Category Archives: art

Big Bulbous Thingys

Experimenting with a technique has its rewards, just ask Rebecca Hutchinson. And you can ask her yourself tomorrow – Saturday, September 10, 2022 during her gallery walk (the work is in the Robineau and Malzman Galleries) from 11:00 am – noon at the Everson Museum of Art, 401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, New York 13202.

I met her last night at the art reception and I was delighted to make the acquaintance of such a spirited human being. She spoke of developing a technique where her large scale vessels are hand built upside-down using a series of paper strips dipped in clay slip, which is surprisingly strong. The pieces are not kiln fired and yet ,not fragile, which is intriguing.

Some of these enormous pods are decorated in botanical gestural paintings and drawings, like those on the long strips of rice paper located in the adjacent gallery. They are meant to represent the ebb and flow resilience of nature. This mark-making is what elevates this work from experimentally friendly bulbous thingys to big bulbous thingys with a meaningful message.

So cool!

Professor Hutchinson teaches ceramics at the University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth in addition to her role as a working professional artist and all-around art trailblazer .

Rebecca Hutchinson – Regeneration will be up through December 31, 2022. There will also be a workshop scheduled to learn her techniques. Call the Everson at (315) 474-6064 for more information or visit their web-site. www.everson.org

The A & C

The AmeriCU Syracuse Arts & Crafts Festival has returned to Columbus Circle and surrounding roads in Syracuse, NY. It began on Friday and continues tomorrow from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM.

Here is a sampling of the artisans represented this year. I was there today and mainly walked through the circle and down Montgomery Street.

Susan Shannon is a potter from Vermont. She had an incredibly cohesive display. All of her porcelain ceramics are handmade on the potter’s wheel – no molds! She said there is a beauty to the zen of creating a familiar shape and it never gets boring. The glaze is a type of high fire stain and the colors are wonderfully rich. This is the type of functional art that must be purchased in multiples.

It is all microwaveable and dishwasher safe. Really great! She is located in front of the church on the circle.

Her website is suchipottery.com. For more information call (970) 529-3029.

Charlie Sam has really upped his game since I first met him several years ago. Again, the word is cohesive. He creates these original graphic characters and represents them on T-shirts, sweatshirts, glassware, mugs and buttons.

He is from Syracuse. His booth is on Montgomery Street. Find him on Instagram and Facebook.

So great!

I enjoyed meeting the Hadfields of CH Woodcraft. Craig Hadfield creates these Americana paintings on pine. I love the flag motif! And of course, I work in “bear country”, which is what we call Chittenango. Love!

They are from Syracuse. The booth is on Montgomery Street. If you don’t make it out tomorrow, you can call (315) 558-0201. They also do custom projects.

Joelle’s Dolls are so full of whimsy. Joelle McAndrew from Lewiston, NY creates her own designs and patterns. Each doll has a backstory, which is so delightful. There is so much detail in the clothing! Everything is original.

This is another example of needing more than one. Someone should buy her whole collection.

Again, this booth is on Montgomery Street. Also find her at joellesdolls.etsy.com.

Johanna Wall is a lovely person! She is a retired teacher from Syracuse. She and her husband worked the booth today, which is located on Montgomery Street. Her collection includes jewelry and decoupage items – birdhouses, canisters, coasters and wreaths.

Call (315)382-5262 for more information.

John Oneal Heard is a man of many hats – professor, model, musician, art teacher and artist. He had a small collection of original paintings (I believe they are abstract paintings on glass mounted on canvas). He literally paints music. He said his favorite thing about meeting the public as an artist with a business is answering questions from children – it is rewarding to share his work with an audience.

Call (315) 992-3267 for more information.

And that is what this festival truly embodies – the spirit of the collective creative energies flowing through these business men and women and fusing with the community in such a joy-filled positive way. Hurray for the artists and art patrons of Syracuse, New York!

Really, really soooooo great!

In Scale

I’ve been reminiscing about Dawn Dolls. They were manufactured for only three years in the early ’70s by Topper. Dawn, Angie, Gary, and company. they were only six-and-a-half inches tall, so they were incompatible with Barbies because they were so small. But they were so pretty with silky long hair and “real” eyelashes, and of course, with very awesome 1970s fashions. I loved them and I love them still.

I’ve been stalking them on the Internet – Ebay, Etsy and Mercari mainly. I don’t really want to buy them, do I? I want to be the Dawn doll. Haven’t I always? So funny that my hair resembles hers now. All I need is an Alice & Olivia dress and I am good to go.

What struck me as I viewed Sharif Bey’s art exhibit at the Everson Museum of Art is that he too seems to be enamored with doll collections albeit his are quite large scale especially the necklaces!

