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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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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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.

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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Magnificent Sketchbooks

After four years of trial and error in finding the right sketchbooks for my students I think I may have finally cracked it! I order them these beautiful ProArt hardbound sketchbooks that are only five and a half by eight inches. They are easy to cary and somehow incredibly pleasing in their small size. The girls seem to love them, and have already started to customize them.

I use these sketchbooks as a place for warm-ups, note taking, homework and general doodling, but I also want the girls to make them their own. They are not just a classroom tool, but a safe place for experimentation and expression that feels less formal. I have been encouraging them to put them to use in other classes as well as draw in them at home.

Here are some examples of note taking and free draw so far this year:

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Cool Color Wheel Beginnings!

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Just like I have the past 4 years I am starting out the year with having my Foundations of Studio Art class explore visible light and the color wheel! In preparation for our first big project (Single Object Still Life) we spend the first two-three weeks of classes looking at color theory, color mixing and how color relationships can elicit emotional reactions. Our first project in this month of light and color is always amazing. Each group of three has to create their very own color wheel that highlights one color scheme and one color term, which they then present to the class. Take a look at how amazing this new group of freshman are, already!

My new pin board:

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Finally Finals

We wrapped up this amazing school year with another round of independent art projects. Each student filled out a contract that outlined their plan of action, their research goals, and their three most important overall goals for the project. It was their three overall goals that I used as a measure for how I would grade them. This was, after all, their final exam.

Check them out:

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A small street in Puerto Rico.

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The four seasons.

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Lily Pulitzer inspired.

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A Maggie O’Neal reproduction done by another Maggie.

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Hamilton anyone?

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Endangered animals, made with real life cut-outs, and some photoshop skills.

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Love.

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Everyones faces.

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My students did an amazing job embracing their own strengths and interests in these finals. They were aware of their limitations an abilities and strived to create works of art they could be proud of. As a result I am very proud of all of them. Obviously I could not picture all of them here, so you can imagine there are some really impressive works you are missing out on.

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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