2014 started out with updating the space outside of my classroom. Outfitted with modern Steelcase furnishings from Custer, kids utilize the area so much more now that there is a versatile and welcoming space.
February was filled with showcasing opportunities for my students. Between the MAEA Region 9 show at the GRAM and the West Central Michigan Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, my students had their pieces on display all over Downtown Grand Rapids. Both shows led to work being moved onto State and National recognition, too.
This was the 7th year we have put on an Empty Bowls event at our school. It gets better and better each year, with more turn out and more donations. Thank you again to our local Subway and School Community for helping make this such a wonderful success!
Thanks to a grant from the Michigan Youth Arts Council, I was able to take students to the Meijer Gardens. Using methods learned from fellow art teacher, Tricia Fugelstad, I put the kids in charge while at the Gardens and they led us through the sculpture park by highlighting the work along the way.
May was a month full of celebrating student success as we displayed work around our school at at the Van Singel Fine Arts Center. One thing students did to celebrate this month full of Arts, is make the images below that were in response to Governor Snyder declaring the first week of the month Youth Arts Week.
The end of the school year was celebrated with our National Scholastic Silver Medalist, Makenzie Reid, in New York City. It was an amazing time celebrating the students from across the country and seeing the winning work. I am honored to be a part of this program and hope to keep this tradition of competing going with my students year, after year.
I offered several summer challenges to students and was so pleased with the participation. Thank you again to Ava, who participated in them all! Here are the works she uploaded to Artsonia in the month of July.
It is always fun to get ready for the start of the school year. With help from donors like you, I was able to get this first project I posted on Donors Choose funded quickly. Thank you for your support over time and helping me make a positive learning environment for my students.
I have been taking students to ArtPrize annually and enjoy the way the annual competition engages the audience each time. Thanks again to a grant from ArtPrize, I was able to help fund this trip and students were able to interact with this award-winning work by Anila Quayyum Agha.
Thank you again for voting to Asia and helping make her an Artsonia Artist of the Week in October! It was fun to share her work with others and see the support she gathered over the course of the week.
I am very honored to have been named MAEA Middle Level Educator of the Year at the Annual Conference that happened in November. It was a great time to share resources with other teachers and also spend time with my sister, who teaches art in Indiana!
It is hard to pick one major highlight from the month because so much of it is a culmination of hard work and dedication over the course of the year and before. From Emma finishing her dress, to Anna experimenting with found objects for jewelry, to Gabe honing his Photoshopping skills and so many other students finding new ways of saying things through visuals... I have seen students push themselves in new ways and amaze me in the process. My favorite part is showing that at our annual December show. Every year I think that it has been the best year ever; I know next year is going to offer the same.
I hope everyone is enjoying their time with family this Holiday season. Even though there is not a spec of snow on the ground in my neck of the woods, I challenged students to create some snow inspired Photoshop works before we left for break. Here is a video highlighting their efforts.
You can see the full gallery of work on our Artsonia gallery.
As we finished up our last project of the calendar year, I looked around the room at my students feeling very proud and thankful that I get to do what I do on a daily basis. 2014 has been an awesome year and here are some responses from my students who were simply asked to make something for their last assignment. I am particularly impressed with the level of thought and diversity in outcome as they selected the theme, material, and given only a week to complete. You can see the full gallery of work on Artsonia. Here are some highlights:
Gabe: For project five I chose to make a landscape in Photoshop. Recently Ive been studying photoshop art and design so I decided that I'd start a landscape project. For each layer of depth I used a new layer to make editing easier. The tools I used most were the brush to draw and the burn tool to add shadow and depth.
Colton: I wanted to use a lot of texture in my painting of spiderman so I layered the paint and for the background I used oil pastel. I then scraped off most of the oil pastel making the background look cool. I couldn't really come up with an idea for the this project at first but then I though of another work I made earlier in the year. That helped me come up with this Spiderman painting for the project "Make Something" and because of the theme I though it was a perfect opportunity to make this. Like I already said, I based this off one of my other works. That work that inspired me is hanging on my wall and makes me think how great of an artist I am.
Jayson: For my “Create Something” project, I decided to do a project based around music since it has been a big part of my life. Growing up, I listened to a lot of music. I have learned to play both the piano and cello. Music is something that my family, including myself, enjoys. I feel like this is something that represents me and has had a big impact on my life.
