Decorative Fine Arts Camp

I’m excited to announce…. the Decorative and Fine Arts Camp with (me) Miss Emma! In cooperation with the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, the National Park Service and Montgomery County, MD.

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$250 a week, Ages 6-12, Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm, Glen Echo Park, Jun 17-Aug 26

Have fun with fundamentals, like shape, line and texture. Create fantastic objects: silkscreen prints, handmade books, marbleized paper, plaster fossils, terra cotta sculptures, and color wheels on real canvas. Returning students are given new challenges with more in-depth and alternative projects. Studio fee payable to instructor at first class: $50 for full camp weeks and $40 for short July 1st week. Tuition includes $50 nonrefundable deposit. See all of my blog posts about the camp here: https://emmateachesart.com/category/dfa-glen-echo/

Register here: glenechopark.org/classes

 

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Maternity Leave (Take 2)

I have once again gone MIA for a bit, because this past November I gave birth to an amazing baby boy! I will be back at work in March and ready to resume my blogging and teaching and art making.

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French Coopération

So the word for collaboration and cooperation are the same in French and English! How wonderful because it was a collaberation in cooperation with my French teaching colleugue that happened this week. I finally got to put my big special project for the year, my painting and poster cart, out on a test drive!

First, let me introduce the new PAINTING and POSTER CART!

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I am trying something new this year. Just imagine, another teacher assigns a poster project to their class, and suddenly all of their students are in need of art materials. In the past I would be bombarded with random requests for materials I don’t even keep. and as a result, a sheet of $4 bristol paper would be swiped as poster board! (ahhh!) But now I’ve created a cart especially for children who would like to make posters. Any kind of posters. Spanish posters, go team posters. It can also be used as a general use traveling paint cart.

The new painting and poster cart will be open to students anytime. I will also have tagboard AKA “poster board” available for students to use for class projects for $1 per sheet. I have also offered to wheel it down to my colleagues classrooms if they would like to borrow it for a class. I’m super excited about this. These are cheap, rough and ready art supplies that are not part of our precious classroom stash. And all washable! My hope is that I will have fewer damaged brushes, and wasted or misused $4 sheets of bristol. I can’t/don’t want to close the classroom to clubs and students who’d like to work on other class projects that involve art, BUT we lost a lot of brushes and very expensive sheets of paper to enthusiastic poster makers, who maybe weren’t familiar with the art room, last year. So fingers crossed this is a success!

And so I got my first request for the cart almost immediately after I announced it to my colleagues at the beginning of the school year. The first teachers to borrow it were actually our freshman physics teachers, but both them and I forgot to take photos so oh well. But soon after the French seminar class wanted finish up a unit on Impressionism and paint in class. The French teacher wanted each student to just do a quick one class project (our classes are 80 min) where they created quick paintings illustrating their understanding of impressionism and demonstrating the key characteristics of it’s style. I could not attend the class since it overlapped with one of mine, so I can’t speak to the instruction too much, but they turned out great! What sweet paintings, and a wonderful use of this new painting and poster cart.

I hope it gets much more use this year!

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Painting With Light

This year I altered my single object still life project by adding more unstructured painting at the beginning of the unit. Students were given more time to experiment with creating value and just enjoy the medium. What I have learned in my 6 years at Stone Ridge is that most of my students won’t get very much time or any time at all to paint outside of this unit. (except in French class! Where more cross-curricular work is happening!) Some of them did not even have art in their middle schools previous to Stone Ridge. If they went to Stone Ridge they have a wonderful experience with paint, but either way I just want them to experience the joy of painting before I enforce an attempt at painting from life, which can feel very intimidating. I think a lot of the intimidation comes from my students admiration of representational art and misconception that their abilities to create representational art directly reflect their artistic abilities. I want them to see value in the process, or at least experience joy in the process, and take some pressure off the final product being realistic. This is also reenforced in my rubric where there are grading categories for different steps in the process.

So this year we started by painting gradients, and spent time using pallet knives to just mix colors and experiment with the color mixing process. Just like last year, I held a competition to mix the grayest gray and they did a phenomenal job. I love the low stakes of this competition and also that it has the opportunity to highlight the talents of a student that might not have confidence in their representational art but has wonderful eye for color.

