Warm up lesson for Painting I- Just getting started.

22 08 2014

Painting I – Instructor Joy Schultz

Warm-up Exercise



Students begin with an introduction to watercolor set up and materials. Students begin to block in a value scale grid on the watercolor paper in an organized grid format or a random grid pattern. Students make decisions about the division of space, line thickness, transparent or opaque layers of paint. I encourage students to use more water to create washes and to use other pigments to create a shade or tint instead of using black or white pigment. I restrict the selection of colors for the grid to two pigments only, plus all the tints and shades.


We discuss the watercolor textures and how it can be controlled by dry brush and wet on wet. I do encourage over painting if the student wants to create more textures or energy to keep the viewer moving throughout the composition. The watercolor grid should be strong enough to stand alone as an interesting painting before we add the drawing of the flower motif. (I explain hot press and cold press paper and brush shapes before we paint)


Students select a silk flower to draw on newsprint to brush up on modified contour line drawing, demo and reteaching if necessary. After approval of study of the flower the student will make a decision on placement on the watercolor grid. Asymmetrical or symmetrical layout, large or small scale, etc., we discuss the possibilities before student begins redrawing the floral motif. I want the students to verbalized individually or in small groups the reason behind the design choices.


Next we select an acrylic color to outline the floral motif. Again, reviewing color theory to make color selection and I have the students verbalize reasons for design choices. I also discuss the difference between acrylic paint vs. watercolor.


The final step is the artists’ decision. We take white tempera paint and wash in the interior space of the floral motif, slowly adding thicker paint as desired. Students can then decide how much they would like to embellish the floral motif with acrylic or tempera paint. I discuss the limitations of tempera paint vs. acrylic vs. watercolor with the students.


We hold a final critique to discuss how the viewer visually flows through the painting composition, what could be improved, peers ask the artist design questions, and finally students sign the work for display.


Materials: Watercolor palette, tube watercolors, watercolor brushes, watercolor paper, silk flowers, HB pencils, eraser, acrylic and tempera paint.




  • Assessment on student’s knowledge and ability
  • Demonstrate how to set up materials and where to find materials
  • Model good execution of project and clean up

Review of the following terms and techniques:

  • Watercolor materials- brushes, palettes, and water container usage
  • Tints, shades, washes
  • Transparency and Opacity
  • Value Scale
  • How to read and understand the color wheel
  • Color Harmonies
  • Review the difference between watercolor paint VS acrylic paint VS tempera paint
  • Review direct observation
  • Line qualities
  • Positive and negative space
  • Review Modified Contour Line
  • Review Compositional Layout- asymmetrical VS symmetrical balance
  • Review language to use for working critique and final critique
  • Encourage originality
  • Review how to sign artwork



Time to get ready for the new school year

21 07 2014

I have had a summer. Not the summer someone hopes to have but it was a necessary pause in my life to take care of my health.  I am in full recovery mode from surgery and I am gearing up to get my materials ordered, Artsonia rosters updated, and plan some art lessons.  I always love seeing my new schedule and the students who I will share a semester with to explore an art form.  This year, I will be teaching only the advanced level art courses, so it will be the first time I won’t know some of my students.  Strange, but due to my enrollment, I can no longer carry the whole high school program.  So my Foundations of Art classes will be taught by my art colleague in the Middle School.

I am also celebrating my 25th year of teaching art!!!!!

That is quite a milestone and I still have a passion to do it.  I do not feel I am done perfecting the art of teaching art, instead I feel I have so many things to modify to fit in the needs of my students and the changing climate of student learning.  So I am utilizing all my available social media outlets to gleen ideas and tools to improve my skills.  I will also be launching a new school program that will help create Global Leaders with a strong component of service learning.  I have always been involved in looping this into my art studio with my artists but now I will be working with a few other teachers to bring this program to the whole student body, starting with our Freshman.  This will be an exciting challenge but one I am very passionate about, so it’s just another way to extend belief in the power of teenagers and the energy they can contribute to create a better world.

