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.
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20150511_083420^Works in progress

in classroom

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cloakroom^Digital meets hand drawn cartoon masterpieces!

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

 

 

 

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Working Weekends: My Second (Third and Fourth) Job(s)

If you’ve known me for a while then you know I’ve worked at Glen Echo Park in Maryland for eight of the past nine summers now, and about nine weeks each summer. I took off one summer to travel to Salamanca Spain, where my father re-married and I studied Spanish at the Universidad de Salamanca. I also took many many painting and sculpture classes at Glen Echo Park as a high school student, which is how I got my summer job many years ago. It is also where I discovered my love of painting and clay sculpture. Two forms of art I still practice today. I took painting with the famous Bartman’s and sculpture classes with Sinclair Hamilton, who owned a summer camp as well and hired me when he heard I was off to Pratt to study art education.

So if you can’t already tell, I am very fond of this place, Glen Echo. So you won’t be surprised to find out that I have taken up a second/third/fourth job here as a part time administrator for a drop-in family art studio run by PGiP, an occasional sales-person/gift shop duties for the Popcorn Gallery, and an Art Party facilitator, where a birthday party of six year olds and I made mosaics, and learned about Antoni Gaudi. It’s not that I desperately need the money, I don’t, but it helps. I am planning to get married this October and if I am going to have all the little extras I want, I need a bit more wiggle room. Also, I believe that before I have kids, and need to dedicate entire weekends to them, and before I get too bogged down with all of the extra work of keeping a house, I see no good reason not to work an occasional weekend. I have always thrived on a full schedule anyways. It’s the same reasn I find work each summer.

Unfortunately, I wont be returning to the Decorative Fine Arts Camp this summer. I will instead be teaching a summer art program called Multi-Dimensional Studio at my current and fantastic school: Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart. Below is the description I wrote for this course:

An exploration in the decorative and fine arts, Multi-Dimensional Studio will challenge students to find new meaning in art through studio work and museum visits.   Materials explored will include acrylic paint on canvas, soft sculptures, mixed media collage, recycled/upcycled art, charcoal drawing, digital photography and film.  Multi-Dimensional Studio is designed to introduce various art mediums, techniques and styles. Students will study the basic elements and principles of art and design, and use these elements and principles to guide and assess their work.  There will also be multiple field trips to mart museums like the Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler Galleries, as well as the National Gallery of art and the Hirshorn. Students will develop their critical thinking skills while they assess their own artwork as well as famous works of art. 

It is open to all area high school students and I am really excited about being able to offer a summer course. I will, of course, miss Glen Echo and the Decorative Fine Arts Camp terribly. What summer is complete without the sound of the carousel pumping out its barrel organ tunes, filling up the park with an air of excitement. I will miss counting down from three to a room full of twenty-five campers wiggling in their seats, excited for the next demonstration. Most of all I will miss the raw, fearless art of young children, lacking all that self-doubt and un-necessary modesty that teenage girls impose on theirs. However, I am also thrilled at the prospect of teaching a museum, and self-discovery based summer program for teens that will have ideal hours for both travel and studio time that a regular school year schedule just cannot provide.

Moving backwards a bit…

Below are some photographs I took of the Candy Corner building at glen echo where these drop-in family art studio run by PGiP are happening. My colleague Meredith, an inspired  PGiP educator, has been constructing amazing and lovely art activities for families that surprisingly accessible to all ages and vary each week. The space is amazing and Meredith does a fantastic job setting up a welcoming environment for the families each Saturday. I love getting to see what’s new and happening each time I go!

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The Best of Glen Echo

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The summer is finally over and I am two weeks deep into work at my new school, which we will call “The Girls School.” I have been busy with my move from Philadelphia to Washington, DC and the transition to my new job, but I feel like it is important to get some documentation from this amazing summer in Maryland up, before I forget. Below are some of my favorite gems from this summer at Glen Echo Park, Decorative Fine Arts Camp.

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First Day Back- Clay Attack!

Today was my first day back at Glen Echo, a national park and partnership for the arts that hosts a variety of children’s and adult’s classes in the arts. Today I focused on sculptures and preparation for our color wheels. How amazing are these  sculptures that we made by a few of the young 6-8 year old boys.

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Flashback/Flash Forward

It is getting close to summertime and I am experiencing nostalgia.  I have now worked for 8 years as a summer art teacher at one of the most beautiful national park cites in the US, Glen Echo Park in Maryland. Here are a few gems from last year.

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Painted Ceramics

On Monday in the afternoon my Decorative Fine Arts Campers create decorative tiles, that become mini relief sculptures. They also create sculptures using the pinching and pulling technique. When it comes time to paint the finished, fired pieces I only do a brief demonstration and then let my students help themselves to paint (at this point during the week they are very familiar with the paint supplies) and get to work.

The Wonder of Fossils

On Thursday afternoons at the Decorative Fine Arts camp, we gather rocks and leaves and bits of plants to bring back into the classroom. Then, with all the lights dimmed, I tell my students the story of how I found my first fossil while canoing down the Shenandoah River. It goes something like, “we all stopped for lunch on a beach made of rocks and when I kicked one over …what do you know! I found a fossil!” I then pass that around. I also pass around a fossil my mothers plumber gave me, another one that belongs to  the camp owner, and another piece of fossilized crocodile poo that my dad got me as a gag gift for Christmas. You can imagine the reaction I get to that one. It is always some sort of collective mix of “ewwwww” and “ahhhhhh” followed by “awesome!” and “gross!”

After we talk a little about how we think fossils are made I demonstrate how we are going to make our own. First we will roll out the clay, just like we did while making our clay tiles Monday. Then we cut out a shape, just like we did while making our clay tiles Monday, except this time we don’t cut a square we cut off a one inch border and set it to the side. (The border will later become a wall) Then we roll the impression of some leaves on using the rolling pin, and press in shells. Using our border we create a wall that will keep our “instant rock” in place while it dries. (Plaster of Paris)

Friday morning after we are done making our accordion books the children discover that a hard white object has covered up their designs on their slabs of clay. “What is this?” “Where is my fossil?” I love these questions because I can always say, “I don’t know, why don’t you peel all of that clay off and find out!” and then TA_DA! an inverted replica of their design has now been discoverd on the underside of the white “instant rock”. I normally don’t like being crowded by students saying “look! LOOK!” but I make an exception for this project. I am happy that I have added an element of discovery to the project.

Papier-Mâché Part 3

After all the campers hard work it is time for the bells and whistles. The pom-poms, and feathers. The customization that will add the final touches to their papier-mâché piece. I explain that there are 5 boxes of decorations for them to choose from. They can pick ribbons from the ribbon box, or marbles and googley eyes from the round objects bucket, or pipe-cleaners from the pipe-cleaner box, or feathers and pom-poms and old fake flowers and assorted beads from the assorted box, or tufts of tissue paper from the tissue paper box. The campers will come up as they complete their other projects, and select for themselves what they would like to add to their papier-mâché. Then they will walk over to the hot glue gun station where a counselor (one of my amazing 13-15 year old volunteers) will use a low heat, hot glue gun to attach their accoutrements.

Here is a great microscope:

Some feathers:

A submarine:

I absolutely love this next photo. It looks like a scene from The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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