Saturday, December 31, 2011


We are naturally geared (and conditioned) to use the end of something as an opportunity to reflect on where we've been, what we've done and/or how we might change.

As an artist, I love the act of reflection and do it circularly and effortlessly throughout all phases of the creative process - not just at the end. Artists have to think about and understand their decisions in order to move forward. Focus + reflection = meaningful action. Without it, you sit in place.

As a teacher, I reflect the same way - (constantly). How better to know where you're going than to understand, notice, recognize and appreciate where you are, not just where you've been? Thanks for joining me on the journey. Happy New Year HTHS. Here's to 2012!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

i.d.entity collage

We have been hard at work on our mixed media collages. The energy involved is like watching a tornado of materials and ideas flying around in circles until something settles into place. My students are getting close to being done and so far, I'm pleased with the results!

These 7 x 7 inch mixed media works are their non-representational self portraits. I will post more when other students finish.

Featured here TL - BR: Kathleen D, Emily D, Sammi S and Olivia S.

Great job girls!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Self Portraits

A lot of my students are finished with their 18 x 24 inch Tempera Batik Self-Portraits. Below is a slideshow of the process and some of the finished works! I'm so proud of how well my students handled such a big undertaking! Click here to see even more student work and learn more about the assignment!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Art @ NJEA

For the past three years I have organized a statewide preK - 12th grade student art exhibit called Art @ NJEA. The event is sponsored by The Art Educators of New Jersey and is located right on the exhibition floor of the NJEA Teacher's Convention. The show featured 75 pieces of work from 26 teachers in 10 of the 21 counties from around the state.

Haddon Township High School was represented by four students this year (TL, TR, BL, BR): Caitlynne C, Emily D, Emily H and Ally D

Congratulations girls and thank you for doing such great work!

Below is a slide show of the K-12 Exhibit!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Self-Portrait Color Studies

Here are a few of our 9 x 12 inch color studies. I love them and am so pleased with how they are coming out so far...I hope having practice and going big only gets better!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

1st Marking Period Requirements

1. Blog Obligations due by midnight NOVEMBER 3.
Three Posts on the topics below: one assignment grade

• Fruit: (Pencil still life and/or colored pencil apple)
Discuss the process, your progress and the experience you have had working in pencil and/or colored pencil.

• Self-Portrait Progress:
Discuss the portrait you are currently working on.

• Reflect on the Marking Period:
Think about where you started (in your head and in your skills) and reflect on how you feel you have grown, changed or stayed the same. Think about why you feel the way you feel and what your role in all of it is. Also, think about if you
felt a “shift” – was there a moment when things felt different? If so, describe it.

2. Technology Sketch due at the end of class on NOVEMBER 7.
Quality sketch completed on the paper appropriate for your book: one assignment grade

All other grades for in-class work have already been recorded.

Want to be inspired? Look at these student blogs!
Emily D, Nikki D, Caitlynne C, Helena V, Selena S, Sandra S, Evan T

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fantastic Faces

If you were to ask my students if they feel like they have been staring at and drawing their face for forever, they might say, "Yes!"

But the truth is, it's only been 6 class periods and some are already starting to practice their monochromatic color scheme painting.

Click here to see more faces!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Infusion of Color

This week, the students also used apples as the subject matter for these colored pencil studies. From top to bottom: Tara M (11th), Olivia D (11th), Joey K (12th) and Patti A (11th).

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fruit Drawings

Our drawings came together and took about 5 days to complete from sketching to shading. We knew from the start that the fruit wouldn't last forever, so the students took a picture of their composition with their phone or ipad - and used it like a digital cropping and documenting tool. (I consider this acceptable use of technology, even though students are technically required to have their phones off and away.) After the fruit got moldy and was taken home to my compost pile, the students drew from their pictures as reference.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Week of Respect

Beginning this October, New Jersey is requiring its schools, students and faculty to engage in and acknowledge an annual Week of Respect. In an effort to provide the contemplation that this state-wide initiative is asking of us as citizens, I would like you, my students, to reflect on the concept of respect.

Let’s first consider the reality that many people write, speak and sing about respect (all creative and artistic efforts) - but yet, we as humans do not necessarily honor it in or offer it to each other very graciously.

