Creating works of art from all kinds of materials and inspirations

29 10 2014


Getting our copper tooling on in the studio.  It was something my students had no idea how to do and few had ever seen it before.  We just completed a scratchboard lesson that ties into a repousse design.  Both require a design concept and a closer analysis of line.  Value is in reverse with a scratchboard and repousse is the actual use of depth to create values.  My students in both lessons struggled with the idea of how is this drawing?



I get that they don’t see how this is drawing.  

The tools and surfaces are very different.  Don’t worry I will be doing some traditional drawing; in fact we will be doing self-portraits.  I am challenging my students to do a 3/4th view of them for the drawing and merging three layers in different phases of line development.  One will be developed in color in a small or larger area to the degree the students want to go.  It will be demonstrating line, modified contour line, and line with value.  I have a talented bunch of students who are often reluctant or do not have the confidence to push their skills so this will take them to the next level.

Anna T.ToolingMargo toolingAllie cooper toolingKahry copper tooling


My other class is working with a traditional art technique of batik.  I did a batik many years ago so it is exciting to see my students learning and exploring an art form I really like.  We had guests visit our school last year and they loved seeing me teaching about the Bali Street puppets and they asked if I taught batik.  I told them I did not have the tools but it was something I would love to teach again.  Little did I know they would be mailing me all the tools and materials I needed to teach the lesson.  I felt blessed to have an art guardian passing along a wonderful package to share with my students.  My students are loving the process and are doing a wonderful job.

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My Printmaking class completed a series of collagraph prints and is now exploring the plexi glass etching and how the depth of the etched lines and the closeness of the lines will influence the darkness of the image.  We are working with sharp scratched points and varied kinds of sandpaper to create our values.  

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The common strand it seems between all the different class lessons is line and how line and what you do with the chosen surface and type of surface creates the image.  It is great to watch the students share and tell eachother about what they are doing and how the process works.  I get great joy from seeing my students teach and share what they are doing in the studio.

First Quarter is Closing

14 10 2014

Julianna Golden Ratio

I really don’t mind when a grading period comes to a close.  It let’s my students and me look back and reflect on what have we accomplished and what can we build on for improvement.  Grading…. Yes it is not a favorite of mine but a necessary existence for all educators.  I follow and comment on several Facebook pages and Twitter Feeds about art education.  I read my favorite blogs about the adventures my fellow art teachers are doing in all kinds of schools at all levels.  I find this helpful to keep my situation in perspective.  I learn some new concepts and get inspired all the time.  I am as much an artist and an art educator.  I am also evolving into a community builder of sorts too.  

Topics of note for me is the whole business of TAB VS Traditional classrooms.  I have discovered that I am a modified TAB educator with a unique story about what I do, how I do it, and whom I teach.  My situation is not similar to many of the educators that I follow so I do take parts and pieces of what will work in my environment and try to adapt it to my studio.  

My first experiment is with my Painting II class.  I am opening up full choice for the next assignment but of course it needs to be a painting.  What surface, motif, style, and type of paint are up to the individual artist?  I have a handout for the art student to document their ideas and I also ask that they research for some inspirational pieces so I can have a greater grasp of what they are striving to accomplish.  I have different responses from each student.  One student had an idea before I had time to complete my explanation, while a couple of other students struggled for direction.  I even had one student ask me to assign him a project.  My next effort to open up full choice is with my Printmaking class.  I spent the first quarter having them learn and create works of art based on specific prints, inks, styles, and themes.  Now, after we complete our etching print, I will have students complete a print series on one or more of the printmaking processes of the artist’s choice.  I can offer themes but I am leaving most of the decisions up to the students.  So since I am in the early stages of this process, I can only share that I am out of my comfort zone.  I find myself needing to give more direction and keep the students on forward momentum.  I do feel too much time is spent with students in free fall or thought. I view it as inefficient use of studio time and I want to see more progress.

I am going to give it a whirl but I already know I have some “twitching” that causes me stress.  I am always trying to do a better job and to support my students where they are and to move them to new levels.  I have been successful most of the time so I am keeping an open mind about my efforts with TAB.

Next month, I am presenting at our State Art Educators Conference.  I have presented at the National Art Convention so I am not too worried about it but I am still creating my presentation.   My presentation idea was created based on some of the information I read on the art teachers groups and blogs.  I am presenting on successful beginning of the year or semester assessment lessons, icebreakers to reinforce class rules, and ways to improve class communications.  I am sifting through my best warm-ups and modifying them for the presentation.  I need to create a creative and helpful handout to pass out, plus prep materials to successfully present.  Fingers crossed.


