Re-Visiting Collage Portraits

This year I revisited my theory that my foundations students should collage for paints sake. You can read more about it here. This is also my diversity piece. And this year I got some incredibly thoughtful responses to the National Geographic article that we read. Below are some quotes from their responses.

“My partner is a mix of hispanic and white. She has beautiful tan skin, brown hair, and brown eyes. When I first started this project, I presumed that it would be easy to find these colors in magazines. However, as I began working, I realized that I could find almost no tan skin tones because most of the models in the magazines had blond hair, blue eyes, and fair skin. Thus I began looking through magazines that featured african american women to find a skin tone that could pass for my partner’s hispanic complexion.  “

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“My partner is Hispanic and she has beautiful brown eyes and dark hair, but most of the models I find are the classic blonde barbies making it difficult to capture her unique beauty.”

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“This article is interesting in exploring the recent acceptance of “multiracial” people. It also raises an interesting question, in that it asks, is defining races at all inherently racist? Or is assigning meaning to those meaningless categories  the problem? My partner [has] brown-haired, hazel-eyed and of European descent. There’s a veritable plethora of similar models in the magazines I was looking through. I can see how it might be a problem for other races, hair colors, and eye colors though. “

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“While looking through magazines, I notice that it is very rare to see any POC (Black, Asian, Hispanic, etc.). If I do stumble across a black person, they are of a lighter shade, and my partner has beautiful dark skin. This is not only frustrating as a black women, but it is disheartening to see that my people are not vastly represented in the popular magazines of our culture.”

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“In the article at one part it was listing the many different ways the industry has been trying to make diversity a bigger focus. I think the industry actually has been doing a better job, though people have different opinions. We have a lot of progress to make but it is a start. I noticed that in the magazines there are a majority of white models. My partner is white so it was not a problem for me but it could be for others. There are so many beautiful people out there but the magazines i have looked in only have a majority of white and black people. My partner is white but of a darker shade, she is tanner than the models i have seen so it has been hard to match her skin tone.”

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Oh and one more thing. This year, thanks to snapchat, we were able to see if we could fool the snapchat face finding algorithm into thinking our collages were actual faces. The results were a barrel of laughs, but also kind of terrifying:

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Getting STEAMy

So, STEAM. It’s my cross-curricular curriculum of choice. I’m doing it now, as we speak, I even presented with my colleague down in Richmond this summer at the NCGS convention, but I haven’t mentioned much about it this past year. It was my, or I should say our, first year last year. So, STEAM, who, what, when, where, why?

engineering process

I need to begin with a little background information about what truly started my foray into cross-curricular work. It was a discussion over beers, after work, with my colleague LaShonda Torbert the Physics teacher at our school. She was explaining to me how one of her students had opted to make a video instead of giving an oral presentation on her group’s energy audit project. This was a physics assignment that entailed auditing energy usage in different parts of the school. What struck me was that the student was using her video making skills, from my class, in the physics classroom. Besides being like, “Oh gosh! I’m so proud…” I also thought, “Hey! How do we make this happen again, and better, and more often, and more intentionally?” A Physics to Art connection!

So LaShonda researched artsy science projects and I did research on cross-curricular education. I mean, I think we all know it is best practice for educators to help students make connections with other subject matters, but before we went and presented this to the administration we figured we would probably need to be able to articulate why.

So there is some great research out there, and whether it’s called cross-disciplinary, cross-curricular, or interdisciplinary it’s all good! There is a wonderful quote by the British philosopher Lionel Elvin that states, “When you are out walking, nature does not confront you for three quarters of an hour only with flowers and in the next only with animals.” Another more modern scholar, Mary L. Radnofsky reminds us that, “One of the ways in which we can help to enlighten our students is by giving them the opportunities to see and hear things in different ways from those which they are accustomed. This could mean studying science from an artistic perspective – something Leonardo [DaVinci] did frequently in his life, as he saw vision, light, stars, and the production or reflection of light from the aesthetic perspective – or studying art from a scientific point of view – something Leonardo also did throughout his life, as he strived to prove that painting deserved to be considered a ‘qualitative science.’”

And as it turns out, my biggest, most successful, cross-curricular initiative so far, has been my STEAM initiative. Which I am currently tackling with my partner in crime, LaShonda the Physics teacher. So I’m going to tell you more about it in detail, along with a few other cross-curricular initiatives I am working on. My collaboration started when LaShonda and I, we started the same year at Stone Ridge, began to go for a happy hour drink after work. We don’t actually do this frequently anymore, back then we were unmarried, and more carefree. I now have a fixer upper, and husband. I mean the house I just bought is a fixer upper, not my husband. LaShonda is busy with her life outside of school, too, so anyways I’m getting off track.