Homes for Haiti Nature Center

Riley working with young campers

Speaking of that very strength; I need to mention the efforts my student leader did for Homes for Haiti project.  This summer I was unavailable to carry the full responsibility of the needs of our program but I did not need to worry.  Riley, a senior this year, took the lead and kept our supplies available by arranging students to come in for workshops over the summer.  She also hosted a very special summer art program to create our project and extent our efforts to help rebuild Haiti.  I am so proud of her and all the students who stepped up for Haiti.  This solidifies my belief in supporting and motivating young teens to find purpose.

Homes for Haiti Nature Center 1

Campers creating original Homes for Haiti

Homes for Haiti Nature Center 2

Campers taking time to reflect on each house.

Here is a link to our published story from the June magazine of our continued work for Haiti. I was able to read it just before being admitted into surgery.  It was a great read before beginning one of the more challenging moments of my life.  The timing could not have been more perfect.

Little Rock Family

Here is hoping you all have some summer left to enjoy.  I am wading in a little early to prepare for my anniversary year.  Have a great start to your school year!

Another year has passed and it’s time to reflect

23 05 2014

When I was asked to write down all the highlights from this school year, I initially thought sure not a problem.  And then I got down to writing all the information down….  this forced me to begin at the start of the year to the very end of this very busy and successful school year.  I was listing so many art awards, events, service learning projects, and community projects it was no wonder I am tired at the end of my busy day.

I teach all of the classes in the high school with the exception of two sections of the Foundations of Art classes…otherwise it all rests on my shoulders.  It is at times so difficult to maintain my physical studio space with all the projects and teenagers in the studio.  But I do seem to keep everything in line, on task, and continue to improve the program.  My passion to teach art, work in the community to improve the arts, and offer more to my students; this fuels my ambition.

Today I finished my curriculum maps and documented all my lessons, rubrics, powerpoints, handouts, and resources.  I am working on proposing a new blended classroom with a hybrid program to allow me to offer more courses without losing any quality for the future.  I am pretty much doing a blended program with my Media Art class but in a informal manner.  I am proposing it in a much more formal manner for the future.  We will see where it goes…I have all summer to work my ideas.


Saying goodbye to my Seniors is never fun.  I know it’s the natural end to what we are striving to achieve but it still doesn’t feel great.  I will miss my artists very much.  I know they will take a piece of me everytime and I hope they multiply that piece of me by contributing in the world in a positive way.  I have high hopes for my artists and I know they will figure it all out and let me know all about it.


This summer I will take some time to read a few good books, garden, create some art, cook, plan, write, and play with my family. Foster a few dogs and love on my own.   I have big plans to put in place that will help make my busy studio even better.  I am fortunate to have very motivated student leaders who are with me on structuring more art club activities and  continue to run Homes for Haiti and a trip to Haiti in June of  2015.  We will soon be able to meet the beautiful children we have been painting and supporting in Haiti.





It’s good to have plans and support to get it all done.

I hope the end of your school year is as rewarding to reflect on as mine has been for me.


Visual Arts 2013-2014 School Highlights

Art Competitions/ Shows

  • Congressional Art Competition- 17 submissions from Episcopal Collegiate Kelsey Claybrook placed 3rd
  • 2014 Arkansas Young Artist Association Spring Competition- 13 awards
  • Regional Art Awards- seven art award winners with three student’s pieces advancing to state. Students advancing to State: Conner Noland, Michael Chen, and Claire Seale
  • The Vision Art Contest sponsored by the Little Rock Eye Clinic and The J. Forrest Henry Trust- Nicholas Simmons 4th place $75.00
  • The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards -Courtney Ross for an Honorable Mention for her fashion design
  • Thea Foundations first ever fashion design award- Celeste Jennings won 2nd place $2,500
  • Jade Pfeifer Honorable Mention in Thea Arts Scholarship Award
  • Curbside Couture -We had 12 designers and 22 models.  Riley Blair designed the runway backdrop and received rave reviews.  Our school had an impressive line-up of garments that garnered us 4 of the 5 awards given out at the event.

The following designers were awarded cash awards: Colin Clemmons received The Singer Creativity Award $250.00, Celeste Jennings 4rd $200.00, Lily Warren 3rd $300.00, and Jade Pfeifer 1st $500.00.

