have eyes or shirts?
GBG: Cause they are looking out the window.
KM: Yep.
XB: Because of the shadows.
KM: Can you say that again?
XB: It's a shadowing-thing.
KM: Yes. When people are in shadow they call it A SILHOUETTE, the people are darker. The other reason, Miss Jan told me why they didn't have glasses, was I just didn't want to do them. (chuckles)  All the details.  Let me hold this for a minute.

GBG hands over the piece.
KM: Let's look at this design for a minute. All kinds of the walls here are drab. The bright colors are here in the middle, and that makes your eyes go right to the middle. Sometimes when you are looking at something and you think: okay, what am I really interested in? And see, I was interested in the reflections on the floor here. Thank you, sir. Have a seat.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

what they noticed 3 - little town

Portions continue from one class period on Tuesday, Nov.17th. Sharing painted panels with art students at Carrollton Elementary School, in Carrollton, MO (Student are unnamed) Double click on images.

Karl Marxhausen (KM): Good. Excellent. Let's go on another round (pulling out a piece for each table)

There is lots of chatter, faces crowded around, hands touching the varnished surface, expressive fingers, sharing impressions for two minutes.

KM: Time's up. Someone different needs to come up. Who is it? (Three students line up in front of the class)

A student with Short hair and Black sweater (SB) holds up 8 x 7 inches panel.
"Okay. What I think is, this is a river, and this is a little meadow over here. And these are trees that come to the middle, whatever you come to see up here, and these are trees and stuff. And this is probably like a hill, because all you can see are the tree tops and some sky. And this is probably another hill. And this is probably a little bit of water."  SB
KM: Excellent.


A student with Blue Headband Blue outfit (BHB) holds up 14 x 11 inch canvas panel [2009] and shares it.
"It looks like a garden at night. Like if you are lying on the ground and you look and see the shadows in the background at night, like up close in the garden. All different darker colors like you see at night. And the brighter green kind of looks like something has been shining on it, the moon maybe." BHB
KM: Is there anything on the back?
BHB: No.
KM: Is there anything in the corner on the back?
BHB: Yes. There is a sticker that reads: "Raymar. 888 809 3314"
KM: Yea, yea, so this is a canvas that is glued to a board. And there are places on-line where you can order these things for X number amount of dollars. A lot of the stuff I painted on was board, like go to the lumberyard or like that. Okay, next.

A student with Black Hair Pulled back (BHP) holds her group's piece up.
"Uh, my group thought this was like a little town with tall trees. And it is day and there are shadows off of the little houses and it's out in the country."  BHP
KM: Does it say anything on the back?
BHP: Yes. Karl Marxhausen 9 - 21 - 04

KM: So what year was it done in?
BHP: 2004
KM: Thank you. You guys are awesome. I love this. We will do another round.


what they noticed 1 - color spot

 Getting students up close and figure out for themselves what the artist was doing on a work. On November 16, 17, 18  and 19, my wife invited me to speak to her fifth and sixth grade art classes. Four days, eight classes, about fourteen students to a class. The following are portions from one class period on Tuesday, Nov.17th. (Students are unnamed) Double click on images.

Art teacher Mrs. Marxhausen, Ms. Jan (MJ): He went to school to be an artist. He IS AN ARTIST. He doesn't make a living at it, but he has sold some artwork. And he just wants to talk about his experience and give you a feel for some of the ins and outs of what he does. So, be the nice, gentle, kind, caring, respectful students that you are. I think it will be interesting. Most everybody that has heard it has liked it. And he's gotten better than he was yesterday.

Karl Marxhausen (KM): Okay. My name is Mr. Marxhausen. But you can call me "Mister Jan." So I brought some paintings today. I want to share some with you. Some of it I'll be talking about. Some of it YOU will be talking about. So we have an exercise here. You can know a lot about an artist by looking at a piece. The artist always uses colors he or she wants to use.

