Thursday, June 18, 2009

the art teacherĂ¢€™s guide to the internet

the art teacherĂ¢€™s guide to the internet

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Favorite childrens mixed media pieces

In the last few years I have taught at the museum. I find and collect low cost gadgets and gizmo's to use for projects with the kids. Reusing junk that would otherwise be discarded is one of my favorite things to do. I am a huge fan of the Dollar stores, Thrift Stores, garage sales , the Recycle shop .( on Blossom is awesome if you have never checked that out you really need to. They will give you a whole bag of stuff for just 5.00. I love what the kids come up with when they use their imaginations and the stories they tell as they create stuff are too good to pass up.

I have had several small group classes of 6-8 year old for Saturday and summer morning classes and we created some fabulous mixed media projects.

We created dioramas, artists books, face sculptures, outer space pieces.

For the dioramas I combined some simple childhood materials and idea. Those traditional wooden clothespins do make great dolls. We used paint,lots of hot glue,construction paper, markers, toothpicks small wooden skewers, model magic clay fabric and pipe cleaner to create these.

Two girls who worked together decided to both create beach scenes and created a overhang to combine the two in class so they could have their clothespin people interact with each other.
One of the girls realized that if she used the smaller mini clothespins she could create "babies" for her "grownup" clothespins.

For this diorama the student created a cave scene. We made stalagtites from aluminium foil rocks from model magic and other materials. I wish i had pictures of the rock band one kid made. We created a stool from sticks and a twisting medicine bottle cap. We sawed off the "legs" of the clothespin and made the drummer spin on his stool. These were all great fun. It did help that it was a small group because they was a lot of hot gluing for me to do.

The face sculptures were another huge success.... we used cardboard, model magic,paint and paper mache, hot glue, Elmer's, construction paper, pipe cleaners, raffia and, marbles for the eyes. A friend of mine donated a lot of broken old eye glasses from the eye glass store she worked at too.

The artists books we created in two ways.

The first was as altered books. A found a package of children's boards books at the dollar store that the paper torn off of easily. we removed the images and text then used a different paint treatment on each page. We created print blocks using Styrofoam tray pieces, we used bingo markers, we dipped Lego's into paint and stamped with them. We cut cardboard that had been spray painted gold and glued that into sections. I gave students the option to drill holes into their pages and put different "Funky" yarns through them.

The second way was creating an accordion fold book then using various printing techniques and paint to create images to put into the pages of ours books.

Alex's print book

Sign language drawings

When I lived in Arkansas and taught Jr. High I had a friend that was a sign language interpreter. I had also had several experiences with deaf culture at R.I. T. when I attended there. However I never really learned sign language the way I wish I would have.

These drawing simply use letters from a sign language alphabet and you pose your hand it each letter to create a three letter (appropriate) word or your initials.

I have seen several teachers use this drawing projects including my favorite art teacher Max Robertson. It is him that I blame for my wanting to become on art teacher. I was pleasantly surprised to see he taught the lesson in the similar fashion that I had.

Students will first practice drawing there hands. The should look for lines folds, creases, knuckles nails all details and learn how to use outline and contour shapes as well as using scale of one part of the hand in relation to another.
Drawing by John 2005

After a few sketches of the hand they then choose there there letters from the sign language alphabet and drew their hands posed in those three letters to create a word or their initials.

My drawing- done as example for Mr. Robertson's class 2009

The final step was to outline them in sharpie marker.

Drawing by Whitney 2005

Monday, June 15, 2009

Past Jr. High Projects

I am preparing for a move. I have been going through my files of old artwork and weeding stuff out. Also photographing and editing old photographs of student work. Some of my favorite projects were the pop art sculpture project, the Mandala project,the Sign Language Drawing and the City scape project.

These are two examples of the Mandala project.
We discussed what a Mandala is and, what it is used for. We used discussed Buddhist mandala and how they use sand or other materials that are natural and not installed for long term purposes.We created ours on paper however. It was a mixed media project 9th grade students could use glue, glitter, pencils, yarn, paint, etc.

They were to use symbols that had meaning to them create a circular based then fill in or move out from a circular base shape.Then include images that had meaning to them.(Which they had a size requirement. of 8 " diameter) They created symbols and wrote about the meaning of the symbols after words.

Mandala by Lasha, 9th grade student, 2005
She was in the student Coast Guard cadet and they anchor was symbolic of that.

Mandala by Sequoyah
9th grade student
Created Fall 2005

Mandala sketches by Jasmine colored pencil 2005 9th grade

Above are examples of student practice sketches. Which were created before completing final on 18" by 24" paper.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hurray for small sucesses!

