Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chalk Art

I had our third annual Chalk Art Event at my high school and if I do say so myself, it was great. The weather had been great the whole week and the morning of the event the weather dipped into the 40's with a high of 75 late in the afternoon. I usually do this event in Feb. but I was asked by the powers that be to do it in Oct.

This time I invited a few alumni to participate and it sure was good to see them again.

One thing that bothers me every year is the lack of support from my administration. In the past three years not one (I have 5 principals) has ever gone out to view the work of the students and when they do say something it is to complain about a piece of trash left out, graffiti they want to blame on the participating students, or offensive language they heard from a window. I feel like yelling to them, "Look down, see what the students have done!!". Unfortunately none of the principals are interested in the arts, except band, of course.
Well, as I said before, the kids had a great day and we exposed the student body to art.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Technical Piece

These are close-ups from a technical piece from an Art 2 student of mine. I am extremely proud of him, his finished piece came out amazing. If you'll notice, he used several mediums in this piece, he used paint, pencil, pen, colored pencils and watercolor. Can you tell which is which?

I will be submitting this particular piece into a competition this Fri., along with a few others. I hope it does well.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


This particular project evolved from one idea to another. After the pen still life I give my Art 2 students a colored pencil project and I usually incorporate their faces in the mix. After the kids finished doing a skin colored portrait of themselves I had them create another portrait using different colors for the skin. This usually takes them for a loop. Once they finished that portrait I had them put the two together to create a "reflection" of sorts. They had to come up with an idea for the background that said something about themselves. The hardest part of the project is trying to get the kids to put more value in the face and to burnish a bit. They're afraid of how they will turnout, you know how it is at this age, God forbid they don't look good! By mid-year I will make them work with more layers on their faces. These are the only two that have been completed, I will post a few of the others once they are done, which should be by Monday.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Still shading

As you can see I spend a large amount of time teaching shading. This particular project deals with placing forms on the paper and creating the illusion of space. This particular example has a few minor mistakes but it looks good overall.

This project is prior to doing their first pencil still life, I think learning about overlapping and shading before hand makes a difference in the end.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Graffiti Art

I have a student this year that has taken art for several years, but this is his first time in my classroom. I asked him to show me some of his work from previous years and he had nothing to show me. When I asked him why this was he confessed to me that his style of work never pleased the other teacher (I do not have a good working relationship with my coworker, but I'll get to that later) and so he just "coasted" through class.
After a long talk we came up with a game plan that would satisfy both of us. He was extremely excited throughout the process of creating this piece and he is excited for what is to come. He is in my classroom every chance he gets. I intend to slowly gear him towards other mediums that will still incorporate his style, I hope it works.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I've seen this popcorn project before but I had never been tempted to try it. I decided to go for it today and I must say, it was harder than expected. The kids struggled with it at first and it took them a while to get comfortable with their subject matter. The majority of the kids were pleased with the results and they loved eating the popcorn when they finished the drawing (It takes so little to make these kids happy, they're like little five year olds in big bodies).

Monday, October 18, 2010

On Display

I believe that as art educators it is our responsibility to get our student's work out to the public, albeit the public being the rest of the student body. Our school librarian is always so gracious in letting us display our work throughout the library.

We do have a beautiful gallery in the school but it is far away from the rest of the school and it is very difficult to get anyone out there!
I am planning on having an exhibit for my students and sending out invitations to teachers and parents, hopefully I will have a good turn out. I will let you know!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sketchbook homework

For this particular homework assignment, students had to do two drawings. One was of shoes and the other was of drinking glasses using any medium. I'm pleased with the result of this particular piece.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Turning shapes into forms.

When students learn to shade, they begin to turn shapes into forms. We now have to get away from line and I begin stressing the importance of defining edges with value and shadows.

I saw a project on School Arts years ago with something similar. The teacher had created some forms with paper and then had the kids use pastels to draw them. I thought this idea would work for a shading project. Aside from having to shade, they also have to draw the intersecting forms.

When I introduced this project to my kids their mouths dropped. Comments like "I can't do that Mrs.!" and "No way!" were heard over and over again. With some encouragement and practice they finally felt confident enough to try. They were very pleased with their results.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Next comes shading

After line and pattern comes shading. I talk to the kids about shapes becoming forms. I do your typical value scale (you know the one) stressing a gradual change in value. After doing several shading exercises I give them strips of paper to curl. They then place them on their desks and shade. I do several of these, asking the kids to create different curls with their papers. I enjoy seeing their expressions when they see the finished product. Love it!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Shapes and Patterns

After spending some time doing line drawings we get into shapes and patterns. I don't spend too much time on these particular principles and elements, but I do come back to them and do continue to speak of them from time to time. Again, I wanted to experiment on a new project for my art 1 classes so I was not too sure what the end results were going to be.