We realized, through talking about work that we had a HUGE overlap of students. Foundations of Studio Art is the prerequisite for all other levels of visual arts, and visual arts is our biggest arts department compared to orchestra, choir, and drama, so long story short my four sections of Foundations of Studio Art are attended by 75-80% of our Freshman class. LaShonda teaches four sections of Physics; our required ninth grade science class. There are 5 sections total with another teacher taking one of those Physics classes, and so LaShonda teaches about 80% of the freshman class and 100% of them take Physics.

So as we researched Art and Science cross-curricular stuff we had to accept that what we were embarking on could easily fit into the current educational trend called STEAM, standing for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. A lot of what we wanted to foster was similar to the goals of the Maker Movement, things like using the engineering process in both classes. So instead of trying to reinvent the wheel we looked to these movements for inspiration. Unfortunately, Pinterest and the rest of the internet is so full of elementary age appropriate artsy science projects that it was hard to steal other people’s ideas directly. Instead we’d have to design our own projects.

Our first brain storm session went something like this:

LaShonda: “What do you guys learn first?”

Me: “The color wheel and movie making, what do you learn first?”

LaShonda: “Sound waves and the electromagnetic spectrum!”

Me: “Oh cool, we should focus on the sound happening in the videos to reinforce their sound waves unit.”

LaShonda: “Yeah, and Physics can compare the light and pigment color wheels, we can talk about visible light and color in both art AND science!”

Me: “We’re brilliant!”

 

More ideas came up and we lined our units up side by side. LaShonda even let me have access to her excel spreadsheet that broke down each of the required Physics Units even further. It is worth pointing out here, that while her curriculum was fixed, mine was not, so I was free to move things around to suite potential connections more easily. However, I then had to work backwards as far as planning my incorporation of different artists and their movements. So it was still pretty tricky. I was trying to bring physics into art just as much as I wanted to bring art into physics. I can imagine, if you don’t have the flexibility and autonomy that I do, you could easily remove half of the initiative I’m explaining here and imagine that you could modify it to be just art enhancing science. So we embarked, with our administrations vague approval to try something new.

Curriculum Line-Up

To begin the school year LaShonda asked me to help her kick off the year with an art project. And like I mentioned before they begin the year with a study of waves and sound. She wanted the girls to create visual representations of sound waves and illustrate how they vary. So we brainstormed all of these great ideas: Bracelets with beads to represent different wavelengths, paintings of sound waves, posters about sound waves, videos of sound waves, and even large scale recycled art sculptures about sound waves… Unfortunately, LaShonda liked ALL of these ideas, so after purchasing a large number of art supplies she explained the concept to the girls and said, “Go!”

 

See this didn’t really work out great as far as classroom management and cleanliness was concerned. There was junk everywhere, and she could hardly keep track of who was doing what. One student made a poster shaped like a violin with each string mimicking the sound waves of some series of notes, and another student was making that bracelet I mentioned, while another just hung out in the corner and splattered paint. Literally. She was making a splatter paint on canvas, representing a soundwave. And the most important thing to mention is the Rubens tube. See this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4gDmhINa-8

 

Now after all of this the Physics classroom produced some pretty quality works of art, but it was clearly a bit stressful on the teacher’s side, including the classroom management, time management and grading aspects. My suggestions were the following: Limit Materials and let the students use their creativity and ingenuity within the limits of those materials. Create sample projects so that you the teacher have an idea of the time limit you should place on the project, and finally, use vocabulary that they have already learned in the classroom. There is no reason that color theory should be forgotten just because they’ve left the classroom. However, for vocabulary LaShonda and I would need to spend even more time together, working, and coordinating. And as you all know time is precious during the school day. So it was difficult.

 

On my side of things I was encountering similar successes and pitfalls. As I began my light and color unit I had my students sketch and take notes in the same notebook as they were using in Physics, except some days they had turned it in to be graded, and other days it was home because they had too much to carry every day and Physics fell on the opposite day of the rotation… But not to worry, we still charged ahead with our color theory unit and painted our single object still lifes with objects that interacted with light. Unfortunately, while these two units fit beautifully together in our minds, we saw little to no connections being made.

 

By the end of the year, we saw it wasn’t enough just to leave room for coincidence, but that we would have to ask our students to literally verbalize any and all connections, and also require them to try, and support them in this. A great example can be found in LaShonda’s end of the year project last year. It was all about coding using the arduinos. These are small computers I barely understand. Instead of leaving it up to the students she gave them each an arduino, LED lights, copper wire tape, and cardboard, paper and glue. Then she assigned them a Physics concept and assigned them another class. They had to make a work of art that did something based on the arduinos programing, that had to do with the assigned subject.