Please compose a written comment on this post to the following questions:
1. How is your respect for something or someone best communicated: through actions or words?

2. Who deserves to be treated respectfully (everyone or just a few)? Elaborate on your reasons why.

Your comments must be posted by 3pm on Monday October 10.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Art & Science Prevail

Well, so much for miracles…science won out, but so did art! Four days into our drawing lesson, our fruit was brown and slimy bringing with it a friendly infestation of fruit flies. I tried performing a rot-endectomy, slicing off the brown outside layer of the cut fruits, (to bide us a little bit more time) but even a lemon juice miracle could not stop science.

Our once succulent fruit has returned to the good earth in my compost pile! Ah, the circle of life.

Classroom bugs and all, it was worth it! The assignment generated a positive experience for the students, and while they might be a tad more critical of their success than I am as their teacher, I am pleased with their efforts and results. No one can learn how to do something, or how to get better at doing something…without actually doing it! Funny how that education thing works.

Of course, we aren’t the only artists who have drawn rotting fruit. Consider Caravaggio, the Italian Baroque Master (1571-1610) who painted "Basket of Fruit" in 1599. Images of my students' drawings will come soon!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Lemon Juice Miracle!

My students are drawing from fruit arrangements that are placed in the center of each table. Since I'm new to this whole "teaching drawing thing", I was hesitant to use fruit because of its short life-span. But decided to do it anyway.

In the morning as I prepared and arranged the plates for each table, I dipped the cut apples into lemon juice, knowing that doing so would slow the browning process. As an extra precaution, I also painted the fruit at the end of the day with more lemon juice and covered it with saran wrap (providing a tight seal to the cut pieces), and left them on the tables over night. I did all this, hoping for the best....but expecting the worst.

Hooray - it's a lemon juice miracle!! It didn't just slow the browning practically prevented it - even un-refrigerated! This photo is the fruit on DAY #2! Clearly, you can sense my excitement! I'm pleased by the simple things.

My students are drawing on paper that can become the pages for their future books. Since all levels of my students are mixed together in one class, I find that a simple observational drawing activity is a great way to help my new art students feel comfortable drawing, while allowing my more experienced students the freedom to hit the ground running.

Friday, September 23, 2011

13 Days & A Folder Full of Fun

Today is our 13th full day of school. Hard to believe, I have met with my students for 546 minutes or roughly 9 hours. It's funny to think far, we have built our blogs, written a post, created various decorative papers for our visual journals and will begin our first drawing assignment on Monday! I think my students are already starting to feel accomplished, even though our actions have only been in preparation for the big things to come. Just like life, it feels good to be prepared.

This year to provide them with a sense of ownership, I have given all of my students 3 of their very own drawing pencils, 2 markers, 2 blending stumps and 2 erasers. Now they are artists with their own tools - and I'm looking forward to seeing what they will do with them!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Messy & Clean!

We are leading double lives and going back and forth from dirty work in my art classroom and clean work in the computer lab.

My messy art room is getting some serious action as we create decorative papers for our visual journals. These papers will become the pages of our books when we create them later this year. Look here to see pictures of last year's books.

The clean computer lab is allowing the students some class time to prepare their blogs. We go public this week. I do admit that clean is nice...but I feel a little bit more like myself when I have colorful stains on my hands!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

CA Blog Requirements

Today is the 7th full day of we're just getting started...

1. Add an image to your profile. This cannot be a recognizable picture of your face, but the image will become the icon for your blog, so pick something that represents you.

2. Write a description statement for your profile.

3. Finalize the title of your blog and consider writing a statement in the blog description. This can be an overview statement, inspiring quote, a passage from a book etc. Use it to set the tone of your blog.

4. In the template designer you can change your theme, color scheme, adjust your layout...the works! Use it to make your blog look the way you want it to look.

5. Create a welcome/intro post. Here's mine from 2010 when I first started blogging! Try adding a photo to your post.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Big Day of Blogs!

Here we are diligently working on creating our blogs! The energy created by a group that is advancing toward a common goal is invigorating! Thanks CA students for doing such a great job getting started. If you'd like to share a comment about your experience today, I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Coming Soon!

This blog will feature the work of the Creative Arts students. Please check back for more information!