Educating Students in the 21st Century
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Studio Art - Wire Self-Portraits

After teaching the proportions of the human face, students practice drawing themselves. Then students transform those drawings into expressionistic wire sculptures. I love the way these look with the cast shadows. This is a nice project that introduces working three dimensionally with just line.
Topic(s): high school lessons 2010 3d self-portraits sculpture
By Heather on November 15, 2011 at 8:46am EST Add/View Comments (2)

Scholastic Art Awards 2010
Good news, two of my art students won Gold Keys from the Scholastic Art Awards this year. This is really exciting because out of 165,000 works submitted, only 693 from the Region-at-Large earned Gold Key recognition.

The art work on the right is from an 11th grader in my Digital Art class. It was made by taking digital photographs of his home from different angles and using Photoshop and a "Tilt Shift Maker" to apply an interesting effect that makes certain aspects look tiny. I really like how the three pieces turned out as a series. This piece went also went to the National Exhibition in NYC. The highest honor that Scholastic's gives. Very exciting!

The one piece below is by an 8th grader in one of my middle school classes. This project is the same as the Chuck Close Inspired Fingerprint Project that I've posted before, except that this year I changed things up a bit by having them use a different medium to create the texture (black prisma-color pencil sticks).
Topic(s): scholastic art awards 2010 high school lessons middle school lessons
By Heather on March 5, 2010 at 2:29pm EST Add/View Comments (5)

At first, watercolor is sometimes frustrating for students to learn because you have to be organized yet flexible. If they have experience in painting with other mediums they tend to get discouraged by the fact that you can't paint over your mistakes because of watercolor's transparent nature.

Students learned watercolor techniques such as washes, wet into wet, dry brush, splattering, sponging, etc. Experimentation with color theory by breaking up the composition with color variations was also an important component.

I like teaching watercolor because students learn to be patient to prevent unwanted bleeding of colors and at the same time be spontaneous by noticing "happy mistakes" that naturally occur with the different techniques.
Topic(s): high school lessons watercolor
By Heather on April 9, 2008 at 11:29am EDT Add/View Comments (4)

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)

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
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