Through college I worked in a casual yet fancy restaurant that opened my taste buds to the world of beautiful and delicious food. Thanks to my experience I now spend about half of my day thinking of food, concocting recipes and perusing the aisles at my local grocery. So I felt it was only fitting to highlight some of my favorite food oriented blogs, because well first off I'm hungry right now and second, these recipes make cooking into an art! (Something I have to occasionally remind myself of while I'm trying to quickly eat and drive to school at the same time).

So for today I say eat, drink and savor every morsel because while food's main purpose is to provide us with nutrients, it also can bring a little beauty into each day.

And so on to the food:

Smitten Kitchen - Who says you need a big space to prepare gourmet meals?
Visually this site is absolutely beautiful. The chef and her husband do all the work, cooking, cleaning and photography. Since it's cooling down in the Bay Area we're making her chicken and dumplings tonight and my mouth is watering as I type.

Lara Ferroni - Beautiful images of food that I believe are posted on this site Cook & Eat.

Chez Pim - Another site with gorgeous images, although I think some of the dishes may be a little out of reach for the average home chef. But who am I to limit your talents? Go, prep, cook!

Finally a few restaurants and groceries in our area that I couldn't live without:

Berkeley Bowl
- The kind of grocery store where shopping is more of an experience than anything else. (That sounds cheesy, but it's true. I spend a good 40min a week trolling through the giant fruits and veggies section looking at exotic/foreign/odd foods and asking myself "what am I going to do with this?")

Cheeseboard Collective - A pizza coop along with a cheese shop. A combo that makes one delicious style of pizza a day (always vegetarian) for a relatively cheap price. Ingredients are always fresh, seasonal and worth the long line.

Tartine Bakery - So good they don't have a sign. Tartine's food is, and not to overuse this word, beautiful. Always rich and full of flavor, their desserts as well as their savory treats are welcomed by my taste buds every time. It's kind of an SF must.

Your friendly neighborhood cover artist!

So we just purchased tickets to see an interview with Sarah Vowell and Daniel Handler this coming Spring. And thinking about this anticipated evening (Sarah Vowell is one of my favorite "historians"), I found myself thinking about the clever illustrations and cover art these authors use for their books. Then I thought about how underappreciated illustrators are these days. I can remember a time when we read books in school and as the teacher began they always made sure to state the author and the illustrator, it felt very important then. It feels very important now. How often do we pick up a book solely based on its cover? I'll admit, I do it more often then not. So in honor of these fabulous illustrators I'm posting some links to their pages. Happy browsing!

Brett Helquist
- best known for his work on the Lemony Snicket series (aka Daniel Handler's little gems).

David Levinthal - cover artist for some of Sarah Vowell's books like The Wordy Shipmates and The Partly Coulded Patriot.

Marcel Dzama - he's also done some illustration work for Sarah Vowell, along with some cd cover art you may recognize (like Beck's Guero).

Art Books for Kids

Here is a list of some wonderful books on artists and art movements for preschoolers-fifth grade.

Mary Cassatt - Jane O'Connor, Jennifer Kalis

Pablo Picasso - True Kelley

Picasso and the Girl with a Ponytail - Laurence Anholt

When Pigasso Met Mootisse - Nina Laden

Edgar Degas - Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Matisse - Laurence Anholt

Henri Matisse - Jane O'Connor

The Magical Garden of Claude Monet - Laurence Anholt

Leonardo and the Flying Boy - Laurence Anholt

Katie and the Mona Lisa - James Mayhew

Action Jackson- Jan Greenberg, Sandra Jordan, Sandra Jane Fairfax Jordan

Through Georgia's Eyes- Rachel Rodríguez, Julie Paschkis

The Yellow House - Susan Goldman Rubin, Joseph A. Smith (Van Gogh and Gauguin)

Andy Warhol's Colors - Susan Goldman Rubin, Andy Warhol

Klimt and His Cat - Bérénice Capatti, Octavia Monaco, Shannon A. White

Frida - Jonah Winter, Frida Kahlo, Ana Juan

Frida Kahlo - Margaret Frith

Collections of Artists and Other Stories

Katie Meets the Impressionists - James Mayhew

Art Dog - Thacher Hurd

Not a Box - Antoinette Portis

Discovering Great Artists - MaryAnn F. Kohl, Kim Solga, Rebecca Van Slyke (Art Activities)

Ish - Peter Reynolds

I Spy Shapes in Art - Lucy Micklethwait

Little Blue and Little Yellow - Leo Lionni

The American Eye - Jordan Greenberg

Photoshop really is our friend!

