Matisse the Chameleon / Chameleon Mommy Blogger #1

Hello blog. It is time to introduce you to my adorable baby chameleon, Matisse. Welcome to my new blogging series – “Chameleon Mommy Blogger”.

I got Matisse about a month ago, on November 18, a Friday. After not being able to buy Taylor Swift tickets due to the “unforeseen” popularity, I decided to use the money I would’ve spent on Taylor tickets to fulfill a decade long dream – buy a pet chameleon. I rushed to the pet store and bought a cage and materials. On the way to the pet store, I was listening to the radio and the song that was playing was “karma chameleon”. I knew that was a sign that that was the day I would be getting a chameleon. I went home, set up the cage, and then later that night, I went back to the pet store and picked her up. I had several names I was thinking about, but when I saw her, I knew she was Matisse the chameleon.

At the pet store, I asked the workers what they knew about Matisse, but no one knew anything. All they knew is that she was new. I didn’t even know if she was a boy or girl chameleon. In fact, for the first few days of having Matisse, I thought she was a boy. A few days later, I went back to the pet store and found someone who knew more about Matisse. He said she was a very good chameleon and that she was probably about 3-6 months old.

I watched Matisse very closely those first few days and noticed she was closing her eyes a lot. I ended up taking her to the vet the day before Thanksgiving to get her checked out, and that’s where I found out she is a girl and she had an upper respiratory infection. The next 10 days, I gave her a tiny drop of medicine each morning. She seems to be doing better now luckily. I also found out she was 9 grams at the vet.

When she’s calm, she’s a neutral green color. When she’s upset, she puffs up and turns dark green with spots, almost black spots at times. When she sleeps, she is a very pale, whitish green. Here she is a month ago:

She also shed recently, on December 14. Shedding was an uncomfortable time for her, but luckily it only lasted about 2 days and by the second day, most of her shedding was complete.

As of December 25, 2022, Matisse is now 15 grams. She loves eating crickets and hornworms. She loves basking under the UVB lights and she loves climbing around her cage.

I also painted a picture of Matisse.

Matisse Chart:

11/239 grams4 months
12/14x4.5 months
12/2515 grams5 months
1/1619 grams5.5 months
1/24x6 months
2/1625 grams6.5 months
3/2131 gramsx7 months

New Work

A while ago, probably 3 months ago, I had a dream where I was painting a painting. As soon as I woke up, I sketched out the painting to the best of my memory. This painting is that painting that I was painting in a dream. I want to do more of these. Just gotta figure out how to dream about painting and remember it. The base was pink of course. The color PINK is informing a lot of my work lately. think pink…

This work below is much smaller. Acrylic on paper. 24 x 12 inches. Thinking about warm colors and electric blue. Phthalocyanine blue mixed with white creates such a warm, powerful blue. Memories. Pieces and fragments of time connected together. A self-portrait on an ordinary day. Pipes. Sunset from a cold, autumn walk. A hand, twisted and contorted for the camera. A parking lot, empty except for one car outside of the frame. Moments bleeding together. Connected by random thoughts of bowls and hands and places.

Jacob Lawrence

This is from a while ago, perhaps a year ago. But I did this project with my lower elementary students. We learned about Jacob Lawrence and his cityscapes, and then students drew a city with oil pastel. Then, they added black outlines on top with acrylic paint and extra colors with tempera paint. Everything was drawn on cardboard because toned paper adds an extra element of pizzazz. So here they are:

Some Sculptures with My Students

For my Saturday art class this fall, I taught students how to create a lot of sculptures. We started out using clay and students designed sketches of what they wanted to create and then used clay techniques to put together their clay pieces (with air dry clay). They painted their sculptures with tempera. We also made plaster strip sculptures. Students created their base with balled up newspaper and tape and then went over the newspaper with plaster strips. My little kids made pumpkins/jack-o-lanterns and my older kids designed their own sculpture.

New Studio & Some Things I’ve Learned

I have a new studio for grad school! So far, I am loving my studio and the space it gives me to create and be messy. I have learned so much about art already. In a studio visit with artist Alejandra Seeber, she gave me some advice to let the painting stay unfinished in sections, don’t give all the information, don’t equalize it too much, and let the painting breathe. In the “painting possibly finished”, (3rd painting, first row below), the phthalo green under the alizarin crimson is like a breeze of fresh air, letting the painting breathe and flow together. Without the phthalo green, the painting would become flat and equalized and all the parts would blend together without a break of unfinished color.

Drawings Made in a Place

everything moves
too quickly
too slowly
at the same time.
I’m frozen in time
and I’m speeding down the highway
days blur,
weeks and weeks go by
I’m tumbling, struggling
hanging on by a thread;
I’m lost –
but how can I even be lost if I’ve never known where I want to
How can I be lost without a destination.
2/11/2020 11:33PM

Drawings made in a place where time stands still

Kindergarten Flowers

Kindergarten learned about Georgia O’Keeffe today and created their own close-up, enlarged flower artworks. Kindergarteners looked at fake flowers for inspiration, then sketched out their flower in pencil. Then they colored each petal and the background with chalk pastel and smudged the colors together. Lastly, they traced over their pencil lines with black ink using foam brushes. These are the finished artworks! I love how they turned out.

Teaching Updates

I’m a bit overwhelmed with teaching right now, but I am doing the best I can. These are some of the artworks from lessons I’ve taught recently.

Upper elementary did these awesome Kehinde Wiley stained glass inspired paintings:

Lower elementary created Alma Thomas inspired paintings:

Kindergarten made these beautiful Jim Dine inspired hearts for Valentine’s Day-ish time: