Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sketching and Listening

I attended an interesting conference yesterday with a variety of speakers.  I took the chance to work in my sketchbook, adding some watercolor pencil to a few sketches, and drawing the conference attendees.  Sometimes I am a better listener when I am working with my hands and other parts of my brain at the same time.  

I have math students who like to doodle in class.  Maybe their brains work as mine does. I check in with them to make sure they are hearing instruction and retaining the content.  If so, they can doodle away.  If not, I work with them to help them discern when to doodle and when to shift focus back to the class. I remember sitting at rigid attention in classes as a child.  I wish doodling had been an option.    How about you?       

Saturday, September 13, 2014

We Are All Meant to Shine - Marianne Williamson

The wall above the lockers outside my classroom has been quite stark, until now.  Although I teach middle school math, each classroom teacher at South Shore Charter Public School also runs a "project".  Last year was my first project year, coinciding with my first year with my own classroom.  Naturally, I chose to host  an art project.  Projects are student driven, with guidance from the teacher.  It took us a long time to decide what to create for the space above the lockers,  but by late last spring, we had created a banner with an excerpt from Marianne Williamson's famous quote often attributed to Nelson Mandela. The full text is to the right.  
My project worked on the scale, lettering, measuring, and design, then invited every student in our middle school to trace their hand print and decorate with a box of deliciously colored permanent markers.  As more handprints appeared, the students had to layer theirs "behind" the others, giving the banner a beautiful depth around the border.  I brought the banner home this summer to finish the border and piece together, with lots of help (and I use the term loosely) from Maggie and Fred. 
The banner now hangs in the hall for our students encouraging them to burst onto the scene, each in their own way.  My goal is to provide an environment where they feel safe and encouraged to do so.  

As always, thank you for looking.  I love your comments. 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Fair Floral - 10 x 8 oil

Katie making some changes
My home town has an agricultural fair that takes over the aptly named, "fairgrounds" here for 10 days each August.  We love the Fair, have volunteered/worked there for years and years, and we go for a little while everyday, maybe just to walk and take in the pageantry, lights, color, etc.  This year, the director for the arts and crafts area organized a floral design/floral painting afternoon.  Floral arrangers arranged, then artists painted the arrangements.  Here is my result, with a few shots of the painting in progress.  And, I gave my daughter a few minutes at the easel while I took a short break. So, I guess this painting is a collaboration.  

As always, I love your comments.  Thanks for looking.

Establishing the light and dark pattern... looks a little bit like "Little Shop of Horrors" at this point

Modelling in the lights and darks