Sunday, December 2, 2012

Window Art to Celebrate Christmas - Bon Appetit!





  A nine-thirty a.m. start time is unforgiving, especially on a Saturday.  Sleepy-eyed, about 14 senior high art club students showed up to paint the windows for Christmas.  After some emergency doses of Nutella on graham crackers, most were awake and ready to go to work.  About two hours later, energy spent, we fortified ourselves with a pizza party.  All that painting creates a powerful appetite.    

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Thane or Bust

Last spring, one of my senior  students wanted to sculpt a clay bust as an art enrichment activity. At first, she considered the idea of trying to make it look like someone in particular.  I assured her that based on my experience,  I was just relieved when my bust ended up looking humanoid, let alone like anyone I knew.  Truly, focusing on mastering clay construction techniques and structurally valid features gives one plenty to chew on in a first pass.  

 Things can really go south when building a bust, from collapsing heads and structural cracks to total annihilation in the kiln. A dear friend of mine experienced a sad result when her bust completely shed it's  face overnight.  Like icebergs calving baby icebergs, the face simply slid off  in it's entirety and, with some creative salvaging, became a mask.  Undaunted, my student maximized her chance of success by paying close attention to honing construction skills and techniques.  As a result, it took a little over three months for "Thane's" completion, but he came out of the kiln in one piece with only one small crack. We think he may be part Elf, but definitely humanoid!

Loaded in kiln and ready to fire

Meet "Thane" by Anna7742

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Outer Limits of Imagination - Advanced Art





From Walt Disney to Aesop's fables, either through the written page or on the silver screen, artists have long explored the idea of animating the inanimate by  gracing things with human characteristics for their own purposes.  For the past few weeks my students have used the stuff of everyday life to spur their imaginations' "outer limits."  Alarm clocks, wire whisks, plumbing fixtures, jewelry, and even nuts and bolts came to life in their anthropomorphic still life drawings.

We used a limited  colored pencil palette against a support of black charcoal paper.  Interpreting items predominately metallic in nature gave drama to the stuff one finds at the bottom of a drawer, or a shelf in the basement.   

Sunday, August 26, 2012

"Toobers & Zots" and the Art of Play

Preschool toys in the hands of high school students? - Yep!  We got in touch with our inner child this week playing  Toobers and Zots.  They seem to intrinsically inspire sculptural designs with a slightly surrealistic twist.  Relatively simple shapes to draw, my students learned how to make quick drawings and thumbnail sketches using different configurations.  Picasso once said, "Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."   I think I need to raid my children's old toybox more often.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Fashionistas, Advanced Art and the Remnants of Spring 2012

 Before the great memories of last year get folded neatly away,  I wanted to share these last bits of spring semester  2012.

Advanced Art and Project Runway 


Taking my cue from the hit television series of the same name, and inspired by its co-host, Tim Gunn, the kids brought their creative juices to full throttle  by creating head coverings incorporating recycled materials.  Paper Mache being the method of basic construction, students developed themed hats that ranged from stunning fashion statements to well, ...not so stunning fashion statements.  Bonus points were awarded for coordinating outfits at our critique.  

Since the  proverbial picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll let you be the final judge of students’ “make it work” creations. 



Bonus Points for coordinating outfits with hats!


Entitled "The Helmet of Salvation"

Art Club features Mural Unveiling May 2012

Art Club dedicated our rendition of Paul Klee's "Landscape with Yellow Birds" to the applause of a hallway full of well wishers in May.

Art Club 2011 - 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Duct Tape Battle

Winning,... for the time being
After weeks of adhesive submission, I’m beginning to believe that our mural cover has taken to tearing itself from wall when no one is looking.  What lies beneath will hardly be a surprise given the number of times it’s fallen down.  Considering the cover’s propensity to absent itself from the mission, “The Reveal” on May 3rd could end up being rather anti- climactic.  To avoid that end, more aggressive measures have been instituted.     Art club students have instructions to firmly slap errant duct tape back against the wall when it threatens to unstick, adding reinforcements when necessary.  So, if you’re walking down the hallway and notice a kid whacking the mural cover, please realize that he’s doing me a favor. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Artsense Miniterm: And the Winner is....

The overarching  summary of Artsense Miniterm in D.C.boils down to this:  We came, we saw, we photographed.  "Arigato," (thank you), Japan, for the gift of seedlings that grew into a visual haiku of stunning proportions.   Not only does one drink in exploding tress mantled in delicate shades of pink and white, but one inhales cherry blossoms and exhales spring.  I would have been content to just photograph trees. 

Cherry Trees Everywhere by W.Brott
Culminating in a photo contest, Artsense students submitted their best photo of D.C.  The award winning photograph goes to C.J. for her evocative photo of the Washington Monument at sunset.  Honorable Mention goes to Josh for his Cherry Blossom portrait.  Thanks for all your photos!

