Showcase Time….of course after ICE2015

27 02 2015

Lizzy design

I love teaching painting, specially to young eager artists who want to know what can paint do.  I love mixing of colors, exploring color theory, pushing the value scales, and creating textures.

One of my favorite paint to teach the basics is tempera paint.  It dries quickly, has a matt finish, can be handled like watercolor and gouche.  Tempera can be transparent and opaque.  Brushstrokes are an asset to this paint if you can control how you apply the strokes.  All of this gets me excited to teach my students all the possibilites to manipulate the paint.  Many of the techniques I share with my students can be carried over to watercolor paintings, acrylics paints, and watersoluable oil paints, so I do get a bang out of the lesson.

We start with a 3″x3″ square but any size will work for the lesson.  The students are asked to add lines of varying styles onto the square.  Line qualities like straight, wavy, curvy, etc.  Once the student has a minimum of three different lines with a max of five lines on the square the student then takes sketch paper to develop the design further.  Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 8.12.16 PM

We took our 3″x3″ and multiplied it to create a 6″x6″ square.  The square is labled on one side with a A in a corner to help with the rotation of the square to create a module.  The lines from the squares connect to create a continuation of the line to form shapes.  You can flip the square in different configurations to get different results. Take the square and flip it over on a light table or window and trace the lines.  Place a B on the opposite corner from the placement of the A on the front of the card.  Now you can begin to transfer the image to a sketch and work out all the possibilites.



I required my students to do several variations until they were happy.  My students knew going into the lesson, that we were focusing on three color harmonies, so to plan on having spaces to add three color harmonies with tints and shades.

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Students selected from Triadic, Split Complementary, and Analogous color schemes.  We created small value scales to try the paint colors out first.  I encouraged students to use water to thin out the tempera paint for transparency and less water for opaque paint.  I also requested they play with the brushstrokes to let the strokes become apart of the whole design almost like a fine silk tapestry of soft velvet with subtle variances.


I am super pleased with the designs and handling of tempera paint.  Check out some of our designs.

Artsonia Link for more completed pieces-


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Next time I will share our new watercolor animals were we applied some of what we learned with this lesson to create great animal portraits.




Ice Day Two- got some time to blog

17 02 2015

Leading Lines- Zhang- Student Photo

This will be a first, two days in a row blogging.  I am watching the ice melt and my doxie chase the squirrel out of our bird feeder. I am also thinking about art lessons and how to wrap up a few loose ends.

Recently a PLN member created a list to highlight art teachers who are sharing lessons, advice, and general assistance to our greater population of art teachers.  It was a list of art teachers I have become familiar with in person and online.  I have always viewed them as involved and passionate teachers who care about the field of art education.  I am honored to be selected to be on the list too.

-Chris Parker @Kreyus

I was also surprised because I live in Little Rock, Arkansas and work at a small independent school.  I have been at this school since 2007, I have written the curriculum and basically do my own thing.  I am lucky to be able to implement what I feel my students need to be interested and educated.  Since I am the only 9-12-art teacher, I have to rely on research and tapping into other art teachers/artists to be inspired.  I tell you it isn’t easy to not be a part of a core of art teachers.  I know at times some of you who have other art teachers will butt heads but at least you have someone who gets it.

ART Feb 9 381 JMoore

Leading Lines -Moore- Student Photo

I am encouraged that all the work I do to post my work on Artsonia, Twitter, Art 2.0, and Art Teacher themed Facebook pages are connecting with other art teachers.  I originally started this blog at a Professional Development session at SCAD for art teachers.  I didn’t think I would use it very much but it was a good outlet to post some of my ideas and thoughts.  It was never to be used as a classroom blog but for other art teachers.  Thanks to a friend at the NAEA convention I was encouraged to start a Twitter link.  (@Magrace426 ) I am so thankful for getting that push.  Twitter has been a great way to connect and gain a PLN suited for my interests.  My PLN reaches all over the country with art teachers from all grade levels, public and private schools, and have many different teaching styles, but I learn so much from all of them. It has been great to get that invite to participate in Twitter chats because people want to hear about what I am doing with my students.

