Wednesday, September 16, 2015


All of my K-6 students worked on owls this week using different mediums and focusing on different media and/or concepts.  Take a look at what my kiddos have been learning.....

GRADE 6:  We focused on REALISM.  I gave my students photographs of owls and they chose one to draw in pencil.  We talked about how to create the feathers using hatching and cross hatching with a black sharpie.  We used vine charcoal to create the gray values.  Drawing is just "seeing" and I encouraged them to really look at the lines and shapes in the photographs.  They were amazed at what they actually could see and record!

GRADE 5:  Here we talked about the concept of STYLIZING.  An image that is stylized looks like the object (an owl), but is designed using interesting ideas with shapes and lines.  We drew the contour of the owl and designed the interior of the owl.  Watercolor pencils were used over the black sharpie work, and a little water gave these that "painterly" look!

GRADE 4:  These owls were done on black paper with oil pastels.  Our focus with this lesson was layering the colors and VISUAL TEXTURE.  I challenged them to use lines to create the "feathery" look on the owl.  The layering off the oil pastels produces such a rich, yummy color!

GRADE 3:  We drew simple owls and used a texture plate in the background to create the cool patterns.  We used the educational watercolors which has 18 beautiful colors to choose from.  The colors in these were student's choice.

GRADE 2:  We used some of the painted papers we did on the first day of school for these backgrounds and students drew and cut out there owls, branches and leaves.  This mixed media project ended with a paint treatment using the end of a brush to create the white dots.

GRADE 1:  Letter Owls!  Again, we used some of the fun painted papers we made and used the letter U to make the owls body.  The letter B was for the eyes, the letter D for the wings, and the letter O for the whites of the eyes.  We used black marker to outline and construction paper crayons for the color on our dark backgrounds.  Cutting and gluing was a skill we practiced on these collages.  Collage is a french word which means to "paste".  Cute, cute, cute!!

GRADE K:  These owls were done as a directed drawing.  I asked my kindies to look and "see" all the shapes and lines that were used to build this drawing.  They did an amazing job of "seeing"!  We also worked on filling the entire page with color and I showed them how to do a little blending with colors.  They loved using the texture plates in the background!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Lines Everywhere!

Students in grades 3-4-5 created these beginning of the year line projects.  Grade 3:  We personalized the work by using our own hands as inspiration.

The 4th graders chose a letter and they created beautiful line designs in the background.

And my 5th graders stacked words that described them, hobbies or their name and created gorgeous backgrounds with black sharpie.

Monday, August 24, 2015

New Adventures

Last spring I picked up a little bench for $5 at one of our local thrift stores.  I spent some time painting this cute thing for my new art loft.  It was very relaxing for me!

Here are a couple of pictures of the 100 year old historic building we bought in the urban core, approximately 8 blocks from downtown Kansas City.  My husband and I plan to make this our live/work forever space!  It is four stories high with over 1000 sq. ft. per floor.  My art loft will be on the top floor with a gorgeous view of downtown KC!  I am calling my studio  "Studio 67" because there are 67 steps to the top floor.  Boy will I stay in shape!!  It is my hope to create and offer classes in this amazing space.  Our hope is to be in by this Thanksgiving!

We are trying to keep the interior and as much brick as possible to keep the integrity of this 100 year old beauty!  We poured concrete floors on the main level and will stain those soon!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Painted Papers

As I begin my 37th year teaching ART, I realize that this love I have of students and art is really the only life I have every known!  Each year I stretch myself by trying new projects, and new ways to inspire kiddos!  I feel like I have grown tremendously in the last 37 years!  I was fortunate enough to hear an inspiring message by our Teacher of the Year, and it really put things in perspective for me. She told us to not forget about taking care of ourselves!  We need to put ourselves first so we can be there for students.  She also said what most of us already know, but usually forget.... and that is.... kids don't remember how your room is decorated or the posters you have up.  They remember YOU.  That got me thinking about my favorite teachers and why I like them SO  much.  It was because they made a personal connection with me!    Teaching over 550 students makes that a daunting challenge to say the least!  But my goal is to get to know my students through their art and art experiences!  Making art that is personal to them is my vision for all students!  With that said, on with the planning of art lessons!

The first thing we did this year grades 1-6 was to spend a day painting papers!  What fun!!  We will have a great stash for projects this year.  I even pulled some of the papers back out to layer more paint on with the next class.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Kindergarten Portraits

Teaching 5 year olds to look at shapes in more detail is how they got such great likenesses on their portraits.  We begin with a "U" shape in the middle of the paper.  We drew our portraits in brown crayons.  

At the top of the "U" shape, I show them the 3 parts of an eye.  The football shape, the circle for the iris and the black dot for the pupil.  I ask them to draw carefully trying to make each eye the same size and shape.  

We move to the nose with a tiny U shape and two curves for the nostrils.  For the lips, we begin with a lip line.  I show them how to use their finger to draw an imaginary line straight down from the inside corner of the eye.  We even do this on our own faces.  This way they understand where the features belong on a face.  We draw the lip line first, then a curve for the bottom lip.  I ask them to turn to their neighbor and ask them what their top lip looks like....two mountains, or two hills.  They love this part!  Is their top lip more pointed or rounded??

We add a neck and shoulders.  I ask them where the top of the ears lines up, and they are correct when answering by the eyes.  We draw the top of the head with a curve and I show them several hairstyles on the board.  Is their hair parted in the middle, on the side, do they have bangs, braids, ponytails, or do they have a buzz cut???  It was fun watching them add all the details that make them individuals.  Check out some of our portraits below.