Monday, April 7, 2014

Color Scheme Graphic Designs

Check 'em out!
The designs here are some of the skateboard decks created for our color theory unit.

I can not take credit for this lesson. After finishing a quick study of color with color wheels and value paintings, I implemented Skateboard Deck Graphics from the Incredible Art Department, emphasizing color harmonies.

Not every student made a skateboard.
Students were given the option to design a skateboard, laptop or cellphone case. Students could also choose to use paint, oil pastels or both. In fact, the design above uses paint and pastels.

I am pretty excited to share these at our Art Show tomorrow!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Substitute Plans for High School Art

Ain't that the truth!
I've only missed one day of school this year and it was a sort of pre-planned sick day. I wrote about it here.
If we don't use our two allotted personal days by the end of the school year, we lose them. So I've planned to take this upcoming Monday off.
And I spent about two and half hours putting things together for the substitute....

Part of the reason why it took so long, is that I used this as an excuse to get myself organized. All year I've wanted to put together a binder so that in the case of an emergency or a terrible sickness, I wouldn't have to go into school to set up for a sub. I'm not a hundred percent done, but this is a great start. All I will need to do is update it for next school year and perhaps add an additional lesson.

Inside pocket
Page one
Inside the binder I've included a couple copies of my homeroom list, a map of the building and paper for the sub to take attendance (sign-in sheets seem like standard procedure for high school, but I've learned to leave paper or it doesn't happen). 

On the first page is a big thank you. Being a substitute is hard work and I think some folks might feel intimidated or uncomfortable substituting Art. Very often I've heard from students that they don't want to take Art in high school because they can't draw.... that's exactly why you take the class! So I don't know how an adult might feel about teaching it for a day. 
This page also includes attendance and seating policies as well as what other teachers might be around if there was a question or problem. 

There is also a copy of my schedule and what should and shouldn't be happening with materials while I am not in school.

Next is a more specific schedule for the day I will be out. I hope that in the future I will be able to email this to a co-worker or the school secretary and avoid going in all together. But again, we'll see.

What I left for Monday is a lesson that I would have done with middle school, had I been teaching it this year. I've asked students to practice using two or three point perspective and design a tree house or fort. I spent last week teaching them about perspective, with power points and videos and exercises. Eventually students will be creating a comic strip, comic book/ book cover, or surreal/ futuristic landscape as a long term project. We'll see what happens with this substitute plan....

In addition, I left other plans as back up: the Black & White Doodle Design and Numbers in Color.

The last couple pages of the binder are rosters. Unfortunately by brain goes to worst case scenario. What if there was a fire alarm or lock down? How would the sub know if s/he had all the right kids? On the page with my schedule, I wrote down how to exit the building in case of an emergency and to take the binder with the rosters.

I am curious as to what other high school art teachers leave as substitute plans. I personally don't want my Art One students working on their assignments without my guidance. Is that strange? Knowing my Art Two students, I don't mind if they work on their current assignment, because I know they will. But is it weird that I'd rather give my Art One students (primarily freshman) a "filler" or practice lesson? None of my co-workers have a binder either... is the binder overkill?
Sometimes I think my left brain works more than it should. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Youth Art Month is in Full Effect!

I had the most fantastic day yesterday.
I volunteered to help hang the state wide Youth Art Month exhibit. 
I took the train to Boston Common and managed to walk about ten minutes in the wrong direction, before turning around to Boylston Street and making my way to the Theater District.

Myself and about 18 or 19 other people hung art between 9am and 3pm. There were paintings, drawings, mixed media, and ceramics/ 3D works. 
I worked on hanging the heavy paintings, on the main wall, the entire time, except for lunch. 

When I was looking for name tags, I noticed that all five of the submissions I was allowed to enter, were a part of the show. 

I was so energized to meet other like minded people. I enjoyed the thrill of organizing art to make the best possible display and I was overjoyed to know that all of my students' work would be displayed and that our city would be out there. 

I fell in love with these two pieces while hanging the paintings. Above is an 8th grader's work called "Ode to Modigliani." I absolutely love the way the paint was applied and the colors. Below is a 12th grader's work, under the tutelage of one of the young art teachers I worked with to make the display. I was told that he was one of her football players, which makes me love this even more.

I came home from my day in town beaming with pride. The fact that my students' work was included in this show was like winning the homecoming game. I was so happy to tell my principal. 

Plus, about fifteen or sixteen years ago, a watercolor that I painted in eighth grade art class, was entered in the same show. Only at that time, it was at the Worcester Art Museum, not the State Transportation Building. Between that show and future shows like Scholastic Art, I would have never realized my potential. I am extremely happy that I had the chance to perhaps pay it forward. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Getting ready for our first YAM!

Happy Youth Art Month!

I am really excited for YAM this year. 
I've always wanted to participate in some capacity, but for some reason or another I never have. Perhaps this year its a combination of having the time and finally feeling like I know what I am doing in the classroom, for the most part. I might not have the most original lesson plans, but I can tell that my students are learning and they are producing great work. Even if we don't do a school wide initiative this year, I at least wanted to get that great work out there.