I start off by asking them to create a grid and fill each square with different patterns. I talk about natural patterns and man-made patterns. Once they complete the grid, they bring an interesting shape cut out of a magazine. They then fill up some of the shapes with the patterns they have created. Their work should look balanced when completed.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

After my Art 1 kids are done with line we get into BCD and MCD. I do your typical hand drawings and the kids really get a kick when they see the big improvement in their drawing skills. I usually do a project that involves sign language hand signs, but I decided to do something different this year. The kids had to look for a song that delt with a social issue that they could relate to. They then collaged some of the lyrics on a paper, did a MCD drawing of themselves and finished it off with some color. The verdict is still out on this project, but I am glad that I changed it up a bit.

Independent Project

I usually give my adv art students the opportunity to come up with their own project ideas. They must be able to convince me, though, that they have a well thought out idea. They must also present their idea in their sketchbook first.I also want them to start thinking about a series of pieces that can be viewed as a cohesive portfolio when done.
The majority of my adv students are working on independent pieces. I give a starting project to those that have trouble thinking of an assignment, but my goal is to get them to think for themselves. I acknowledge, though, that I have a long way to go.

The piece with the Virgen de Guadalupe was created by Julio, he based this piece on the social issue of pollution and the green house effect. He will be entering this piece in an exhibit that our district puts on every year in honor of the Virgen.
The other piece was created by my student Rene. This particular piece evolved quite a bit from the original idea. The writing around his portrait is of a poem that was written by one of the men that is collaged on the background.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sketchbook Homework

Both my Adv. Art and Art 2 classes have weekly sketchbook assignments. Practice, practice, practice! I give them their list of homework assignments in the beginning of the 9 weeks so there are no excuses for not completing assignments. I pick up sketchbooks every Monday with very few exceptions. I try and mix things up a little by asking for sketches that require different mediums, different subject matter or in the manner of (fill in the blank). The majority of the assignments are drawn from life.
As the school year progresses I will ask my kids to add layers and writing to their sketches.

My kids are also expected to have their books by them as they work on their pieces. If there is ever a question about a technique, color or composition, it must be resolved in their books. They are also not allowed to start on a piece until they have worked it out in their sketchbooks first.

Art 1-The Beginning

One of the first things I teach my Art 1 students is line. I start off with different line projects, showing them how a simple line can become sooo much more. I start off with line metamorphosis, this is the project where after repeating lines on a page they start taking on a life of their own, creating "waves" on the page. They do this assignment in their sketchbooks, along with several other line exercises.

Once we've completed these exercises we create several images using only lines. This is a slow going process at times but aside from the benefits the kids get from practicing line, it gives me the time to allow for schedule changes.
The kids are always amazed that they could create a recognizeable image using only lines.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

First lesson for Art 2

The first lesson I usually give my Art 2 class is a pen and ink still life. This project allows me to see their drawing and composition abilities, especially since many of the students may not have been Art 1 students of mine. This also sets the bar for the rest of the year as they quickly see the level of work that I expect from them. After they complete the assignment we have a class critique where all of the students are expected to speak in order to receive a final grade.

For this lesson I asked students to quickly grab items in the classroom and set up a still life in their close vicinity. All drawings had to be done from life so they had to set up their objects where they wouldn't be disturbed.
They also had to show a foreground, middle ground and background in their drawings.

Even though the kids made a couple of mistakes, like forgetting a shadow here and there, I feel they did a great job on their first class assignment.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Finally, it is up and running. My goal was to start this blog at the beginning of the school year so that I would be able to post my lessons and pics of projects as my classes worked through them. Unfortunately, I was bombarded with sooo much work (I should have known better) I just couldn't get to it.
I mostly want to keep a record of my work that will help me to generate better ideas for the future. I also want to give back to my fellow art educators. I believe we are always looking for fresh ideas that will help us to better teach old techniques and I am more that happy to help, all I ask is that you give credit where credit is due. I, for one, am always "borrowing" ideas from other teachers, but I always change it somehow so that it will work for my students, since I know what their capabilities are.
I'd like to show you my classroom. I am very fortunate to work in such a great space. Aside from my classroom I also have an art lab in the back. Our school district passed a bond a couple of years ago and the Fine Arts were greatly rewarded (about time).

I suppose that is all for now, I will be posting lessons and pics soon, 'till next time.

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