Finished Recycled Projects

We finally finished our wonderful recycled art projects. This is my second year teaching this unit and it was so wonderful to see what a variety of results we got just this year alone.

To learn more about this project you can take a look back at what some of my artists did last year here:
































Em&Lyn! A creative collaboration between me and my close friend and fellow art educator Carolyn! (where the Lyn comes from)Em&Lyn is a small business started by two art educators looking to bring art to children in their homes, and further enrich their creative lives. Em&Lyn seek to inspire joy through art.

Check us out at


La Grande Finale!

Now that our school year has come to a close, I finally have time to brag a bit about the amazing success of my classes final exam. Each student was given the task of designing their own projects for themselves, setting goals, and sketching out a plan for action. They were asked to draw from skills they picked up during the year, and they were limited to using only the materials we had explored in class. As I suspected a lot of my girls returned to painting. (Which is why finishing up with the collaging-for-paint’s-sake assignment was, albeit accidentally, BRILLIANT!) However, many of them chose other mediums and mixed them in un-expected ways. I am especially pleased to see that so many of my girls were comfortable with returning to photoshop and digital photography.





20150511_083420^Works in progress

in classroom


cloakroom^Digital meets hand drawn cartoon masterpieces!



20150520_083434^A Series of watercolor emotions.

20150520_083227^Digital Photography altered by hand.

20150520_083106^Three Studies of the Potomac River.

20150520_083031^The Eastern Shore.

20150520_082944^A Brilliant Sunset.

20150520_082848^Exploring light and a love of New York City.


20150520_082725^Detailed studies of the human face.

20150520_082646^A girls best friend.

20150520_082555^This piece is an extrodinary piece of work. This is done in sharpie and acrylic paint, and it is an expansion of a series of notebook doodles. What I love about this piece is that not only did my student spend more than 8 hours finishing it, but she accidentally began what could very well be an AP portfolio concentration.

20150520_081615^Gorgeous sunset.

20150520_081600^An Indian Elephant.


20150520_081539^A life sized mixed-media painting of a movie star type, in a real fabric dress.

20150520_081528^An impressive close-up of an eye.

julia photoshop 5

bridget photoshop 4

bridget photoshop 2

bridget photoshop 1^A series of Digital imagery altered in photoshop.

2 yellow and pink edited final

6 edited 4 final

4 eye pic final^A colorful photoshoot, inspired by color runs.




Solid Ceramics

We finally finished our beautiful ceramic pieces. The glaze firing went off without a hitch except that the delay I had programmed into the kiln seemed to not have worked? It fired hours before I expected it to, but luckily this did not affect the glazing, it simply meant I did not know to check on it at the right time.

Regardless of my inability to set a delay, the girls did an amazing job at creating wonderful, and sophisticated vessels. If you remember from my previous post Clay Hurray, we were creating vessels for things that were precious to us. Students interpreted this in so many different ways, and that was exactly the point. I am so pleased with the results, I’d say this project was a great success. I enjoyed it much more than the clocks and plates last year.








Oh, and I had a little photo shoot with these ones. We had a white piece of paper left from the AP Ceramics students photographing their work.









Oh Snap!

This past month my fantastic students focused on composition in photography. This was a basic introduction to using an SLR digital camera, importing photos, and correcting/altering photos on Adobe Photoshop. We started out with our cell phones as a warm up, because lets be honest, they really are just small computers with cameras attached. And pretty decent ones.

To keep things simple our class focused on only five, of many, types of composition: Rule of thirds, leading lines, framing, simplicity and point of view. Below you can see our class padlet, which was a collaborative, cloud-based wall that enabled each student to share examples of the five types of compositions. These are photos they took that day during class, and a few vacations photos that they realized fit in a category with one or more of our types of composition.