KM: Does anybody see a bright splash of red in the middle of this painting?
Students: No.
KM: No, I wasn't interested in that. Is there a bright splash of white in the middle of the painting?
Students: No.
KM: That's right. I wasn't interested in that color either. What I am going to do is have you help me. We're going to start with this gentleman here and I am going to ask different ones to come up. You will stand over here (beside the painting on the easel) and I will tell you what to do. So, I want everyone to watch what he is doing. (First student walks up.)
KM: So stand here. Now point to one color that you see in this painting.
(Student points to the shirt, see next)

KM: Okay. He is pointing to the blue here. Now I want you to take your time and point to all the places you see that same kind of blue on this painting. (Student pointed to the following areas on painting. Some were low and some were way up high.)

KM: Yes. You may have a seat. Good job. We are going to follow his example. I need the person with the Red Sleeves and the Gray (RSG). Come up here, please. Stand over here. (RSG goes up to stand beside the painting.)
KM: Find another color no one has picked yet and point to it.
RSG points to a color.
KM: What would you call that?
RSG: Dark orange

KM: Good. Now point to all the places you where you think you see this color in the painting. Take your time. (RSG points to four places)

 KM: It's like looking for a puzzle piece.Yes.

KM: Good.

KM: Very good. Have a seat. Okay (pointing to student) the Gal with the Stripes and the Long Hair (GSLH). You guys are doing great. Go ahead and find a color that has not been found yet. Okay, she is pointing to a color. What would you say that color is?
GSLH: Dark brown
KM: Okay, dark brown. Now go and point to every place you see just that color in the painting. (GSLH points to five places)

GSLH: And the beard!!
KM: Excellent. (pointing to student) Okay, the Gal in White (GW). Come up here, please. How long do we have till?
MJ: They leave at ten after.
KM: Oh, ten after. Good. (to GW) Find another color which has not yet been picked. Okay she is pointing to a greenish-looking color there. Please point to all the places you think you see that color. (GW points to seven places)

KM: Keep on going. We all see colors differently. You are doing great.

KM: What we see in this is that when I am painting, I don't just use this color for the shirt (pointing to blue shirt) and then no where else. In the painting I try to include the colors in other places. (to GW) Very good. (picking another student) Yes, the Gal in Pink and Gray (GPG) at this table, please. There are three or four colors we haven't talked about yet.

GPG: (student points to painting) This pinkish color.
KM: Okay the pinkish color. Point to all the places you see it.
GPG points to eight places

KM: Okay, thank you. (picking student) The Gal in the Blue (GB). So, she is picking the yellow on the top of this hat (next).

GB: Right there (pointing to frame of easel, next)

KM: Good job. Thank you. (student goes to sit down) We have talked about color. Let's try this. IF YOU THINK you know what this painting IS ABOUT raise your hand? Okay, yes?
Student X: Is it a man painting in a park in summer?
KM: That should be the title of the piece.
Student W: What is the title?
KM: It is called "Yard Trees." So, this is a picture of me. Raise your hand if you think you know HOW -  I MIGHT - BE ABLE - to paint a picture OF MY SELF?
Student T: You could look at a PHOTO.
KM: That's right. What might be another way?
Student D: a MIRROR.
KM: Yes, that's it. I set up a full-length mirror and looked at it. Something I just noticed about it. I am right-handed. I chose to put the brush in my left hand so that in the reflection (in the reverse) the painting hand would not block the rest of the body.

KM: Back then, this was the best I could do for leaves. I could get the trunk of the tree which was basically lines, but leaves, forget it. You know, trees are so messy, you can't use a straight line, they are all over the place. And things I feel uncomfortable about painting I DON'T PAINT!!   SO - IF I WANT TO LEARN - HOW TO PAINT SOMETHING, raise your hand if you think you have an idea HOW I COULD BE BETTER - AT PAINTING SOMETHING - I DON'T WANT TO PAINT? Raise your hand if you think you know the answer. Yes ma'am.
Student C: Go to her (pointing to her art teacher Ms.Jan).

