Tuesday, June 22, 2010

An insane deadline and severe weather

Severe weather in the forecast, and a deadline to meet. Keep the boat afloat and pray that the power doesn't go out in the thunderstorm.
 It just isn't possible to finish digital art by candlelight.
This illustration is from a series of stories that published in Moody Monthly Magazine. In the series, the main characters, who were modern day children,  were able to travel back in time to experience adventures out of Bible stories. In this illustration they are being frightened by a storm on the Sea of Galilee.  I have a few more samples from the series on my website here (scroll to the bottom of the page of storybook art).

Friday, June 18, 2010

an insane deadline

Haven't I heard that too many times? And is there any other kind of deadline?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

fine students

The teachers and students at my school wanted to send relief money to Haiti after the earthquake tragedy this past year. They came up with the idea of a talent show in which nearly everyone, teachers and kids of all ages had a chance to perform. Of course, everyone had to contribute to a ticket to applaud each other as well. This raised a good sum of cash, and the evening was an entertaining success.
My contribution was to raffle off two portrait drawings. These two lovely girls were the winners. I had to work from photographs that I took. There was never enough time for me to draw them from life as I would have liked. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

still life painting demo

A blue ceramic bowl and assorted fresh fruit set up for my ninth grade art class. This was my demo, I never quite finished as I spent most of the time walking around assisting the process. One of my students is a gifted young artist (of course, all of them are gifted!) and her finished work from this still life set up is better than mine.
I don't mind the challenge, it keeps my best game up.

Friday, June 11, 2010

projects, projects

The fourth grade Mayan pyramid project was my most original idea. I had them working for weeks on  different stages of this project. They had to use three-dimensional construction techniques for the pyramids. They needed to research, design, learn drawing, and painting.
We studied all about the ancient Mayans, where they lived, how they built the grand cities, temples, pyramids, and why. I have traveled in Guatemala and made use of my own photos and research.
We also did a number of drawing lessons on tropical birds, reptiles, jaguar, and plant life. The pyramids were made out of foam, cut, glued and painted to look like stone. A tropical forest background was drawn on good quality heavy illustration board, then painted with bright watercolors. We had a lot of watercolor lesson time too.
I  give lots of credit to all the online and published art education resources that I have used this past year.

And, finally this project that I made with the second grade was successful in that they had a fabulously fun time. I may not teach it quite this way again because it was too much work for me. The students should be the ones doing all the assembly and learning-not the other way around!
 The class had been reading the Odyssey and studying all about ancient Greece. So this is supposed to be a Greek warship, it is about 15 inches long. I had to cut out the heavy cardboard and use a hot glue gun  to assemble the ships for them. They did paint the sail on canvas, tie the ropes, make shields, paint the hull, and put in the oars themselves.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

dueling banjo playing pigs

An illustration from my book, "The Free Pigs". I have been reading posts by other illustrators with the banjo-playing pigs theme. I thought I would get in on the fun and offer this.
You know, I am not well-informed about musical instruments. I realize that this singing pig by the moonlit marshmallow roast is playing  something that looks more like a guitar.
Here is a link to another illustrator and fellow blogger who has a better banjo drawing. I like her pigs too. http://paulabecker.com/blog/?tag=banjo-pig

The best rewards

...are in those great smiles and the chance I get to be part of a young life.

two art shows

We put together two shows of student work at the school this year. One for the grammar school, grades K-5 on the night of the end-of-the-year musical concert. And a second one, a week later for the upper school, to accompany the music and drama night.
I was proud to show all my student work, and enjoyed conversations with the parents and families.
Second graders made these dragons after we talked about the Chinese New Year.
Third graders painted these frescos of Bible stories on real plaster that we spread with real dry wall tools. We studied the frescoes of Giotto and the early Renaissance.

Ninth graders, my oldest student class painted these watercolor designs after a study of stained glass windows in medieval architecture. We looked at the windows in Chartres Cathedral, and discussed the great Rose Windows.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

painting demonstration

Only a half-hour demonstration. I was attempting to show a group of young students how I go about making a contour line drawing from a live plant that I brought into class. I then showed how I would take some watercolor washes to make a loose study. I talked about how a lot of information can be suggested with just a selected amount of detail.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

demos, and working fast in front of a crowd

Another half-hour demonstration painting for a sixth grade class. I worked from a photo that I once took in  Colorado Springs at the Garden of the Gods park. I was showing watercolor wash technique, wet-into-wet, smooth transitions, shapes and color. I enjoy working in front of a crowd of kids. It is fascinating to hear their comments and find out what makes sense to them.
Getting artwork to successfully turn out in front of an audience is like performing on stage. You really don't know if it will look good at any moment or completely flop. Talking about what you are doing at the same time, explaining (and being interrupted by kids) takes high energy.
Yet, I often really like how these fast sketches turn out. I am forced to make lightning fast decisions, edit shapes, observe and compose, using all my skills and confidence without over-thinking the process. 

a year of teaching art to young artists

This  year of teaching at the private classical school went well. We ended the school year this past week. I put together two art shows, one for the grammar school and one for the upper school. The pleased exclamations from all the parents and grandparents made my hours of work so much worth it.
I am also proud of  the projects that I came up with for the kids.
Well, first a disclaimer, I used many sources for the teaching curriculum this year. Of course, some good  books are out there, I like what Usborne publishes, and "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards.  I owe a lot to some great elementary art teachers who blog about the lessons they use and share generously on the internet.
And, I have a few projects that are my very own ideas; a fourth grade project studying ancient Mayan pyramids, Guatemala,  the rain forest and jungle animals; second grade Greek warships after reading the "Odyssey"; third grade fresco paintings on real plaster while studying Giotto.
And how about these paintings that my first graders made after lessons on Egypt, and drawing camels?
I wanted to get across the idea that we could draw anything if we started with basic shapes. Drawing a camel with palm trees and pyramids is quite an advanced illustration assignment and they did amazingly well.
Notice that they also got the idea of foreground, middle ground, and background? Amazing!

Monday, June 7, 2010

sketching demonstration

A student from my middle school art class posed for a 10 minute demonstration.
I really enjoy doing these quick demonstration drawings with the kids watching.

Friday, June 4, 2010

where oh where

Has an entire month gone?
I have been putting most all of my energy into my part-time teaching job lately. The rewards are so much fun, immediate, and gratifying.
One of the best rewards are all the sweet hand drawn notes that I get from my students.
Besides the artwork, I also get presents, goodies to eat, flowers or plants. It is all much appreciated.