Category Archives: art education

Art-5 & Fun

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It takes my entire lunch period to prep for the class of twenty-three 5th graders – they are here every “A” day during 8th period.  This was yesterday.  Their clay slab/hand-built fish were ready to go home.  I placed an empty Wegman’s bag, along with their sculptures, grade sheets and the packets for the invention project at their seats.  It is organized mayhem, lol.

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I say that in case you think the room is messy, because it is not really mayhem at all.  They are a wonderful group of eleven-year-olds – smart, talented, happy people-pleasers.  I love spending time with them.  I give them a different assigned seat every class, so that they sit with different people each time.  They have to hunt for their seat.  It’s actually kind of fun.

I love how busy they all are in these pictures.  Everyone is completely on task.  The two students looking at the I-pad are checking the spelling of a word (above).  Only three students did not finish their invention drawings, which I will eventually combine to be sent to the high school print department to be made into a coloring book – hopefully by the end of next class.

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They recently finished a landscape illustration using Grant Wood and Grandma Moses as references, and a wood sculpture using Louise Nevelson and Yayoi Kusama as references, as well as the clay fish and the Leonardo daVinci-esque invention.   

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Next up is a mixed-media lesson referencing Faith Ringgold.  We will add a quilted border to a dreamy drawing.

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Students meet every other day for one semester, which is different than elementary school where students meet once every six day rotation for the entire school year.

Fifth graders started attending Chittenango Middle School (instead of the elementary schools) four years ago. I teach the seventh section of 5th grade (Mrs. Samsel’s class) while my colleague, Joyce Backus, teaches the other six sections (in her own classroom), in addition to teaching all of the Bridgeport Elementary School students.

So fun! ❤

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School Fair 2019

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Tonight’s the night for the annual Chittenango School Fair at Chittenango High School (150 Genesee Street, Chittenango, NY 13037).  It takes place from 5:30 – 8:00 pm.  This is my display – set up in the hallway between the two gyms.

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New Library Landscapes

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After two hours of hiking around Clark’s Reservation in Jamesville, New York, I was inspired, finally, to stop in to see the new library at 5110 Jamesville Road (DeWitt, New York 13078).  It’s called the Community Library of DeWitt & Jamesville.

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Stephen Alexander Clark is an Assistant Professor of Painting at SUNY Cortland.  His work here depicts abstracted landscapes.  His interest lies in the topography of farmland, the configuration of stacks of firewood and the seeming randomness of camouflage patterns.

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This artwork will be on display through June 2019.  It is located in a hallway that leads to the main library space on the first floor.

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A piece by Pam Steele, who will exhibit in September, occupies the space as well. And an installation by Margie Hughto greets visitors at the entrance.  Both pieces belong to the library.

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Click here for a complete list of future exhibitors.

The library is open Monday – Thursday 10 am – 9 pm, Friday 10 am – 5 pm. Saturday and Sunday hours will change come summer – they are currently Saturday 10 am – 5 pm and Sunday 1 pm – 5 pm.

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This little trip inspired me to get to work on a new series of encaustic paintings.  Details to follow, hopefully, soon. ❤

Theory Week

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Theory cashmere cardigan, Banana Republic T-shirt and pants, Marc Jacobs booties
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Theory cashmere sweater, Trina Turk skirt, BCBGeneration booties

I am currently obsessed with Theory cashmere sweaters.  I have five and wore them every day this week.  Love, love, LOVE!!! ❤ . I guess I also love that it is still chilly enough to wear them to work, lol  (it is May, after all).

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Theory cashmere sweater, Trina Turk skirt, Marc Jacobs boots

Love how you get one new thing and all of a sudden everything in your closet feels new too.

One more week until the school fair.  It is on Friday, May 10, 2019 from 5:30 – 8:00 pm at Chittenango High School.  On Monday, I will make final edits on what I will be bringing this year.  And after that, we will be on the tail end of the school year!

