The Teacher As Student

On Monday, I traded in my role as art teacher to become an art student. This week has been spent at LaSalle University learning about the in’s and out’s of grading AP Studio Art portfolios!! I can’t wait to share what I have learned with you. We have talked a lot about creating a Concentration. As any artist can tell you, it is a huge challenge to create a related body of art work. For your Concentration, you will be required to create 12 original works of art that explore a coherent theme. Think about who you are: your heritage, your past experiences, your passions. These can all help to inform your Concentration. If you have begun creating your image pages in your sketchbook, take a quick look at them. How are they similar? This could be a starting point for a Concentration.  I will begin my Concentration at LaSalle tomorrow. I look forward to sharing it with you.

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Getting started with your summer assignments

Here are your summer assignments for 2012. Remember to treat yourself to a brand new sketchbook to be used exclusively for this class. I personally am a big fan of Moleskine sketchbooks like this one. Make sure you get one with blank pages. They are great because they lay flat and don’t take up much room in your bag or backpack.Here is a PDF of the summer assignments that was distributed in June. Click this for summer assignments2012 . The best thing to do is just jump right in and get started! It is important that you develop a sketchbook of drawings, thoughts, ideas and inspirations. The first five pages of your new sketchbook should be your Elements of Art collage swatches. Look through magazines or any other materials to find examples of line, shape, value, texture and color. As you hunt for Elements of Art examples, start collecting images of things you like or find intriguing. The next 10 pages of your sketchbook should be collages of images that inspire you. So all you need is your sketchbook, scissors, glue and some time to get inspired! Have fun.

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Welcome back!

It’s been 8 months since my last post. The filter at the high school really botches the wordpress layout…leaving out all of the photos and images that I upload. That being said, with a new class of AP Studio Art students on the horizon, this blog is reinvigorated to be used as a teaching tool/reference center/communication front. So, welcome back.

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Gearing up for #1

As you work through your idea for a concentration, remember these important things:

  • Composition. How will your subject matter be arranged? Direct the viewer’s eye throughout the composition by using strong diagonals, curves, horizontal, and vertical movements. Remember to include a foreground, middleground, and background. This will give your composition some much needed depth.
  • Emphasis. Where is the most important part of your piece? Make sure it is NOT in the direct middle of your page. Use contrast to show off the area of emphasis. Speaking of contrast…include it.
  • Contrast. Contrast your colors, shapes, textures, values and more!
  • Value. Have strong lights and darks…this will add to your contrast.
  • Texture. Make areas have different texture. This, too, will create contrast. Try different types of mark-making. Don’t just smooth or blend the material.
  • Risk. Take a risk, take a chance, do something unexpected or something you’ve never tried. You just may surprise yourself.

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Homework drawing: Monet and the landscape

French artist Claude Monet painted a series of haystacks at different times of the day and thus with different effects of light (Claude was already busy working on a concentration theme). The Metropolitan Museum of Art has one such painting in their collection. When you are creating a landscape, considering the time of day is essential as is the overall weather conditions. A sunny day will shed different light than an overcast one. Drawing on location at  7 am will result in much different light than at 12 noon or 7 pm. Other thing to consider when creating a landscape:

  • Placement of the horizon line. Typically one third from the top or bottom of your page, check out where Monet places the horizon line in the example above.
  • Emphasis: what is the star of your landscape show? Is it a haystack? a person? a vehicle? a building?…you get the idea.
  • Composition and rule of thirds. In other words, don’t place the most important item in your landscape directly in the center. Monet didn’t and neither should you.
  • Create movement. You need to more the viewer’s eye throughout your landscape. Notice the strong diagonals of the shadows cast by the haystacks. The tops of the haystacks create contrasting diagonals. Monet did that on purpose.
  • Color. Lots and lots of color. Notice the sky in Monet’s landscape isn’t just blue. The ground contains colors other than green. Purple, yellow, and pink are included. What makes this particular group of colors extra special? Remember to CUSTOM MIX your colors. Using colors straight out of the tube or box will result in very predictable colors (yawn). Personalize your color choices by blending and mixing. This is a sure-fire way to make your landscape look unique and true to you and your location.

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Cut Paper is Cool.

Many artists use cut paper as a way to create a unique work of art. In class, we looked at the work of illustrator Steve Jenkins. Steve originally thought he would become a scientist but ended up going to art school to study graphic design. His work is a direct extension of his avid interest in science. Take a look at his website for more details and examples of his work. Click here for the brief video we watched in class. It’s a great example of watching an artist at work in his studio.

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Food for thought err…uh…homework.

Well, since you have to eat food to live we thought it would be a good idea to create a work of art about food. Remember to consider your ENTIRE composition: foreground, middleground, and background. Some artists who have used food as a subject matter worth checking out: Paul Cezanne, Janet Fish, and Wayne Thiebaud. Your in-progress check is due on Friday.

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