  • Hosted and participated in the Art in the Garden Event
  • Fine Arts Showcase

Community Service Learning Projects

  • Justin Gooseberry created a puppet theatre for Lower School Spanish Classes
  • Justin Gooseberry and Katie Hadden participated in the Egghisbition by creating original eggs for raising funds for Youth Home.
  • Jim Elder Home Plate Heroes Auction-

Five student home plates up for auction:

Sam Baker, Conner Noland, Conley Culpepper, Caroline Davis, and Ben Jones

  • Homes for Haiti -recognized at the Clinton Foundation Volunteer Gala in December for our continued support to help rebuild Haiti also received a letter from Bill Clinton acknowledging our dedication. $60,000 raised to date

We sold our pins at Harvest Fest, Cornbread Festival, Mission Market, Methodist Church Catfish Fry, Curbside Couture Fashion Bazaar, and the Clinton Museum Store.

  • Participated in Thea Paves the Way for the 4th year
  • Second year in a row art students donated painted portraits of the children for the BeLikeBrit orphanage in Haiti
  • Art students from a variety of Upper School  art classes painted the Mayflower Strong banner for the Fill the Bus tornado relief drive



It all happened one stormy night

29 04 2014


Curbside Couture 2014 is an event we work all year to prepare to showcase our recycled fashion designs.  This is a labor of love for all of my students and for me.  The work to create the garments take almost the entire school year.  We work on weekends and after school.   Students explore all kinds of materials, gather supplies, and go through the process of trial and error.  We work as a group, pushing one another’s ideas, and challenging each other to create more original designs.

The models are an integral part of the experience and benefit from the experience as well.  The garments are created to fit a specific model and the designer is sensitive to the models body type and preferences of length, shape, etc.  The designer creates a whole concept for the design with hair, make up, shoes, the walk, everything.




We are reviving the craft of sewing and adults in the students lives are supportive by providing sewing machines, helpful tips, and keeping eye out for recycled materials.  Everyone in my school collected requested materials for the students.  The support is amazing.  The day started with rehearsal at 2:00PM after a night at Prom, so I had a few tired students, but everyone was ready for rehearsal.  The excitement slowly was building all day.  Unfortunately the weather was predicting severe weather so it added a little drama to the day and night.  After we practiced on the runway and got gift bags from the show sponsors we set off for our school art studio.  I planned ahead to provide a meal between the rehearsal and the runway show.  We use the few hours inbetween the show and rehearsal, to work on hair and make-up. Plus a few pep talks and runway walk instructions.  I arrived at school and my parents had everything ready.  We had sandwiches, fruit, chips and dip, soda, water, and chocolates.  I already set up mirrors on easels for easy make-up application and plenty of outlets for curling irons.



We had to head back to the Great Hall in the Clinton Presidential Library to get our garments on for the show.  This is always a hectic time for everyone.  Wardrobe malfunctions do happen so I have hot glue, pins, duct tape, and I am ready to do damage control.  This year with 23 garments to get ready for the runway in a short amount of time it required I enlist a parent.  Lucky for me I have a parent who is also an art teacher to help me out.  This was great….for the first time I had twice the amount of hands.  What a relief.

My students all lined up and looked great.  I looked at all of them smiling, fidgeting, and ready.  I did not really see the whole group in one place at the same time before.  It was impressive.  So many expressions of design and beautiful happy children.  I swear I could have cried but no time for that we have a runway to do.

Off they go and I sit among the designers in our seats for the show.  I designed two special garments for two of my students who wanted to participate.  One female and one male.  I was so happy they liked what I created for them and they were so excited to participate.




curbside couture 2014 (67)


The show started and within a few minutes the emergency sirens went off and we had to empty the Great Hall for the basement.  Over 350 guests and all the students- Yikes!  It went smoothly and everyone was calm.  Within 30 minutes the show began again.  The short 30 minutes seems to fuel my students who were previously nervous, into determined models.   The students owned the runway walking with confidence and pride in the outfits they wore.  My designers beamed and soaked up the applause.




Only five awards were given for the designers and my students won four!  I am so proud of them.

The following designers were awarded cash awards: Colin Clemmons received  The Singer Creativity Award $250.00, Celeste Jennings 4rd $200.00, Lily Warren 3rd $300.00,  and Jade Pfeifer 1st $500.00.  Riley Blair the runway backdrop artist received a gift bag and praise.







