Wednesday, December 2, 2015

what they noticed 11 - bridge

This is the final portion of sharing painted panels with art students at Carrollton Elementary School, in Carrollton, MO.  The dialog comes from one class period on Tuesday, Nov.17th. (Students are unnamed) Double click on images to enlarge.

Karl Marxhausen (KM): Okay, okay, I've got something, I've got a whopper here to tackle. Something to figure out. Who wants to tear apart and figure something out? Like what we have BEEN DOING ALREADY. Yeah. This group? Great. It is a painting and a drawing. What do they have in common? Go!!! Make sure you check the back of stuff.

Discussion ensues. Chatter and pointing to both images. Students eyes peering, heads thinking, checking it all out. Two minutes pass and they are ready.

Two students present their findings. One with Short Hair and Blue Pants (SHBP) holds an 8 x 42 inch panel with both hands. The one beside him with Brown shoes and a Striped Sweater (BSS) holds an 8 x 11 3/4 inch card stock with pen ink drawings on both sides.

SHBP: Okay, this is the old Waverly Bridge.

KM: Hold it up so people can see it.

SHBP: Okay, this is the old Waverly bridge. It used to go across the Missouri River. Didn't it used to go straight to Waverly?

Ms. Jan, art teacher (MJ): Yes, it goes more into town. Yes.

SHBP: Okay. And we were guessing that THIS (pointing to green areas with his hand) is THE TIMBER AND BRUSH and stuff that is along the side of the Missouri River. And THIS (pointing to the right side) is some more of the old really nice bridge. And this over here is probably like some trees. And probably the shore of it. And this is the sky.

MJ: When you guys go across the new bridge now and you see the lines over to the right. There are some wires that go across. There is some balls on it so airplanes don't fly into it. That's where the old bridge used to be.

KM: (pointing to second student and card) Now what's, now you need to say something about that. Because it had something to do with this. Speak up.

BSS: Okay we thought that this was kind of like your ROUGH DRAFT, all the different colors, like WHERE YOU WANTED THEM TO BE.

KM: And what are some of the words written on there? Can you read them?

BSS: Like the colors?

KM: Yeah.

BSS: You have red and lavender, lavender-blue, cream, um. (BSS flips drawing over to examine the drawing on the other side) Pink, peach, maroon, um, and green.

KM: And POINT TO THE DRAWING and FIND IT on the painting.

BSS: Okay.  Well this part is right there (above).

KM: Okay, so there are markings on there for RED. So, does the red on THERE line up on HERE? (BSS points to the red on the bridge)
BSS: Yes.
KM: Yes, the bridge lights are RED. So, I MADE A NOTATION TO MYSELF that's red. What's on the back?  (BSS flips over the drawing)

BSS: We thought THIS (on card)....
KM: Now point to it.

BSS: was over HERE (on painting).
KM: YES!! And hold that up (the card), THERE IS A LOT OF INFORMATION THERE. And I was hoping to paint more on this (pointing to the right side of the painting). And that had all my information. Unfortunately, the time that I was doing this, I would SEE SOMETHING and then I would either DRAW IT RIGHT ON THE BOARD. 

KM: If you look really close there is a pen drawn right on the board. DRIVE HOME, PAINT IT, WHILE IT'S FRESH IN MY HEAD.  And if I WAITED A DAY OR TWO, too bad, I"D FIND SOMETHING ELSE.

MJ: Where did you look to see that view point?  Where were you at? Were you down..
KM: Uh. I don't know. Can anyone figure out where I was at?
Voices all at once.
MJ: Were you on the old bridge?
Student Near Me (SNM): Were you, like, where they go into their boats, where they have that ramp, and it goes down?

KM (nodding my head yes) (getting up and pointing to the drawing on the card) So the reason I am pointing this out is that there's all, there are buildings back there, and it tells all that (pointing to the right side of the painting) SOME OF THAT PAINT IS HERE!! But DO YOU THINK that THIS PART (on painting).......