There is still a lot to do.  My Art-8 students are all making papier-mache sculptures or reductive floral foam sculptures.  Next week, 8th grade Studio in Art students are going to take a time-out from their still-life paintings to do a clay project and my Art-5 students are glazing clay sculptures.  We are very busy/very messy right now.  It is really fun!  I love my life!!!

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Theory cashmere cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria top and pants, Marc Jacobs booties
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Theory cashmere cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria sweater, Trina Turk top and skirt, BCBGMaxAzria sandals

Coloring OZ

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Once again, my 8th grade Studio in Art students created illustrations for the Oz-stravaganza coloring contest!  Eight drawings were selected for 2019.  They are available on-line and at various stores on Route 5 in the village of Chittenango, New York.

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Students used Sharpie marker to outline their pencil drawings.  This was one of the six sketchbook homework projects I assigned last quarter.  I have eighteen students in my class – eight of the drawings were printed to be used in the contest.  Organizer Judy Waite told me it was very difficult to narrow it down to just eight.  They were all wonderful!  Coloring contest drawings from previous years have been bound into a coloring book for sale at the event.  Win-win!

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Top (from left) – Lilly K., Riley S., Isabella L., Kristina T. Bottom (from left) – Amelia D., Lindsey T., Edward M., and Shannon G.

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It is truly an honor for all of us to participate in this community event.  Several of these artists won the coloring contest when they were elementary students!  My 5th graders are coloring the illustrations now.  Entries were sent to all eligible students at Chittenango Middle School and the two elementary schools in the district.  Entries are due on May 8th, 2019.  They will be judged by members of the Oz-stravaganza committee and winners will be awarded at a ceremony on Sunday, June 2nd, 2019 at 11:00 am in Oak Park in the village.

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Chittenango, New York is the birthplace of L. Frank Baum, the author of the Wizard of Oz.  Each year there is a festival to honor him.  This year’s theme is “The Magic of Oz”.  There will be all sorts of events including a parade.  For more information go to the committee’s web page – here. ❤

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Flowers, Tatts & China

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I have become a Transmedia groupie.

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Syracuse University Associate Professor Laura Heyman, guest Visiting-Artist and Instructor Ira Lombardia, and Everson Museum of Art Curator of Art and Programs DJ Hellerman led students through a critique tonight at Apostrophe’s Art Gallery, 1104 Oak Street, Syracuse, NY 13203.

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I was there a couple weeks ago for a similar event.  This time it was a joint showcase of work by Han Zhao and Hangyi Zhou.

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Han Zhao’s exhibit, Flowerbility, utilizes various media to showcase a single flower.  According to his artist statement, he creates on his I-Pad and laptop, which allows his ideas to flow freely and quickly.  There is joy to this ease.  His work ethic reminded me of artist Kiki Smith.  Last year, she visited Syracuse University and talked about coming at an idea from all angles.  I enjoyed the consistency of the image and saw how its use had implications and applications to interpreting and re-imagining business logos, taking the image to its unlimited potential.  That was exciting!

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I jumped into participating in Hangyi Zhou’s critique session.  What was I thinking, lol?  I guess the teacher in me couldn’t just be a fly on the wall.  I loved being a part of this adventure.  The artist’s four-piece photography exhibit, Chinese Tattooed Women, seemed rather simplistic until she shared some back-story.

What happens in China stays in China – except when young artists relate how their view of the world is tainted by a judgmentally governed society.  In this case, the notion that tattoos suggest disreputable character, specifically in regard to women.  Finding Chinese women courageous enough to pose for these photographs was quite an accomplishment, apparently.

Each model wears black and poses to portray their emotional connection to their respective tattoos, which are similarly inked in black and were all similarly executed in China.

This series seems to be in its gestation period, and a lot of what was said in the critique was thought-provoking in a helpful way.