It was over too quickly and seemed to be only a dream.  










Studio Time is the Best Time

7 04 2014

Landed in Little Rock around 11:00 PM and I was wiped out.  The National Art Convention was great but a marathon with early morning sessions and loads of miles to almost run to attend all the selected sessions was a challenge.  You add in the time zone difference and it totals up to bring me coffee and tape to keep me awake!!

I wake up on time to get to the morning commute on to heavy traffic and of course someone caused an accident to make the backup worse.  This was not the homecoming I was looking forward to.

I pull into school, park in my usual spot, and pull out of the back of my car my computer, purse, and school bag.  I’m still tired and I had not had a cup of coffee yet.  Then all of the sudden to my right as I pass the carpool drop off, a huge squeal from a car was heard.  It was one of my students and she almost blew out her Dad’s eardrum from her enthusiasm to seeing me back at school.  Her Dad rolled down the window and said, “I guess you’ve been missed!” and he smiled.  I was only gone one day and of course Spring Break the week before.  My art student bounced out of the car and helped to carry my bags to the studio, the whole time telling me all about what a week she had and how she could not wait until I got back.  I go to the second floor to my studio and I see six of my artists waiting for me.  They ran to greet me and give me hugs.  In the center of my desk is a chocolate candy on a stick in a shape of a paintbrush from New Orleans, a place one of my other artists’ visited over Spring Break.  My studio was a buzz of excitement of everyone trying to get my attention and to share with me all that I missed in their lives since I saw them a week ago.  I was so incredibly happy to be back in my studio and looking and listening to the chatter of my artists.  I belong here, I belong with these students, they need me, and I need them.  I am so fortunate to have found a place where all that I put into my students; I get out of them as well. Spring 2

My schedule was a full one and in every class and in the hallways students remarked they missed me and asked how was my trip.  Our deadline for turning in our garments was the next day but a photo shoot was set for the end of the day, lots of last minute finishing was going on in the studio all day.  My art studio looked more like a closet or a recycle bin but the studio was humming along like nothing was in the way.  My students adapt to all the crazy activities I host and the commotion actually makes my studio the place to be so I am okay with that.  I have students popping in all day long to check in with me on all the latest stuff going on in sports, news, school, or just a new haircut.  There is a lot of trust, kindness, affection, and admiration in my studio.  It is a feel good place and expectations are high.  Is everyone achieving at the same level all the time?  Of course not, it’s a high school and I teach teenagers.  But I must say the relationships are healthy between my artists and me.  It’s about teaching art but it’s also about building up young adults.  There has to be expectations, benchmarks, celebrations, accountability, and lots of humor.Image

This weekend was the first weekend in a long time I was able to stay at home, in my house.  I did very little…well in perspective of my life…if you understand my life.   I did catch up on sleep and that was the most important part of my weekend.  I am able to reflect on my past two weeks and plan out the next three without feeling sleepy.  I accomplished a lot this week, one student Award for a Fashion Scholarship, a nice letter from Bill Clinton for our work to support Haiti, a gift from Indonesia with supplies for a batik project, all of our garments have been sent off for the Recycle Runway Show, and I completed an interview for Little Rock Family magazine on all the Service Learning work I do with my students.  I have Congressional works to submit this week and our big State Art Convention and Contest coming up next.  Finally our big Curbside Couture Fashion Runway Show…it’s going to be amazing.

My life is a wild ride but I the rewards far exceed any of the dips in the road.

