Monday, March 27, 2017

Artists to Know Right Now: Aune, Romussi, Remy, & Perra

I've discovered a few artists that I think are worth sharing lately. Okay, that's a lie.

Let me start over.

I've discovered a gazillion artists that I think are worth sharing lately. I have been mulling over the best way to share those. Yeah, there's Pinterest. That just feels impersonal. So, I really wanted to share via Party in the Art Room. I've decided to try to do a monthly (or maybe bi-monthly) series called Artists to Know. I'll just be introducing the artists. Sometimes I might brainstorm some lesson ideas as well.

So without further delay, here are this month's picks. I feel inspired by these guys. I hope you do as well.

1. Cindy Aune- This is a Mississippi artist that I met in a workshop. She taught me a lot about mixed media. I've been really intrigued with her since then. That was several years ago. So, her work will probably haunt you as well. She's a sweet human being as well.

2. Jose Romussi- An artist from Chile working in Berlin, Romussi uses thread to embellish, enhance, distort, or extend images. To me, his work is like folk art on crack. It is colorful and playful, but dark and mysterious at the same time.

3. Pauline Remy-

4. Cecile Perra- I just really have a thing for the morose and melancholy.

What do you think? Share your "right now" artists! I wanna see some new works!

Images used via Fair Use (educational purposes, noncommercial, low quality, readily available on the internet, links are made available to take the reader back to the artist's site)

Museum Monday: Pensacola Museum of Art

Who knew Pensacola, Florida had such a great little art museum? We didn't! It was a pleasant surprise when we took a quick trip to the beach.

Pensacola also has a great downtown. Oh! And make sure you visit Graffiti Bridge. I LOVE Graffiti Bridge. Make sure you spend some of your time doing all the artsy things once you get enough sun at the beach!

When we visited the Pensacola Art Museum, this wonderful Schapiro was on display. It was my first time seeing it. It is rather large. I love the whimsical colors and the movement in the work. My child was quite excited about it as well.

I see some great arts integration potential in this work. Verbs. Students doing their own poses to show movement, drawing those, and developing that into a character for writing. They can act out their stories at recess. How about a little science in all those colors in the background? There's science in color mixing, the way light creates color. Let's chat about the possibilities!

I'm dedicating this post to my dear friend Michelle Simmons, who recently moved to Pensacola, and whom I miss dearly. We're coming, get ready!

Hope you enjoy this work of art! Happy Monday to you all!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Flowers: Upcycled School Decor

I thought I'd share this because this is one of my favorite things to look at on my school's campus. When I became the art teacher, the flowers and pots were sticking in the ground all over the campus. They were randomly placed. The paint had started to come off a bit. After a year, we got a new principal and she asked me and another teacher to repaint them. I came up with the idea of attaching them to wooden pallets and putting them together in a central location. We freshened up the paint and added some patterns. Then, we had them installed at this walkway. I believe they were cut from gallon cans that the cafeteria had. They are pretty big, as you can tell. They've also held up pretty well. We just used regular acrylic. I think I sprayed them with a sealant. They are under an awning. It has been at least five years since we fixed them up. I am unsure how long they had been on campus before we repainted them. We actually repainted them one summer when students were out of school. I think there was going to be an event on campus for the mayor of our town, and my principal wanted to spruce up some things. I love them. I hope that my school will have these for a very long time. The next time they need sprucing up, I hope I can get some kiddos to help do it! 

Perspective (A Cry for Help!)

OMG! I hate teaching perspective. Why is it so hard?!?!?!?! 

These are adorable. I'll admit that. This lesson came from Deep Space Sparkle. I've written before that I don't much like to use other people's lessons (because I like making my own). I just cannot come up with anything for perspective. Additionally, I've tried a hundred different lessons, and we all get frustrated up in the art room. Funnynotfunny.

So, I need all the advice, all the tips, all the tricks, and all the encouragement. My students do a great job, but there has to be a better way! HELP!!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Interview with an Art Teacher: Tara Harrison

I am delighted to introduce you to Tara Harrison, an art teacher in Connecticut. I saw a Facebook post by Tara about this amazing lesson. I was intrigued and super impressed, especially since this was a lesson for second graders! I just had to know more about it. I reached out to Tara for the details, and she graciously arranged for me to share with you on this blog. 
I told you these were amazing!