So I have been tutoring this really cool 5th grade student. He has wanted for years now to be nominated his school art teachers "Student of the month". He drew all the time on his own and his grandmother had been trying to find him a private art tutor for awhile. I have been showing him pen and ink techniques, using watercolor, using pastels, talked to him a lot about shading things, perspective of objects and how objects change in size and color when in the background. We have also drawn real life objects and focused on their shading.

He went to his art teacher and showed him the drawings we had been working on together and he was nominated student of the month. He was very proud of himself and they put up his drawings on a display board in school. His mother showed me pictures of him with his teachers in front of it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


So I recently attended the first Friday art gallery events and went to three galleries. I attended the ROCO 6x6 preview party. The Four walls gallery and More Fire Garden show.

I had submitted a piece to the 6x6 show so I got to play the guess which one is mine game with them. I pointed out the wall which had mine told them it used watercolor and then pointed out that mine had some materials that others one their did not have. They guessed it. "Yours is probably mixed media." "Yours has crayon".

I was really impressed by the number of pieces variety of media creative ways people had solved the6x6 problem. Some had done 3d works using 6x6x6 for their dimensions. There were also several works by local school children. Several art teachers I had talked to had their students submit work for the show. I think it is a great thing that so many people participated.
I wondered about several of the abstract paintings. As a group they were powerful. If you purchased just one though it seemed like it would get lost.

My friend worked with a guy that had artwork in the "Get A Grip" show at Four Walls Gallery on Elton street so we went over and checked it out. I really liked the gallery shape. The atmospere was comfortable. It took us a while to find but we went through the side entrance orginally.
I saw the show cards and was pleasently surprised. My old college professor Kathy Farrell was having an art show there too. She had a show of assemblage boxes most of which used balls. She also had a game to play where you had to match the boxes to the famous couple associated with each box. We tried it, a few I got and felt comfortable about others I had no idea who the couples were so I had to guess. There was also a green stepstool on the ground which I assumed was for you to step on. I step up and say to my friends "It's a stepstool right? I should be sble to step on it." There comes Kathy out of the crowd ."Yeah you can step on it. Look inside the boxes lift the lids." These two boxes with glasses and noses and fake mustaches. You lift the lids and look inside to see they are jammed packed full of balls.

There are certain things that I have always appreciated about her work. One part has always been that some part of it incorpates the viewer to interact withy the art in a way different then just looking.The work is like her, very whimsical. She uses lots of discarded toys and bright colors. The pencils she posted for the game were of course brightly colored and sparkly.... I told my friends "These boxes,picture entire bookshelves and a small room full of stuff like this and that's what her office looks like."

I wondered if she started making the boxes first and then came up with the theme or if had the theme of couples first and then made the boxes?

I really appreciated the Get A Grip show too. It used Skateboard grip tape as the source for images. The proceeeds from work sold in the show will go into creating a skatebaord park from local a abandoned area under a bridge. That really seems like a great idea to me.

The cool thing was two days later I am at one of the schools I sub at and this kid has brought in his skateboard to paint. I tell him about the show and he said he had already seen it.

I am not sure how many of the artwork could actually be applied to a board. I really enjoyed the variety of materials used such as pastels(those really worked great ion that surface), airbrush, collage, mixed media drawing, paints etc.
For more info on skate parks and related issues go to

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Old but good projects

When I taught at an elementary school in Tucson AZ, I worked closely with the teachers and incorporated their curriculum into art lessons whenever possible.5th grade classes were reading books about quilts at the time. Students in art class read and looked at more quilt related titles that I brought in.Students then cut fabric for quilt squares. We used crayola fabric markers and Sharpie markers to draw on white fabric.student then hand sewed their printed fabric square and their drawn on square together. I took a picture of the class and printed with a an inkjet fabric transfer. I sewed the students quilt squares together then lined it in batting and sewed on a backing.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


So Why you may ask, Why start a Blog called "Art Teacher for Hire" I am a dedicated art teacher. I have several years experience teaching. I substitute teach in several districts.I am tutor private students, teach at local craft stores and am truly blessed to work for a local art gallery coordinating and teaching youth programs.

However I am still in search of other work. I am using this blog as a outlet to reach potential students, clients, other art educators, art lovers and those that want to work on combined projects.

I will be using this blog as a reflective tool.
I will be posting pictures and descriptions of my work created for class examples and my students work.
I will be sharing some planning process, some student interaction and some of my own artwork.

To see my art portfolio please go to