Category Archives: art education

Lizards!

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Two of my classes used hand-building skills to create these adorable clay lizards.  We used the Sax Colorburst glazes.  I love the colors, especially the Firecracker!!!  The projects remain in the glass case in the Chittenango Middle School atrium.

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We looked at the work of the Aboriginals of Australia for inspiration.  Different patterns were added to the body, head, limbs and tail using a variety of techniques.

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Face Mask

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My B-day Art-8 students (Chittenango Middle School) created these clay masks.  We used Sax Colorburst glazes.  They have silica flakes that pop in the kiln creating confetti-like effects.

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I offered students thirteen different colors and asked that they use at least six, making sure to place three coats of glaze on the mask for each color.   It was tricky because the glazes transform in the kiln – there is that allowance for serendipity that doesn’t work if you are a control freak, but totally does if you are experimental.

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I added a wire to the back so they can hang on the wall.  Students took them home today.  I miss them already!

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The Italian Still-Life

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My Studio in Art students recently completed these still-life paintings based on photographs I took last year at Vince’s Gourmet Imports (440 S. Main Street, North Syracuse, New York 13212).

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I have paired them here with the resource picture.  Contour line drawings made on white drawing paper were transferred to canvas panel via the magic of graphite paper.  Then students used acrylic paint.  They had their own palettes and mixed colors by adding white and raw sienna to every hue, which gives the paintings a sense of unity (the colors “go” together).  I encouraged them to maintain their own styles.  This included the option of outlining in black, consistent brush work, removing or adding text, and creating a different background.

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They are 8th graders taking this high-school level course for high school credit and the opportunity to take upper level art electives next year.  We have one quarter left of the school year – I have plans for two more lessons to complete course work off-campus if necessary.  The Chittenango Central School District is temporarily closing on Tuesday with an indefinite return date at this time.

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Kindness Prevails

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Kindness

Description

Kindness is a behavior marked by ethical characteristics, a pleasant disposition, and concern and consideration for others. It is considered a virtue, and is recognized as a value in many cultures and religions. Wikipedia

National dayObserved on February 17th, National Random Acts of Kindness Day has grown in popularity each year.

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kind·ness
/ˈkīn(d)nəs/
noun
  1. the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
    Similar:

    kindliness

    kind-heartedness, warm-heartedness, tender-heartedness, goodwill, affectionateness, affection, warmth, gentleness, tenderness, concern, care, consideration, considerateness, helpfulness, thoughtfulness, unselfishness, selflessness, altruism, compassion, sympathy, understanding, 
    big-heartedness, benevolence, benignity, friendliness, 
    neighbourliness, hospitality, amiability, courteousness, public-spiritedness,
    generosity, magnanimity, indulgence, patience, tolerance, charitableness,
    • a kind act.
      plural noun: kindnesses
      “it is a kindness I shall never forget”
      Similar:
      kind act
      good deed
      act of kindness
      good turn

      favor

      act of assistance

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This year’s Doodle for Google competition has now closed.  All entries had to be postmarked yesterday.  These images are among the many I submitted – 8th graders from Chittenango Middle School.  The winner receives $30,000, and $50,000 in technology for their school.

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The theme of this year’s contest is “I show kindness by….”

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Do we have a winner?

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#ootd – January 2020

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BCBGMaxAzria sweater, dress, and pants, Rag & Bone booties
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Free People cardigan, Theory sweater, BCBGMaxAzria leggings, Rag & Bone booties
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Free People cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria top, Rebecca Taylor pants, Calvin Klein booties

Welcome to my world.  Here are my 2020 #ootd school pictures thus far.  My Studio in Art students have been painting with acrylics – these paintings are going to blow your mind.  They are sooooo good!!!!! I think they only need a couple more weeks to complete them.  I have been wearing stuff that wouldn’t freak me out if it got paint on it.  I guess I am saying that fashion is taking a backseat at the moment.  I’m a control freak about the brushes – I tell them to use however many they want and need, and I will wash them, so, I spend about twenty minutes washing brushes on my lunch period every day.

