Educating Students in the 21st Century
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Skeleton Symbolism
This High School basic drawing lesson had an unexpected twist that allowed students to generate personal meaning by embedding symbolic drawings over top of their skeleton drawing.

Art is important for identity development and this lesson allows students to make different choices to control the overall feel of their final composition. Learning about proportion and drawing the skeleton was the first step. Then we thought about how our skeleton is our fundamental support system and how it allows us to do and be who we want to be. They had to find meaning within our "support" system - some chose nature, sports, and historical themes, to name a few of their connections. Students had to problem solve by creating meaningful dialog between the various themes in the boxes and their skeleton drawing. The last component was to add selective color with pastels to create emphasis on certain areas or an overall sense of unity.

All of the examples shown were 9th grade students.
Topic(s): high school lessons drawing
By Heather on April 8, 2008 at 11:08am EDT Add Comment

Kinetic Sculpture
Kinetic Sculpture is art in motion. High School students learned about Alexander Calder's popular hanging mobiles and also contemporary artist Katy Stone's beautiful sculptures that interact with air and light.

Students' sculptures were created out of lightweight transparent film. The process was similar to that of Katy Stone. Students painted on the surface of transparent film with an acrylics gel medium mixture so the colors would mix and cast interesting shadows as the pieces overlapped. This project was an excellent task in problem solving since these sculptures were created without glue or tape. They were assembled with a tab and slit connection so it could be rearranged if needed.

The kinetic sculptures looked beautiful hanging in front of my windows with the clouds as a backdrop and the light spring breeze moving them gently. Nature was a fundamental element in these sculptures because of their organic quality and also how the environment affects the sculptures in different ways.

I was very excited to find out recently that the sculpture at the top right, "Shower", won a Gold Key at the Scholastic Art Awards. He worked very hard on this sculpture and deserved this recognition.

Please click on artwork below and enjoy!
Topic(s): high school lessons sculpture
By Heather on April 7, 2008 at 10:55am EDT Add/View Comments (5)

Artist Book - Inside and Out
This artist book is a reflection about my passion as an artist and educator. It's called "Inside and Out" because it's about taking little steps back from what I'm simply composed of. I made each page with different mediums to emphasize my interest in experimenting with them and also the fact that I'm not afraid to take risks by being a life long learner to the arts.

Let me explain how some of this was made:
Top Right Cover:
Actual intaglio copper plate with a green patina. (right beat)

First Page: intaglio heart print (right plate)
Watercolor red/white blood cells
Oil Paint blood
Intaglio heart beat (left plate)
Charcoal bones (hands which are extremely important to an artist)
Computer art muscles (photoshop)
Intaglio heart beat (left plate)
Pen & Ink on vellum skin (two layers)
Colored Pencil nude
Intaglio heart beat (right plate)
Fabric from clothing worn in next page
Digital photo with color manipulation: self-portrait (photoshop)
Intaglio heart beat rendered with colored pencil (left plate)
Intaglio door print
Intaglio map print with watercolor enhancement
Intaglio heart beat (left plate)
Computer art world with media text (photoshop)
Intaglio heart beat (right plate with light red ink)
Intaglio heart beat (right plate with red ink)
Last Page: actual intaglio copper plate with green patina (left beat)

There is much repetition in this book. The mosquito intaglio print that buzzes throughout - I grew up with annoying mosquitoes and the fact that they're after my blood intrigued me for this book because of the subject matter - me and what makes up myself and how that could be shared artistically. Of course there is the rhythm of my heart and how the alternating plates visually represent the sound. Page after page there is a return to this life force.

I hope you enjoy this reflection and maybe be inspired to look at your own life, in small steps, inside and out.
Topic(s): artist book mixed media education 2005
By Heather on April 5, 2008 at 11:56am EDT Add Comment

I love printmaking, mainly because it's all about process for me. It is also very enjoyable to teach because of the important sequence of steps involved, no matter what type of printmaking you're working on. I have experience with relief (linoleum-block), serigraphy (silk-screen), and intaglio (etched metal). Sharing editions is another wonderful thing about printmaking. If you're interested in any of these let me know.

Top Right: Family (silk screen), 2004

Tea for Two (silk screen), 2004

Experimental Knot, states 1-5 (intaglio), 2005

Experimental Tape, states 1-4 (intaglio), 2005

Summer Friend, (intaglio chin-colle), 2005

Pause, (linoleum block), 2006

Topic(s): printmaking 2004 2005 2006
By Heather on April 2, 2008 at 8:18pm EDT Add/View Comments (2)

Monumental Pastel
High School Lesson

After being inspired by Georgia O'Keefe's paintings, students created their own 'monumental' pastel by blowing up a small section of an image. This project was a lot of fun because students choose subject matter that related to their own interests.