Like Vanessa German’s work and Vanessa Johnson’s too, Bey has added his take on the African experience by way of the doll.

This show is housed in two of the four upstairs galleries and spans the artist’s thirty-year career. I mean, he’s only forty-eight, which indicates that some of the pieces in this collection of works were created when he was only eighteen. It is a lot of work – from functional ceramics to these large figurative pieces and finally the accessory wall. It is incredibly impressive for sure.

These necklaces in particular are really something. In the accompanying pamphlet prepared for a Junteenth visitation, it is revealed that he used toilet paper over glaze in the kiln to manifest the charred pattern on the “beadwork”. It is genius.

The scale speaks volumes about who this man is as an artist and as a human. It is a combo of continued visual exploration and ethnic pride coupled with a desire to both learn and teach.

Bey is a professor at Syracuse University in the Art Education department. The brochure professes to take children on a journey to discover themselves as he serves to explore ideas to carry him on his own path.

The exhibition is titled “Facets”. It works so well here because the Everson has always been first and foremost a ceramics museum. Knowing that these massive pieces are also fragile lends itself well to that idea that we are all fragile beings in a way, always seeking that strength of character in our true identities while harboring thoughts of doubt, worry and stupid fears that can easily break our spirits.

I wonder if that thought crossed his mind? No matter what doll one identifies with – big or small, black or white, etc., etc., we are all that creative spirit looking for a way to connect and feel that blessed feeling of validation as we develop our crafts/psyches in order to continue the ascent through life.

The Everson Museum of Art is located at 401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, NY, 13202. Call (315) 474-6064 for more information or find them at www.everson.org.

Sharif Bey: Facets continues through August 14, 2022.

Studio & the Barn Watercolor

Our last Studio in Art project – watercolors. I gave each student a sheet of 300# watercolor paper. They created drawings of barn landscapes from resource photos. I graded this portion on rendering/detail and composition.

Next, I gave them smaller sheets of watercolor paper and taught four techniques –

*saving the white of the paper

*wet-in-wet

*glazing

*dry brush

I graded the rest of the project based on how well they utilized these four techniques in the final product.

They spent several days practicing and when they were ready, they began painting the barn. Students sat in groups of two sharing a set of Koi watercolors and a large mixing tray.

The results are these incredible paintings. Remember, they are 8th graders and for the most part, had never used such quality materials. The hardest part, I think, was getting them to stray from conventional ideas – like, just putting brown in the brown spot, you know. I shared some Wolf Kahn paintings and explained how his brown trees had flecks of violet and orange in them because he used a secondary color palette. This style embraces rhythm.

I am really pleased with what my students accomplished.

Our last class together was a bit of silly mayhem. I played a game with these buzzers I have that are fun to use. They had to buzz in answers to questions about what we learned this year during class – about art and about me as a teacher as well as about specific things that happened during class that made it memorable.

The funny thing is that students who were the silliest in terms of behavior remembered the most stuff. When my 8th period kids started singing my India Ink song (memorized, lol – I don’t even have it memorized), that was just over-the-top.

What happens when I am living in the present moment is that I forget that I won’t be teaching them any longer. They are headed to the high school. So, here it is two days later and I am feeling incredibly sentimental.

At the end of every school year I do always tell my students that I will always be there for them. I am an email away or a bus ride from the high school to the middle school to visit me during 10th period. But in a couple of years, I may retire from teaching so that I can devote myself to my own dreams. I will still be here in the social media realm though and I will never stop wanting to know how they are doing with regard to the arts.

Relationships are a strange thing. You never know who you have affected in a way that will catapult people to the place they truly want to be in their lives. And they really don’t know how much their presence has made a difference in my life.

I am working on a watercolor poem/song. I will try to finish it this weekend and maybe I will put myself back up on TikTok. Last week, a 7th grader was listening to something with his secret ear bud. It turned out that he was listening to me recite my Gamer rap song – like really? Of all things, you want to hear my voice in your ear? Sometimes it is hard to wrap my head around stuff like that.

Yes, there will always be some students who express dissatisfaction and negativity. The trick there is to be the ear bud that voices positivity back, to not get caught in the debris field of that negative energy but instead push forward and allow the universe to embrace the magic of dreams. And a lot of the time, that magic is harnessed via the arts.

Studio in Art students, it has been a privilege working with you this year. Best to you always. Have a great experience at the high school and beyond. And keep making art. <3

Barnacles

The Barn at Collamer Road is the site of a pop-up art exhibition starring three Cicero-North Syracuse art teachers. Kara Daviau, Amy Haven and James Vanhoven share their art in the upstairs gallery space of this amazing venue located at 6456 Collamer Road, East Syracuse, NY 13057. You can view the work from 11:00 am-1:00 pm on Saturday, April 2, 2022, and Sunday., April 3, 2022. And that’s it! The opening reception was today. The show is titled “Resonance”.