Today was the first day of the 2nd semester, believe it or not, which means we are already half-way through the year.  I am giving pre-tests and prepping lessons – lots of cool things to come:  oil pastels, collage, more paintings and clay!!!  I’ll be switching up the artwork on the cabinets soon, as well as eventually organizing the excessive amount of white paint on that back counter, lol, for those of you who scoff at the mess. (It is an art room, after all – that’s what makes it fun and funny).  Special thanks to Katy C., my colleague and photographer, who laughs with me every day.  <3

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Theory sweater, Rag & Bone skirt, Marc Jacobs booties
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BCBGMaxAzria dress, Marc Jacobs booties
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Theory cashmere cardigan, Syracuse Yoga T-shirt, Banana Republic skirt, Marc Jacobs booties
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Banana Republic cardigan, Joe’s Jeans leather jeans, Sorel booties
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Rachel Zoe top, BCBGMaxAzria sweater and pants, Ralph Lauren boots
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Free People cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria top, Joe’s Jeans leather jeans, Nine West booties

Decorative Surfaces

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Just returned home from another wonderful art reception.  This time I was around the corner from home, at SUNY Empire State College (6333 State Route 298, Suite 300, East Syracuse, New York 13057) for the Independent Potters’ Association exhibition, Surface Decorations on Ceramics.

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I spoke with Alan Stankiewicz (above), the mastermind of this show, as he is curator and exhibitor, as well as an educator at the college.  He used horsehair as a surface decoration on his piece – the horsehair is placed on hot-from-the-raku-kiln-fired pottery.  It is allowed to burn away leaving fine lines resembling the look of a gestural charcoal drawing.  I’d never seen this technique before.

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This is the beauty of the exhibition.  The whole thing is a teachable moment.  This group of potters share their expertise with each other and now, here, with the students of this college and you, the public.  There is such a sense of positivity in their camaraderie.

The exhibit is nicely linked via tiles with explanations of individual techniques and literature that tells the story of this vernacular.  It is really so amazing how many ways pottery can be decorated and, of course, multiply that times the combined techniques variations and you have madness!  I honestly don’t know how the artists settle on a particular style.  It has to be inspired action.

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Many SUNY Empire employees joined the artists for the reception in the Central Arts Gallery.  They had a marvelous spread of munchies.  It is on the third floor of the building on the left after entering the college facility.  I was here once before for Maria Rizzo’s thesis exhibition.

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Surface Decoration on Ceramics will remain on display through February 28, 2020.  Gallery hours are Monday-Friday 9 AM-5 PM.  I highly recommend this to any high school ceramics art teachers in the area who are contemplating a field trip.  It is a really informative show.  So many cool ideas! Thank you, IPA. <3

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In the Absence of Presence

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The last time I went to the Noreen Reale Falcone Library (1419 Salt Springs Road, Syracuse, New York 13214), the LeMoyne College campus looked a lot different.  They’ve since uprooted a nearby parking lot in favor of more grassy knolls (which are currently snow-covered).  I had to ask several people to direct me to it once I found visitor parking across the street.  It was, like, in the Hunger Games when they discombobulated the players by topsy-turvy-ing the playing field computer simulation.  The building didn’t even look the same to me as I came upon it from a different angle.  I mean, where was I?

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Eventually, I found my friend Penny and together we chatted with Gina Occhiogrosso, who is currently showing oil paintings and mixed-media fabrications at the Wilson Art Gallery located inside the library.

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Occhiogrosso graciously shared information with us regarding her artist inner-voice.  Her mother (now retired) was an artist and shoe designer with a penchant for “junking” (as my sister calls it), filling her home with flea market finds in various states of patina-ed wear.  Decades of layers that make up a life of surroundings.  As the artist pondered this home landscape, she created paper cut-outs from photographs she’d taken then abstracted them via paper collages.  Intrigued by the void, the absence of the material, she set upon painting large scale versions of these pieces.

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The result becomes its own presence, its own entity put into the world without the necessity of the language of its origin.

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It is beautiful to witness these things and know their secrets, though, because I, personally, just love knowing.

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There is artwork in this show that spans approximately three years of work.  More paper collages are meant to represent the anxiety of environmental disaster, in this case, the tsunami disaster of 2011.  Occhiogrosso creates that absence of presence once again, cutting images, rearranging them and turning them into solid-colored shapes that intertwine to create something vaguely familiar but completely void of the emotion that inspired them.

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In addition, there are fabric collages that are stitched, painted and inked.  Here the work becomes layered, as though there is more to discover, as if she’s hiding a legend inside.  I am intrigued by this body of work.  Occhiogrosso’s talent lies in the bridge between fear and the journey to a calmer, gentler space via the shapes of the present.  She seems to be on a discovery to something more.  I stumbled into something wonderfully puzzling and I am very interested to see what happens next.

