Proud Teachers :)

As we approach our last week of Session I Class Packs, we are, as always, so impressed with the progress from our students!  

The morning kiddos in music & art classes are so precious and it’s amazing to watch them explore and grow so quickly. Afternoon classes have been a wonderful addition to our weekly schedule with such lovely students.  They have shown amazing growth and joy in creating each week!

After School, our Awesome Artists are so precious with their sweet ideas and focus throughout the structured classes. Portfolio students show their development and hard work constantly. It’s always exciting to see what project they’ll begin next!

Below are some examples of our students so far this year. We can’t wait to see what Session II has in store!

Session II is NOW AVAILABLE! Beginning October 29-December 14 with a make up week December 17-21. We don’t have regular classes the week fo Thanksgiving but we do have Pop Up Morning Classes & Mini Camps Monday and Tuesday! More on those opportunities can be found HERE!

Ideas for Creating At Home

With Fall Break coming up, we wanted to give some fun ideas for projects to do at home!  These are easy, mostly mess-free, and can be done with materials you likely already have at home.

For a quick way to tackle boredom, write ideas for drawings on popsicle sticks (you can even have the kids make some up too)!  Kiddos will have fun selecting one to spark their imaginations. The challenge is to finish all of the various drawings!

Another easy at-home project is inspired by Matisse.  For kids practicing with scissors, you can draw shapes on construction paper that they can cut out.  After coloring or painting the background, kids can glue their shapes to the background to create a collage like Matisse!

For the rainy days when it’s not possible to draw with chalk on the sidewalk, try painting with it on paper!  You can dip and draw with chalk to make it more malleable, or you can color on the paper and use a brush with water to spread it around like paint!  You can even have fun with mixing the colors to see what you get :) This is a great project for kiddos of any age!

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If you try any of these at home, we’d love to see how it goes.  We believe art making and creativity can be one of the best way to bust boredom slumps.  If your kiddos need some fun outside of the house, we have Pop Up Art Classes & Camps for Fall Break as well!  You can see our choices on our Kids Camps page :)

Keeping Young at Heart & Mind

You know that feeling when you accomplish something you didn’t think you could? Even a time when there wasn’t anything you couldn’t do?  As we get older, it seems like opportunities to feel that way are less and less but really we are just choosing to take fewer risks with trying new things.  

We received an email the other day from a lovely lady who was asking about watercolor classes.  She mentioned her age, 70, and jokingly stated that she hopefully wasn’t too old to take a class. The answer is, of course not!  Our grandmother, who is 86, instilled many things in us but one phrase we can never shake from our brains is “never stop learning.”  Every time we talk to grandmother, we learn more about our family and history (she has the most amazing memory), and we also are reminded that we need to intentionally incorporate opportunities to learn as every day and year passes by more quickly.  

There is something so intimidating when thinking about what else you’d like to learn to do in life.  We are always so impressed by the adults who sign up for a class and come in because they are actually doing it, they are intentionally picking something they’d like to learn about and they show up.  It’s inspiring and gives us a little boost of motivation each time.

For both of us, we have a few things on our lists we’d like to learn more about and the more we see other’s taking that risk, watch them make connections and feel successful, the closer we get to tackling something on our list.  Perhaps this year will be the year Leighton actually signs up for tennis lessons and Emma learns how to successfully grow a garden. Better yet, perhaps we jump in on more classes on our schedule to create with you all!

To those who are brave, who sign up and show up, we thank you. For those thinking about it, we are with you.  Maybe like our brave kids attending school every day, we as adults should take on this Fall with a goal of trying something new.

We have offerings for Adults for beginners through intermediate skills and in all mediums, including watercolor, acrylic, printmaking, calligraphy and more! As always, please contact us if you’re looking for something specific that you can’t find on our offerings. We’re always looking for new ideas for classes!

Mrs. Edna Gates

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A few weeks ago, we visited our grandmother, Mrs. Martha Greene Boone - the legendary playdough maker and history teacher we mention in many of our blog posts. Her memory is a lockbox of information filled to the brim with world history, United States history, and, most importantly, our family history. She and our grandfather spent many of their years together searching and identifying our ancestors and visiting many of the places they lived such as Egypt, China, and Turkey.

