Nature iPad Explorations: Recording Observations

During this second week of iPad explorations, I focused on the iPad as a tool for recording explorations and discoveries. Here are some of my favorite FREE apps from this week’s nature explorations:

Ink Flow

This was definitely one of my favorite apps for fomenting my questions and discoveries. I found that the pen control was much smoother than some other journal/sketchbook apps.

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Adobe Ideas

This was another great journal/sketchbook app. Pen control wasn’t quite as smooth, but I did like the ability to add photos into my notes.

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Shadow Pup

I saved the best for last! Shadow Pup is a great app for recording observations because it allows for voice explanations of pictures. I have used this app in my classroom as a way for students to talk about their work! Here’s a link to one of my recorded observations:

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There are many other wonderful apps for recording–some of which I will mention in weeks to come! If you have come across a great go-to app for recording observations, I’d love to hear about it! For next week, I will focus on the iPads ability to explore movement and change in nature! I’ll include some fun animation apps in my explorations!

‘Til later…happy explorations!

Nature iPad Explorations: Color and Line

During my first week of the iPad nature art challenge, I discovered some wonderful apps to enhance explorations of color and line in nature. Here are a few of my favorites:

Color Vaccuum

True to its name, this is a great app to help explorers collect, and in the process discover, the wide array of colors in nature. If you’re wanting to create something, this isn’t that kind of app. However, your color discoveries can definitely inform future works of art. This app would be particularly useful in elementary art settings.

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Instagram

This popular social media app can be a great tool for nature photography explorations. This week, I used Instagram to document my explorations of fall colors.

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Pic Stitch

This is the last app I’ll mention for this particular portion of the ipad challenge. Pic stitch is the perfect tool for collecting and comparing images from observations and explorations. Here are a few shots from my line and color explorations:

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For the next week of ipad explorations, I will be focusing on iPads as a tool for recording observations. Cheers to another fantastic week of explorations!

iPad nature art challenge!

After over a year without my monthly nature art challenges, I’ve decided it’s high time to shake things up with a new challenge. This time I’d like to present a series of weekly challenges, all centering around the technology of iPads.

Since my school’s purchase of several classroom sets of iPads, I have become increasingly interested in their potential as an art medium and tool for nature exploration.

For the next four weeks, I will be posting my iPad art explorations, beginning with an exploration of line and color in the natural environment. For these explorations, I will limit myself to free apps only. As always, I invite you to join me on this new adventure–via iPad or smartphone!

Happy explorations!

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The First Collectibles!

Not wanting to waste any time after a great end of the school year, I headed out to the woods for a wonderful week of backpacking! Nothing recharges my batteries and clears my mind like spending some time in nature—taking in the fresh air, sights, and sounds around me! All the while, I had my summer’s art collection in my mind. Although I wasn’t exactly sure of what I was looking for, I knew the first piece of my collection would find me at the right moment.

I was right.

During the first night at our campsite, as we were walking around a nearby meadow, my husband picked up a triangular speckled rock (not pictured here) and handed it to me with nothing but a “here” for explanation. Although it was simple, the act of selecting that rock from all of the other rocks out there and then handing it to me gave that little rock an extra layer of meaning–beyond the interesting textures, layers, and patterns in its surface. I kept that rock in my pocket for the rest of the trip, deciding that one of the focuses of my collection would be the stories and layers of meaning contained within small, simple objects.

The second object for my collection was found while on a day hike in search of elk. For days, we had seen sign of elk, but had yet to actually see them. So, during our last full day, we decided to follow the elk trails and see where they would lead us. Although the only elk I saw were small dots on the top of a mountain, the trails that we followed led to a series of beautiful meadows and springs–a paradise few have the opportunity to see! While I was exploring, I stumbled across a very interesting piece of wood. I was actually initially drawn to it because it reminded me of a rhinoceros horn. Upon closer look, I was in awe at the incredible swirls and marks on every surface. As I turned it over in my hands, I found that I was mesmerized by the way the patterns and views changed.

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Having found the first two pieces for my collection, I am very excited to find more works of “nature art!” Since I wasn’t able to post about it earlier, I have also designated a small shelf to be the location for my art collection. Each piece that I find for my collection needs to be no larger than my hand (preferably smaller) in order to fit on the shelf. I also found a small plastic container to hold my “story objects,” such as the triangular rock.

I will be heading on another summer adventure at the end of the week, so will post again as my collection continues to develop.

‘Til later…happy explorations!

Wonder Walk-inspired Mixed Media Art!

What a busy last month this has been! Finally spring break has come–giving me the time I needed to finish my wonder walk-inspired artwork promised so many weeks ago! Below is my finished work, inspired by the chirping, lively bush that I happened by during one of my wonder walks (see previous post). 

To begin, I prepared my canvas. I had already decided on a mixed media interpretation of my explorations, so decided to create a very busy surface to reflect my observations. 

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I then began adding some of those talented singers that seemed to breath warmth and vitality into the chilled winter air.

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Drawing from my observations of both the sparse, skeletal bush and the tumbleweeds filling the sidewalk, I began adding complexity to the composition:

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Last of all, I added one more chickadee to the composition (collaged to add contrast). Here is the resulting work:

ImageWell, I hope this post leaves you inspired to take some of your own artful explorations this week! This being my spring break (one of the perks of teaching), I plan to take advantage of my time to its fullest! I will report back, should I discover something particularly inspiring over the course of the coming week!

‘Til then…happy explorations!

From Wonder Walk to Art Work!

Happy Tuesday!

Now that I’ve been enjoying the creative breath of fresh air that IS Wonder Walks for a little less than 2 months, I decided it was time to start talking about how to transfer your multi-sensory experiences to works of art! Let me start by saying, WRITING in-and-of-itself can be more beautiful than any visual image. I realize that visual artists may take offense at this statement (I myself AM a visual artist), but what I mean to say is that the written word has the ability to paint an open-ended picture, free of visual prompts–left completely up to the interpretation of the reader.  That being said, let’s talk Wonder Walk inspiration!

In order to fully illustrate my thought process, I allowed myself to bring along a camera for a lovely winter Wonder Walk in the snow! Here is a visual documentation of my observations and experiences:

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My favorite moment from the walk is illustrated in the first photo shown. I happened by this gnarled, dry, skeletal bush, creating a wall between the sidewalk and a backyard. This bush was so alive with the movement and sounds of dozens of little birds. It was such a beautiful reminder of the life and pure JOY that can be found even in the coldest winter days! 

This story, along with the above images, will provide inspiration for my artwork–to come over the next couple of posts!

‘Til then…happy explorations!

 

Camouflage Explorations!

What a beautiful snowy Saturday afternoon! Although I much prefer warmer weather for my artful explorations, I must say nothing can quite compare to the peaceful silence experienced during snowfall. As I sit on my couch, watching the exquisite white powder fall, I can’t help but feel blessed to have found myself in such a beautiful world (despite our attempts as humans to “improve” everything). 

Today I’d like to share a project idea for artful explorations of camouflage–through painting! Although my sixth graders are still finishing up their work, I couldn’t help but share a few results. I was so impressed! 🙂

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To introduce this project, we talked about camouflage in the natural environment. Although this particular project did not involve any outdoor explorations, we did spend some time looking at examples of camouflage. I also connected this project to “Op Art,” or optical illusion art. My kids found this video, in particular, to be quite inspiring!

After creating their own design (either inspired by natural patterns or optical illusions), students painted their hands to blend into their designs!

As soon as I get the pictures, I will share a lesson my third graders did, exploring animal tracks!

‘Til later…happy explorations!