In the pictures below you can see that this year’s paintings have a slightly more relaxed style from previous years and I think the best color comprehension I’ve seen from my classes to date! You can also see one of our pre-assignment assignments where my students painted solid objects cast in raking light.

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New School Year!

I love the beginning of the school year. Not just because I get a fresh order of art supplies, (and who doesn’t love that smell!) but because I love the air of optimism. I get so much planning and organizing done. The end of the school year is always a powerful time for reflection, but often my energy is not focused on organization. I did do a surprising amount last year, and I’m very thankful for it this fall. Still, in the fall I’m readjusting my lesson plans and setting up all of my plans for the year ahead. I can make adjustments from last year, and tweak lesson plans based on successes and failures.

I also just love teaching color theory. Something I intentionally start the year off with because it is just such a good base for the rest of the year, but also because by October all of my freshman will be learning about the visible light spectrum in their Physics classes. Today a student asked me if I knew that they were starting to learn about light in physics and it made me so happy to say, “Yes! Isnt it awesome!” I am hoping we have more of those moments this year!

Below you can see some quick snapshots of our work so far. We made unique color wheel posters, logos on Adobe Illustrator, we mixed our very own gray, and are using this gray to start learning about value ahead of our still life painting project. You can read about this unit in more detail here.

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Summer Fun

I have the wonderful gift of being able to stay home with my daughter during the summer and we had an amazing time going down to the museums and making art together at home. However, I did let grandma take her for a week so that I could substitute for an old friend at the Decorative Fine Arts summer camp at Glen Echo. This is an art camp I worked at for many years during college and my early teaching years. It’s projects are dynamic, engaging, and colorful!

You can see in the pictures below that children get to work with a variety of media through-out the week.

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A Little Cross-Curicular to End The Year

I do not teach print-making to my freshman. I have found that with my ambitious goal of trying to expose my students to everything from ceramics to painting to photography, as well as instilling the elements and principles or art and design, I just run out of time. I might re-evaluate this in years to come, it’s not like my curriculum is a done deal never to be worked on again, but for now, sadly, print-making doesn’t fit. So it was absolutely perfect when one of our world history teachers approached me with the idea of doing prints to compliment her content and add a little visual pizazz to the end of the year. I was happy to help! I believe in cross-curricular work and it’s benefits. You can see some of my cross-curricular work with the science department here.

So as part of the Renaissance and Reformation Unit, 9th graders analyze a series of Protestant woodblock prints criticizing what Protestants perceived were the corrupt practices of the 16th century Catholic Church. The lesson also asks them to consider the impact the printing press and printmaking had in general on the spread and impact of Reformation ideas. So that students gain a better understanding of the process of printmaking, I visited their history class and taught them how to design, carve, and then print “wood cuts,” (we used EZ-Cut synthetic blocks, not wood) protesting social and environmental issues that students cared about. As part of my lesson, I also reviewed the history of printmaking in the Renaissance, ranging from woodblock printing to engraving to etching. Students made three to four prints, one of which they glued into their Interactive History Notebooks. Their Interactive History Notebooks are these wonderful sketchbooks filled with notes, article clippings and art heavy history projects they do in class and for homework through-out the year. They are gorgeous objects, but anyways the block cuts were a success! Please take a look at the photos below.

Charcoal Landscapes

Using a black and white print of one of their landscapes from the previous photo assignment, students created beautiful charcoal landscapes. This was a chance to revisit our understanding of value from our still life studies.

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Picture Perfect

This year we focused on composition in our photography unit. In class students learned the basic concepts of aperture and shutter speed. Students were each given a chance to try out our school DSLRs during class. However, the majority of photos they took outside of the classroom were with either their own personal digital cameras or their cell phones. From a whopping 100-200 images they were asked to narrow down their favorites to 20 photos that exemplified the different types of composition in photography we had covered. Finally they narrowed their selection down to five for an all class presentation and critique. You can see below some samples of their excellent work. Our photo teacher will have a lot of talented students coming her way next year.

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Lost in Time

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