Using a viewfinder, my high school students designed a composition by finding beauty in unusual places by zooming into an image to see it abstracted. They enlarged their image to develop observational drawing skills. Creating a non-objective composition teaches students the importance of the elements and principles of art. The last key objective of this project was to develop skill in a new medium, pastel, by blending and experimenting with different techniques.

Please click on the student work to see the detail.
Topic(s): high school lessons student art work
By Heather on April 2, 2008 at 11:33am EDT Add Comment

Anti-smoking Found Ads
Searching for some inspiration in some old magazines piled up in an art studio, I stumbled on these ads. They shocked me because I couldn't get past the irony. Since they gave me a sick feeling, I felt they might be useful to make my protest. I couldn't get them out of my head. I've watched many loved ones struggle with this addiction and felt powerless to help them at times. I found it so interesting that these ads seem like foreboding warnings.

The Capri ad is changed slightly with the addition of the graveyard background, deathly smoke, and the 'fact' at the bottom. The disturbing slogan at the top is untouched.

The Kent ad is altered by one word, DEATH. "The experience you seek" slogan was also already there, which I found creepy with the faded figures. Smoking even killed their dog!

I hope you enjoy the irony in these ads as much as I do and also make a stand to make the right choice. In 2004, I used Photoshop to alter these. If you would like to see more health related work in a different media, please see "The Choice Between".

Slowly but surely, with the right awareness, education, and choices, we can stop this insanity.
Topic(s): anti-smoking photoshop computer art 2004
By Heather on March 19, 2008 at 9:26am EDT Add/View Comments (2)

Nutmeg Earrings
I was looking through my laptop for artwork I've photographed and I stumbled on these. I made these for my Mom for Christmas out of nutmeg, flower seeds, and sterling silver findings. I sometimes adore tinkering with beautiful little things like jewelry. It's a nice way to get my creative quick fix. I enjoy the handmade quality as well, especially when it's paralleled with nature.

The markings on the nutmeg are so interesting once I sliced it in half and sanded the coating off. I noticed the texture the first time I grated fresh nutmeg with a microplane for apple crisp!

Above all, my Mom loved my experiment!
Topic(s): jewelry 2007
By Heather on March 18, 2008 at 11:42am EDT Add/View Comments (5)

Bug Collection
I think we've all, as children, caught fireflies or a caterpillar out of fascination. We place some grass clippings, leaves, and branches in our pickle jar believing we created an ideal environment for our creature. I even caught tadpoles and watched them change into frogs. Unfortunately, our experiments do not always work out but it's a learning experience no less. This mixed media "Bug Collection" (2003) preceded "Entrapment" and repeats the idea of catching/keeping something fascinating while having the heart to let it go, knowing that the atmosphere you made may not have been suitable. This theme can also translate to our own human experiences as well, to ensure growth.

The materials used to make this piece include: acrylic and oil paint, paper, crackle medium, dirt, and organic matter. Each bug is contained in two ways, the old canning jar and the paper circle, except the escaped firefly.

For some reason, I have always been captivated by jars. I know it seems silly, but I find them beautiful...old and new jars, colored and clear, from sauce to jellies and the history of canning to preserve our gardens. The jars are a good way to create symbolism in my work and it causes me to constantly wash and store different jars, especially if they have interesting shapes. It pains me to think about them sitting in a landfill, so even if I don't keep them, I make sure to recycle them. Hopefully, I'll explore this avenue again someday and use some of them I've collected!
Topic(s): mixed media painting 2003
By Heather on March 8, 2008 at 6:07pm EST Add Comment

Well I haven't posted anything in a while and I'm mad at myself for it. I figured it should be my goal to get all my old work up. Then I'll have the freedom to start adding new artwork as I make it in the spring and SUMMER months!

Even with this winter storm warning in effect, I've never been so excited about upcoming warmer weather. I love the changing seasons, I mean I have to being from Western NY, but by the end, spring fever just takes over.

This installation is called "Entrapment" (2004) and was made with spring fever as well. The butterfly wing studies are done in watercolor, framed, and set on little shelves. Looking through the mason jars to see delicate wings stems from the idea of catching something beautiful or at least wanting to. They're not actually in the jars, addressing that it might not be the right thing to do.

Topic(s): installation art watercolor jars 2004
By Heather on March 7, 2008 at 1:07pm EST Add/View Comments (3)

The Choice Between
The Choice Between is a diptych that parallels human choices and the consequences of them. In 2003, I created a somewhat abstract juxtaposition of sickness and health in oil paint. It's about having a choice and the fact that options are presented to us daily. I used microscopic images of tarred lungs and blood cells as inspiration. I find this painting to be a reality because it's not always easy to make the right decision when society provides so many unhealthy and deceptive choices. This duality can extend itself to so many facets of life.
Topic(s): oil painting painting 2003 diptych
By Heather on February 5, 2008 at 11:36am EST Add/View Comments (4)
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