KM:......... COMPARED to this (where the rest of the bridge is painted). (pointing to right side) Is this "FINISHED"????
Student voices: No no no.
KM: (nodding head in agreement) No.

MJ: Wrap it up!

KM: (to SHBP and BSS) Thank you. (to the whole class) You guys are so smart. I really appreciate it.

MJ:  You guys, you guys. I am proud of you. How engaged, how respectful you were. Not that yesterday's class wasn't. You guys were in to it. Good job. Let's put chairs up, please.

KM: Awesome job. Very good.

Conclusion:                                                                                These portions give you an idea of how the grade school art students rose to the occasion when they were listened to, and their ideas respected. Even restless students appreciated being listened to. I could see it in their eyes. The four-days eight-classes were a blessing to me as an artist. It helped me see that each piece I have done has a uniqueness that I have overlooked. Students also can relate to the "disappointment of how a work turns out." I find, if I can just set it aside and ignore it, and then sneak peeks at it over time, I can grow into it. Students are the same way.  KM

what they noticed 10 - train

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 to enlarge.

Karl Marxhausen: Next. Hold it up high.

A student with Long Hair Pink and Grey outfit (LHPG) walks over and holds up 7 3/4 x 24 inch panel.
"We have this. And it kind of looks like a sunset or sunrise. At first I thought is was going to be smoke coming out of a train. But it doesn't look like, it's just kind of a sunset or sunrise. " LHPG
KM: Does it say anything on the back?

LGPG: 5 - 30 - 06

KM: (stands up to take panel, stops, looks at back and asks LGPG)  There is one thing I want to add to this. OH, WAIT!!! (to LGPG)  ARE YOU going to say anything ABOUT THAT??!!!  (I go back to sit down and listen)(below image has words. Double click to read them)

LGPG: (student peers close to read pencil words on back of panel) It says:"brown org. lower branches. sand grey upper trunks." (trying to make sense of the words)

KM: (helps students out, takes panel) Okay this is a SERIOUS THING. Now this is a PROBLEM THING. (to LGPG) Just stay up here.

LGPG: Okay.

KM: Why don't you hold that end, please. (to class) ON THE BACK SIDE HERE, SHE FOUND SOME NOTATIONS. Written right on the board, that talks about THE COLORS and stuff, but the things mentioned here have nothing to do with the front side. Does anybody, RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU HAVE ANY IDEAS. Why a person would WRITE SOMETHING ON A BOARD????  (points to hand raised) Yes, the one In The Stripes (ITS). Speak up.

ITS: It's like, they had an idea, but then they liked it better and decided to change it.

KM: Yeah, yeah. YOU CAN WRITE ON BOARDS and stuff. (points to hand raised) Go ahead.


KM: When you are looking at something you are painting you are thinking: WHAT IS THAT COLOR?  WHAT COLORS MIGHT I USE TO MAKE THAT COLOR? (to LGPG) Excellent. Thank you.

LGPG: Uh huh (okay). (goes to sit down)

"brown org. 
lower branches. 
sand grey upper trunks. 
maroon back bank tree. 
sand grey grass. 
blue cream sky. 
org brick to right. 
org roof to green bins."

Next student steps forward to present.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

what they noticed 9 - island

My wife invited me to speak to her fifth and sixth grade art classes On November 16, 17, 18  and 19. 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 (Student are unnamed) Double click on images to enlarge.

Karl Marxhausen (KM): Okay, okay, I've got something to figure out. (distributes one piece to each of three tables)

Student: Oooh oooh!

Students lean over the table. Some talking and leading the talk. Discussion ensues. Soon two minutes pass and time is up.

KM: Okay, time is up. Someone come forward from your group.

Two students line up in front facing the whole class.

KM: Still have one more person to come up. If you need help from a classmate to be with you to give you an idea, that's okay.