Screenshot 2015-01-08 11.12.39

Screenshot 2015-01-08 13.04.52After experimenting with our cell phones the girls were given an introduction to the Cannon Rebel T3i cameras that they would be using. We looked at the many functions of the camera, and the multiple options for automatic shooting. Since this class is meant to be an introduction only, we did not dive into shutter speed and aperture, however, I did spend a good amount of time explaining the concept. We also looked at the photos of my man, Man Ray, to get excited.

Art Meg pic

After experimenting with the cameras each student drew a piece of paper out of a bowl, and received their assignment. On each piece of paper I had written one type of composition, and one color. This was the inspiration for their project, and it was also their challenge. This one below was a student’s take on point of view in violet. Can you tell what the rest of them were? Leading Lines in red? Simplicity in blue?

Art pool



edited - leaves

Final Art Photoshop







photoshop final


redruleofthirds original (1)




Express Yourself (ism)

Expressionism was the name of the game for this unit. It was an exciting week, because it was time to paint bold bright colorful paintings. Below are some of our experiments with expressionistic themes.

First we looked at Kandinsky:


20140721_110622We then moved on to August Macke, my favorite German expressionist.


Then, we were on to our own expressionist paintings. This was especially inspirational because my teenage student’s enthusiasm for expressing themselves and exploring emotions added energy to this assignment. Can you tell what kind of feelings they were trying to express, what mood they were trying to capture?





Summer Surrealism

Once again I have had an incredibly successful summer session, teaching Surrealism to my students. I revamped, revised, and revisited my curriculum from last summer. I was so pleased with the results last year that I couldn’t wait to teach it again, and I was right to be excited, because the results came out even more amazing than last year.

So Once again, I taught Surrealism. None of my current students had taken my class last summer so there were no repeat attenders. Over the course of four weeks, we defined surrealism, we explored automatic writing, and we determined who our favorite surrealists were. Our final product was an updated, reinvented painting of one of our favorite surrealist art works and a presentation of this painting along with information we had found while researching the artist.

During presentations each student had to explain surrealism in their own words and present four facts about Surrealism. They choose this information from a pamphlet they designed that included information like what surrealism was, when it was happening and who the major artists were. It also described the surrealist artwork they had chosen, the year, the date, the material, why they had chosen it and what they had changed. The pamphlet also included a well researched comparison to a modern day artist. They had chosen either Tim Burton, Natalie Shau, or Jamie Brett Treadwell. Once they had presented four facts from this pamphlet they were quizzed by me as well. I only asked two questions each.

The Hallucinogenic Toreador, Salvador Dali

20130624_102119    The_Hallucinogenic_Toreador

Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening, Salvador Dali

20130624_102444     dali-bee-sting

The False Mirror, Rene Magritte

20130624_102428     Magritte_Artwork_ml0004

The Red Tower, Giorgio de Chirico

20130624_102316     The_Red_Tower

Grandmother Moorhead’s Aromatic Kitchen, Leonora Carrington
20130624_102146     AromaticKitchenlow_1621490c
Violon d’Ingres, Man Ray
20130624_102517     ingre-s-violin-1924

Nail Club

About two months ago, I was at my local CVS buying myself my millionth new color of nail polish and I suddenly realized what I wanted my next after school club to be. Since we are an accelerated school I have a constantly changing roster. Our students move through our school very quickly. So, even though dance club had been such a hit last fall my new group of students showed very little interest in it. Also, I was ready for something new, and so based on my love of all things nail art and nail related, the nail club was born. I let students do my designs and I also try my hand at nail art on theirs as well!

I am really excited about after school programs at our school. One time a student told me that he has nothing really going on at home and he would much rather stay and hang out with us (his teachers) than go home and watch TV, or hang out in his neighborhood, or maybe even get into trouble. That gave my after school clubs so much purpose. I had always taken my high school after-school programs for granted when I was younger, but now I can’t imagine growing up without them. It was an after school painting class that lead me to art school, after all. So when I realized that I could successfully draw in students and spread school spirit I fell in love with the idea of creating after-school enrichment programs. I currently have two: Canvas Club on Tuesdays and Nail Club on Fridays.













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