Bre: The theme of my artwork is cancer survivors. When you look at my artwork you will see a cancer ribbon with a bunch of different colors coming off of it, and words in the ribbon. In my artwork I used color as my Element of Design, because I have a lot of different vibrant colors and they are outlined in a black sharpie. I also used emphasis as my Principle Of Design, because the focal point of my artwork was the cancer ribbon. This artwork goes with the theme of using family connections, because I love my Grandma very much and she suffered from cancer, but she is now a survivor. In conclusion, this is by far my favorite project that we had to do because we didn’t have a theme and we could make anything we wanted.
Nolan: This photoshop image has many personal connections to me. The daily struggles of school often distract me from the beauty of nature. On the off chance that I get the opportunity to go up north to my cabin, I always go into the woods and admire it's beauty. I can't help but think how much more relaxing and easy it would be to be a tree. In my work I contrasted my name from the background by making the letters colorful and the background black and white. Also, the fallen down tree form in the background takes up the space around my name in an efficient way. This piece was very successful and enjoyable to make.
Lauren: I use many factors of elements and principles of design. One is I use the same over all colors for my piece. I use a grey scale. I also use form. My piece has the main focus on the people, which are in the foreground. Each person is placed in the same way and the place. This shows rhythm in the piece. This can show how people feel about each other and how they feel about themselves. These people are all around us and come in many different shapes and forms.
7th grade students worked on finishing their clay pieces as we prepared for Winter Break. We started with hollow clay balloons, that some students turned into rattles by inserting clay pebbles inside of paper towel (so it does not stick to the side of the clay body). Then students planned out their creatures and got to work making the needed forms and applying it to their work. It will be fun to fire these over break and get to finishing them off before the end of the semester.
My 8th grade students are working on a new project this week, as we finish out 2014. I gave them very open perimeters to venture as they were told to simply make something for this project. It has been fun to see them search for ideas as they planned and began their works. From abstraction to landscapes, to portraits and popular culture, students are working away with their choice of 2D media. Here are some works in progress:
7th grade students explored the concepts of positive and negative space and symmetry as they created Notans with paper and digitally. You can see the full results on Artsonia.
Students started with a square sheet of paper and cut in a variety of shapes along the four sides before turning them outward and glueing it down on a contrasting sheet of paper, twice as big.
Students followed along with a tutorial I made and posted here to reimagine their works posted to Artsonia as digital Notans. Here are a few of the results:
This week has been an eventful one. So much so, I have not really had a chance to post until now. It started with our Annual Winter Art Show at the VanSingel Fine Arts Center and ended with me rounding up the last of the Scholastic Entries to be handed in on Monday.
Art Show Highlights
Our annual k-12 District show is one of my favorite exhibitions of the year. Luckily, we do this twice annually and showcase the best our students offer in the Visual Arts. I display one work from each of my students who make the selections of which pieces they would like on display. It is also fun to attend the reception and see the students react to their work on display, visit with former students and see how they have progressed, as well as meet upcoming students who I will get to teach in the future.
Art about Issues
8th grade students worked on making work that dove into an issue or concern they were interested in exploring visually. Here are some process photos of their work and finished outcomes. You can see the full gallery on Artsonia.
7th grade students studied Greek and Pop Art this week with a look at how contemporary Artists are inspired by the past. First, we looked at work in the following Prezi that showed some contemporary connections to Ancient Greek and Roman Art:
Students then worked on prints based of off activities they like and included at least 3 designs around the figure.
After working with printmaking on paper with ink, students moved to a digital work in the style of Andy Warhol. It was fun to see students take the concept and apply it in a new way.
8th grade students spent this week brainstorming, researching, and sketching out designs for their next project theme: Issues and Concerns. Many artists are interested in reflecting current and historical events in their work as well as questioning how things work, how they could work, and what the future might bring. I challenged my students to select and issue or concern they have and use PBS LearningMedia Student Portal to find images, articles, videos, and other helpful resources to inform their position on a topic of their choice.
Students selected topics ranging from the environment, to tolerance, to disease, to student stresses and began to think of images and symbols that could help them visually communicate their ideas, feelings, and research on the topic. Once completing some sketches of their work, they did three minute critiques in small groups to get and give "stars and wishes" about the ideas and plans presented. This offered students valuable feedback to their peers to help narrow down their ideas and rework any unclear plans they may have had.
Some students finalized their concepts today and started getting to work on their images. The only limitation to the work is that they had to use 2D media (which you will see is even a little bit bendable).
Emma has finished her dress! I am very excited to submit this origami wonder into the Scholastic Art Awards on her behalf. This is the first time I have had a student design and complete a piece of fashion for the competition. It is going to be exciting to see what happens, although I think it is great even if it doesn't get the recognition. She is currently working on another series of designs that she will also submit to this competition as well as one done through a University.
Teaching Visual Arts since 2004 and making images since picking up a crayon.