This past Thursday was the 92nd Annual Scholastic Awards celebrating young Artists and Writers from across the country. I had two National Medalists this year and was thrilled that one of them was able to attend the ceremony at Carnegie Hall! I was also able to attend due to funding from DonorsChoose. In addition to the ceremony, which featured special guest speakers Whoopi Goldberg, Chelsea Clinton, Tom Otterness, and David Lipski, we were able to spend a few days in NYC to tour museums and the city! Here is a highlight reel of the awards ceremony:
I was also excited to see both of my students' works on display in the gallery at Parson's. It is still a little mind-boggling to think that I have student work in an NYC gallery that will also be going on a two-year tour. It was SO inspiring to see the work representing the best of the best our country has to offer and I am so excited to bring back the images from the show in hopes of inspiring my students and sparking new ideas!
Another awesome moment from this trip was our time spent at the MET, Chelsea Market, and the High Line trail. Each offered a different view of the city and I am so thankful I will be able to take the inspiration from this event back to my classroom in hopes we will make it back here again next year with another winner! Thank you again to DonorsChoose and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for helping make this happen!
I know I say that every year is the best year ever, but really THIS was the best year ever! From dominating competitions to getting involved with community service to completely over-hauling the way art is taught, this year has left me wondering what next year has in store to even come close to it! Here is a monthly recap of the best moments from the 2014-15 year in the BCWMS art classroom:
By November, using choice and inquiry as methods for art making was in full swing. Students were selecting their materials and methods for interpreting themes in their own way. The image above is a work that ended up winning a National Gold Medal for the 2015 Scholastic Art Awards which are being celebrated on June 11th.
It is always flattering when you are recognized for doing something, especially when it is from your peers. I want to thank all of the teachers out there who come to my blog time and again. I hope you find inspiration here and that my students' works help you push your kids to finding their voices as artists.
It is always fun to celebrate the achievements of students and seeing their hard work rewarded with praise. February included celebrations for my students in a variety of settings, most notably leading to two Top 15 finishers for MAEA State and two National Gold Medalists in the Scholastic Art Awards.
To celebrate Youth Arts Month this year, students created images that expressed what Art means to them. It was also a month that included my trip to NAEA in New Orleans where I was recognized at Western Region Middle Level Educator of the Year. Awards are great, but allowing students to realize the above quote is even greater of an achievement I am striving for every year.
For the BCWMS Fine Arts Festival this year, we decided to incorporate student-led workshops. Here is an image of Hannah leading a young BC artist in the wonder that is mono-printing with Gelli Arts. I am so excited to do this again in the future because it is incredibly rewarding to see my students take leadership roles and pass on the joy that is making art!
Up until the very end, students were pushing themselves to use their "much larger arsenal" of skills to demonstrate concepts and ideas. This was a great school year and I so appreciate all of the amazing things that were accomplished. I am not sure how next year we will top it, but we are going to do our best to try.
Today is the last day of school. Students are finishing up and saying good-bye to a school year that was filled with laughter, learning, and lots of messy moments in the art classroom. To finish out our last day together, students showed their learning through exams. Part of the exam was question based. Students were given a series of matching, multiple choice, and true/false questions that quizzed their understanding of the elements and principles of design, artists throughout history, as well as materials we used to create art throughout the year.
In addition to a more traditional means of testing, I also asked students to create a composition that expressed their learning over the semester. It is always fun to see how students interpret the directions and all of the various ways they use the skills they have learned to show what they know. Even better, are the artist statements that accompanies them and explains what they made.
Here are a few examples (the rest can be viewed on Artsonia):
Jewel: I learned a lot of things in art this year and this is an example of just a few. I learned my new favorite media, stippling. It's not just drawing and shading with a pencil. Noli Novak has inspired me to do something different with my artwork and to work to expand my comfort zone. I chose to represent the color wheel in my picture using water color. When I first came into 7th grade, I hated using water color because I didn't know how and what to do with it. Now, I know so many different techniques that I would love to use water color in the future and present. I am showing the color wheel because I never knew what a tint was or a shade, I didn't know the compliment pairs and the primary and secondary colors. Their was so many different things that I learned in art that I could only show the things that I think I grew the most in on one sheet of paper.
