The Gourmet

A trip to Vince’s Gourmet Imports (440 N. Main Street, North Syracuse, New York 13212) inspired my new still life painting project.  The Studio in Art students completed the course with these epic 16″ x 20″ acrylic paintings.

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I have paired them here with their inspiration photograph.  Students selected the picture then began with the contour line drawing.  These were transferred to canvas with the magical help of graphite paper, placed onto gessoed and burnt sienna-stained canvas panels.

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My main educational tip – begin with white in your mixing tray.  Add raw sienna and whatever main color to the mix (blue, yellow, etc).  This will insure that you don’t make too much of a color by starting too dark and adding crap-loads of white, lol.  The other thing to keep in mind is to not homogenize the mixture so that you can utilize dark and light variations of the color while painting with one brush.

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I am an advocate for students developing and maintaining their own styles as artists.  We looked at the work of Alice Neel and Janet Fish.  Some students went with the black outlines à la Neel.  And Fish’s representation of glass was helpful to their decision making.

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They took the paintings home today, but their images are on display in the counseling offices and will remain there throughout the summer months. I made 8″ x 10″ color copies of the paintings, mounted them to black construction paper and placed them in frames.  I love this new gallery space!

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I feel incredibly blessed to have shared this artistic adventure with these very talented fourteen-year-olds.  Studio in Art is an accelerated high school level class that I teach to 8th graders at Chittenango Middle School in Chittenango, New York.

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Final Countdown

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Trina Turk top and pants, BCBGMaxAzria belt, BCBGeneration sandals
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C by Bloomingdale’s cashmere cardigan, Trina Turk dress, Marc Jacobs booties

Nine days left of the 2018-2019 school year – I wonder what I will wear?

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Free People cardigan, Max Mara top, 7 For All Mankind jeans, Marc Jacobs sandals
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Free People cardigan, Rachel Zoe dress, Marc Jacobs boots

The classroom will be messy until next Friday.  We are still painting.

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Banana Republic cardigan, Free People top, Alice = Olivia pants, Calvin Klein booties
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Michelle DaRin necklace, Free People tunic, BCBGMaxAzria top and pants, Marc Jacobs booties
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Honora necklace, BCBGMaxAzria sweater, top and skirt, Nine West booties
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Kobi Halperin top, BCBGMaxAzria pants, BCBGeneration sandals
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Theory sweater, BCBGMaxAzria pants, Marc Jacobs boots
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Cinq a Sept silk top, French Connection leather skirt, Marc Jacobs booties
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Theory cardigan, Rachel Zoe dress, BCBGMaxAzria T-shirt, Marc Jacobs boots

Sensu Meets Natsu

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My encaustic paintings are currently on display at Kasai Ramen!  They are part of a group show curated by Jamie Santos.

The group show is titled Natsu.

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There will be an artist reception on Thursday, June 13, 2019 from 6 – 10 pm.  Hope to see you there!  Here is the link to the Facebook invite – facebook.com/events/66304848748843

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These twelve paintings are from my Sensu series of encaustics, created last month ($250 each).  They are 8″ x 8″ encaustic & collage pieces.  On the back of each painting, I have instructions on how to care for these paintings.  ❤

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Care Instructions for Encaustic Pieces – 

Over time, dust and other particles in the air will collect on the surface of the painting and make a film that will look dull.  Regular buffing in the first three months will help to keep the surface shiny and will bring out translucency in layers that are not currently visible.  After three months, the surface of the encaustic painting will stabilize and won’t attract dust as readily.  Any time the painting starts to look dull, it can be buffed with a very soft rag to increase the transparency and shine of the surface.  Light dusting of the piece is all that is needed in the form of maintenance.

To make sure your piece lasts a long time, it should not be hung where it will experience below freezing temperatures or in direct sunlight coming through a window.  Be aware of placing your piece near a powerful light bulb or any kind of lighting that produces a lot of heat (Christmas lights).  Don’t leave your piece in a car on a hot day or near a fireplace.  As long as your piece is kept in your house at a comfortable temperature, it should stay in perfect condition.

Because the wax is soft, it could be damaged if dropped or if a sharp or hard object is scraped over the surface.  Fingerprints will also damage the surface over time, as the acid on our hands will etch itself into the wax.  A quick wipe of the surface after everyone touches it will prevent this from happening.

If you ever need to pack or move, or ship your encaustic painting, make sure you wrap it in a piece of paper with a smooth surface before wrapping it in bubble wrap or anything that has a texture that could damage the surface.

Encaustic painting is very archival, resistant to moisture, fading from light exposure or yellowing from acid.  In fact, encaustic painting is the most archival form of known painting.  Your painting has the potential to last for hundreds of years if well cared for.  I trust you will enjoy it!

