Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Post 18 - If it ain't working, FIX IT...

Blogging my evolution as an artistic art educator - An art-based experiment...

OK... I am so falling short of my July goal of posting everyday, that I need to do something about it, and I cannot procrastinate any further.

It occurred to me, that when I teach a lesson, it either succeeds pretty well or fails pretty miserably. So, I keep the things that work, and dump the stuff that doesn't... I FIX what is broken!

So, I am going to do something new to get myself interested in blogging everyday. I need a plan, or I won"t do anything.

The plan is to have POST DAY THEMES... (Insert roar of the crowd HERE!)

Each day of the week will be themed differently Thus, lighting a fire underneath my backside, and helping me to plan ahead mentally.

With the wonderfully brilliant help of my friend Ann, I was able to brainstorm and settle on the following themes, which I will commence with starting tomorrow. (New Goal)

MONDAY---Motivation Monday (all things inspirational)

TUESDAY---Technique Tuesday (all things artsy, in a technique and/or material sort of way)

WEDNESDAY---Whatever Wednesday (all things that cannot be categorized, but are share-out worthy)

THURSDAY---Threefold Thursday (all things in 3's... Like 3 favs, 3 themes, 3 steps, etc...)

FRIDAY---Fhoto Friday (all things photographically influenced)

SATURDAY---Small Wonders Saturday (all things art-themed that cause a chuckle)

SUNDAY---Sketchy Sunday (all things in the drawing arena)

Good??... See you tomorrow! (I am ready already... Ha!)

Safety, health, happiness, and peace... Pam

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Post 17 - Questions posed...

Blogging my evolution as an artistic art educator - An art-based experiment...


Alexia commented on the last post, asking me what ATCs are and what the process is for making them, and what their purpose was for my project and is for my teaching.

Ann commented about how totally transformed and unrecognizable the original foundations are in my ATCs. She asked if that was my intention, how did I got the idea, and why I chose the abstract figures for the ATC foundations?


First of all Alexia wanted to know what ATCs, Artist Trading Cards, are. And, that question got me to thinking. What I realized from her question was that there will be people checking out my blog who aren't totally familiar with visual art jargon, including some techniques, materials, vocabulary, and so on. So, I decided to add a PAGE in the left column of my blog that I will add to, in which terms will be defined and basically explained. I will add to it as I hit stuff I feel might be vague, plus I appreciate comments like Alexia's that prompt me to explain! Good practice for teaching too!

Alexia also asked why I chose ATCs for part of my DAAPworks project. Well, I wanted my display to be interactive and to get people to begin to follow my blog. But, I also was not going to be around to teach viewers a technique that had lots of steps. So, I decided to create cardstock bases (trimmed to size copied cardstock backgrounds, which gave people a place to start, instead of starting from total scratch) for the ATCs, leave a few supplies for the participants, and simple directions, so hopefully they would make something and not be intimidated to "play". ATCs are very small artworks, and not much work is required to create a cool little piece. I felt that they were ideal for the time that viewers might be willing to commit whilst walking around visiting all of the art displays throughout the DAAPworks show.

Finally, Alexia wanted to know what purpose ATCs serve in general, and for my teaching. ATCs have the potential to be easy and fast little artworks, since they are only 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" each! In the classroom and in general, they can be used to meet certain visual arts criteria quickly and fearlessly with less monetary and time commitment than a big involved artwork might. Showing off a new technique. Experimenting with new materials. Exploring new themes. Fearless art-exchange with other artists. Money and green conscious art-making... All of these types of goals are supported and accomplished much more economically, more speedily, and more bravely by using a smaller format, such as an artist trading card!

Ann's comments and questions centered around the original foundations I produced for the ATC activity I created for the DAAPworks viewers, and subsequent participants. First of all, I realize the backgrounds on my versions are very obscured, and that did not happen by intention or design. It just happened, because I am a layerer of materials and techniques. I push and push with my supplies until sometimes I "push my work over the precipice"! This time, I was happy with my results, and saving the original abstracted marks was not a priority in my mind. The reason or theme for my ATCs was the priority, and since I was creating these ATCs for a challenge, in which the four ATCs had to create one image when placed next to each other, I figured the backgrounds served the theme better when pushed back and obscured. I wanted them to be subtle, since I don't do subtle well in my work.

Secondly, I got the idea to make backgrounds for the ATCs because I didn't want the participants facing the sometimes artistically intimidating "white page". It is hard enough to make something, to risk, without the added challenge of that dreaded question plaguing ones mind, "Now where do I even begin?". So, I wanted to give everybody an even playing field in which to get started.

