Thursday, December 20, 2012

Optical Illusions

International Academy students created these amazing optical illusions! We began by learning the basics of perspective. Students can then manipulate horizon lines and vanishing points to trick the eye. Students drew these out step-by-step and incorporated important math concepts like measurement and parallel lines. We then used colored pencils and kept two sides lighter to mimic a light source and add to the illusion. The cool thing about these boxes is that one way it looks like the cube is sticking out, but when flipped upside-down the cube is missing!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Arts and Activities Magazine

Here is a copy of the article I wrote for Arts & Activities magazine! There is a link to view the online version of the magazine:

The article features artworks from Dealey students Brady, Elvina and Leslie and appears in the January issue.

This was a huge career goal for me and I am so happy to see it come true! This is only the beginning, I have several more articles approved and waiting for publication in Arts & Activities magazine and also in SchoolArts magazine!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

African Mask Monoprints

Students began by learning about African masks from Mali and Guinea. We then created a life size mask and covered all the lines with yarn and beads. These masks were then rolled over with white paint and printed on black paper. This is called a monoprint because it yields one print. Students then accented these prints with gold paint. We mounted the masks on banana leaf paper and framed them with symmetrical shapes. The students really enjoy making masks- this project was great because students have the print and the yarn mask to keep once finished.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Leaves are Falling!

These adorable fall trees were created by our PreK and Kinder classes. We began by scoring a paper with a crayon and painting a bare winter tree with many branches. Students then cut out leaves in various colors and placed them on, falling from, or under the tree. Students loved creating these and they make for a great fall display!

Frank Lloyd Wright Prints

International Academy students completed these geometric prints in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright. After looking at Wright's stained glass window designs, students created geometric designs using rulers and circle templates. These designs were then carved into styrofoam and printed onto watercolor paintings. This project provides a great connection into math and architecture and the finished prints look amazing!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cubist Still Life Collage

Students began this lesson by learning about Cubism and its leading artist Pablo Picasso. We then spent two class periods creating a still life drawing. This drawing was then intersected with various lines to create the typical Cubist view of seeing the subject from multiple angles. Students then filled in the sections with different values of one color, magazine print and brown pastel. The violin and print were used to symbolize the influence Cubism had on music and literature.

Matisse Goldfish

Students learned about the vibrant and colorful paintings of Matisse and created these in his signature style. We learned about Matisse's love for color and goldfish and created some brightly colored watercolor paintings. Next, we added some cutouts similar to those used in his artworks. During the final class, students created a small table and bowl that were filled with lightly brushed goldfish. The finished paintings really capture the style of the artist and the students learned a lot about Matisse!

Friday, November 2, 2012


Raven is a trickster tale from the Pacific Northwest. Raven is a bird living in a world of darkness, until he steals light from the great Sky Chief and gives it to the world. It is a interesting Native folktale describing where the sun came from and a Caldecott award winning book. We began by cutting out Raven and adding brightly colored designs to his body. Next, we created textural paintings for an interesting dark sky. The final class, students added a symmetrical cut out border using similar shapes from the body. This was a highly successful lesson for all students and a greatly enjoyed story as well!

Painting Patterns

PreK and Kinder students began learning how to use simple lines and shapes and turn them into patterns. Students needed to demonstrate how to create many different patterns in several different colors. We then painted over these patterns with watercolor paints. This is a great introductory lesson to familiarize students with how to use patterns in artworks and how to use watercolor paints. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Warm and Cool Autumn Trees

International Academy students created these vibrantly styled Autumn trees! We began by making a simple grid and drawing a simple tree. Students learned about pattern and contrast by creating many different designs in each square within the tree. The leaves and background were then filled in using colored pencils. Students needed to identify the two color schemes(warm and cool) used in the artwork to create additional contrast. This project served as a great introduction to patterns and color schemes but also introduced the art style of Cubism, which we focused on more deeply in our current mixed media project.

Britto Style Pumpkins

The 4th-6th grade claases created these brightly colored pumpkins just in time for fall! We began by learning about the origins of pop art. Students recognized the use of bright colors and black outlines in many pop artworks. We drew out our pumpkins with thick black lines and used brightly colored watercolor paint to give them a pop art feel. We then looked at current Miami based pop artist Romero Britto and his style of brightly colored patterns. Students added simple patterns using white and tints of orange. Students were also able to recognize EVERY element of art used in this project- line, shape, space, color, value, texture and form!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Glue Shoe Paintings

International Academy students continued the year with a different type of self-portrait. We did some detailed contour line drawings of our shoes in class. These drawings were then transferred onto a large paper and then traced over with a black glue. The black glue gives objects a nice and solid black outline that also shows a nice movement. Students extended the lines of the shoes out into the background and finished it off with some watercolor paint. These paintings are great because they show a great deal of the students personality, both in the style of shoe and the way it was painted.

Warm and Cool Color Self-Portraits

The 4-6 classes began the year with these vibrant self-portraits! We began by drawing a proportional and realistic self-portrait during the first class. Next, we outlined the portrait with crayons and created detailed patterns for the background. Students needed to do the designs on half the page with warm colors (red, yellow and orange) and use cool colors (blue, green and violet) on the other half. We finished them off with watercolor paints and continued the warm/cool color scheme. The results are fantastic and show a lot of personality!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pastel Portraits

This has become a signature project for the middle school classes and it's one of my favorites! We begin by taking a photograph and drawing a half inch grid over it. We then draw a 1 and 1/2 inch grid over a large paper and transfer the information to create an equal ratio. The students love this project because the drawings are so accurate and proportional! We then use oil pastels to create realistic values that make the drawing more dimensional. The results are fantastic and really capture the look of the artists!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bug Jars

The 1-3 classes finished their first project, a big jar filled with detailed, symmetrical insects! We began by drawing several insects- they needed to be symmetrical and have many details like legs, antennae, spots, wings and tails. We also used some painted paper to create some cut out insects. As a final touch, we outlined the bugs and colored the lids. This was a fun way to turn the summer activity of collecting bugs in a jar into an interesting art project!