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***from the artist’s web-site

I am a painter whose work is composed not only through the application of wet color on a surface, but through processes of disassembly and realignment, and the incorporation of common, everyday materials like thread and yarn. These activities and elements allow me to explore anxiety, loss, humor and heroic femininity.

The hallowed and often masculinized tradition of painting is subverted in my work through a repeated process of cutting and then sewing painted surfaces together to develop new forms, dynamic connections and illusions of depth. Where these freshly stitched edges join, there is a seam, which has both linear and sculptural qualities. The seam acts as a geometric disrupter of curvy ellipses and other organic forms that are carefully rendered and then carved up with alternating precision and chance. The ghost of those cut edges has its own subtle presence. Where the fabric overlaps in the reverse of the painting, a slightly more opaque path is traced, issuing a new element whose origin is not at first apparent to the viewer.

I am interested in developing a surface that’s full of the suggestive qualities that abstraction can create. The stitched paintings supply this through the deliberate recalibration of shapes and their relationships to one another. In parallel to these, and often in service to them, collage becomes an important method for revealing new, unexpected interpretations of form. The sources of the collaged materials are often photographs of real things and places that hold meaning for me. As in the paintings, that information is disrupted and reinterpreted in compositions that suggest the fleeting nature of forces, figures and time.

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Gina Occhiogrosso is an Associate Professor and Foundations Coordinator at The College of St. Rose in Albany, New York.  She is represented by several galleries and has been in numerous group shows.  She is a MacDowell Colony Fellow.  This exhibition will remain on view at Wilson Art Gallery during regular library hours through February 21, 2020.  For more information call (315) 445-4330.

 

Journey

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This year there are fifteen 8th graders in my Studio in Art accelerated high school course at Chittenango Middle School.  They finished the Lions Club Peace Poster project just in time for the end of the first marking period and for the judging last Wednesday.  This is an international competition where the big winner gets $5,000.  At the local level, the Chittenango Lions awarded monetary prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.

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This year’s theme is Journey of Peace.

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Posters will be on display in the guidance office where we have recently created a little gallery space.  They will be moved to the Sullivan Library’s Community Room for the month of December 2019.

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Today our winning poster competes for the regional title.  If it wins, it continues its journey at the state level then internationally.

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The Lions Club is providing us with a luncheon on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 in our classroom.  I am so incredibly blessed to have these wonderful people in my life.  They are so supportive of my program and each year for the past thirteen years they have turned three of my students into professional artists.  That’s a lot of pros!  Win-win! <3

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Measuring Up

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The Art Galleries at Syracuse University are designed to facilitate education.  In other words, it’s a teaching museum.  Professors require students to go to there – to critique the art/learn how to judge a work of art.  Students journal about experiences for classes, attend the receptions and lectures, and even work there (which has to be the greatest work-study gig).

Last year, former Director Domenic Iocono mentioned it was the reason artists like Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist and Kiki Smith wanted to collaborate by sharing their work with our community, enhancing the walls of the spaces with their respective visions.

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In this season’s first exhibition, Not a Metric Matters, the university galleries led by new Director and Chief Curator Vanja Malloy, Ph.D. hosts its own – the School of Visual & Performing Arts faculty.  It is an opportunity to showcase their talent, yes, and also turn the tables on the critiquing process allowing the professors to show students how it’s really done.

Margie Hughto has been affiliated with the university for many, many years.  When I spoke to her last month, she said teaching is still fun and so, she will continue to share her expertise with students for many years to come.

Her ceramic and found object work is exquisite.  It is perfection in editing – selecting just the right found object pieces to coordinate with the ceramic pieces.  The work alludes to the recent discarded and forgotten in terms of technology.

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The thought provoking concepts aside, Hughto’s artwork screams of her strength of character.  She finds beauty in every angle, in each piece fused as one.  They are signatures of her style while continuing to surprise and delight us, continuing a growth trajectory as an artist and that in itself is the lesson.

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Holly Greenberg has isolated grief in this productive series of drawings.  These pieces resonated with me – as you know my father recently passed away and his belongings are still in the closets, his car in the driveway at Mom’s house.  Using these ordinary objects as memento gives them a lovingly somber power and isolating them in their compositions drives the message home.

It is curious how objects can retain the emotion of the spirit and Greenberg’s proficiency in rendering provides the elevation of their status.