So, I've entered some student work into our state wide show. Each teacher is allowed five pieces. Its not a guarantee that all the pieces are selected though. In addition to the four pieces below, I am looking forward to helping with the show. I volunteered to hang up work on the Saturday before the opening. 

I hope that this is a step in the right direction for our little department. I have the equivalent of tenure on the first day of school next year and hope to make the most of it. If this show is a successful endeavor, then there will sure to be more in the future. 

 Art One, Grade 9. Collage.

 Art One, Grade 11. Scratchboard.

Art One, Grade 9. Pencil.

Art Two, Grade 11. Prismacolor pencil.

Please forgive the odd angles of these photos. I asked a Photography student to take them, as she has a much better camera than I. However, she didn't take them straight on. 

Vacation Adventures


We went from one snowy mess in MA...

To a beautiful snowy wonderland in VT this past school vacation.

And on the couple of days that it was snowing and sleeting, we had no problems huddling under blankets watching movies or reading, or venturing out for fresh farm to table and craft beer meals. Lots of bacon last week!

I took the pictures above on our snow shoeing adventure through a sculpture garden. It was so warm that day, in the upper 30s...., that we didn't even wear snow pants and eventually the sun was so strong, we ended up tying our jackets around our waists. I think, aside from the bacon, that was the highlight of the trip!

Between all the relaxing and eating up north, I did find an afternoon to work on some drawings from the drawing a day challenge.  I didn't really know what materials I may have wanted to use, so I brought my entire "toy box" with us. In our little apartment, that one basket is where I keep the majority of my non oil painting art supplies. 

I set up my computer and supplies at the dining room table. Since this week focused on color, I needed to use photos. Theres an awesome farmer's market right down the street, so when we went to grab breakfast, I attempted to discretely take some pictures.

I used this last one for the drawing challenge.

Considering its not on watercolor paper and I haven't used paint from a tube in years, I am pretty happy with it. I also feel like it does what the challenge asked, keeping it loose, not including all the details, but allowing the viewer to fill in the blanks for themselves.

On the next challenge, I almost destroyed my paper. I played around with water soluble pastels and crayons again, this time trying to be abstract.... I failed at that part, but I think the image has a likeness to the mood in the original, but perhaps a little brighter. I couldn't darken things too much without putting a hole in my paper.

I didn't spend too much time with drawing after the color challenges. The next section appears to be about drawing people, very similarly to the drawing in pubs "class" I took in the fall. Being up north for the week, it was just two of us, so drawing people was out. Plus, I was much more interested in reading The Book Thief. I seem to only be able to read during vacations and wanted to take advantage of the time. In fact, I read the five hundred page Kindle addition in about four days. It was great!

Wonderful, relaxing and much needed vacation. Work was tough this week to say the least!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Artsy Book Club: Week 2 (Plus)

We are well into week 3 at this point, but I've been spending my time trying to catch up. 
I spent so much time, and was totally rejuvenated after drawing number 4 below. I was back in my comfort zone working with charcoal! But because I spent over an hour on this drawing and was pretty tired, it took me a couple of days to pick up again.

The next drawing, I think, was supposed to be some sort of garden. Its winter here in the north east, so I selected a photo of a piece of drift wood we found on Nantucket that I've always wanted to paint or draw. I wasn't supposed to erase, but I was in the zone of adding a tone and cutting into it after the charcoal drawing, so this is the same method, but with graphite.

Next was supposed to be a garden scene with pen and ink, but again, I'm in the  north east with more and more snow. (Three storms just this week!) This is what it looked like outside my classroom. Cat tails, practice field, street, followed by a hillside graveyard. Yuck.

Day 8 was a pencil, charcoal and ink drawing of family members. I think others did one portrait of the same person. I decided to do three... and timed myself to spend only thirty minutes, even though I could have definitely spent more...



pen (I've given up on ink)

If I learned anything from these portraits, its that we are totally related. I did a quick portrait a couple of months ago... The older I get, the more I see how much my mom and I look alike.

Finally we broke into color.

Tracing our hand and adding symbols, letters, numbers, etc that represent the artist. I had fun with the crayons. Normally I don't like using them, but I think they worked well here.

The following day we were to do a portrait inspired by light and color. I totally do not have purple hair.... but how cool would that be? Instead, the bright morning light made think about what my hair could be. I was ready to abandon this drawing a couple of times, but even though its not done, I think it was a fun study in color. Lord knows I haven't opened my box of Prisma color pencils in ages.

Next challenge was an urban scene.
Its cold out.
I picked an internet photo of one of the prominent buildings in my city. Lots changing here with reconstruction, but I think this building will stay.

Next was a monument...
We have a granite ball right next to city hall. Its a little weird to me but I really wanted to paint/draw the cherry blossoms that will be here soon enough, while it was snowing outside. The granite sphere was a gift for the city's 300th anniversary. Granite can be found every where around here and the quarries hired many people. The ball actually made it into Ripley's Believe it or Not. Here I used water soluble Portfolio pastels.

Finally, I worked on a landscape using watercolor crayons. I think this is my favorite of the body of work I pushed out this week. I hope to get back to this beautiful marsh soon.

I have found a bunch of these exercises difficult because it is snowy outside. But at the same time, it has been great to get back in the habit of making something. I think it is important to remember that they are exercises and to not spend too much time with each piece.