Third person joins the line in front. Each waiting for their turn to speak.

KM: Okay, I need all eyes up here. Listen to what's going on. Okay. Hold it up so they can see it.

A student with Blond Hair and Gray and Black outfit (BHGB) holds a 7 1/2 x 16 inch panel.
"We were thinking it was kind of an island, there is a tree, because over here (on right side) it's got a bit of blue, like different from the sky. It's a light blue. And we think (on left side) this is just some weeds. Like (the yellow) is tall grass, where it's not been, not raining very much." BHGB
"there is a tree" BHGB

"kind of an island...because over here 
it's got a bit of blue, like different from
the sky. It's a light blue." BHGB

"some weeds" BHGB
KM: It there anything on the back?

BHGB: 7 - 10 -  05

KM: So, when was it done?

BHGB: 2005

KM: Okay. Thank you. (student hands over the panel. I flip to the back side of panel. There is a one inch border painted white.) And he was saying that: "He might have been testing the brushes back here." Actually the back of this shows you what I was using. There is this material that you use in dens. It is really thin, a paneling. And I had a friend that had sheets of this in their garage. I asked if they were going to use that and they said no. They were going to throw it away. So I just slapped some house paint on there. And got my little colors out. And so, there are MATERIALS YOU CAN FIND THAT DON'T COST ANYTHING, that you could be doing it on. PAINT USUALLY COSTS. Thank you.

The next student gets ready to present.


what they noticed 8 - fancy house

Sharing painted panels with art students at Carrollton Elementary School, in Carrollton, MO (Students are unnamed) Double click on images to enlarge.

Karl Marxhausen (KM): I want to show you another PERSON I've done. I need another volunteer to hold the painting. This will be our last piece. And then there will be no more peace. (points to student) This Gal Here With the glasses (GHW). (hands the work to her) Hold it up so everyone can see it. Hold it high.

GHW holds a 16 x 13 inch cradled panel.

KM: And this piece here is going to be very similar to the squirrel in the tree, the holy child, the mother daughter, in the vein, I'm sort of taking the picture but I'm doing something more with it. But it's sort of ABSTRACT, so it just depends what you want to bring to it. And I have noticed that when I paint in pieces like this - people come up to me and say things that just blow me away. That tells me that this is, uh, something more than I could have possibly imagined an art piece could be. Wow!
Like when you came up with the title of the guy painting in the park. It's like - wow, he nailed that one. (points to hand raised) Ya, what do you think?

Student At Table (SAT): Oh well, I was thinking like, maybe one of her siblings died. She was praying and she was kind of crying while she was praying.

KM: Okay, so someone who has had loss and praying (pointing to hand raised) Ya, what do you think?

Student B: Maybe she was mourning the loss of a loved one.

KM: And so this piece touches into emotions and people are in a different state. And there have been times in my life when I have gone through a rough patch and I found hope or help.

KM: (moves hand vertically down the right side of the painting) So what is THIS? Now see that is SYMBOLIC. When you add, it is sort of like that dove or bird or that thing stuck up in the corner. It is sort of like: "Hey guys! There is a clue HERE. What is THIS? How does that ADD to the painting?" (pointing to hand raised) Ya.

Student In The Back (SITB): It sort of looks like she in a real fancy house.

KM: Okay.

Ms. Jan, art teacher (MJ): You mean the background of the walls?

SITB: Yeah.

KM: Walls, okay. That is one way of looking at it. (pointing to hand raised) Yes?

Student J: I think it is light shining down from heaven.

KM: Okay, so maybe something, what they call spiritual or intangible or something abstract is going on. (pointing to hand raised) Yes?

SAT: Well I kind of different, but when you close your eyes you see a bunch of different dots and stuff. She had her eyes closed and that was what she was seeing.

KM: That is something I have never thought of! It could be something that is GOING ON INSIDE HER that is being shown to everybody!! That is a good insight. (pointing to hand raised) Yep.