Their prices are very reasonable. Haven’s ceramics may have all sold! They are beautiful pieces – wall hangings, jewelry trays, pottery – with arts and crafts details such as quatrefoil and ginko leaves.

Vanhoven’s work is exquisite – he is technically proficient. He is the quintessential art teacher with a variety of interests all focusing on landscapes. There are etchings, watercolors and oil paintings, as well as pastel drawings.

Daviau paints in acrylic with collage. She incorporates musical themes giving each illustration of abandoned buildings a unique personality. She also sells merchandise depicting those paintings. These include apparel, prints and accessories.

I’m sure we will be seeing a lot more from these dynamic artist/colleagues!

Design an Animal

Last year, a local arts contributor connected with me to ask if I would share how I was going to teach art during the pandemic. I declined to participate because I did not want to allow anyone (read-people who would ultimately read said article) to criticize my choices when they really had no idea what the circumstances truly were.

School during 2020-2021 was about uplifting spirits, if that makes any sense. It was not plowing through curriculum while people were dealing with a global crisis, which brought with it low-level emotional feelings such as depression, sadness, fear, anger as well as physical illness.

My colleague and I spent our budget on individual supplies – markers, colored pencils, sketchbooks, etc. We did “dry media” projects and supplemented with vocabulary work. Many students worked 100% remotely with varying results due to their own perception of self-motivation.

We received some really fun results with this lesson – Design an Animal. Here is the video I made for the assignment. September 2020 marked the first time I’d done anything like this. Alone in my classroom on Wednesdays, which was the day students were all remote, I videotaped myself. No editing – just a straight shot, teaching the way I normally would with the exception of the fact that I could see myself on the screen and I had to give up the fact that I’m a real person and not an actress or model; that I was going to like myself sometimes and cringe at other times. I had to imagine that students were there and speak as though someone was on the other side actually listening to my stories. One take – no do overs because I didn’t have the time for that.

So here it is – the Design an Animal lesson posted on http://www.youtube.com. It is a lesson we shared with 6th, 7th and 8th graders. Needless to say, all of these multi-level shared lessons cannot be taught again for another two years, lol.

Please like and subscribe to my video channel.

P.S. Here is a link to Galina Bugaevskaya’s work – she is the one who photoshops cat faces on animals.

Forever Medusa

Here are two companion videos I created in September 2020 when I was teaching art remotely – one on the Medusa lesson I created years ago and the other is a pattern lesson. The pattern lesson – I created it for 2nd graders originally, so this should have been a review for my 8th graders. Katy and I used both lessons for 6th-8th graders last year.

Drawing a Horse

Here is a video I made in September 2020 during the teaching remotely phase of school. This is a middle school lesson – it was originally meant for 8th grade but I also did the lesson with 7th graders last year. It goes along with the horse lesson using Jaune “Quick-to-see” Smith as a reference, although it can be used for many different lessons or as a stand alone. I am currently using butterflies for the images in my Smith painting lesson. I may post about them in the future.

If you want to see more videos – I am planning to revise my channel and maybe even start vlogging! They will probably be just as raw and unedited as this one is – I’m not tech savvy.

Please subscribe. Right now I think I have three subscribers (and one may or may not be me). It’s a new path – let’s see where it takes me. P.S. I love www.youtube.com! 🙂

The Clay Face Project

My 8th grade accelerated Studio in Art students created these clay face masks (with Miller #10 clay purchased from Clayscapes). We used the slab technique over a plastic face form then added clay to shape the features. I poked holes at the sides to secure a Twisteezwire to the back. They can hang on a wall – I love that!

The glaze is called Mayco Jungle Gems. It contains glass bits! So cool.

Connected

3rd place – Chittenango Lions Club Peace Poster contest 2021 – “We Are All Connected”

My 8th grade accelerated Studio in Art students completed an intense nine weeks of creating these peace posters for the Chittenango Lions Club. The Lions sponsor an international peace poster competition for middle school aged children with a grand prize of $5,000.

It is an illustration lesson/editorial design project with some limitations – no words or characters of any kind, no trademarked items or advertisements. We used 16″ x 20″ white tagboard and Prismacolor colored pencils. The Lions Club generously donated enough sets so that my students could each have their own 48 color set. Thirty-eight students competed this year.

Students spent additional hours on these posters at home on the weekends to complete them in time for the contest deadline. The winning poster will go on to the regional competition and possibly the state one as well. The theme for this year is “We Are All Connected”. Now that we are all back in school full-time, this sentiment is truly apropos. <3

2nd place – Chittenango Lions Club Peace Poster contest 2021- “We Are All Connected”