Jun 30, 2011

AP Studio Art Summer Workshop

I have been fortunate enough this week to attend the Studio Art AP Summer Institute at UTA. To be perfectly honest with you, I expected to sit in a chair all week and watch power point slides about how to teach AP art, but thankfully, I was very off. From the first day, our instructor, Patricia Winnard, challenged us with new projects to create and artistic problems to solve. We had to think outside the box and step outside our comfort zone to create 4 pieces that could be used in the breadth category of an AP portfolio in 2 days. She started by having us prepare backgrounds in unusual ways. Our first background started as a round robin collaborative piece. I was extremely lucky with my table mates, all of whom I consider to be friends after this week. In a table of 4, we each had our own drawing utensil and had about a minute to work on each piece on the table. The second prepared background we did was a "dancing pencil" inspired by rhythm of music - without looking, respond to the beat of music - pencil (or other medium) never leaving the paper. We were also given a still life to work on and a "Me in a Box" assignment which I will explain shortly.

Here are some photos of my completed work this week. One thing that I learned about myself is that I am extremely hard on myself about my artwork, and was pleasantly surprised by the feedback I received from my classmates. To me, these are thrown together pieces of art, but someone very sweetly told me I could build a portfolio around these pieces. And she was sincere, too! I loved the fact that the classroom environment was incredibly friendly, where we could give each other productive criticism respectfully and not just have to say "I like it" to avoid hurting someone's feelings. I got some great advice about my pieces which pushed them way further than they would have been had I been creating in a room by myself.

Here is a photo of my work on the wall during a peer critique. I loved having someone look at my work who could actually use artistic vocabulary with me and tell me that I needed a broader range in my background to foreground, that my line quality was good, and were I should increase my value. I haven't had an opportunity like this since college and I think I really needed it.

This piece started out as the collaborative prepared background. I was not married to what was on my paper, but one of the challenges our instructor set forth was that we were not allowed to throw anything away. We had to use it in some way. This is a brilliant teaching tool that I sincerely plan to employee with my advanced art kids. So the collaborative drawings ended up with a white wash, then paint swatches, then a tessellation, and then the architectural piece. This is definitely not my favorite piece, but I was surprised at the positive feedback I received. I can definitely say this would not have come about had the no throw away policy not been in effect.

This piece started out as my dancing pencil. If you look closely, you can see a dark swirly type line in the too left corner... This is the result of "Witchy Woman," I believe, haha. Like the last piece, this one was unsatisfactory in my scope of vision, so it received a wash of latex paint. Next, I attempted a photo transfer using Xerox copies and acetone, which ate through the latex, creating this great mottled effect in the paint. Obviously the photo transfer was unsuccessful. I had these great spots where the acetone had eaten through the paint, and I wanted to highlight them, so I painted the frame as an easy way to create a focal point. I spent quite a bit of time drawing inside the frame, but was ultimately unhappy with the lack of value and emphasis the drawing had. With about 30 minutes to finish this piece on the last day, I found some great classified ads in a Popular Science magazine from the 70's which inspired the inside of the frame and the Microscope.

This piece was one of my favorites to create. You know how much I love my Kitchen Aid mixer!! For this one, we started out with a collage on paper. I was intrigued by all the images I was finding of strong women, so I stuck with that theme. The next steps came from our instructor, who had us white wash over the collage and draw from a still life on top. In an experiment on depth of field, I added the irons in the middle ground, inspired by a social commentary piece I have seen with burnt iron markings. The next step was also from our instructor, to use scrubbers and sand paper to rub away the white wash to reveal some of the collage underneath.

And finally, my Me in the Box assignment. We were supposed to get adjectives from our classmates that described how they saw us. My adjectives were sunny, serene, and soft/cuddly. Can you believe those? Haha. I am glad i come across that way, but I was surprised. Those adjectives would inspire the outside of the box. Then for the inside, we had to give ourselves adjectives that we felt described us. Mine were unpolished, natural, and bold. I love this project and will definitely do this with my students this year.

This was a great experience and has ultimately given me a renewed sense if inspiration for teaching. I am full of new ideas for the classroom and look forward to this workshop next year.

Jun 29, 2011

Girl Talk

This has been an interesting week. I have been at a conference at UTA for AP Studio Art. I am totally loving it. I honestly can not remember the last time I created fine art... It has been so great to be in a room with such talented people who appreciate my abilities and can offer constructive criticism and complements. It has been such an uplifting artistic experience and I feel renewed and energized about sharing these ideas with my new students. Perhaps tomorrow I will share photos I have taken during the conference. I have so many new ideas and new friends... It has truly been worth my time, which is not something I say lightly.

On the flip side, after spending so much time with Isabel lately, being away from her from 7 in the morning (before she's awake) to about 5:30 in the evening has been kind of weird, I feel like she has grown so much this week!

She has gotten to spend her days with Nana, which she absolutely loves. Nana got a rare day off today and was able to spend time with her AND make her a new dress!

Here's a video of my big girl babbling away in her new dress from Nana. Dont you think my mom should sell these on easy?

Jun 28, 2011

Long, Hot Summer

I can not believe that it is nearly July already. I once heard an analogy of time being like sand. When you hold it loosely in your hand, it stays forever, but the second you start to tighten your grasp, it slips through your fingers. Which is, I suppose why I try to always challenge myself to find the good in every day... to be content in my circumstances and to cherish every moment I get to spend with my amazing Drew and my sweet Isabel.

Speaking of Drew, have I told you lately what a lucky girl I am? How did I end up finding someone who would put up with my messy, scatterbrained self and not get upset when I drop my iPhone in Lake Texhoma (true story), spill stain on the deck, leave a pile of laundry on the couch for a week, kill every plant I put my hands on but still insist on buying more every year, forget groceries in the trunk, forget my phone nearly every time I leave the house, forget everything (seriously), and all the other crazy things I do? And he makes me laugh. He's Isabel's favorite person, too, with good reason. She LOVES to play with Daddy and have him tickle her and play peek-a-boo. And he's pretty cute, too ;)

As my grandmother would say, Isabel is growing like a weed. She is 7 1/2 months now (remember our discussion earlier about time flying?), and doing so many new things every day. Her new little teeth are incredibly endearing, and she has started to babble, which is insanely cute. She gets so much attention when we are out running errands... Drew and I think we should probably receive a cute baby discount at the stores we frequent. She can now roll over (which I think she is on a mission to perfect... To the point of rolling off the bed once already! Huge bruise to prove it.), and sit up on her own. She loves to shake shake shake anything that makes a noise, though one of her favorite toys lately has been a plastic bowl, haha. We have a membership a pool in the area and she absolutely loves to swim. I know I am biased, but isn't she a pretty baby?

Don't those eyes just make you melt?

On top of all the above mentioned goodness, my little genius knows how to drink from a straw. Watch your Dr Pepper people... She wants it! (note to judgmental moms: she is NOT drinking DP, it is water. What kind of mother do you think I am!?)

I am not sure why I am always surprised that life is a crazy mess, but once again I find myself shocked at how up in the air everything is these days. I am going to sign my contract this week at Dallas Lutheran and will be teaching art part time and hopefully supplementing my income with works of art that I actually produce, go figure, haha. I am in a conference this week, and I am loving the time to sit at a table and create. I need to start writing down all the genius ideas I have been having this week. If they work, my mom and I will be famous in a couple of months. I'll keep you posted.