And, finally, Ann wanted to know why I chose to make random abstracted marks for the basis of the background bases. I wanted to give timid people a little nudge to see-what-they-might-see and use their imagination, without "shoving them" too hard and making too many choices for them. Abstracted marks can be turned into anything, with a little bit of imagination and courage. If I drew too much and made my marks too recognizable, I might get back very predictable results. All the same. Boring... I do this type of thing when I teach. I give my kids enough parameters to get off the ground, but not so many that they cannot make something "their own". This allows me to evaluate/grade, yet keeps them engaged because what they are doing is "theirs", not mine.

Safety, health, happiness, and peace... Pam

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Post 16 - ATCs finally finished and a splendid birthday...

Blogging my evolution as an artistic art educator - An art-based experiment...

Finally worked on and finished my ATCs using the bases I created for my display. This quad set will work for three things--one, examples of my own for my bases, two, examples for my students for a similar assignment, and three, Art 42 trade items. Triple duty, can't beat that!

Step 1 - Bases connected, in order to create one finished image with four separate ATCs.

Step 2 - Color background using alcohol inks, sand surface, collage paper elements, add paint stamped element (end of empty spool), to create repeated rhythm and movement across four ATCs.

Step 3 - Spray background with Glimmer Mist to unify and "push" background back, add focus images, and block out space for typography with thin gessoed layer (pale white circles).

Step 4 - Add stamped quote with solvent-based ink, and embellish ATCs with hand-stitching and Diamond Glaze with clear micro beads. Cut individual ATCs apart, sand edges, ink edges with orange Distress Ink, scan, and re-align with Photoshop for grouped view.

ATC 1 - Yesterday

ATC 2 - Tomorrow

ATC 3 - Today

ATC 4 - The Present

And, as far as my birthday went, I believe the highlights say it all...

Dinner made by my husband (fillet-mignon w/balsamic and arugula, asparagus w/garlic and tarragon, watermelon kabobs w/basil, cherry tomatoes and balsamic, and berries with whipped cream and cinnamon for dessert--all Weight Watcher's OK)... Watching The African Queen while enjoying the aforementioned meal with my husband, because the kiddo was elsewhere (Thanks Cia)... A new hardbound Wonder Woman coffee table book (from the kiddo and husband)... Swimming with the kiddo... Time to make art... Money to pay for half of my last two master's classes (Thank you Jeanne and Dad)... Calls and messages from family and friends all throughout the day...

Thank you all, and blessed be!

Safety, health, happiness, and peace... Pam

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Post 15 - Surfing downs and ups...

Blogging my evolution as an artistic art educator - An art-based experiment...

Sometimes just surfing the web is a great way to find inspiration, and sometimes it can be downright depressing.

Advocacy for the arts is of particular interest to me these days with all of the education turmoil in our country going down. So, I've been surfing the NAEA site, the Getty's site, the Kennedy Center's site, etc... Some of the news is good and some not so good.

I did find a very interesting site called ARTSEDGE... Love the way this site is dedicated to bringing the arts and other disciplines together. I have always believed that the answers to a lot of the issues reside in cross-curricular education; we must come together, or we are destined to fall apart.

The site also has some FAB lessons, quotes, articles, advocacy information, and so on. Check it out, if you have a moment, or share the link with a teacher, art ed especially.

PS... By the way, sorry for missing the last two days. I promised myself that once July hit, I would be an everyday blogger, and I just couldn't find the brain cells for it with summer kid-stuff going on... Promise to work at being here for some tidbit everyday, if the universe allows.

PPS... Thanks for the great comments... (I have some brilliant followers!)

Anyway, finally a superb quote to ponder from the ARTSEDGE site...

Countless unseen details are often the only difference between mediocre and magnificent.

- Anonymous

Safety, health, happiness, and peace... Pam

Monday, July 5, 2010

Post 14 - A bit of evidence that I am on the right path...

Blogging my evolution as an artistic art educator - An art-based experiment...

"One hundred and fifty Nobel laureates were interviewed, and they found that every single one of them had an application or a hobby that they were as equally passionate about as their work.

And every single one of them said that most of their ideas came when they were doing their hobby or their application. If those guys have figured it out and recognized the value of finding something joyful and playful and keeping it around, why isn't it good enough for the rest of us?"

---Kevin Carroll, from Caffeine for the Creative Mind

Safety, health, happiness, and peace... Pam

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Post 13 - Happy 4th of July, a quick carved monogram stamp, only seven days until my birthday...

Blogging my evolution as an artistic art educator - An art-based experiment...


Love this picture of the kiddo in the Mount Washington parade last year, so I thought I'd share it with you all. I hope you all are staying cool. Swimming. Picnicking. And, making some art!

I also wanted to show you the quick carved monogram stamp I made for Josie, for her cards and paper crafts. Simple process which can apply to larger stamps as well. Basically, it's relief printing. There are recessed/carved shapes (no ink) and raised/non-carved shapes (inked), which make your image.

Consider simple from the start...