 

I don’t want you to think our project was a bust, it was quite the opposite. These are some photos from my unit on recycled art, that coincided with LaShonda’s energy audit unit, her unit that inspired this whole thing. For this project students actually spread awareness about material waste by creating sculptures from recycled materials, and installing them around the school. You can see exampels here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4gDmhINa-8 The green dragon is made of old green soda bottles, and the tree is made out of old cans and covered in our old table cover sheets of butcher paper. I had wanted to create recycled sculptures with my class for a long time, and this was the first time I had been able to really do it, and our Physics connection was a huge success on this project. We asked students to verbalize connections and they did! They could!

Here are some of the BIG lessons we learned. Our Do’s and Don’ts:

Don’t

  • Expect Perfection, the Common Core wasn’t written in a day…
  • Rush (Rush to tell your admin, so they can start to facilitate, but don’t actually rush the planning process)
  • Expect your school to facilitate time for collaboration
  • Forget to schedule time for collaboration later in the year

Do

  • Document! – have your students do this as well
  • Remember to get your students to verbalize the connections
  • Communicate with students and colleagues you’re working with – consistency is big
  • Schedule time to collaborate, and then schedule more…

 

LaShonda and I had the distinct advantage of liking each other, and sharing a friendship outside of school. However, If collaboration isn’t necessarily an option, I’ve also had great success sharing art with colleagues on professional development days. I’ve done a step-by-step portrait lesson, you’ve probably all taught this one before, it;s a classic, but you’d be surprised how many of your fellow teachers haven;t tried it! Fair warning the adults behave just like the kids. In other words, “Is this good!?” “Can you help me” “WAIT! WAIT I’m erasing my circle!” I would do this and then suggest that this is a fun example of proportion and ratios and might be useful in the math room. It also has the potential to become a history lesson with portraits of historic figures or portraits of a fictional characters in literature.

 

I have also facilitated other teachers in my school by just letting them audit my class on certain days. This is actually fantastic if the schedule allows it. Now, whether or not you can do this depends largely on your school’s culture, but at Stone Ridge we had a Drama teacher take an entire year of Spanish one classes. She took the exam and everything! When it has worked best for me is inviting teachers to visit me on a day when I am introducing a new program like Adobe Photoshop or InDesign. I have also let other teachers know that the large sketchbooks that I give my art students are fair game for drawing based lesson in their classes. I mean, there is no way they are going to use every page of that thing otherwise, there are like a million. (Although there is always that one kid who halfway through the year is like, “Can I have another?”) Finally I have also facilitated other teachers by doing the simplest favor you can imagine. Helping them figure out what art supplies to buy, for a certain art heavy project in their class. This is Usually one they have already developed, but want to improve on.

 

I feel like I’m trying to sell you something, but I am convinced that you can do this too! (For my art teachers reading this.) The benefits of creating or facilitating a cross-curricular initiative are vast, and the process is simple. You could do this with another colleague just by sitting down, laying out your curriculum, and seeing where connections could be made and emphasized. If it’s possible, look at how you could re-arrange units in order to make connections. Or think about enhancing an already existing unit. See what your colleagues are teaching and make suggestions. If you have a standardized curriculum with less flexibility, study the curriculum document for potential overlap and connections. Keep in mind, the more enthusiasm you have in your cross-curricular initiative the more awesome it will become. The more awesome your department becomes the more valuable your department becomes to the school as a whole, and then BAM! more money for your classroom…maybe. Either way the positive attention from administrators can’t hurt and it does put you in a great position to ask for more supplies. So in conclusion, if you’d like to spend less of your own money in the Target $1 discount bins, and more time enjoying yourself, cross curricular.

Foundations Unit One: Light and Color

In Foundations of Studio art we are beginning the year with a unit on Light and color, as you’ve seen the past two years. This year I would like to do something different and break down my units by day. Please feel free to use the comments section and let me know what you think.

Our Light and Color unit is a study of the color wheel, color families, color mixing, light vs. pigment, an introduction to the elements and principles of art and design. Students start by making a color wheel poster in small groups, and then a logo in Adobe illustrator. Finally, they use their color mixing techniques and color theory to create a beautiful still life painting. We also take a closer look at Photorealism from 1968 to the present, and artists like Mary Pratt, Robert Bechtel, Charles Bell, and Chuck Close. We focus on the elements of color and value specifically, and work with the principle of contrast. 