Grandmother has a magical way of telling their stories in a way that makes them seem real - as if we could chat with them at the next family reunion even though they lived long ago. To give our ancestors credit, they lived incredible lives as missionaries, doctors, teachers, and engineers all over the globe. Many of the women, we are proud to say, were some of the first women to leave home and go to college or travel to be one of the aforementioned missionaries, doctors, and teachers in times when women were rarely allowed much less encouraged to take such risks and perform such duties.

The stories are beautiful and endless but the one that took our breath away recently is the one about the woman in the photo below. We would like to introduce our great, great, great grandmother Mrs. Edna Gates Greene. In this photo from 1895, Edna is in an art class at Olivet College in Olivet, Michigan. Edna is the student on the right and, for those who know our family, the family resemblance in her profile is uncanny. Edna is the spitting image of our mom and, here, looks like our mom dressed up in 19th century clothing.

We knew that our love for art went back several generations but we hadn’t seen a photo like this where our ancestor was taking an art class in college just like us and our mom. Edna’s work decorates many walls in our family’s homes such as the still life pictured below which was one of her first works. As we build our business and foster our love of art, we hope we are making our previous generations of women proud. We will treasure Edna Gates Greene’s work, these photos, and the stories and hopefully share them with future generations of our family to come as we are sharing with you!

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A Fall Filled with Family Fun

The first semester has always been a favorite.  In addition to a new school year, new students, and renewed energy and excitement, there’s football, holidays, leaves changing and cooler weather.  We have so many opportunities for families to celebrate fall, and we can’t wait to get started!

For our football fans, we’ve got our first Family Friday Fun with Sheri Bailey!   Perfect for a father/daughter night or the whole family! We’ll be painting decorative door hangers, which will include predrilled holes and the jute or wire to hang them. Artist can incorporate colors of their favorite team along with various embellishments like ribbon and more!

Marla Faith will be leading a family class once a month on Fridays for Storytelling & Artmaking.   The series kicks off with The Quiltmaker’s Gift with mandala making on September 28. Next, we will read Golden Goose King and create flying birds on October 19.  We’ll be painting elephants on November 9 after reading The Elephant and 7 Blind Mice.  In the last class in December, we’ll create tissue paper beach collages and read Eric Carle’s A Home for Hermit Crab.

Halloween is just around the corner, and we’re excited for another Funky Pumpkins class! Instead of carving, we’ll be painting, bejeweling, and adding other decorations to our pumpkins to create any type of pumpkin you have in mind!  Also in the spooky spirit, we’ll have another mask-making extravaganza towards the end of October.

Taking full advantage of the seasonal change in nature, we are excited to have our annual Free Creating in the Park inspired by Andy Goldsworthy.  We’ll be meeting in Fannie Mae Park to hunt down natural materials, such as colorful leaves, sticks to create patterns and lines, rocks, acorns, and more!  All of these materials can be manipulated to create an installation in nature to be admired by all who enjoy the park :)

The next few months are filled with family fun and we’ll continue to add more creative opportunities for all throughout this year’s holiday season!  Just head over to our calendar to see what we’re up to each weekend. Some of the classes are pre-register only so be sure to check out our calendar on the website!  
 

Labor of Love

Remember thinking about what you wanted to be when you grow up?  For us it changed almost annually - astronaut, President of the United States, ballerina,  lawyer, playwright, singer. We covered almost everything. We never imagined being art teachers (though we pretended to be teachers growing up), and certainly not business owners.  

 

Luckily, we were encouraged to continue taking courses based on our interests.  After we graduated with majors in studio art, our parents encouraged us to get graduate degrees in education so, even if we wanted to pursue life as artists, we could teach to support ourselves too.  Little did we know, we would be end up being incredibly passionate about teaching too!

Getting into the business side of things was not as obvious or straight forward.  We are lucky enough to be in an age where we can think outside the box and create a business. We were also super fortunate to meet people along that way that led us to the University School of Nashville where we got our start. Then we met Larry & Robin who became our first landlords on Music Row and believed in our vision.  When we looked at our current space in Hillsboro Village, we went in to Arcade Kids and asked the owner Genie (whom we had never met) if she thought we’d be a good fit. She wholeheartedly said yes and with that spark of enthusiasm we worked hard to move in. It doesn’t hurt that we also live in a city with a booming creative community that we hope we add to daily.   Keeping it simple and starting small gave us the ability to learn as we grow. As we continue to grow, we recognize the real reason Little Art House exists is all the amazing kids, adults and families who continue to create with us and the eclectic, beautiful team of people we have working with us. We wouldn’t be here without all of you who value and crave the arts as much as we do :)

It means more than you know to have such strong support over the past couple years as we continue to grow, learn and strive for better.   We hope everyone has had a great transition into the school year and is enjoying the Labor Day weekend. Be sure to use LABOROFLOVE for 10% orders of $100 or more 9/10-9/11 at midnight.