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20190422_190221.jpgThank you, Transmedia gang, for including me.  This SU grad loves that Syracuse University art has expanded into the off-campus community.  Utilizing this unique gallery space for student exhibitions and holding receptions on Mondays is a win-win! ❤

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Cancel That

Currently, three venues are hosts to the twenty-four Syracuse University MFA candidates: Point of Contact Gallery, Community Folk Art Center and the SU Art Galleries. The art reception at POC was last Friday (that show continues through May 10, 2019), the one at CFA will be Thursday, April 18, 2019 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm (show continues through May 11, 2019). Last night at the Shaffer Hall venue, I attended the art reception for eleven of these students.

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What I love about Thursday evening art openings on campus – you can drive right up to the gate and park for free in the Q-4 lot – easy-peasy! It was such a beautiful evening. The university is a reoccurring landscape in my life. I really love being there. I received my BFA and MS degrees from Syracuse. I did not get an MFA, which I guess I would need if I am ever to be considered for a job as an Art Professor at SU (the Art Education masters is a Masters of Science for whatever reason, which is weird). A series of questions answered in essay format served as my thesis and not a gallery showcase of artwork, as is the case in these recent exhibitions.

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The students have varied focuses – illustration, painting and digital art, for example. Apparently, the cohesive thread of this work, according to the curator’s statement, is to do with the artist’s responses to their current realities and the angst that resides there be it via monstrous nightmare, political climate, gender issues, or social injustices, or some combination of junk that creates a response to conditions. The artists in this particular show seem to be attempting to express views, beliefs, fears and perceived truths in a sort of thinking man’s artist thing-a-ma-gig.

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Nothing tickled me here – true story – and that could just be because I am so not their generation, (kids these days, am I right? lol) and because I am a happiness-and-joy girl. I am perplexed by the need to be conditional about anything. I trust that everything unfolds when you are true to yourself, creating a vision that exposes yourself in a vulnerable way, perhaps, allowing your inner being to guide you towards the inspiration that will captivate. You feel it in your soul and that beauty that is within becomes your art and it subsequently resonates with the world. You will know it, your friends will know it, your professors will know it and you will see how incredibly it will take you where you want to go, easily and effortlessly.

So where do these kids see themselves? A conversation with some professors indicated that student art direction these days is focused on thinking about rather than the executing of ideas. This is not something I really understand. Are they not happy?

Are they hoping to open a dialogue about negative stuff? I don’t know. Some of this work is on the rather provocative side in the way that I cannot bring my thirteen-year-old students to this gallery on a field trip. There is some adult content of a sexual nature, as well as pieces that draw attention to violence and horror.

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Let’s cancel all that.

I guess I don’t agree with the blurb sentiment “sober examination of the facts”. We create our own realities based on dreams and desires. Choosing to get caught up in something you don’t want or don’t like just does not make sense to me. If I create a reality I don’t want, I don’t choose to stay there and dwell in it, complain about it and get stuck there. And I don’t really think it is the blanket statement under which all of these artists sleep, is it? Or is Plans are Cancelled a reference to a positive re-boot?

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The fun for me are these questions, not in the answers because the questions alone allowed me to ponder solutions of my own with regard to my own life. I am grateful for this show because I had really satisfying conversations with my friends Penny and Davana about this show and about how it can help us define/re-define ourselves as artists and teachers.

And it was also so helpful to share what I saw here with my Studio in Art students. It is so important to me as a teacher that I offer guidance in the form of training my students to trust and believe in themselves, to know that they will be able to navigate their path to whatever they care to do artistically in the future with or without me.

I wish these MFA candidates the best of luck and love in their creative journeys. I sincerely thank you all for your perspectives. ❤

Plans are Cancelled will remain on display until May 12, 2019.

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***Artists represented at Syracuse University Art Galleries

Hollie Lyko, E. Garrett Bryant, Perry Burlingame, Jestina Sutherland, Rebecca Forstater, Sylvie Prendergast-Corvo, Samantha Corbett, Louise Thompson, Jason Cheney, Mark Zbikowski, Jiallin Deng