Piece #14 – Youth Art Day Winners Revealed!

Piece #14 – Youth Art Day winners are revealed!

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As promised in an earlier blog (piece #2), I now have a slide show of artwork made by my private students.  These projects were part of Perry County Council of the Arts Youth Art Day that took place on April 21, 2012.  Entries were submitted from the three school districts in the county and from home-schooled and private students as well.

Because the school GPCCA closed, the number of entries by my students was much lower than in the past.

  NO MATTER… These kids ROCKED!

Proud  teacher moment…

Every one of my kiddos who entered placed!

Can you see me happy dancing?!!

Like so many of you I am inspired by the many amazing examples of art that can now be found on the internet.  Before I began blogging I didn’t keep track of links to the ideas.  I am now keeping better records.  The painting made up of mixed color squares was  from a beautiful child’s valentine.  I have also seen a watercolor version of the Monet bridge in several places.  My student finger-painted his acrylic version.  The “ugly squirrel” made by  Levi was his version of  an Ugly Doll.


Piece #13 – Teaching is about Learning.

Piece #13 – Teaching is about Learning.

Featured above is a small sampling of work from my private student Megs.  The gourds were homegrown from her farm and scrubbed clean.  Permanent ink was used for the drawings, and shellac was used to finish them.  Embroidery patterns inspired the floral works.

The fantastic illustrations of Ray Cruz in the children’s book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day provided a starting point for her first drawing. We studied his  techniques of drawing and using lines for shading, texture, and form.

Megs has come for class during her less busy winter months.  Her family owns and operates Happy Breeze Farm in Port Royal, PA.  She is a busy lady with many talents and hobbies.  She is a great seamstress and quilter,  and an inspirational  life-time learner.

From the beginning Megs wanted to work with pen & ink. She likes to make small, intricate, black and white, detailed drawings.


I tend to be  “artsy-flowy,” lots of color, BIG projects kind of gal…

But by helping Megs develop her hatching and cross-hatching skills, I experienced the joy of rediscovering an art form that I otherwise would have overlooked!

don’t you just love when that happens?

Piece #12 – Student guest blogger!

Piece #12-  Taylor’s Blog

awesome nyc by Taylor

My name is Taylor, I am 12 years old, and my artwork is called awesome nyc. This is a piece of art that looks like ncy I wanted it to look like nyc because when I went to visit my aunt there last summer I had a lot of fun. Plus I want to live in nyc when I get older.       –taylor    

Taylor’s project was made with chalk pastels on black paper.


Piece #10+1 – Maybe beautifully incomplete is complete?

Piece #10+1 – Maybe beautifully incomplete is complete?


Now, as an artist I must admit that I have a flair for the dramatic. THIS WAS NOT ONE OF THOSE TIMES! (refer back to piece #10)

Turns out I had a gall bladder attack, with a lovely little stone irritating my pancreas.  Apparently pancreatitis is a big deal and that led to a week in the hospital –





 (Another blog, another time.)

I missed the last two art sessions.  Just out of the hospital I visited the kids on their last day, walking cautiously in a sweatshirt and ultra-casual pj bottoms (sporting cows).  And NO ONE expected the mosaic to be finished…whew – dodged that one! 

All the kids signed the back of the board and it waited until I got it out again the next year… we continued to work on art curriculum…still not finishing it….Kids who worked on it signed the back. 

Then GPCCA became a satellite school for a larger private school and reduced the student population to pre-k and elementary grades.  The mosaic continued to wait…

Sadly, then came the announcement that due to declining enrollment the school would close its doors the end of May 2011.

SIGH… I brought it to my home where it still waits.

Beautifully incomplete…

It holds memories of teachers, kids and parents from a small, exceptional window of time. Maybe it is fitting that there are more spaces to be filled…

What do you think?


The 10th Piece – Must we suffer for our art?

The 10th piece – Must we suffer for our art?

It was the middle of my second year teaching art at the private school when I was approached by board member wanting to know if I could come up with a special art project that would involve all the kids.  She wanted it to be on permanent display and to have The 10 Commandments on it.  At that time the school had just a tiny number of students (just over 20?), but they spanned in ages from K to 10th grade. 

A Ten Commandments Art Project. Involving all the kids.  ??? I know, right?

I was sweating over this.

But inspiration comes from surprising places. It was when I was slipping on a bright colorful paisley print skirt that I GOT IT!  Hallelujah!

We would make a colorful mosaic in a similar pattern.  All my kids were capable of cutting and gluing (with different degrees of success). We could then glue the lettered 10 Commandments on top of the mosaic background.

This was before I knew anything about blogs where PAINT CHIP ART is all the rage!

Very proudly I determined that these little pieces of colorful goodness would be the perfect inexpensive, thick material that could be cut for our pieces.

Yes, we just keep on reinventing the wheel don’t we? 

I had saved paint samples left from building our home years earlier. This artist can’t get rid of anything! So I had quite a few.

But, Hear this Oh Lovers of Paint Chips:

A resourceful mother got on the phone and got boxes of old paint chips donated!!!  Apparently the store she contacted would periodically THROW OUT old samples when a color line was updated.  This was in 2006; I have no idea if stores still do this –      ‘cause I still got a whole box full!  Hee! Hee! Hee!

But it certainly could be worth checking out.

I borrowed a cricut machine from a friend to cut out words from heavy black cardstock.  A parent made the 8’x4’ board and the kids and I primed it.  Working from the skirt I sketched the design for us to follow with our colorful pieces.  Yes-it was a teachable moment.

Not long into the project it was very apparent that the meticulous cutting and gluing was loved by some and disliked by others.  My little ones put a few of their pieces on the board, but spent most of their time cutting snips of color for the other kids to glue in place. Yes, I believe this qualified as fine motor skills practice, don’t you?

I think I dedicated two art classes to the group project before moving on.  I gave older students who enjoyed it the option to continue working.  Just about everyone connected with the school added a few of their own pieces. Parents, fellow teachers and I worked on it like an old-fashioned quilting bee.  Some kids stayed after school to cut and glue.  Time was ticking and I realized we were so not going to finish by the end of the year.

But like many “over-achiever” teachers I know, I had taken on this project and I was determined to see it finished.

Cut to a Saturday night around 10pm – my kitchen and living room COVERED with papers, blades, more scraps of paper, letters.  I was cutting the 10 commandments and it was taking decidedly LONGER than I thought it should. 

Do you remember those infomercials for cricut?  All the smiling ladies with their beautiful completed projects – all done with just a few touches of a button?  

It was so not like that.

So glad God didn’t need to cut out the letters that way or poor Moses might still be up on that mountain….

 And then it happened…


All letter production HALTED!  Grandma came to spend the night with the kids. And the 45 minute drive of AGONY to the EMERGENCY ROOM ensued (fadeout)…

The truth now…do share – Have you required medical assistance in the pursuit of art?