Our Favorite Artists

Throughout history, artists are influenced by culture, other artists or creatives, the time period, etc.   We wanted to share about the our favorite artists, artwork and how they influence our process!  Who's your favorite artist?

Leighton Lancaster:

Who’s your favorite artist?   Marc Chagall

What’s your favorite piece?

 "I and the Village" by Marc Chagall

"I and the Village" by Marc Chagall

This work takes my breath away every time I get a chance to view it in the  Museum of Modern Art in New York City. It is large (over six feet tall) and vividly colored with layers of paint. Marc Chagall lived as a Jewish boy during a challenging time at the turn of the century in Russia before moving to Paris to pursue painting and his work often blends his struggles with his happier times later. He married the love of his life and believed that color was the “language of love”. His paintings incorporate bright tones and often dream-like scenes and general invoke a sense of happiness.

How does that influence your own work?

Many artists are remembered as turbulent and narcissistic but not Marc Chagall. I gravitated to his work at a young age because he represented the opposite. Despite challenges in his youth, he persisted and held onto the belief that love conquers all. In my own work, I pull inspiration from his technique and his subject matter. His thin overlapping layers of paint inspired me to play with layers. His subject matter - most often people, places, and things he loved - has inspired me as well and I tend to paint people, places, and things that I feel connected with.

Why is that artist inspiring?

Chagall is inspiring for many reasons but perhaps the number one reason I still adore his work and mission to this day is his steadfast commitment to love and sharing joy. His work is bright, ethereal, and happy. There is no doubt in my mind that when he created his paintings he was attempting to share his inner joy with others or to provide some glimmer of happiness for others.

Emma Bradford:
Who’s your favorite artist?   Paul Klee

What’s your favorite piece? It’s a tie...

 "The Twittering Machine" by Paul Klee

"The Twittering Machine" by Paul Klee

 "Fugue in Red" by Paul Klee

"Fugue in Red" by Paul Klee

These pieces are samples from a couple of the varied styles Paul Klee explored.  “Twittering Machine” is playful and light, though complex with its linear work.  It’s one of those pieces that just makes me smile. “Fugue in Red” is interesting in how he was trying to visually represent music. I am fascinated with how music and visual art influence each other.  The repetition with varying tones here feel calm and create a nice movement. It’s almost as if you could see music notes rippling out physically.  This painting gives the same effect.

How does that influence your own work?

I love patterned backgrounds in my paintings, which blend the line work and repetition.  With portraits, I usually create a patterned “wallpaper” that comments on the subject in some way for me personally.  It's not intended to make sense to others really but it’s a fun way to add something that only I know of in the piece, like a secret purpose.

Why is that artist inspiring?

Paul Klee experimented and transitioned through multiple styles, all of which are enjoyable and simple explorations.  There’s a freedom to just trying and seeing what happens without being too concerned with the final product, at least in the beginning.  I find it inspiring to just get up and create and not put so much weight so that it’s too daunting a task.

Finding Joy in the Practice

We’ve all heard the saying, “Practice makes perfect.”  In response, we’ve all said “Yeah, right.” In fact, that idea can be down right discouraging.  Regardless, it is a phrase most everyone has heard for one thing or another and many times it’s something you might be struggling with in the first place.  With a little adjustment, we do still believe in the idea of practice but not necessarily perfection. For us, it’s about finding joy in the practice.

On our survey to learn about students’ interests and goals with artmaking, we ask what tends to be the most frustrating when creating art.  Almost always, the number one answer is, “What’s in my head doesn’t get to the paper.” We still ask, nonetheless, because it feels good to begin with that recognition.  It also starts the conversation to understand that everyone feels that way sometimes when making art, even talented or successful artists. This is something we also recognize in our adult classes.

It’s a common misconception that being an artist is one of those talents that you either have it or you don’t and we strongly believe in the fact that, though some may have a natural talent to draw or mix colors, everyone really can be an artist.  The process just may look different than expected.