Positive Art News this quarter- my art students sold Homes for Haiti at a street festival and raised over $700.00 for Haiti.  We got another venue to sell during the Christmas season and the Public Library will be adopting Homes for Haiti for all the teen and tween groups.  The more people involved means more impact for Haiti.  Win, Win!  We also have three outdoor downtown murals waiting for approval and gearing up for our recycle fashion show- Curbside Couture.  I tell you it is never a dull moment.  I am feeling much better and looking forward to the last half of this semester.


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Getting drawing started in the studio

14 09 2014
ally ink drawing

Start of the line drawing

The lesson started as a warm up to getting my students ready for the start of the school year.  The students in this class may have had middle school art classes or not.  All students had a semester of our required semester of Foundations of Art.  I wanted to assess where this group of students were starting, so I can modify my lessons to accelerate the skills of each student.  I work with a modified TAB classroom setting.  I am focused on being student centered with room to support and engage my students.  It is my goal to help them feel successful and challenged with each lesson.  I have high expectations but I know the building blocks need to be there so my students can achieve.  This lesson started with Line.  Some of my students did not work with ink well and quill so a tutorial was needed along with how to build up values with ink.  I demonstrated and shared with them examples of depth with ink: cross-hatching, hatching, stippling, and scribbling.  I have students use invented application of values as well.  The expectations were to create a panoramic drawing demonstrating foreground, middle, and background.  The theme was to share what they did over the summer.  Where did they go?  Who did they visit?  What did they eat?  What activities did they experience?  If ink spills happened and they do, the students needed to problem solve the ink blobs.  Some students did very rich layered scenes and others had very controlled defined imagery.  I was thrilled that the students felt free to express themselves as individuals and not to conform to the piece next to them.

Studio Kids201408290400040

Creating the viewing window

Anna T line drawing


Next piece of the finished composition involved cutting into a heavy weight black paper page.  The length of the black paper was about three inches longer to allow for the piece to arch in front of the drawing to create a 3-D viewing window.  The theme of the cut outs had to relate to the line drawing theme.  So students had to decide what would be the motif for the viewing spaces and where did the spaces need to be placed to focus on particular areas of the drawing.  This is a challenge for some students because you need to design a shape to remove without having the whole window falling a part.  The art of Notan applies here as well as an understanding of a stencil. Some students wanted to de-emphasize areas of their drawings so they selected not to reveal it through the cut out window area.  This allowed students to decide what the viewer would focus on when viewing the art piece.  We did have to do a few repairs with scrap pieces of black paper but the majority of the students did a great job.  Students layered the black cut out over the drawing and made decisions on how much more did they need to cut out and what would that shape be that would still maintain the integrity of the black window and stick to the over all design theme.


Down at the Shore

Down at the Shore

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View into the window

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College visits and basketball

Kahry line 2


Jack Line warm up

Out West

The final display of the class works engaged the viewers in a new way and the verbal responses encouraged my artists even more.

We are on a roll!

30 08 2014

It has been a warm start to the school year in two ways.  One the temperatures here are very hot and the warmth and kindness I have received this past week has been heart warming.  One week into school and I had a terrible kidney stone attack that resulted in my first ambulance ride to the emergency room.  My students who attended to me were incredible at getting me help quickly.  Only a few short days later, Back to School Night was here and I was embraced in even more warmth for my healthy recovery from the parents of my students.  I have to say it was a nice feeling after a pretty painful experience.


Photo Booth getting finished for Watermelon Festival

This is the first school year that I am teaching advanced level studio art classes and it feels very different from my usual routine of teaching Foundations of Art.  I was able to skip some of the formalities due to the fact that most of my students know me, know the studio, and they were more than ready to create something.  And that is exactly was we did, on the first day.  I wanted to get into the deep end and swim about with only a few guiding ideas.  This serves as a warm-up for my students and an assessment for me.  Most students haven’t drawn or painted all summer so they needed to shake off the rust.  I wanted to see if some new students offered up a few surprises for me and it allowed me to do a general assessment on how the group may function together in the studio.


Chris m line drawing 

I am teaching Drawing I, Painting I and II, Printmaking, and AP Studio Art.  I have created a very flexible studio space with most of my furniture on wheels and smaller tables that I can quickly move about to accommodate the course materials.  I love teaching the basics for the Foundations class but I am learning I also really like having advanced classes too.  

