Category Archives: art education

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

Eeny-Meeny-Miny-Mini

#saksfifthavenue cashmere sweater #frenchconnection leather skirt #marcjacobs boots
#theory cashmere cardigan #rebeccataylor top #ragandbone patent leather skirt #calvinklein boots

I went all mini last week. It is finally getting warmer in Syracuse! Yesssssss!

On Friday afternoon , I put the glazes away for the year. All the clay projects are now on deck for the kiln.. I am gearing up for the final lessons. I think there are thirty school days left, so only fifteen classes for A day students and fifteen classes for B day students.

They will be creating art books and the Studio in Art students will begin a watercolor landscape. So fun!!!! <3

#honora necklace #rebeccataylor leather top #trinaturk skirt #ragandbone boots
#bcbgmaxazria sweater #aliceandolivia skirt #marcjacobs boots
#saksfifthavenue cashmere sweater #freepeople dress #bcbgmaxazria sandals
#allsaints scarf #tashkovski bracelet #aquacashmere sweater #bcbgmaxazria skirt #ragandbone boots

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.

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.

Turtlenecks As Planned

#tashkovski bracelet #saksfifthavenue sweater #trinaturk dress #marcjacobs boots

I wore turtlenecks this week. I have four and there were four days of school, but I didn’t feel like wearing one on Friday. Sticking to a theme is the plan but plans don’t always seem to go as planned.

I’m in the process of planning an event and I spent half the day crying because it doesn’t feel like things will work out. Things are always working out, lol, but not necessarily the way you want them to work out. I’m waiting for the universe to surprise and delight me. I mean, I am allowing the universe to do that because I know how it works – no buts about it. I’ll stop crying now. Thanks, Bobbi. <3 🙂

#tashkovski bracelet #aqua cashmere sweater #freepeople dress #ninewest boots
#kesnyc mask #tashkovski bracelet #aquacashmere sweater #joesjeans leather pants #ragandbone boots

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”
1st place – Chittenango Lions Club Peace Poster contest 2021 – “We Are All Connected”

Separates

#kesnyc #tashkovski #bcbgmaxazria #faithfullthebrand #7forallmankind #marcjacobs
#kesnyc #daydreamerforfreepeople #zadigandvoltaire #ragandbone
#kesnyc #michelledarinjewelry #bcbgmaxazria #daydreamerforfreepeople #joesjeans #joie

I dressed for comfort last week. Separates featuring leather and T-shirts. Four classes finished a clay project, two are using colored pencil and two are painting. I found my denim apron in the big cupboard by my desk while looking for something else. Yessssssss – because things are about to start getting messy.

#kesnyc #tashkovski #zadigandvoltaire #trinaturk #karllagerfeldparis

Most of the boxes on the back counter are filled with the new glazes I’d ordered. Many of the items I purchased for this year are on back order though. I can’t remember what I have planned for tomorrow, lol. When I planned ahead, like, you know, in August, it was with the notion that the supplies would be available – but no biggie. It will all work itself out.

P.S. My clothes reflect the art – Sugar Skulls are a theme. Also: Butterflies. <3

#kesnyc #tashkovski #360cashmere #vince #marcjacobs

Kids & Keith

There is still time to visit the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York. The Keith Haring exhibit will be on display until October 11, 2021. Meanwhile, on the walls of Chittenango Middle School, my students’ artwork is currently on display. It took a lot of heavy-duty stickies to get them to stay up – the tile was not particularly cooperative.

Silk Week Featuring Rachel Zoe

#kesnyc #tashkovski #rachelzoe #alicaandolivia #joie
#kesnyc #rachelzoe #bcbgeneration

So, I was trying out a thing – theme weeks for my work attire. Last week it was black. This week I wore silk every day. Themes are challenging because they limit what you can and cannot wear. This can be a good thing when you have so many clothes in your closet that it makes you focus only on a few key items. And on the flip side, the limitations are frustrating because sometimes you just want to reach for a cotton T–shirt or whatever. I know that when they tell us we are having a jeans day on a Friday – I don’t always feel like wearing jeans.

#kesnyc #tashkovski #bcbgmaxazria #rachelzoe #allsaints #ragandbone

It really all depends on the weather. And with teaching art, it also depends on what materials we are using – how messy they are. It was very warm in the classroom. I had several moments of overheating, which looked like a menopausal freak show, but was really just a lot of people in a room with no air conditioning wearing masks that make your face sweat and then whoooosh – your whole body, lol. It was happening to the thirteen-year-old boys and girls too.

Wearing silk helped with that. Thank you, Rachel Zoe for your beautiful light weight creations. I cut off the off-shoulder top’s sleeves on the embroidered silk/cotton top (above) and tried it as a layered tube top thingy, which I loved.

#kesnyc #tashkovski #ullajohnson #bcbgmaxazria

A thank you also goes out to Ulla Johnson for this magnificent lightweight slip and dress combo, all silk, that I wore for the first time backwards. When I bought the dress, it was featured as a high neck tunic with a bow at the back of the neck, but I wore it with the bow in front as more of a V-neck and loved it. The other way, the neckline sort of flopped in a funny way, like it was too big and so, this dress had been relegated to the back of my closet. Now you may see it in a heavier rotation.

I know it isn’t as flattering to go with the moo-moo look, as my colleague Katy calls it, but we both love the comfort of dresses like this for work. The dress isn’t particularly editorial but in real life, it is really beautiful with a delicate embroidery throughout the sheer fabric.

#kesnyc #tashkovski #allsaints #halston #trinaturk #bcbgmaxazria

I completed silk week with this Halston one-shouldered top that I wore with an Allsaints T-shirt underneath. I paid full price when I bought this top from Neiman Marcus. It has this fabulous drape that I love so muchy-much. I am wearing it in my Facebook profile picture. It’s one of my favorite pieces!

Because I blog my outfits, I feel like I need to wear everything in my closet and have something different on all the time, like the characters do on the new incarnation of Dynasty on the CW. And I guess that has to be fine with me. Clothes are an obsession. Clothes? Fashion, really, and knowing my own style. I will spend every penny on my wardrobe. Eating and paying bills – that stuff is overrated, lol. #whatwillshewearnext? <3