Stone Face

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Art Rage (505 Hawley Avenue, Syracuse, New York 13203) has offered up another large-scale portrait show – this time they’re paintings – by Buffalo, New York bred and current Hudson Valley artist Joe Radoccia.

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These are oil paintings with gorgeous technical drawing proficiency and a burnt sienna/sepia color palette that alludes to the past – in regard to both subject matter and mature stoic models.  They are installed using magnets that connect to a metal brace on the wall, which also seems to be an allegory – magnetic personalities who found themselves in a battle for their sexual orientation rights, telling stories that combine hope for tomorrow with a bit of waiting-for-the-shoe-to-drop angst (will it fall/falter/fail?).  One that Art Rage fans find compelling – social (in)justice, in this case, as it relates to the history of gay rights and the personal histories of these larger-than-life characters.

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The show is titled About Face: 50 Years After Stonewall.  It chronicles the events during and following what is known as the Stonewall rebellion, a protest/fight-back by attendees of a Greenwich Village nightclub during a police raid.  It was this single event in 1969 that catapulted the gay pride movement as mainstream history.

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Each painting in this series is accompanied by interviews with the models and these snippets form the narrative link.  It is a fascinating and informative journey.  Personalities sharing their unique stories, which, combined, create a tapestry of unity, spirit, power and grace.

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The art reception was last Saturday, but other events are scheduled during the next month and a half.  Joe Radoccia will do an artist talk on Tueday, June 18, 2019 at 7 pm at the gallery.  In addition, there will be film screenings as well as LGBTQ activist lectures.  See their website for the deets on those activities here.

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The show runs through July 12, 2019.  Art Rage is open Wednesday – Friday 2 – 7 pm and Saturday noon – 4 pm.

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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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Reductive Birds

Here are some pictures of my Art-8 reductive bird sculptures.

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I have nine students in each of two classes on “B” days – I can only do this with small groups because they are reductive sculptures – the bird is carved from a 4″ x 8″ block of floral foam.  The styrofoam is subtracted, not added. I use my teacher eagle eyes to watch over everyone and offer guidance one-on-one.

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Students create a profile of a bird after selecting a resource picture – they draw it onto white paper that matches the dimensions of the block.  The drawing is traced onto both sides of the block.

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Then students carve away the “not-bird”.  The head comes next and it takes a giant leap of faith because they must hack away at the drawing while carefully looking at the block from all angles, and trust that it will be a bird.  Once they start seeing the head and the beak forming, there is a knowing that it is happening!  Some students are better at sculpture than others, like teenage-apprentice Michaelangelos.  They help each other, which is so cool!

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We use clay tools for this project and this time we borrowed goggles from the 5th grade science lab.  The styrofoam debris is a bit of a nuisance, but since the actual carving only takes four or five classes, it is tolerable.

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The next class is all about the tail.

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Then the wings and tummy.

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And finally details.

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I paint white primer on the bird sculptures (cheaper and thinner in consistency than gesso), so that the acrylic paint doesn’t soak into the foam.  The tech teacher prepares the plaques for us by drilling a hole to fit the dowel and students glue the bird onto it with Elmer’s wood glue.  The eye choices of glass jewels, wiggle-eyes or tiny compasses are fun.  The option to throw in some colored duck feathers was not taken this go-round.

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The birds are on display at Chittenango Middle School for a couple more weeks then they will fly the coop. ❤

Fashion Connection

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C by Bloomingdales cashmere cardigan, Rachel Zoe top, Rebecca Taylor pants, Calvin Klein booties
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Rachel Zoe silk top, French Connection leather skirt, Marc Jacobs booties
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C by Bloomingdales cashmere cardigan, Rachel Zoe silk top, 7 For All Mankind jeans, Marc Jacobs booties
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Milly silk top, Trina Turk leather skirt, Marc Jacobs boots

Here are my most recent #ootd pictures from Instagram.  I am all about cashmere, silk and leather.  I spent the latter half of the day today cleaning my back room and cupboards, and thinking about supplies for next year.  Meanwhile, students are working on sculptures, inventions and paintings.  Lots of messy.  Thank goodness for art smocks and aprons…and DeWitt Cleaners!!!  One month of school left to go! ❤

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Banana Republic cashmere cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria top and skirt, Karl Lagerfeld Paris boots
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Trina Turk silk top, BCBGMaxAzria silk-velvet pants, Joie velvet sandals
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Theory sweater, Trina Turk top and pants, Calvin Klein booties
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BCBGMaxAzria sweater, dress, pants and sandals
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JCrew cashmere hoodie, BCBGMaxAzria top, Free People leather skirt, BCBGMaxAzria sandals
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BCBGMaxAzria jacket, sweater, pants and shoes, Bailey 44 top
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