1). Transfer your line drawing done in dark graphite to a white plastic eraser (or a material from Speedball) by simply placing it face down on the surface and rubbing with your fingers, (it will be reversed, which is what you want).
2). Carve away (using an X-acto, or linoleum cutter, see above) what you DO NOT want to print.
3). Leave the shapes you DO want to print.
4). Take your time, be safe, and expect a "learning curve"!

My stamp for Josie - Pencil sketch, stamp, inked impression, and image on card

And, finally... Seven more days until I turn 43! I always look forward to the surprises that happen the two weeks before and after one's birthday. Anything can happen, and IS happening. Change is inevitable!

Safety, health, happiness, and peace... Pam

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Post 12 - ATCs from DAAPworks display...

Blogging my evolution as an artistic art educator - An art-based experiment...

Almost forgot to show you these (Thanks for the reminder Alexia!!), and they probably slipped my mind because I haven't done the ones I intended on doing yet myself, and I was kind of disappointed with the number of participants for my "experiment".

Yep, my daughter did two before the display went up and only three people left ATCs for me, out of eighty bases I left for playtime. I am happy to have the ones I have, yet deflated by the number of willing participants and viewers as well. A lot of work, for not much feedback. But, moving on...

That said, I would like to commend and thank Jacquelyn Sommer,  Kris Sommer, Amanda Dias, and my daughter Josie for being brave and creative, and for willingly participating in my "experiment"!

Here are their miniature works of art...

"Gratitude" - Jacquelyn Sommer

"My Trip to St. Louis" - Kris Sommer

"Miss" - Amanda Dias

"Nobody is Simply the Best" and "Keep a Head" - Josephine Palmarini

Love all of your examples, and I will be mailing back your artworks shortly!

As for MY examples, I am finally inspired to use four of the bases to create a series of ATCs that, when placed next to each other, create one big image/design together. Presently, I am participating in an exchange of artwork with others on a great site called Art 42, where challenges are issued and hosted, and creative souls send off their work and receive artwork from the other participants.

I started today by gluing four base ATCs from my display experiment to a piece of black cardstock, so they are temporarily linked. See below...

And, since I have some quiet time right now, I am going to get moving on them!

Also, don't worry about all of those ATC bases I have left. No wasted paper for me! I will be putting them to very good use when the school year starts again in August... (Always a bright side to everything!)

Safety, health, happiness, and peace... Pam

Friday, July 2, 2010

Post 11 - Martha Washington had it right "on point"...

Blogging my evolution as an artistic art educator - An art-based experiment...

"I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances."

---Martha Washington (1732-1802)
(Resource--Daily Teachings
from The

Safety, health, happiness, and peace... Pam

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Post 10 - Calligraphy play...

Blogging my evolution as an artistic art educator - An art-based experiment...

I love calligraphy. Although, I never did it myself, until I taught it. Most people recognize letter forms as having an intrinsic level of beauty. Each one is a creation. Together, a composition, playing off one another rhythmically.

I love to teach Lettering and Typography, one of the classes we offer at the high school in which I teach. This year I finally realized that certain approaches are better than others. My students want to be creative, not perfectionists. Who really does? One of my purchases for school is a book by the wonderfully talented Lisa Engelbrecht called Modern Mark Making, from Classic Calligraphy to Hip Hand-Lettering.

My students are all into the second part of this book. They love to doodle and letter. They want to create their own font, not copy and recopy other people's designs. I understand. I love to play far more than I love to copy. Don't get me wrong, I know there is a lot of value in practice. One must practice to master anything. And, the kids that intend to be lettering masters will practice. But, a lot of them just want to enjoy the process and savor their results. My job is to get them into it just enough that they will create, while semi-aiming for a higher bar than they may have intended on from the start.

I love Lisa's book, because it really makes "mark making" cool! You wanna' try making letter forms immediately, or at least as soon as you can scramble over to your art space, grab some paper, and basic tools. Including some not so basic tools, such as a homemade calligraphy pen made from the plastic from an empty yogurt container, a pencil, a staple, and some duct tape... Sound weird? Well, it really works, and it's fun!

I'll share some examples with the yogurt cup pen when I get more time to play with it. It requires a lot of ink and makes really big letters. I want to experiment with Black Letter style, which this pen would be perfect for, and which would be a style of lettering I believe my students would really like.

Finally, from the top examples, you can see I was playing with an informal brush style, which I liked so much, I transferred my enthusiasm onto a piece I have had sitting on the back burner for far too long. I am 10 minutes away from finishing it. Finding 10 minutes the past week has been challenging. Balance in all areas of my life is what I aspire to all the time.

(P.S... I love the way something I tried for school made its way into my artwork. Just realized that fact upon rereading this post. Hmmmm?)

Safety, health, happiness, and peace... Pam