KM: That's an idea. Anybody else?
Ms. Jan (MJ): I taught him to do trees (chuckle)

Student B: Just go at it the best you can.
KM: Everybody listen to what this guy is saying. Say it again.
Student B: Go at it the best you can.
KM: Best that you can. Best that you can.


what they noticed 2 - woods

Portions continue from one class period on Tuesday, Nov.17th. Sharing painted panels with art students at Carrollton Elementary School, in Carrollton, MO (Students are unnamed) Double click on images.

Karl Marxhausen (KM): Here is something I want to show you. This is a painting that I did this a long time ago. (holds up 7 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches painted panel)

KM: It doesn't even say what year it is. (walking passed tables for students to see it up close) So, I'd gone on vacation somewhere out on the West Coast. And it had a lot of ocean. There were some people sitting on the rocks. When I got home to Missouri I thought: "Oh oh that was so cool. I want to paint that." (pointing to piece) So, I was able to get the rocks and the distant land and the sky and the water. And, how many people are on there?
Students: Two
KM: Two. So, are they the same size?
Students. No no.
KM: No. But do I have eyeballs and glasses and can you tell what kind of shirt they are wearing?
Students: No.
KM: No. That's the best I could do. And I can't believe I STILL have it. I mean, but I have come such a long way.
Student: I think it looks pretty good.
KM: Thanks. (nodding) You know, I'll just say this up front. Artists are, you probably know this, but artists HAVE FEELINGS. Be careful what you say when you are walking around somebody is working on something. Invariably, people will say: "That doesn't look, or who is that? or, you know."  You know, say something nice. WORDS HURT ARTISTS as well as everybody else.
Ms. Jan, art teacher (MJ): Everybody likes to hear something nice.

KM: Recently the timing of coming and talking with you, I've been going through old pieces of my work, and signing it. A few years ago I was leading a class and I had some things I did "trial and err on." And I was showing it to the people I was teaching. And they were saying to me: "Mr. Marxhausen, why don't you have your signature on them?" And I thought: "well, that's a no-brainer. These are just me messing around with paint." So now I and going through and signing stuff. I want to show you a few things.

(I put a painted panel on each table. Students look and hold and point and discuss it among themselves with the time I allow. Chatter ensues. When the time is up, they pick and choose who will go up and talk about the piece in front of the whole class. I sit down and listen with the class)

KM: (after two minutes) Time is up. Who is going to come up from your table? Pick somebody. (Three students come up and line up to take turns) Okay hold your piece up so everyone can see it. Everybody - eyes up here, quiet, please. Okay, go ahead.

A student with Blonde Hair Black shirt (BHB) holds up 4 x 6 inch panel for the class to see, as he points to areas and describes what he sees.
 "I'm thinking the grass down here. I think that is the flowers. I think there is grass. I think the sun is setting. It's dark over here. There is a hill of some sort, a rock pile, and over here there is more grass." BHB
KM: What do you see on the back side?
BHB: 7 - 26 - 05
KM: So what year is that?
BHB: 2005.
KM: Thank you. Very good. Excellent job. We can clap. (BHB goes back to seat. The class claps their hands)


A student with Long hair and Striped shirt (LS) holds up a 4 x 6 inch panel, and describes the scene.
"Okay, we think it is like the woods and this down here is the grass. And here is like a path, and here is like the trees that are still alive. The brown is where some of the trees have died or are kind of old. On the back is 7-26-05." LS

KM: So what year was it done?
LS: 2005.
KM: Very good. You guys are so observant. You know these little ones, I really like them. When I found them, it's like, I can't believe I still have these. I have photographs of many of my paintings, but some of these I have not documented." KM                                                      
MJ: You probably should.


A student with Black hair and a Pink sweater (BP) holds up this 12 x 12 inch panel and shares with the class:
"We thought that around here was the woods, and then there is a path here, going into a bigger woods. A meadow around here. Kind of sunset up there. And kind of a little woods right there." BP

KM: Is there anything on the back?
BP: Karl Marxhausen. Carrollton.
KM: Good. Excellent. Let's go on another round.