By CJ872 - First Place Winner

Josh4996 - Honorable Mention

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mural Chapter Four: Your bird is upside down!

   Klee's original work, "Landscape with Yellow Birds," painted in water color, is a bit tricky to interpret in acrylic on a cement block wall.  We pulled out the fan brush in which to drag our colors and blend.
   I rather enjoy the fact that Klee placed one of his birds upside down  - it disorients what we assume about the scene, and it engages one in a sense of play.  In fact, the motif prompts a number of  high school passersby to bring this observation to my attention.  It will probably take a young student to stop and wonder "Why?"

Mural Chapter Four

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mural Chapter Two and Three

Let it never be said that we take ourselves too seriously.  From expanding the definition of what constitutes a painting surface, to hamming for a camera, we still manage to get the job done. 

End of week two

End of week three

Sometimes they can't resist...
I wonder how that happened?

Satisfaction at the end of a shift

Applying cover until next session

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Essential Question

Portrait of Mrs. Calco
Along with my school family, I mourn the death last week of our principal, Kym Calco, after a courageous battle with leukemia.   She was a woman who lived with passion and joy.   Mrs. Calco was a thorough professional, yet knew how to embrace adventure.  It was only last year when, along with several teachers, we accompanied her to Columbus for an ACSI convention.  We must have circled our destination several times, laughing as our GPS had a total meltdown navigating so many detours that it could only repeat “recalculate” in an unending loop.  By the time we shut it off and found the destination on our own, we were late.  Like a seasoned NASCAR driver swinging into the pit, Mrs. Calco maneuvered into our parking spot with what can only be described as efficient precision.  Still bubbling with laughter, she threw off her headscarf and pulled on her wig with practiced ease. We all spilled out of the car at a run, struggling to slip into a more fitting demeanor.  With just minutes to spare, she walked to the front of the sanctuary, composed and dignified to receive a certificate on behalf of LCCS.   She moved seamlessly between different situations,  engaging those around her to be a part of the journey.
As a teacher, she challenged me to dig deeper and reach higher.  I wish I could say I always did so joyfully, but that wouldn’t be honest.    She taught me about how to use “EQs,”or to the uninitiated, “Essential questions.”  They're the questions that can’t be answered with “yes,” “no,” or rote answers.  They’re the ones that distill a lesson down to the one or two meaty things on which I wish my students to chew.    
Standing in a school worship service the day after she died, my heart was lifted to hear our young men and women praying aloud for the Calco family, our school, and thanking God for the impact she had on their young lives.  I want to pause and reflect on that today.   If I were to write the essential question for the lesson she taught me through her luminous example, it would be this:   How can I live to make a difference for Jesus in the lives of others?    

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Wall Begins: Mural 2011-2012

Step one:  Grid till the cows come home.

Step two: Draw till you're done

Checklist for mural preparation outside of Mr. Lambright's room:
1.  Coordinate mural sign-up requests and distribute.
2.  Remove sports poster "Go Tigers"  - a risky move for an art teacher whose interim principal is a jock.      
3.  Tape off painting perimeter and apply black primer.
4.  Use mathematical formula for enlarging picture.
             (If you thought art teachers didn't do math, you now stand corrected.)
5.  Borrow a big level and  plumb line - grid the wall.

Things I learned preparing the wall:
1.  Mr. Lambright's favorite color is black.  Maybe it's a physics thing.
2.  Did you know that if you stick ear buds up your nose, that music plays out your ears and mouth?    
     (This is the kind of stuff you learn after school.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Handimals after Guido Daniele

Meet Mr. Llama

Food Chain Pose

Eagle by Nate1253

Flamingo by Elizabeth6201

Swan after Daniele interpreted by Hailee369

Elephant after Daniele interpreted by Kara1055

Alligator by Laura2621

Snail by Hannah10535

Usually, when students paint on their hands, they get to listen to my standard lecture  for goofing around.  However, last week, I actually encouraged using paint unconventionally.  Instead of goofing around though, students were introduced to Italian artist, Guido Daniele.  Among other things, Daniele uses hands as canvases to transform them into paintings so realistic looking, that one has to look twice to be sure one is looking at a hand.  Thanks to art educator, Ian Sands of Apex High who pointed me in the direction of Daniele, we had an amazing time transforming our hands into creatures like his, or inspired by his work.  To see the real deal, though, you owe it to yourself to look up Guido Daniele's "handimals." 

Friday, January 6, 2012

All wrapped up!

Andrew10214, 11th Grade

Brittany5262, 10th Grade

Michaela1229, 11th Grade

Christmas break was a blink, and now we're back  for spring semester.  New rosters, new lesson plans, new supplies.  Before I totally lose sight of last semester, though, I wanted to share our last Advanced Art project of the grading period entitled, "All wrapped up."  Some of the best ideas for my lessons come from visiting student art shows.  I saw this one down at Cedarville College during an ACSI Art Festival, and it inspired my imagination.  For these students, it constituted their first water color self-portrait.