Friday, March 24, 2017

Youth Art Month

Wow!  I haven't been on my blog in a log time.  I came back to look for a lesson and I had a few nostalgic moments looking at some of my old students and sweet elementary art projects!  I want to start sharing again.

March is YOUTH ART MONTH!  I have been having a wonderful month with my students of all ages celebrating art and embracing the artist in all of us.  Our festivities actually started months ago as I prepared my classes for the Utah YAM flag contest.   This is sort of a big deal for me because I am in charge of YAM in Utah.  For the past several years I held this cool contest but I always made my own students help me judge it or be innocent bystanders.  I thought it might be a bit awkward for me if one of my students actually won the contest so I think avoided that scenario.

This year, however, I decided that I wanted my students fully involved in the contest.  I asked my students to prepare entries... and I got different judges!  I was so proud when one of my amazing art students won the contest! The theme for the YAM flag contest this year  was United Through Art.  This winning entry was turned into a flag representing the state of Utah and was flown at the NAEA YAM museum in NYC a few weeks ago.

Quentin Drake - 2017 Utah YAM Flag Winner

As a continuation of the fun, March 20-24 was ART WEEK at Union High School.  We had fun activities planned each day at lunch in the commons.  Monday was Zentangle Day. Tuesday we took photos with with Mona Lisa.  Wednesday was a "Quick Draw" contest.  Thursday was sticky note art day and on Friday we had a contest for a fun school art slogan.  We also put as much art on display as we could.  This was an our informal art show and we had a lot of fun creating a few meaningful displays using ideas from the new Utah Art Core Standards!  

I will try to come back and add a few pictures of the show and our activities.  It has been too long since I have blogged and I have a lot of fun things to share.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Expansion of BTS/ALP!

There has been a lot of excitement in our district this year as the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts learning program was expanded to every school in our small rural county.  I have had the opportunity to coordinate this program and provide support to the new teachers.  We offer a lot of thanks to the Utah State Legislature for funding this program to benefit the children in Utah.  As I visit with the teachers I will try to share more lesson ideas for elementary as well as high school classes!

We welcome our Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program Teachers:

Tyler Spunaugle - Altamont Elementary and Tabiona School
Ginger Chamberlain - Centennial and East Elementary
Carla McGee - Neola Elementary
Sandy Wilde - Duchesne Elementary and Tabiona School
Sophia Su - Conamore School, Kings Peak and Myton Elementary.
Elizabeth Sampson -  BYU Professional Development Partner for BTS/ALP.

Thank you for your support!  Photos will follow shortly.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Art Journaling at Union

I have been immersing myself in art the last few years.  During some personal stresses over the last few years.  art journaling has become  a great comfort to me and I have tried to pass this onto my students.

Last year, I was in the testing phase, but this year I was able to officially launch an Art Journaling class as an elective at Union High School.  This class has been my passion and we have so much fun energy and excitement every day.  As part of the class, I am teaching the elements and principles of art combined with creative writing and self-expression.  Every day we learn a new mixed media art technique and the students are able to combine these techniques into creating meaningful art journal spreads and entries.

We are now at the end of the 1st quarter and I am starting to see some creative elements come to fruition.   As a note, we are working in old discarded library books.  It has been fun to work in these recycled books as we see them come alive in color as the students turn the book into a work of art.

Each student created some type of name art.  These were all so fun and different depending on the  style of individual students.  

Found Poetry.  This can later be be turned into artwork by adding gesso or paint.

Creating a creative color wheel page by mixing primary colors.  The idea for this activity came from a past issue of Arts and Activities magazine.   I think that non-traditional color wheels are very fun for students and this activity gives them the practice mixing colors without the stress of conforming to the standard color wheel form.  Students can later journal in the different geometric areas. 

Chalk art page created on top of black gesso with Prismacolor colored pencils.

I love this student's creative adaptation to the title page in her book.
She has filled her book with random graffiti in addition to her artwork
and it has become a very expressive journal.

Pocket Pages.  These are a neat way to store photos, letters and ideas for future pages.

I first discovered altered books at local teacher workshops about 6 years ago.    I have truly enjoyed the process involved in this art form.  I have listed below a list of my favorite art journaling teachers.

Joanne Memmott
You need to find her posts on altered books!  Joann is an amazing artist and she is also my friend and colleague.  She is  Co-President of the Utah Art Education Associate and has done many research projects based on arts integration.  JoAnn was my very first mentor in art education and she turned me onto the power of recycled books and art journaling. She shares many of her ideas in Memmott's Art Ideas on pinterest.  She used to have a page where you could buy lesson plans for a minimal fee.  I could not get the link to work, but I will try to find out more about it.  I have downloaded many of her lesson plans and used them in my classes.

Maria and Rick Thomas
I had the privilege to travel to Boston 4 years ago and attend a teacher training class from Maria and Rick.  As a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) I use Zentangle and patterning in all of my high school art classes.  This is such a beautiful and relaxing style of art and even a beginner can create beautiful art using this method.  I highly recommend everything they have to offer.

Online Teachers:

Jane Davenport
I love love love every class I have taken from Jane.  She has taught me to accept my own art and find the joy in creating art.  My first class with Jane was Draw Happy II and I would recommend everyone start with either that or Draw Happy.  I find in teaching high school students that this is my biggest challenge.  So many students are critical of their own work and have difficulty finding self acceptance that can lead to joy and healing in their artwork.  I have now completed  I heart drawing, Joynal,  Express Yourself and Supplies Me, although not necessarily in that order.

Marieke Blokland  
I am currently taking her Mixed Media and Art Journaling class.  I have taken everything she has offered and I love her fresh perspective and her cheerful teaching style. 