So if you are still on the fence about getting on Twitter consider this your tap.  Join us on #artsed and #TABchat join us even if you are not interested in TAB.  You can just follow along and you might just get inspired.  I do know many of my PLN people are great at blogging and sending out information from the Art Conventions.  So if you cannot attend NOLA NAEA 2015 get a Twitter so you can see and read what is happening.

I feel so much more a part of an art teacher organization all year long by participating in daily FB and Twitter connections.  The National Art Convention is great but it only happens once a year.  I feel connected everyday and there are days I need another art teacher to lend me a hand up, pat on the back, or a good laugh.

I cannot thank you all enough for helping me feel connected, appreciated, and supported.  It’s a compliment to know the work I do with my students in my studio is cutting the grade.


Leading Lines-Zhang- Student Photo

Spending Valentine’s Day with my Designers

17 02 2015

Curbside Workshop 20158Most art teachers would not enjoy spending Valentine’s Day with a studio full of student designers but I am not like most art teachers. We have a recycle runway show in April to get prepared for, so we need to put in some time into our designs and push out inventive designs.  My studio burst into a workshop for young designers with sketches and materials in hand.  Our newly donated manikins got a workout and so did I. Curbside Workshop 20157

Some of our recycled and repurposed materials include shower curtains, candy wrappers, tent awning fabric, old t-shirts, and scrap fabric.  We started with a base fabric we either purchased at Goodwill or one of the t-shirts we had in our stash of materials.

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I introduced wool felting for embellshing parts of our designs and it was a IMG_2544 2popular technique.

I maintain a Pinterest inspiration board and my students often have their own. The sketches help guide the designers plan but we also make changes as ideas emerge.

I think we are off to a great start with several original and beautiful designs.

Our school has the Fine Arts Showcase is next week so our studio time is at a premimum to get everything finished.  Hoping these ice days don’t chewed up of my precious studio time.

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Experimenting and challenging our limits

5 02 2015

When a new semester begins I know what courses I am Angtuaco Horizon10 (1)teaching and how many students are enrolled in my class but I don’t know details.  Details like how will my students respond to what focus, how skilled they are in particular areas, and what will be the motivation for them to exceed the expectations.  Each class is unique.  I may be teaching a Drawing class and it will have a similar demographic compared to the first semester Drawing class and I will teach the same lesson criteria and skills but the class will function and behave differently.  I always remix or update my projects based on the assessements of the students  on what they exhibit during skill building warm ups.  I also check in with my students on their interests and what do they want to learn more about.

IMG_2089I have been energized and impressed with my students this semester in all of my new semester courses.  My Media Art class has been doing an outstanding job.  They are beginning to learn about Photoshop and all the different ways images can be manipulated.  I assign lessons to teach good rules for taking well composed photographs and also how to get to know their own digital cameras.  After teaching this class for awhile I know I get excited and move along quickly so I strive to slow down and shepard the group together. This group of students are so interested and have no fear when approaching editing images.  What a breath of fresh air.  We will be producing a great body of work in no time.  Now, my only fear is will I be able to keep up with all of them.  

My Sculpture class is full of energy and all have Riley B boxdifferent skill sets and interests.  We are beginning to wrap up our first project using recycled and upcycled materials into box sculptures that are inspired by Joseph Cornell boxes.  We are using Global Issues as our focus for a theme for the sculptures.  I am pleased with the projects and I am discovering who needs more direction and who does best to explore on their own.

Emily F cornell box

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Our next lesson is new for me and I am looking forward to to seeing the outcome.  I was inspired by what materials I had available, which was a bunch of plaster.  Then I came across an artist who I was really drawn to and I knew this group of students could handle this project.


The lesson is repurposing a garment or object that students identify with a story.  I am calling it, Story Garment and I am leaving enough room for students to be creative and find other items to interpret with this focus.

MIMG_2472y Painting class is working hard on designing original pieces with a limited three color harmony.  They are learning how tempera paint can be thinned with water to create brush strokes and transparency.  The lesson also has the student practicing color mixing with tints and shades too.  The designs are beautiful and with close attention to craftsmanship the works will be beautiful paintings that anyone would want to reproduce as wall paper, tiles, and fabric.