Photoshop is now online! For me this means constant photoshop access! It's online version is rather basic, but it's extremely user friendly. Check it out here:

Preschool Art Lessons (Warhol)

Honestly, who doesn't love Pop Art? Ok maybe some people, but this is definitely a movement that appeals to kids. Warhol in particular makes art fun and cartoonish, with his use of bright, distorted colors and repetition. So let's have a Warhol day.

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol is perhaps one of the most memorable and enigmatic artists of the last 100 years. You don't have to know anything about art to know a Warhol. His pop culture appropriations made him famous, and now your preschoolers can rise to that fame too. Ok ok probably not, but they can have fun experimenting with prints, making reproductions and using vivid colors.

Print out an image that the children can color, something simple a face or single image (you'll need 9 copies total)
Large white board (this is your display board)

After discussing various works by Warhol and introducing him as an artist, present the materials. Allow the children to color the 9 copies and then lay them out 3x3 on the large white board. Let children can arrange them how they like before gluing.

Additional materials:
Andy Warhol's Colors Susan Goldman Rubin
Find it at a library near you!

Addtional Activities:
If you cannot find an image for the activity you use this one:

Preschool Art Lessons (Seurat)

Continuing with Art History Month I present Georges-Pierre Seurat.

Georges-Pierre Seurat

Seurat believed that emotion could be conveyed best via color. In one of his most well known pieces A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte warm colors illuminate those who are jubilant, while in the foreground cold colors cast shadow on the faces of the somber upper class. Through balance of warm and cold, Seurat achieves a sense of harmony in his piece, a balance between not only the warmth of gold hues and cold dark shadows, but also between the classes depicted in his piece.

In addition to Seurat's use of color, his individual style stands out. Pointillism is best summed thanks to our friends at wikipedia "Pointillism is a style of painting in which small distinct points of primary colors create the impression of a wide selection of secondary and intermediate colors.

That being said creating art in the manner of Seurat is not the difficult task it appears to be, not even for a preschooler. One of my fellow teachers employs this technique and I must say the results are often spectacular!

Box of q-tips
Washable tempera paint
Watercolor paper (or any paper that is firm like cardstock)

After discussing and introducing Seurat to your children begin the activity.
You may want to demonstrate to them how to gently dab the q-tip in the paint and begin dotting their work.
Older children may prefer to first outline a picture with a pencil and then begin to fill in the picture with dots.

As always it's process over product!

Additional Sources:

Sunday with Seurat Julie Merberg
Find it in a library near you!

Preschool Art Lessons (Mondrian)

I began teaching preschoolers about art two years ago. In those two years we have had one art show, and are gearing up for another one come August. Teaching art to children isn't so much a class, as it is an activity, an opportunity for them to develop their skills (i.e. hand - eye coordination), socialize and use their uninhibited imaginations that so many of us adults seem to lack.

In honor of those few adults who managed to cling on to some imagination, I'm presenting my preschoolers with:

Here are some activities we'll be doing, if you have kids or know somewhere where they keep kids, feel free to borrow some of our projects.

Piet Mondrian

Mondrian is best known for his involvement in the De Stijl (de stail) movement. Using primary colors in addition to black and white, Mondrian's work is a non-representational mix of blocks and lines.

Mondrian is about as preschool friendly as an artist can get, primary colors, squares, rectangles and lines, everything is basic and at their level. In addition, this is an excellent opportunity to teach the children early geometry skills, planning/visualizing, and about non-representational art (perhaps explaining to them that in order for something to be "art" it does not have to be a realistic depiction, something many of them struggle with at times!).

long strips of black construction paper
yellow, red and blue squares and rectangles of all sizes
one large sheet of white paper

After discussing Mondrian with the children, perhaps via book or use of images, allow them to choose a few rectangles, squares and strips to begin constructing their own. You can either choose to help them lay out their project before they glue, or allow them to go at it on their own. I often allow the children to help each other with ideas and technique, but try to interfer as little as possible, to me the process is far more important than their product.

Additional Sources:
Anna's Art Adventure by Bjorn Sortland
Find it in a library near you!

Additional Activities
Mondrian coloring page:
From AnArtEducation


I'll start off with a disclaimer, I'm no professional. There. That being said the point of this blog is to provide information and resources on art (of all varietals) for ages 2-80 years. Why? For the sole purpose of connecting with other individuals who share a love for the craft, who see the world as one big painting/photograph/interpretive dance (oh god) waiting to happen.