Reflections of the National Art Convention

3 04 2014

Wow! My feet could not get me to all the sessions I wanted to attend, but I did enjoy the ones I was able to squeeze into my busy schedule. San Diego is beautiful and my anticipation of presenting was sent to the back of my mind for one day. I reconnected with teachers from my old school, met up with dear friends on my PLN, and I was able to gleen knowledge to fuel my art teaching philosophy. One observation I made after I already selected my sessions on the Spark App. was, I was either in the Advocacy realm or Research. Interesting?! but not surprising.
Sunday was the Art 2.0 meet up or Tweet up and it was great to see so many faces connected to people who I follow, tweet, or read their blogs. I also love that Davis Publications supported our gathering with great Starbucks coffee. Much appreciated by the art educators who do not often get such nice perks. The photo of all of us in our PLN shirts was twice the size from the previous year. And this leads me to my big “take away” as Craig Roland put it. We need to continue to do more to reach out and include more art educators. We are a unique and talented group that serves the biggest variety of students. We juggle and problem solve all day long, and into the night, we create something wonderful, thought provoking out of nothing. We make garbage beautiful, we put smiles, hope, and purpose, on so many faces during our regular day. We need to do the same for each other. Children are in the center of what we are doing…not our egos, endorsements, twitter followers, or accessories. It’s about elevating art education, connecting what we do in the studio to real life applications. We are the makers of change and we need each other to keep us on our path. I’ve never been big on cliques and I want everyone to know they have valued. As I observed the group of us, I noticed people watching. I wanted them to feel welcomed.

photo (30)

It’s a part of who I am…I cannot turn it off. I look, I see, I observe. I pull from my observations as much as I do my conversations. Samantha Melvin and I had the best conversation at the airport for the trip home. We both were exhausted and our minds wandered to our classrooms and our students. I know she is a fighter for her students and a advocate for art education so I loved our visit. We discussed real issues we face with our programs, community, but also our successes and opportunities. I have a feeling if we worked in the same place we could do some real damage. It’s always about the students. How we do our jobs may vary, how our studios look, our budgets, and our programming may all vary but placing children in the center should never change.

Heading to San Diego for NAEA

26 03 2014

artsed MonaI am excited to attend another National Art Convention but this time as a presenter.  I have to admit I am not as relaxed as I was last year but a little stress keeps me on my toes.  I have been gathering photos and content for years and I thought no problem I can pull this together easy.  Not so.  I have almost 25 years of teaching art and not all of the years are documented with the digital era so I am relying on my last 10 years of documents to help me through.  My sessions speak to the heart of who I am so I am comfortable talking about it.   I am wading through years of photographs of lessons, club activities, and past students.  I am very lucky to have had a stable and positive career.  I had the same troubles as most art teachers do: teenagers who don’t behave, low art budgets, administration who just don’t get it, etc.  But I must say the majority of my career, I have always been able to overcome and steer the ship forward.

I love working with young people and making a positive impact on their immediate day and their futures.  As I read some posts on Facebook and other blogs, I read the tension so many teachers are feeling due to budgets, political pressures, common core, contracts, etc.  I am not immune to this either but I do focus on the students in my studio space.  I can control the environment.  My students deserve the best of me, even when I am not feeling the best.  I often say to myself “fake it, until I make it.”  This year has been incredibly busy.  I have students spread all over the place, participating in art contests, charity events, local showcases, art club activities, and of course all of my art courses.  I have spent almost every Saturday with a different group of students.  I don’t regret it, actually I enjoy it.  Having my students ask me to meet them at a little hole in the wall to have breakfast was so precious.  We gathered around a small table and we just enjoyed talking to each other.  It was great.  I was a running a little late (10 minutes), I thought they would be too, but I was wrong.  They sat waiting wondering what was keeping me.  I was just sleeping in a little too long.  Ha!  High school students waiting on me for breakfast still makes me smile a bit.

I invest a lot of time with my students and I believe that is the key.  They crave attention, appreciation, a place to belong.  I provide a time, place, and activity with others who enjoy the same thing.  We meet “fancy” people and the students get respect.  I wish more adults would create safe opportunities for teenagers to learn how to behave, grow, appreciate, and gain self-esteem.  It is very important, more important than a letter grade or a standardized test.  The experiences build young people to want to be someone and they realize they can do it.  When students realize all the possibilities, they align themselves to be successful in other areas in their life.

As educators we need to fuel what makes us feel balanced, happy, and inspired.  This trip to San Diego will place me among all the people who get what it’s like to be a dedicated art teacher and artist.  In my world they cannot be separated.  It is the Disneyland for art educators.  I hope I get the chance to meet many of you there.  If you cannot attend make sure you follow along online either on Facebook groups, Twitter, or ArtEd 2.0.arted2 dali


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