I am so glad that I reached out to her because I learned a lot. The photographs really help me see the process. I am also tickled to have learned about a new artist, Kehinde Wiley. I think you will be equally impressed and also learn a lot from her responses to the three questions I asked. 

1.  Tell us about yourself (name, where you teach, grade levels, why do you teach, what is your favorite thing about being an art teacher or whatever YOU want to say about yourself)

Hi, I’m Tara Harrison. I teach at the CREC Ana Grace Academy of the Arts Elementary School in Connecticut. I love getting to problem solve and be creative every day. I treasure my students’ contagious joy and enthusiasm. 

I’ve been teaching art for 16 years in a variety of school settings (parochial, traditional public, charter and magnet). It’s incredibly satisfying to now work in school with a diverse student body that focuses on and supports the arts.

2. Tell us how you taught this AMAZING self-portrait lesson and what made it successful.

During February, I usually teach African-American artist studies to celebrate Black History Month. This year, I’m trying to focus more on living artists. Kehinde Wiley’s work is so vibrant and exciting. My second graders are delightful and hardworking, so I knew they’d be up to the challenge of working like Wiley. We began the lesson with students at their tables discussing reproductions of Wiley's paintings. They talked about - what they noticed, thought was special and would like to know. We shared out as a group. I talked about his process. Wiley chooses everyday people who look like him and are underrepresented in art history. Students loved his vibrant colors, realism and poses. 

They planned four different background patterns. Each table had a stack of textile pattern postcards to use for inspiration. While they worked, I took photos of each student. They chose their pose (although, dabbing was verboten) and whether to show their whole or half their body. Next class, students traced their photos on acetate. We watched the CBS Sunday Morning piece about Wiley. Prior to the following class, I photocopied their acetate drawings onto white construction paper. They drew their background pattern in pencil and traced with sharpie. Then, they painted the big areas with tempera cakes and watercolors. Finally, they colored small details using markers, gel pens and colored pencils. They wrote about the project - how they worked like Wiley, what they liked best, what they would change and titled their work. This took about five 45 minute classes with 20-23 kids per class.

3. If you were to teach it again, what would you do to make it even better?

I would definitely use better quality paper. Some of my overzealous students rubbed too hard when painting causing their faces to disappear (I used carbon paper to re-add their details). I might also use wallpaper samples for their pattern inspiration the next time around. We recently finished this project. I’d like to have the students do a gallery walk to share their finished work with each other.

Permission to use this student photograph was obtained by Harrison. 

BE EXTRA SURE to check out Wiley's page on the Hip Hop Portraiture section of the National Portrait Gallery's site. There is audio of an interview with him about his work that is a must listen!

I absolutely love Wiley's Hip Hop Portraiture. I love this lesson. I feel so inspired by this. So, please let me say a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to Tara for sharing this with me and allowing me to post about it. 

Do you feel inspired by this? Leave some comments and feedback! Tara and I would both love to hear from you. Additionally, if you know of an art teacher (or any other educator) that would inspire us, please let me know. I would love to continue to do these interviews. 

Also, if you have a lesson you'd like to share but don't have time for your own blog, I'm happy to share here. Have other ideas, let's brainstorm! I would love to have some guest bloggers/guest posts as well as collaborate with you. Just reach out, friends! 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Collage and Amy Van Luijk

The week before we hosted the Whole Schools Initiative Winter Retreat at my school, I realized we needed something to hang on the bulletin board in the foyer by our school entrance. There's a ton of artwork in our foyer already. That is probably why I'd forgotten how old the artwork on that bulletin board actually was. I panicked only a small amount before hitting Pinterest.

I like to come up with my own projects for my students. It is part of what I think is fun about my job. So, I don't usually do a lot of projects that I see on Pinterest. Well, at least when I do, I try to tweak them somewhat so it doesn't feel like we are just copying other classrooms/teachers. 

Anyway, I do have several boards on Pinterest where I pin things that I might like to make a project out of one day. When I am pinning, I'll say to myself, "I smell a children's art project." Then, I'll laugh because I think I am funny.

So, I'd pinned a lovely pin and ran across it as I started trying to figure out what I could do for that bulletin board. The pin led me to the Tumblr of Amy Van Luijk. It is wonderful. You should be checking it out right now!