It’s always a joy to watch as adults let go of the need for perfection and just enjoy the process.  This could mean creating within a community is the peak of joy or, for others, it may just be about learning something new, even if the end product isn’t “exactly right” in that class.  Regardless of which way you lean or the combo of both, we have so many offerings ready for you to enjoy this fall!

 

Our weekly for those under 18 years old are designed to offer students the opportunity to practice in a fun and safe environment.  Progress looks different for everyone but it’s the consistent practice that really reveals great results over months of weekly classes with our kids!

We learned from our own experiences over the past couple of years, and this year’s fall schedule has turned out to be great one!  With new classes, great teachers, and thoughtful lesson plans, we hope all our artists will find the classes that work for them.

Inside the Window

Installation Art is not the most recognizable visual art medium.  According to The Tate Museum, “The term installation art is used to describe large-scale, mixed-media constructions, often designed for a specific place or for a temporary period of time.”  There are many notorious installation artists and sometimes you unexpectedly find yourself near or even in an installation without realizing it. One of our favorite annual events, that is Inspired by Andy Goldsworthy, is creating nature installations in the park in the Fall.  It’s so fun to see what you can create out of everyday materials in a space for others to enjoy.

 

Once we moved into our studio in Hillsboro Village, we had a new area for installation art: the window display.  This is something that has been a surprisingly fun, creative part of our job. Planning out the composition of the materials and exploring themes for our displays has been a way for us to stay creative and show some personality.

In an attempt to illustrate our excitement for the the new school year, our window currently displays wooden pencils, rulers and sketch books- a funky way to show some of our everyday tools in a new way.  Using fishing line, tying them together in a variety of ways, and figuring out how the placement of the knot affects the balance of each piece presented whole new types of challenges. It was also another example of seemingly mundane objects transformed  into interesting medium for art.

For kids, you can have fun in a play room by creating installations with at-home objects too.  Whether it’s pencils, books, paper or string, there are an infinite number of ways to create art for a specific space and there is a comfort in knowing it’s temporary.  You can play around and change it as often as you’d like and find new ways to consider the same space and found objects. One of our favorite items to use for quick, entertaining and creative installation art are post-it notes. They can be stuck and re-stuck in different nooks and on objects many times in many ways. We encourage you all to utilize your windows or a corner and create some installation art!

Trial Classes vs. Class Pack

Our parents always encouraged us to explore our interests.  Though they did require us to finish what we started each year, we were allowed to try something new if we wanted to.  From horseback riding to basketball, from cheerleading to mock trial, from dancing to even a beauty pageant, nothing was off limits.  It is with that adventurous and exploratory spirit that we wanted to give the opportunity to those looking to try out one of our classes before committing to the 6-wk class pack!

From August 20th  to September 7th, we will have our regular classes available at the Class Pack price but you can come to one or more of them!  Of course, you’re welcome to come to all 3 as well :) This way, you can see which class is the best fit for you and your family’s schedule.

Trial Classes will be the same as our Class Pack classes in structure.  Mini Makers is a great for siblings and our youngest artists (10mo-4yrs).  After free draw, we read a book, and create a multi-step project based off of the book’s visuals or concept.  At the end of class, students get to move to the mat for sensory play. In Petite Painters, 2-3yrs, students also read a book after free draw and complete a more complex project that takes most of the class.  The end of class is a sensory bin or playdough at the table. For both Mini Makers and Petite Painters, an adult accompanies the artists.

We have many after school options such as our Awesome Artists, ages 3-5yrs., where we typically read a book and create a project or two based off of an aspect of the book.  With Explorers and Creators, we lead students through projects that incorporate various mediums, art history, art elements and principles of design. The goal in these courses is to have a balance of education, success and art making exploration for our elementary and middle school aged students.  Our Portfolio Building Classes (Middle & High School as well as 3rd-5th Grade) are semi-private lessons, with max of 6 students and each student working on individualized projects to building personal portfolios. The teacher gets to know the students’ interests, abilities and goals so they can have more personalized success.

We are excited to be able to offer trial classes this year.  However, if you know your little artist wants to take weekly classes, go ahead and purchase the Class Pack to reserve your seat before it fills up.  You can also purchase all 3 of the trial classes to begin your weekly routine before the class packs begin!