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My Drawing class started with a lesson utlizing collage and learning more about Romare Bearden and his wonderful works of art created with collage about family traditions and celebrations.  Each student has selected a theme based on a family tradition or memory of a celebration.  Students are learning how to mix in collage materials with hand drawn objects.  Since we are venturing into a TAB classroom materials are free to choose from to execute the art piece and the two different Drawing level students have a different target to demonstrate for completion.  The works are coming along and are impressive in detail, texture, color, and variety of themes.

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Award season is right around the corner so it will be getting super busy.  Curbside Couture workshops will start firing up to gear up for the new runway show so I will have plenty to chat about here soon.  Until then keep inspiring other art educators and inspiring the future designers of the world.

I am a work in progress and feeling like a tender to the heART of an artist.

16 01 2015

I’ve been feeling like I am a heART practitioner for the past several months. I say that because I feel I am in a phase where I am maintaining my young artists HeARTs…NO that is NOT it, maintaining is too weak, I’ve been fighting for my HeARTS to keep it vibrant, healthy, creating greater accessibility, and implementing a stronger connection to self expression.

Works in progressWorks in progress10000

I finally had my art courses reflect what I actually do and it will make TAB a realization. I have been transitioning to TAB for a while now. I have always been a modified TAB teacher, before I knew it had a label. I have always thought of myself as student centered teacher. I meet my students where they start and strive to push them to new levels.

Yes- there is some fundamental differences in DBAE and TAB. I was trained in DBAE and I feel many aspects of this method are still valuable in the exchange of learning about artists and art history but how students implement ideas, concepts, and materials is different. The past several months have been challenging but I have always faced challenges head on. I am sure many of you who are art educators know as art educators we are always on the battlefield striving to improve our programs, find ways to fund our curriculum, and to justify why art counts. So after 25 years of teaching art in a variety of settings, I feel my challenge was worth the fight. All I wanted was to have my art courses, which are all elective courses, be arranged so all students in a specific course, all had the same class period. Let me explain… I wanted my Drawing class to consist of all levels of students in the same period. I wanted to do away with Drawing and Drawing II and having limitations on my serious art students from being able to enroll in advanced levels in a course. You see I am the only high school art teacher and I have a limit to how many classes I can teach in a day- surprise! This left no opportunity to offer a secondary level in most of my courses. So I would get my Printmaking students all excited about creating prints and then the semester ended, sorry, no more classes to support any more Printmaking! I had students requesting a secondary level of several of my courses and I could not do it. It was apparent to me that I needed to explore a creative way to support what my students wanted and needed. Since I was already working in a TAB format with my classes with differentiated processes, media, and advanced students pocketed in my “first level” course, why not just do that and make it formal? Publish what I am already doing and open up the opportunity for my artists to pursue a secondary level in a discipline with curriculum that I have prepared. Now- all of my Drawing students will be in the same period and I will scaffold the beginning level artists with lessons, techniques, and support along side advanced drawing students who will get advanced lessons on techniques, materials, etc. The idea and concepts will be a similar theme but the materials, size, and interpretations of the themes will vary. Targets and criteria for assessments will be published for students to achieve. All students will participate in working and final critiques so we have a variety of sources in the studio to propel student artists to achieve to a higher degree of understanding and completion. Yes!!! A real working artist studio where an entry-level artist will sit next to an advanced artist and both will benefit. The students will make daily observations of how each other sets up their working space, how they begin to work out a composition, how they may use a particular media in a unique way. All the subtleties we often forget or overlook due to our focus on a bigger idea. Students can learn from other students and be inspired by other artists in the studio. My students will be able to advance in a discipline of their choice. Of course all electives and graduation requirements will still apply and cause my students to be unable to track so perfectly, but now they can enroll in a visual arts course without the stress of having already exhausted the course and have no other opportunity to have a visual arts course. I feel very blessed to have a strong art program with students who want to take art to advanced their ideas and improve their artistic skills. NO- I am not an art school and I do have students who just love art or just love what an art class offers in kinetic movement and the opportunity to work in a visual studio to express them self in a different way. Art is for everyone and everyone needs a creative outlet.

So the rest of this school year, I feel my studio is my own little lab setting and a place for me to try out best practice on a multi-level TAB format. I have my Drawing students all in the same course at the same time. It is working out great and everyone is working together. The work is in the very early stages but I am pleased with the communication and thought process that is playing out in the student’s compositions.