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Ann Clarke‘s fiber artwork is marvelously original.  Texture is my thing and seeing monumental work on the walls creates a bold statement about time.  The fabrics are traditional, but the techniques are fresh and alive.  The hooked rug eye is really incredible in-person.  I love the idea of taking a method we all used in the past and formulating this new pattern, which seems to denote to me that someone is watching over me, loving me.

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Clarke’s statement does imply that she is the watchful eye for her ailing mother and that is a beautiful thing.  That the old becomes new again, and time is cyclical.

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Other teaching artists in this show –

Yasser Aggour, Cooper Battersby, Emily Vey Duke, Don Carr, Deborah Dohne, Heath Hanlin, Seyeon Lee, Sarah McCoubrey, Su Hyun Nam, Vasilios Papajoannu, James Ransome, Tom Sherman and Chris Wildrick

Their work takes dimension as paintings, drawings, photo-collage, video and installation – and all have something important to say within the context of their visualizations.

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There are more exhibits in the space, all curated by different people.  DJ Hellerman is the curator of this show.  He is the Art and Program Curator at the Everson Museum of Art and collaborates with SU’s Department of Transmedia.  I met him while stumbling into a critique of university students’ final exhibitions at Apostrophe’s.

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David Prince curated the display of former VPA faculty members.  As you know, I am an SU grad (B.F.A. ’85, M.S. ’93).  These professors are my people.  I absolutely loved Rodger Mack.  He was so devoted to building the sculpture department and his bronze sculptures are THE BEST!

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Seeing his hands portrayed by Jerome Witkin brought a tear to my eye.  There is so much love here, people.  Going to Syracuse University was a dream come true for me – I feel incredibly blessed to have been the first person in my family to ever go to a university –  and to see the professors being honored is such a gift.  They deserve every accolade.

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They were and are true working artists, not just people showing up to collect a paycheck.

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There’s lots more to see of these exhibits and the vast permanent collections.  It will all be on display until November 24, 2019.  There will be an art reception on Thursday, September 12, 2019 from 5 – 7 pm.  And Holly Greenberg will be giving a presentation in the adjacent Shemin Auditorium on Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 6:30 pm.

Syracuse University Art Galleries is located in the Shaffer Art Building on Syracuse University campus.  Free parking is available on Sundays and on Thursday evenings in the Q lot – or at least it was when I was there yesterday.  Call (315) 443-4097 for more information including hours of operation.  <3

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The Yoko Experience

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In 1971, Syracuse Folklorist Dan Ward met someone (okay, it was a hitchhiker), which led to his first trip to Syracuse, New York to see James Taylor in concert at the War Memorial. Instead of acquiring tickets to that sold-out concert, he ventured across the street and was pulled through the door of the museum. Somehow he randomly became part of an elite group allowed to tour the Yoko Ono exhibition at the Everson Museum of Art, along with the artist and her husband John Lennon.

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The whole thing was documented on film and in the media. Dan Ward was a teenager living a serendipitous existence. There was a waterbed on the floor that evening, positioned to offer a unique view of the spiral staircase. He thought it was unusual but gave it a try – his first time on a waterbed and with a bed-bug (a Beatle). There were other interactive ingredients as well, some have been replicated for the retrospective/new exhibition, Yoko Ono: Remembering the Future, which opened last night. Every piece cultivated to reside harmoniously within the walls of I.M. Pei’s modern architecture. This show was meant to create a dialogue between viewer and artist with the viewer creating the closure.

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Yes, a stunningly beautiful Ono (according to Ward’s recollection – photographs never did her justice) and Lennon, and Ringo Starr were all there that night, as well as several of their close friends from Manhattan. It was a media circus focused on celebrity in a time when art was misunderstood and maligned.

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I wish I could have been there back then, too, wish I could have been that fly on the wall – to bear witness to perceptions of the past while remembering the future….

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Imagine a museum filled with objects – hammers, nails, string, ladders, piles of dirt, blue paint. Imagine a world where the viewer participates and the result is a collaboration between artist and you. Artist as conceptualist. You as executioner. You as artist too.

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Rachel Zoe dress, BCBGeneration sandals, Coach bag, Tashkovski bracelets

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It is what I do as a teacher. Okay, students – here’s the lesson, here are the supplies…. It is always so gratifying and almost strange in a way. Like – do this, and they say okay.

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