Category Archives: art teacher

Kline-Dine Tash Mash

I call this project the Kline-Dine Tash Mash.

First I shared information about Franz Kline. He created large scale black and white paintings. These paintings resembled Chinese Calligraphy.

My students looked at Chinese Calligraphy resource pictures. They used black oil pastels to draw lines on a 12′ x 12″ canvas that were influenced by the Chinese characters.

Next, they added white acrylic paint using sweeping brushstrokes with a 1″ flat brush. They were encouraged to occasionally crash into the oil pastel to create some gray areas.

In the following class, they placed black acrylic paint over the black lines allowing some of the texture of the oil pastel to remain on the surface.

Jim Dine was next. We looked at his heart paintings. I gave them another canvas – a 4″ x 4″ one. They created heart stencils, traced them onto this smaller canvas then painted the canvas – either white heart with black background or black heart on white background.

Students then used colorful oil pastels on the heart and its background.

I had them choose a wood block, glue it to the back of the smaller canvas then adhere it to the center of the larger one.

I call it a Tash Mash because it is a mash-up of Kline and Dine but I use the heart motif in many of my own paintings as well, and I utilize the wood riser technique when mounting my encaustic paintings onto chalkboard painted masonite boards. And I invented the lesson.

I’m thinking about doing a series of encaustics in this style. Thank you, Franz Kline and Jim Dine for your contributions to Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, respectively, and for having names that rhyme.

Sweet Salvage Gift Shoppe

This is a house turned into a store full of treasures both inside and outside. It is Sweet Salvage Gift Shoppe, 6483 E. Seneca Turnpike, Jamesville, NY 13078. Proprietor Kathy Hastings certainly has the gift of merchandising. She’s created a series of vignettes in each room of the house, combining old and new products for that rustic charm that speaks of nostalgia, as though you could take something home and claim it as your own personal heirloom.

Outside, you can find a multitude of objects for your yard – tables, birdhouses, birdbaths and objects d’arte for the garden.

Her eye for placement is impeccable! I love this store!

This is the perfect place to photograph a grouping to use in a still life assignment at school (and maybe it will be!). It’s all about the layering, the texture and the repetition of elements, I think.

There are several of these affirmation blocks (above). This place is filled with positivity!

And you can even find a bathroom sink! Yes, it is for sale!

They are open Monday-Friday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM and Saturday-Sunday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM. For inquiries call (315) 492-1266 or email info@ssalvage.com.

They are also on Facebook. I’ve been following them for years and I finally stopped in for a visit! So fun! <3

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

Oil Pastel on Cows

We just completed these cow drawings on black Strathmore 500 paper. Cows are fun to draw because they are essentially made of two trapezoids. The pencil lines were painted out with black acrylic paint.

Then students colored the drawings with Cray-Pas oil pastels. They are beautiful! The artwork is on display on the wall outside of my classroom. This is an 8th grade project.

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!

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