Andrew: This piece is a reflection of this whole art semester. It shows some of the many new things that I learned. I came in thinking art would be boring and I would know most of the stuff. I had no idea how wrong I was. There were so many cool and interesting new things that I learned from you. I learned all about elements and principles and the four C’s. I also became familiar with tons of amazing artists that gave me inspiration for my own art like Bansky and Mitchell Feinberg who where probably my favorites. When I first came in I only thought of art as drawing and painting. Over the semester I learned so many new ways to make art that I had no idea existed. Print making, Photoshop, movies, photography, and many others. Now I have a much larger arsenal of art that I can make. I hope to use these great techniques in the future to make over better, more creative art in the future. I learned a ton of new and interesting things in this class and I am very glad I chose to take art this year.
Ana: From the final art piece, I used a lot of shading techniques, but combining a lot of the different shades, then taking Q-tip and rubbing it all over, so that the different would blend in better. I also had perspective in the, but showing a shadow of the mountains and trees. I also had a reflecting lakes to reflect the scene.
Gabby: I learned a lot of things this year in art. I learned many watercolor techniques, as seen on the top of my drawing. I also learned more about cool, warm, and complimentary colors. I tried to add the element of color, which I think I did well, by adding many varieties of color to make my art pop. I really enjoyed this year and learned a lot more about art, such as shading, value, and more about cool, warm, and complimentary colors.
Leah: In this last piece of art I have made for my eighth grade piece there are a few things that did not go as planned. I had the intentions on making a foreground, middle ground, and background landscape piece. For the foreground I made a wave made from oil pastel. For the middle ground I was going to do the ocean made from oil pastel, but in a darker shade to add realism into the picture. Lastly, I was going to do the background as an island to add more interest into the picture. This art piece did not meet my expectations because of a couple different reasons. Throughout the year I have been used to having a week to finish my art pieces and today I was only given 45-30 minutes. Another reason why I did not finish this art piece is because there was not any ideas popping into my head because I have used most of the materials through out the year and the ones I didn’t use would not be done in a day (clay and wilting). I feel that if my intentions went as planned then this art piece would have showed how this eighth grade year has shown how much I have improved. The reason why is because I have done many different things relying on pastel and I have had much practice, also we have learned about the way to set up a landscape art piece and this is what I did. All in all, this year has been a great impact on my art skills and the use of creativity.
The end of the year always seems to be a flash of events. Although I try and be my best teacher self year round, sometimes I make compromises as time runs out. One of the compromises this semester was glazing our clay creatures. The amount of firing time would not work with the amount of days left in the semester, so we used other methods to color the little creative critters. Here are three alternatives to glaze you can use if you run out of firing time, too:
1. Tempera Paint
Tempera paint is a great stand-by for students and teachers alike. This paint comes in a variety of colors and absorbs into the bisque wonderfully. You know exactly what you are going to get because the colors dry the color they look and you do not have to worry about ruining brushes or mishaps on clothes because it is a water-based non-permanent solution. I usually buy the large Gallon Tempera paints and then pour them into smaller bottles (like these from Blick I just purchased and LOVE) for students to distribute on their pallets. I try to give them the rule of pouring "three colors at a time, the size of dime" as to not waste paint.
Watercolor is the paint that solves so many problems! Like tempera, it is a water-based material that will not destroy brushes or clothing and it ends up looking exactly how you view it. Because of the play on opacity, you can layer colors and create so many effects with this material. I use Prang watercolor pallets that are at least a decade old because I like how easy it is to replace colors once they have been used.
3. Oil Pastel and Watercolor
This method is relatively new to me. I first learned of this technique on the Art Teacher Facebook group. A generous teacher shared the results of using oil pastel on clay with a watercolor/tempera wash and I was immediately intrigued. I find that this works best on textured clay, like the creature above (the student used a bright blue oil pastel and then used a darker watercolor over). When you use oil pastel on clay, it acts as a resist to the water-based paint, resulting in a beautiful effect.
In order to make the finishes selected by students permanent, we used a clear-gloss acrylic paint and dabbed it over top. it is important to dab, rather than paint, to prevent smearing. The gloss goes on white, but dries clear and gives the pieces a nice shine while locking in the color.
You can see the full gallery of results on our Artsonia page. Here is an example of each:
Teaching Visual Arts since 2004 and making images since picking up a crayon.