Clay Explorations

Every week at the Decorative and Fine Arts Camp we start off the week with painting in the mornings and clay in the afternoon! It’s always a big hit. We have a clay tile relief sculpture project with more specific instructions and then campers also have the freedom to do free experimentation and sculpture making. These small sculptures usually reflect their own interests, such as foods, animals or fictional characters!

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Bart Simpson

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A villager? (If you’re familiar with Minecraft you’ll understand.)

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Rolling into Summer with Color Wheels!

I couldn’t be more proud/happy/excited/nervous/ecstatic/ready to be back at the Decorative and Fine Arts Camp, and this time as the camp owner. Since my amazing mentor and talented sculptor Sinclair Hamilton retired I will now be running the Decorative and Fine Arts Camp under Emma Teaches Art LLC. and in partnership with Glen Echo.

So far the first two weeks were full, and full of fun. If you have been following me for years you’ve seen this project before, but here we have our first and signature camp project. The DFAC covers all sorts of art-making, and we start our week with painting. The color wheel project is also differentiated by campers ages and weeks of experience at the camp. This means that campers who have never been at DFAC before and are 7 and under start with “color wheel A”.

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Those campers who have never been at DFAC before and are 8 and up start with “color wheel B” a slightly more complicated version of the color wheel.

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The black Background is how we finish off the wheels!

Those campers who have been at DFAC before and have completed “color wheel B” move on to “color wheel C” a slightly more complicated version of “color wheel B,” but with the challenge of choosing their own colors, and this trend continues in color wheels “D,E,F”. (You get the idea)

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Finally, campers who have returned enough times to get to F then get to invent their own color wheel, shapes and all!

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Final Exams

As in years past, our final exam for the Foundations of Studio Art class consists of an independent project designed by the students themselves. My goal is that each student sets out to explore their personal art interests. This means they can re-visit any of the materials, techniques, and themes we have explored during the school year. They do not need to revisit an entire project, just pieces of it. This way they already know set-up and clean up processes, as well as basic techniques with their chosen material and I can focus on guiding them through their though process, and perfecting their (mostly painting) technique.

They are graded using a contract filled out by each student and signed by me before they begin. I absolutely love the results this year, take a look!

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Van Gogh on chucks.

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Work in progress.
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Andy Warhol homage.

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K-Pop fan art.
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A dyptich on wood pannels.
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A glorious acrylic sunset.
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Photo realism exploration.

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School sports.

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A vacation memory.
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A storyboard for an animated version of Pet Cemetary.
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Social justice commentary.

Final Recycled Projects

We finally finished our recycled art projects and what wonderful sculptures they turned out to be! Each group really did a phenomenal job this year finding a unique way to solve a problem: How do you give a second life to an old box? Some transformations were more extreme than others. Some students preserved their original box while others disguised and incorporated their box into a larger sculpture as a material. The breadth of materials used this year was inspiring. One group even visited a few restaurants asking for corks, because they had their heart set on using them as “stones”. Some kind business owner happily gave them two trash bags full! Another group took a more direct approach to the assignment and created a garden exploding out of a box. All were really impressive. Take a look at the results!

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Annual Art Show

What better time of year than the day after the annual art show! It’s like, phew we made it! Below you can see some of the wonderful artwork, not only my students but my wonderful colleagues’ students as well! Also, you can see the beautiful floral arrangements and decorations done by one of our parent volunteers. She has a background in interior design, and is truly incredible!

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While I was Gone

While I was away my students created beautiful acrylic paint and pastel landscapes based on their own photographs with my substitute. Lucky for me, my maternity leave sub was the wonderful woman who taught in my position at Stone Ridge for 25 years before I came along. So needless to say she knows a thing or two. Check these out!

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Recyled Squared

We have begun our well established recycled unit. This year I have revamped the assignment by restructuring our project around a recycled amazon box. Each group has to bring in an amazon box, or use one of mine, as their jumping off point. My hope is that this constraint will encourage even more creative solutions to this problem. We will see.

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Also, before I let everyone start we re-organized and reset the classroom, just so that we could mess it all up again. #artteacherlife

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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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Still Slaying the Still Life!

Once again we created single object still life paintings. I swear they get more and more dynamic every year! This project comes as the final piece in our study of color theory. We do this through studying the color wheel, color terms, and finally color relationships. Right before this project each student had the opportunity to design a small logo on Adobe inDesign that showed their understanding of the relationship between two colors and also a presumed emotional reaction to those colors. Finally, we choose an object that speaks to us. Each student is challenged to choose a background color that works with their object to create a color scheme. Then we go over painting techniques and begin! As you can see below, the results are impressive and inspiring.20160920_130121

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