Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Today I sympathize and empathize with those teachers who are in schools with out air conditioning on days like this.  I was one of you up until last year. At that time, my air unit was final fixed and my room no longer was sweltering in August and September. And I was no longer the teacher with her hair matted to her forehead, clothes drenched as if I had been out running a continuous marathon all day.

 Today one of the five schools in our district was let out early. That poor school is like an oven. I feel horrible for those teachers. I know what they were going through.   The high school kids however stayed in as we have 3/5 of our classrooms with air of some type.  Although, I must admit when I entered our main building this morning at 7:45 the hallway heat about took my breath away.  It's really hard to go in and out of the air conditioning all day long.  You would almost rather just stick with one or the other and deal with it.  So needless to say, by afternoon my kids were slightly cranky.  So today as I ran out for lunch, I decided that it was a Popsicle kinda day.  It's amazing that something so simple makes such great changes and makes cranky kids happy again.  And happy is a good thing....especially in the art room.

No.2 Pencils

The first drawing assignment for our painting and drawing classes always works with the basics as a refresher.  We start with contour line drawing and then simple shading.  I have found a project that the kids loved!  Ken Vieth has a book entitled From Ordinary to Extraordinary In it there is an assignment called "No.2 pencils" It simply teaches the kids to look at everyday objects that go unnoticed such as the basic pencil and use them as a creative form.  The project itself took around a week of 50 minute classes to complete, of course we all know with art students that time varies with per student.  The most important two things to remind them while working on this assignment were to draw the pencils with the form of the subject matter rather than in straight lines, and when it comes to shading to consider the cylinder surface of the pencil Here are some of their results.  We have a lot of students with a variety of artistic style and skill level and I was pretty pleased over all at the efforts.



Friday, September 6, 2013

The Renaissance

 I have often struggled with teaching art history and making it entertaining and educational for my students. Let's be brutally honest,  I hated art history in high school.  Anytime my teacher would start talking years and artists, I totally zoned out.  It wasn't until college that I began to understand and appreciate it.  And actually enjoyed my classes.  I loved learning all the little secret parts and pieces in drawings and painting or the stories behind them.  I realized that the most important part about artist history was not memorizing it, but finding things that made you remember it.  So as a high school teacher I feel like its my job to figure out a way to teach art history and make it memorable for my students.

Today we began a new era of art in our Art History class.  The Renaissance. My art history course is more of a basic first year art class where we combine the study art and artists with project based applications.  I don't follow an art history timeline when teaching this class.  Instead I work with eras that I think the students will enjoy.  I have found that they are a lot like I was in high school, if i bombard them with dates, times, places, etc they zone me out.  What they will listen to and remember is that Poor Ginevra was 16 and married a middle aged man, but yet another man had her portrait commissioned.  Or that Leonardo was only 6 years older than what they are now when he painted her portrait.  I want them to learn about these artists and the paintings, rather than memorize for a short period of time.  We are focusing on Michelangelo and Da Vinci for this unit.  Today is one of our Fun Friday days in which we are watching a DVD about the painting Ginevra de Benci and the history and mystery behind it.  Put out by the National Gallery the students actually paid attention to it because of its mystery.  Kinda Fun.

On Monday, we will be beginning facial proportions and beginning to look at and draw out portrait contour line.  Wish us luck and I will keep you posted!