At the end of this unit students present their still lifes and are asked to reflect on how they have used their color wheel skills, captured light, and how light is interacting with their object. The final piece here hopes to connect this project with the study of the electromagnetic spectrum and the study of visible light that they are beginning in their Physics classes.

Also, just so you can get an idea, the classroom time is broken down into four or five parts depending. We begin each class with some form of quiet reflection in the form of a Visio Divina, a method of meditation I picked up this summer at a catholic teachers conference. Or we have another form of warm up. Then I move into a demonstration and explanation period. Afterwards we usually have work time, which is followed by a reflection period on days when time allows, or we have finished a project and are presenting. Finally I allow at least ten minutes for clean up. It is important to keep our room neat and organized so that our students feel empowered to find and use the art materials. This structure also helps students monitor their own use of time.

Breakdown of Warm-Up and Daily Activities:

Day 1

-We reviewed the Syllabus, wrote down the Elements and Principals in our brand new Sketchbooks! Which I also handed out that day.

Day 2

-I introduced Visio Divina, a method of meditation I picked up this summer at a catholic teachers conference. 

-We also began our color wheel assignment  https://docs.google.com/a/stoneridgeschool.org/document/d/1e-4Is1wCn5ex1EQLvPksjkn2Fm8GMLeTG86tG7liu5g/edit?usp=sharing 

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Day 3

-Visio Divina http://picklemethis.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Smears-of-Jam-Lights-of-Jelly_MP_071_RGB.jpg

-Color Wheel Assignment was finished and presented. See google doc for presentation questions. 

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Day 4

-Visio Divina https://sophieelliston.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/logos-all.jpeg

-Introduced Color in Design:  https://docs.google.com/a/stoneridgeschool.org/document/d/1Gd8e7ejKBLzZrrO1DUbQxxeA6jQsk30P4N8E7Tbtsqc/edit?usp=sharing

-Invented imaginary companies and begin logo design with colored pencils.

-Reminded students to bring in special objects for still life paintings.

 

Day 5

Reviewed color contrasts

-Began Logo Designs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vmilq3KDJio (Emphasize meaning in color, list adjectives)

-Began designing logo on illustrator.

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Bouquettes for Ballet

Caroline Tangang

CarolineBarryLogo

Cecilia Hornyak Logo

Izzy'sHeeltoToeLogo

Jillian Perry

Logo Beyer Bulard

Day 6

-Warm-Up: Drew Nats Logo from memory, then revealed. Many students were suprised at how accurate theirs were.

-Finished Logo design, and present.

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Logo-Gee

Shira Nash

Day 7

-Visio Divino of Mary Blair http://www.cartoonbrew.com/wp-content/uploads/maryblairtreasurybook.jpg https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/ae/d6/7a/aed67a2287c931adc14675c7fd165750.jpg

-Quick, fun, simple collage on bristol board folded in half. (This is a ONE DAY assignment) Created  collages on cards, employing color schemes or groups, and color contrasts, inspired by the work of Mary Blair. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMIYrtaDALA (Los Colores de Mary Blair, video)

-Reminded students to bring in Special Objects!

 

Day 8

-Visio Divino Mary Pratt https://www.google.com/search?q=mary+pratt+realism&espv=2&biw=1183&bih=678&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0CDAQsARqFQoTCNKZw6_v9sYCFcxrPgodijEGhA

-Intro to painting (How much, what brush, from where, what colors)

-Painted Ground on canvases

-Constructed light boxes

-Begin backgrounds

-Ended early for introduction to clean-up (Brush cleaning, storage etc.)

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Day 9

-Short Visio Divino (Robert Bechtle) w/ reflection in sketchbook http://www.meiselgallery.com/LKMG/imagesDB/Bechtle_73Malibu.jpg (an example of analogous color scheme)

-Intro to photo realism w/ article (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2005/05/09/parked-cars)

-Began sketching objects in charcoal

 

Day 10

-Visio Divino (Charles Bell) http://www.meiselgallery.com/LKMG/imagesDB/Bell_KandyKaneRainbow.jpg

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/fb/Charles-Bell-Silkscreen-Paper-Circus-Act-1995.jpg

-Intro to acrylic mediums: Slow Dry, Glazing, Gel etc.

-Began painting objects.