Student C: Like a ray of hope.

KM: A ray of hope. And you know, that is the way I lean. When I look at this, I look someone who is troubled, going through some kind of change, or being MOVED by something for the better. And there has been times in my life where I HAVE BEEN AT THAT SPOT. For me, on an emotional level, I could really, that could be me even though I am not a girl.

Ms. Jan, art teacher (MJ) : And to me, it seems like it could be HER WORDS going (up) like if she was praying, and God's words coming down. Kind of intermingling.

KM: Sometimes paint, thank you very much (for holding painting up). Paint can show what you've got (passing hand over the painted girl's face). But then sometimes you can SHOW OTHER THINGS (hand passing downward over right side of painting). You know, certainly, when you've got super heroes, and you've got a red beam coming out of a guy's eye. It doesn't mean, like, he's walking around with a big red stick sticking out of his eye (hand moving from eye outward). No, that's a like a HEAT VISION TYPE OF THING. Or, when we have super heroes doing that (an extended arm with a palm opened outward) and you have lines like something exploding, those expressive lines are used to SUGGEST something.  Are we done? Ms. Jan?

MJ: They leave at ten after.

KM: Oh, we still have lots of time. Okay, any questions that you have at this point about painting?

Silence from class.

KM: Okay, okay, I've got something, I've got a whopper here to tackle. Something to figure out.


what they noticed 7 - bird ghost

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, I'll show SOME PEOPLE I have done. I need a volunteer. (to student) Come on down and just hold this to show everybody.

A Student With Painting (SWP) holds up a 20 x 16 inch canvas, while I hold up 8 x 8 1/2 inch photo mounted on card stock and covered with clear packing tape (click on next image)

KM: So I showed the thing with the Holy Child, now I am going to show you, I don't even know WHAT to call it. But when you take art and you do SOMETHING  MORE with it.

KM: So here is what the picture looks like, that I worked from. And someone yesterday asked why I didn't paint in the buildings in the background. Well if I wanted to do it just like the photo there would be building back here. But when I was doing this I was doing a series. A SERIES is when you have an idea. You have one, two, three, four pieces with AN IDEA in mind. And the idea I was doing here was thinking about people in other countries that maybe think or believe in the same kinds of things that I do.

KM: And so I found this mom and this daughter. They are from a province called Samarkand. It's near Turkey. And so I was doing a series of brothers-and-sisters-of-a-faith-that-I-believe-in. And so, and so I left the buildings out. I didn't want to do them.

KM: But I did put THIS up here (pointing to the upper left-hand corner) What do you think that MIGHT be? Hold it up so everybody can see it. What do you think THIS IS!!!? It sort of looks like a star.  I don't know what it could be. (Points to student) The gal in the pink.

Student in Pink (SP): It looks a little bit like a bird.

KM: Like a bird? Yeah! ON PURPOSE!!! That's a CLUE. (To another hand raised) Yeah, what do you think?

Student Near (SN): I looked at it and I thought it was a ghost or spirit.

KM: Yeah! You are right on it! A ghost or a spirit. And a bird. Those are two very important clues. (To another hand raised) Go ahead.

Student Too Quiet (STQ): Let's see.

KM: What was that? A ghost? or a spirit? (To another had raised) What's that? Yeah?

Student X: An angel.

KM: (To student holding the painting with a hand raised) Yes, what do you think?

Student With Painting (SWP): I think, like the holy spirit.

KM: There is a thing out there called The Holy Spirit, which is like a ghost. So, by putting sort of a symbol in the picture it is sort of saying: "There is more going on there." And I'll tell you, when I was working on this, you could either call it a devotion or a meditation, where you were thinking about: Okay, this person that I have never met is connected to me. We believe in the same kind of thing. Then, it is also an EMOTIONAL piece, because I have never met these people but we have something in common. And that sort of takes art to another level. Thank you (for holding the painting for me).