I was able to quickly pull some scrap papers for the project below. I showed my fifth graders Van Luijk's website, which is also wonderful and you should check it out right now. 

I've been teaching these fifth graders for at least four years. My school is a 2-5 school. So, I told them to use what they have learned about composition to create a collage. 

It took about 45 minutes (one class period) for them to assemble these. They are about around 12x12 inches. The silver is poster board. We'd had an event at school that used that bright paper, and I'd saved the scraps. The other papers were from a tub I keep with cool scraps of paper. The bulletin board has that cool black and white fabric on it. I think these really pop with that background. These were fun, and the kids enjoyed naming their work. You can see a photo of one with the word "Fashion" by it. That is what the student had decided to name his work. Other names were things like "Circleooska" and "Biohazard." Of course, because I believe everything in the school should provide an opportunity to learn, I put those printouts about Van Luijk and the vocabulary with the artwork. 

This was super fast and easy. I recommend it for mini-lessons or when you need something produced quickly. If you get in a pinch, like I did, you'll be glad you had this kind of lesson in your arsenal! 

Yes, that is Elvis Presley in the background.
We have an Elvis display at my school because it is the school he attended.
I know you are now very impressed! HA! 

What quick, emergency-type projects do you keep at the ready? I'm always curious to hear from you!

OH! And I'll throw this out there just in case...

If you know Van Luijk, I'd love to meet her! Send her my contact info!!! Y'all know how I love to meet people! 😍

Onomatopoeias: Arts-Integrated Showcase

I've been sharing some successes in arts integration from my school. You can check out another post here. I'll be posting more as well. So, stay tuned.

This fourth grade ELA teacher was teaching onomatopoeias. My favorite is "crackle," because something about the way it is designed actually makes me think of crackling. Even if it didn't say "crackle," I'd think about crackling. 

Have you ever taught onomatopoeias this way? Share please! 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Interview with an Art Teacher: Caren Barber

Caren Barber is a phenomenal art teacher in Tupelo, MS. I wanted to feature her on this blog because I've been super impressed with her ability to get her K-2 students to create and express themselves. I've also visited her classroom and can attest that she has excellent classroom management. These are two biggies for art teachers, especially art teachers of K-2 students!

I asked Barber three questions:
What is the most successful project you've ever taught and why?
Why do you teach?
What do you do to feed your own creative spirit?

Here are her responses:
A successful project is the result of engaged students that have learned and gained meaning through the process of creating.  They have taken ownership and aren't satisfied until their work fits the picture they have imagined.  They won't feel the need to say, "Is this good enough?" because they have met the expectation they set themselves. A project that always seems to have a unique, as well as successful result, would be self portraits on any grade level.  I always enjoy watching the kids create and inevitably the results are as diverse and authentic as the character and personality of each student. 
Barber's most successful lesson. I am going to try to bribe her to write a more detailed post about this! It is just too good...
we all need to know more info, don't we?!?

I teach because it matters. Yes, it matters to me but matters exponentially more to my students. I am human and because of that condition my students unfortunately don't always get the best version of me. But I keep going back because it matters to them. Even when I think it doesn't, my young friends remind me in their own way that it does.  This public education that my young friends are part of, for many, is the most positive experience they have going for them right now.  They can have two nutritious meals and caring adults that look after them and help them learn. They are warm and safe and dry. And they are so grateful. They may not show it in the most traditional of ways and may not even show it outwardly. But when all is said and done they know that every bit of what goes on at  their school is important.  Their educational experience will have a great impact of who they are becoming. And if that doesn't matter I don't know what does.  Yes, teaching certainly matters.  
When my creative spirit gets hungry, I find that I must paint to satisfy it. I enjoy painting on nontraditional items and surfaces.  Finding lost treasure on the side of the road in need of rescue and paint is one way to do this. I also enjoy painting shoes.  My favorite pair have birds on them.

Barber's shoes.
This is a photo of me with Caren Barber at an event for the Association for Excellence in Education. 

Barber is a blessing to her students and school. She co-leads the arts integration efforts at her school and works to ensure the students have a high quality arts program. 

Do you know an art teacher or teacher who uses arts-integrated instruction that should be featured on this blog? Please let me know about them! I'd like to feature more successes in arts education.

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