Drawing started with a simple lesson on a long piece of paper and I asked them to draw images related to what they did this summer.  Criteria:  Imagery is based on what you did, ate, saw, and experienced.  Ink drawing using a quill and ink well.  Utilizing a range of values using dots, lines, scribbling, cross-hatching, etc.  I also wanted the students to merge the imagery in a compositional layout that demonstrates the understanding of a foreground, middle, and background.  Once the student accomplished that problem, I wanted them to create a positive/negative space; viewing window for an interactive experience for the display.  The artist had to select a motif that supported the concept that they already created in ink.  All of this allowed me to see how they handle directions and compositional layout.  Plus other terms and techniques I feel students should already have a fairly good grasp of for this class.






Alisha flower pattern


Next on the list is Painting I and II- Both of these classes are of a moderate size so it will allows me to work with individuals as the work evolves and push the artists to express a clearer personal voice in the works of art this semester. Painting I began with a simple concept of a grid layout with a limited color palette of two colors.  We reviewed color schemes, watercolor mixing, and tints and shades.  I wanted the students to demonstrate their comfort level with watercolors and color mixing.  We discussed the qualities of watercolor paper and watercolor pigments.  Next I wanted to assess the student’s ability to draw from direct observation by looking at a silk flower of their choice.  Students then redrew the modified contour line drawing on the grid watercolor painting.  I gave them options of compositional layout with asymmetrical or symmetrical balance.  I feel the results not only helped me review important basics with the students but I was able to gauge where I needed to reteach, introduce, and review.  The final outcome of the lesson turned out a beautiful painting that the artists were very proud to display.

 Alyssa silhouette panel

Painting II began with a panel board and acrylic paint.  I gave the students a selection of colors, tape, brushes, sponges, and other tools to manipulate the paint.  I wanted them to show texture, value, movement, and fill the picture plane.  Next the students looked at all the panels and discussed what they saw and how it was created.  Some students over painted and kept layering while other students saw a motif emerge.  I assigned that they create a silhouette to interplay with the color field.  I did not limit the student to any level of details.  I wanted to see where the artists would go, see their methods of exploration and questioning, and how they resolved the solution.  After the student felt they completed the project we discussed why they made the decisions they made.

This fits perfectly in line with teaching ARTISTIC BEHAVIORS.  It also fits in with my idea of an artist studio.  My method of teaching art is very focused on the students experience and development.  I want them to be excited to try and explore all the possibilities.  I want them to have time for self-discovery and time to discuss their thoughts and ideas too.


Sally stencil chicken in pink



Stencil Monotype

Printmaking is very close to my heart because you can be a great printmaker without being a great drawing student or a great painting student.  It’s an equalizer for all due to the possibilities inherit in the process.  

Mono prints are how I start.  Reductive, Additive, Stencil, Trace, and Chine-colle. This is the order I explore at the beginning to get the students comfortable with all the tools, soaking of the paper, mixing of the inks, application of inks, and how to use the press.  I have been so busy with a studio full of students.  Everyone is beginning to get the hang of things and the room is full of all variations of the above processes to create original works.


Michael resist Scotty resist


AP Studio Art began with reviewing the summer assignments and watching the students present the artist research PowerPoint’s of a selected artist related to their own body of work.  I asked the students to pull out the worst summer drawing and to crop a section to divide the picture plane to see divisions of the space.  We then began the process of a tempera resist.  I like this process to break down the tension of the expectation of the course and to complete a Breadth piece, right away.  Breaking the “ice” and working with loose unpredictable outcomes will open up the students to the possibilities.  As the semester progresses the AP artists will run into artist blocks so this is also a great method to use at anytime to “work” through the artist block.  




Our current “big idea” is the Golden Ratio, Golden Mean, etc.  The scale, media, and motif are in the student’s hands.  I present a PowerPoint and a Pinterest board on the concept but most of my students already know a lot about this concept through their history class or math classes.  We have a few risk takers who are exploring non-traditional materials so I am already impressed and excited with the progress.

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I hope you are having a great start to your school year. I am feeling very blessed to be healthy and happy to be celebrating my 25th year of doing what I love everyday.



Watermelon Festival- Face Painting Booth



Wildcat Photo Booth


Face Painting- Watermelon Festival

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




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