Day 11

-Article on Chuck Close w/ reflection in sketchbook http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/22/nyregion/following-the-light-and-making-faces.html

-Worked on Paintings

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Day 12

-Visio Divino (Chuck Close) https://emmastevenson.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/a6d3d-lyonsbarr144-145.jpg

-Finished Paintings

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Day 13

-First half hour for finishing touches

-Presentations (*see requirements below)

-Rubrics Graded

-Homework for the semester handed out:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oa2pcLjCWsoy3SHvkfTP4FNrTD-QLPlqPkmhKnFAW_o/edit?usp=sharing 

*Below are the final works of art hung up and on display in our school gallery space. You can see some of my new colleague Tom’s student work from his section of Foundations of Studio art. Notice that they used pastels and more than one object. It is nice to see another art teachers perspective on this assignment, and the variety adds to the look of the show. (You can also see a few Ceramics 1 pieces in this first photo.)

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Final Presentation Requirements: Did your color wheel influence your final painting? How? How has your understanding of color changed, or has it? What color scheme or group did you use in your painting? What color contrasts did you use? Did you use value to create the illusion of a 3D object? Finally, since you are learning about light in physics, please explain how the light is interacting with your object. For example, is it going through your object? Reflecting? Being absorbed by your object?

Rubric: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lV7r83htKWwV1t-a1dATCpkt720cw4zEwaT9sezKUNM/edit?usp=sharing

Physics Connection: Electromagnetic Spectrum, Light Interacting with Objects. 

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

cube

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

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.

 

 

 

More Blossoms

I had my last day teaching at the Family Art Studio at Glen Echo this past Saturday. It was an amazing final day. My youngest brothers even came to visit me! I will miss working at Glen Echo, but I cannot sustain a 6-7 day work week forever, so I decided to ask if I could transition to occasional substitute.

However, the classes will still take place without me, so if you have little ones in the DC area, and you want an amazing weekend art activity that is infant, toddler, and kid friendly, visit the Candy Corner at Glen Echo from 10-12:30 every Saturday. It’s $10 per child, and there is no sign up necessary, just drop in! More info at pgip.org20150509_141939

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Blossom Festival!

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IMG_20150411_114309So I work two jobs. It’s great to earn extra money when you are saving for a house!

My weekend work involves being a teaching artist at Glen Echo Park Partnership Park for the Arts and Culture, at Glen Echo National Park, in Glen Echo Maryland. (long enough?) I occasionally gallery sit and manage events, but every Saturday, from 10am-12pm I set up a family art activity in the Candy Corner. The Candy Corner used to be a candy store way back when Glen Echo was an amusement park. Now it is a small classroom and art studio meant for younger children.

This past weekend and the one before, I designed a lesson inspired by the Washington DC cherry blossom festival, and just the range of blossoms we have blooming in the DC Metro area.

For this project I decided I would collect sticks, and have children paint them and then glue on bits of white and pink paper. My ideal age range for this art activity was 14 months-14 years old. Art has a way of differentiating itself based on the child’s needs and age.

It was totally fun and fabulous, and if you are around the DC area May 2nd, and you have a small child I highly recommend you join me for a day of family fun at Glen Echo! More information here:  http://www.glenechopark.org/family-day-2015

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Planet Saved.

Here are some of the final results of what felt like months of hard work. It was, in fact, only a few weeks, but WHOA did my amazing, talented, and persistent students make some great stuff! Now our entire school community, and the attendees at last weeks TEDx event (more on that coming soon…) can see these works of art displayed. My students essentially created pop-up installations around our school building, decorating windows entryways and our upper school library. Enjoy!

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Our school mascot, a gator, made from recycled plastic.

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A cherry blossom tree made from recycled paper, soda cans, and a plastic recyclables.

 

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A dress, sewn together by two students, made from old cloth and recycled necklaces.
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A dress made from CD’s, old slides, and pop tops.

 

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A marque light and a coffee sign, both made with a mix of recycled materials.

 

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A working grandfather clock mad from old buttons, and cardboard.

 

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A dollhouse made from a variety of recyclables.

 

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Hot air balloons made from recycled light bulbs, corks, and poly-fill.

 

20150321_112302A beautiful splash made from recycled plastic bottles, beads, and an umbrella.

 

 

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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Figure Drawing: Process

So here are some action shots of my students working on their gesture drawings. These drawings were done using two of the elements of art, line and shape, to build a figure that was proportionate and captured the figure’s pose. Students started (last week) with pencil drawings of small mannequins in their sketchbooks. Next, each student moved on to drawing figures with charcoal on large sheets of paper. These larger drawings were done while we stood and worked on boards set on easels. Each student did many gesture drawings of each member of their class in turn. Each of these drawings took a very short amount of time ranging from thirty seconds to two minutes. The final drawing was an observational drawing of a figure that took ten to fifteen minutes total, and I will follow up with a post showcasing those later.

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