Ivy working

It is great to be able to find new discoveries and challenges for me, the educator, after all these years; I am still a work in progress too. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

We are starting this semester right!

9 01 2015

I have been on a journey to transition to a choice based studio and adopting TAB.  I have been doing my research and setting up curriculum for how I can successfully transition.  I am a student centered art educator so this isn’t a difficult change, but to fully make the change, it requires a global change in the scheduling process.  This required that I educate others on the philosophy of TAB and choice based studio learning and how can it be done in our school environment.  Well, I pursued and presented, discussed and wrote down the idea for me to chart out a plan.  I have been plugging along this school year and over the Christmas break to prepare for the possibility of the change.  I returned to school to begin the new semester with the traditional track for my courses…well I was surprised to learn that a scheduling issue resulted in the outcome in one of my courses exactly the way I have been trying to achieve through my careful planning and presenting.

My journey begins NOW!  It is my Drawing course and it consists of students of all grades and from two levels of Drawing experiences.  Most are Drawing I students with a prerequisite of Foundations of Art and a smaller group of students with Drawing I behind them and entering this semester as a Drawing II student.  I originally had two different drawing assignments planned because I thought I was teaching two separate classes, but now they are in one class at the same time.

I am not concerned…it is my objective to create a lesson to use as a warm up and review, with built in assessments to check on students understanding and skill sets.  So I selected the lesson, I felt would be the best project to engage and support the students enrolled this semester.  I created and published two different target expectations for each level.  I am supporting each level with smaller demos and technique skill building lessons within the progress of the project.  Right, now we are in the early stages of concept building and exploration of materials so our whole group discussions are helpful.  I let the students sit where the students feel they have the best space to work and with whom they can accomplish the best work.  The discussions at the student’s tables are helpful and encouraging without a hierarchy between the two levels.

At times, my more advanced students are leading during discussions and the less experienced students are working through ideas encouraged by the experienced artists ideas.  Then at times my Drawing I students spur on others with inventive ways at approaching an idea with they’re outside the box ideas.  It is a great dynamic and I am predicting that all the students’ works will exceed my expectations and some of my student’s skills will accelerate faster than planned.  “Win Win for all.”

I am trying to maintain documenting the progress and take note of the subtle changes I am doing to challenge and support my students.  This is the ultimate differentiated learning experience and placing the learning on the students.  I’m finding I’m spending more time pushing students to articulate why and what do they want to achieve, than telling them what needs to happen.  Our working critiques seem to have more students engaged and the discussions seem to stir more artistic decision-making.

This is all going on while I am still pursuing all other ways to advance the learning process for all of my courses.  Luckily for us, we do have a new place in town with an exciting Maker Space.  I am approaching the director about how this place can be a used for our visual art courses.  This will be another great opportunity for my students to get their hands on designing ideas with new technology that I will never be able to afford in my school studio.

As usual we are gearing up for Curbside Couture, State Art Shows, and many more opportunities to share our talents with others. I am working hard to stay relevant and document the progress to share will all of you.  I am finding myself forgetting to take photos because the studio time is so much fun and I am often caught up in the progress.  I never feel my photographs really tell the whole story anyways, but I know we are visual learners so having photos to share is helpful, so I am making an effort to get this done.  I hope my next posting will be able to share the results of the lesson theme created for each course.  Sorry, I do not have photos to share on this course as of the publishing of this post.

I hope you all are having a great start after a restful Christmas break.

Ending the Semester

29 11 2014

We only have a few more weeks left to this semester and we are sitting with a deadline issue.  Most of my students are completing projects and will end at varying points.  My courses are only one semester so the work has to finish at the end and not carry over into another semester.  I have opened up my courses to full choice and modified choice projects so the work will always end at different points.  I’m sure this is a common issue for all studio classes but especially around full choice projects.  



There is a lot of art teachers that are dipping their toes into the full choice or modified choice so the more we publish how we are transitioning the more we will all learn from our studio practice. This break has been a great time to reflect and plan on how I can wrap it up for the semester.  I’m working up a concept that will be able to be reflect each students skills and voice.  The piece can be completed in a week or less.  I hoping it will become a conversation piece for all students at the school to participate in when viewing the work.  It’s a bit to bite off…but my students are pretty remarkable and they never disappoint.  

As always I fill you in while we work it all out.


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