Tamera Laporte -  Life Book 
I discovered Tam a few years ago and this is the first mixed media class I was exposed to.  This class has been transformational for me as an artist.  I seldom do  all the lessons, but it is nice to have a smorgasbord of ideas to choose from.  Most of the other teachers I have discovered have been because of Life Book!

Effy Wild
I am currently taking several of Effy's classes including Book of Days, Moonshine and Radiant Faces.  I have enjoyed her down to earth teaching style that is perfect for beginners.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Changes Abound...

Watercolor Ink Flowers -   Students created ink blots and then transformed the blots into flowers.  
All art requires courage.  Life requires courage.

Last May, my dear friend Allison passed away from stomach cancer. She was my substitute, my friend, the one who got me through the death of my husband.  Somehow, I couldn't see continuing without her.  About the same time, an art job opened up at the high school, and after some thought, I  made a career switch… going from elementary art to high school.  I was hoping this new job would work better with my family, and in many ways it has. There were so many changes in my life so quickly.  Making this switch has been a huge change for me.

On that level, I have found that dealing with high school students is challenging and rewarding.  Art is such an emotionally charged field, because of this whole courage issue.  It is scary putting your work up there for everyone to see.  It is easy to say "I can't draw" because of the fear of failure.  Sometimes it is so much easier to not try.

That said, the first semester is almost over.  I have taken a group of students who couldn't draw and they have transformed themselves in to amazing competent artists.  I couldn't be more pleased.  I will try to post some of their work over the next few months.  I hope you will stay tuned and share your own ideas as well.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Sorenson Legacy Awards

Sorenson Legacy Award Winners - Duchesne County School District

Congratulations to two of my friends for being selected as Sorenson Legacy Award recipients for 2013.  This is a great honor!   Chris Dye is our Junior High Art Teacher and  Michele Catten is our wonderful art volunteer!

My Essential Art Supplies

These are the supplies I order over and over again and are essential for teaching elementary art.  I am sure other supplies are great, but these are my favorites.

Crayola Tempera Paint in a variety of colors.  The white and yellow paint in other brands is very translucent but I like the texture and opacity of this brand for nice coverage.  I use this for  my cherry blossom painting and for sponge painting.

Sax #10 round paint brushes.  These have a nice spring to them and they are a good size for young children.  I have been very happy with the quality at the price.  I purchase these brushes from

Super large round brushes with a nice tip for watercolor washes and large scale painting.  Sometimes these are called stubby brushes.  I tend to spend more money on this item to get quality rather than buying these in bulk as the cheaper brushes have flyaway bristles.  A nice set of these will last a long time.  

Cray-Pas Oil Pastels.  These come in a variety of sizes, but I usually order the 25 color sets.  This gives a nice variety to the color and allows for shading.  If you get the larger color packs, the primary colors will be used up before all the rest of the colors.  In teaching 200 children with a project, 25 boxes will b used up by the end of the project, so you will need to order enough boxes for multiple projects depending on what you will doing.

Sharpies -- both fine point and regular point.  I love love love these for outlining.  If you are teaching 200 plus children, you will need multiple boxes as the points will start to break down.  I usually buy 6-8 dozen of each size per year depending on the projects I am working on.

Basic Watercolor Sets -  Get a good brand for the best color.  More expensive paints have less filler and more color.  My basic advice is that you get what you pay for.   30 sets will last a long time especially if you refill the colors you use up.

Crayola Construction Paper Crayons - Bulk Pack.  We don't do many art projects with crayons, but when we do, this is the crayon I use.  I try to buy a bulk pack box of these each year and they are my favorite for anything we do on construction paper.

Watercolor Paper -  I have struggled finding a good student grade watercolor paper in past years.  Right now, I don't have anything to recommend to you. I have found that the quality of paper is going down and that sometimes the paper won't work with a certain process.   I would recommend that you buy the best paper you can afford and test the paper before you begin the project.  For student work,  I am leaning toward the Canson Student Grade Watercolor pads that I purchased from Art Supply Warehouse.  Heavy weight 80# drawing paper can also work well for painting with young children.    For my own work, I use Arches 100% cotton 140 pound paper.  I prefer the cold press because of the texture, but the hot press has a very flat texture and is also very nice.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Keith Haring Revisited - 2nd Grade Art

I have been very behind on the blog!   Now that school is out, I will try to go back and post some of the best projects and also share some of our fabulous displays at from our spring art show.  We hope you are able to get some great ideas for your own art projects.

As one our our last projects of the year, Mr. Christensen's class decided to revisit our Keith Haring Jumping Kids art lesson, this time creating art for our recycled art journals.  For the art journal ideas... see the post from earlier in the year.   This Keith Haring art was such a fun little project an the 2nd graders really had a wonderful time in a very relaxed art lesson.  I use this lesson to teach self-awareness.  The children really had fun thinking about how their bodies move... and then drawing little people to represent the movement.

To begin this lesson we watched a power point about Keith Haring and practiced drawing little "tornado" people to get the children used to drawing the basic shape of the human form.

Once the children had practiced drawing people in their sketchbook, they created a "texture" floor on a two page spread in their recycled art book using crayons.  We did this a bit differently than we did in the past.  You could also do this art project on regular paper instead of in a book.

After the children had finished making their floor, they started drawing little people on construction paper, cutting out them out and gluing them down to show creative movement.

The motion lines gave the feeling of movement and rhythm to the artwork.

This was so much fun!  The children really loved doing this art in their recycled art journal.  For a copy of my lesson plan for this project  please visit the Keith Haring foundation at this address:

I teach this a little differently every time, but the basic components of the lesson are there!