Tag: art diary

Visual Journal Page 37: Foggy Mornings

Looking at this visual journal page immediately takes me back to my commute to my first job.

My first art position was at a high school outside of Atlanta. I drove 40 minutes straight east everyday until I hit the small town where I worked. It was a very boring drive, straight highway lined with trees. But many mornings in the fall and spring brought beautiful fog that rolled through the trees, making me forget that I was speeding along a highway.

I loved seeing it, and it brought a odd combination of comfort and eeriness watching the white, translucent fog moving through the silhouetted trees. It brought be a sense of calm before I started my crazy, jam-packed day.

SUPPLIES:

  • Visual journal
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • White paper
  • Book pages
  • Newspaper
  • Watercolor
  • Paint brush
  • India ink
  • Gesso
  • Water
  • Sharpie

HOW TO:

To create this visual journal page, I worked in sections. I first started in my book by gluing down ripped up strips of newspaper and book pages. I then painted the background using warm colors to mimic the look of a sunrise.

While waiting for the background to dry, I used India ink to paint treetop silhouettes on a separate sheet of white paper. I using heavier paper, because India ink can easily saturate printer paper and cause it to ripple and tear. I set that aside and waited for it to dry. TIP: Use a hair dryer to speed up the process!

Once the tree tops were dry, I used watered down gesso to loosely paint fog. I painted the gesso in spirals, circles, and waves to try to mimic the look.

Once the fog and trees dried, I cut them out using scissors. When collaging, I like the look of leaving an edge around objects I cut out. I think it emphasizes the fact that it’s a collage. Once the trees were cut out, I cut them down to fit in the book before gluing them in. TIP: Use a credit card to push pieces into the crease of the book.

When everything was finally put together I added the finishing touches using a thin Sharpie, text that said: “There is something eerie, yet comforting about a foggy morning.”

CHALLENGE:

Recreate a moment when you were in the car. It can be a commute, road trip, or similar! Have fun and good luck!

 

Interested in more visual journal stories, tips, and how tos? Check out my visual journal blog page here and my visual journal bundle on TPT here. Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Help spread the word and get involved with visual journaling by following, sharing, and commenting!

Visual journal page 36: The Wedding Ring Incident

A visual journal page about my husband accidentally being buried in the backyard.

This visual journal page is about the day my husband buried his wedding ring.

I have heard many ways people have lost their wedding rings. Leaving it on the bathroom sink and it slipping down the drain, pulling it off in a pair of gloves and accidentally throwing it away. But, until my own personal experience, I had never heard of someone losing their ring because they accidentally buried it.

Yes, my husband buried the physical representation of our eternal love in our backyard.

My husband is a fidgeter. He drums his fingers on any flat surface, wiggles his foot, he is in constant motion. One of his favorite fidgeting pastimes is taking off his ring and spinning it on table tops. So naturally, one afternoon when he suddenly couldn’t find his ring, my assumption was he took it off and left it somewhere without realizing it.

We walked through his day, where he had been, what he did, when he last remembered having his ring. We searched the house from top to bottom, under furniture, on tables tops, in every nook and cranny. We came up empty handed.

When I decided it was time to throw in the towel, it hit Nick. He spent all morning planting plants in the backyard, surely it fell off while he was doing yard work. I was skeptical it could simply fall off, but Nick was determined. He spent the remainder of the evening searching over our not small backyard.

The next day I assumed it was time to start thinking about a replacement, while Nick decided it was time to rent a metal detector. He spent the entire next day combing the yard with headphones on, detector to the ground, listening for beeps and digging to find what was detected.

Let me give you some context.

Our adorable Atlanta bungalow was built in 1940. In it’s hey-day East Lake was a happening Atlanta neighborhood. A beautiful lake attracted Atlantians as a vacation spot and break from city life in the late 1800’s. But, as the years passed civil rights swept the nation and white flight began happening in many cities. This caused East Lake’s previous wealthy inhabitants to leave, attracting lower income residents, and creating the racial divide that honestly still persists today. The beautiful lake that once was a public attraction was purchased, gated off, and reserved only for wealthy golfers to play the course that now surrounds it. Like most Atlanta neighborhoods, East Lake became crime ridden, home owners couldn’t afford to keep up their houses, and things took a turn for the worse. However, the last 15 years has brought new life to these Atlanta homes with people moving back into the city who are able to rehab formerly run down homes. This is wonderful for our area, but also puts our older homeowners at risk with rising property taxes. But, that is a whole separate tangent that you don’t want me to get started on.

All of this brings me to the fact that from the 1960’s until we purchased the house, our backyard was essentially a trash dump. At a glance you wouldn’t think this. But over the years the rain, wind, and other elements would slowly push the junk just under the top soil. The amount of glass we have found, and still find, over the 8 and a half years we have lived in our house is astonishing. So, as my hopeful hub was searching for his wedding ring every few inches he instead found a random piece of rusted metal, an old oil can, a random tin, an empty soda can.

Instead of spending the day searching for his ring, it turned into a day where he uncovered every piece of trash buried in the dirt for the past sixty years. In defeat he returned the metal detector and claimed his ring a lost cause.

At the end of the day he walked out back one last time. He admired a row of newly planted bushes and noticed one bush was just a few inches out of line. He reached down and pulled the plant up in order to replant it in line, and as he describes it, his ring popped out of the ground as the plant came out, as if it were a coin in a video game.

A day of searching and the use of a high tech device had failed him. What paid off in the end was his OCD.

SUPPLIES:

  • Visual journal book
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Old book pages
  • Heavier white paper
  • Watercolors
  • Paint brushes
  • Water
  • Colored pencils

HOW TO:

When it came time to create this visual journal page I was excited because I already had a vision in mind. I knew I wanted to emphasize the bush that ate Nick’s ring, and planned all along to create it in watercolor. Once I had an idea for that, I began on the background.

I wanted an earthy look, so I pulled old book pages that had a variety of page colors. I ripped them in stripes to create a softer look, and glued them down in vertical lines. Once I had the background set I sketched out the bush shape with pencil before I started with the watercolor.

I wanted the leaves to be very bright so I used the wet on wet watercolor technique. I first filled the leaf shapes in with water, then loaded green on my brush before adding it to the water filled leaf shapes. When you add watercolor pigment to water, it will fill the water shape. As long as the area around the shape is dry, it typically won’t extend beyond the limits of the water. Once I had a green base layer I introduced a dark blue at the very edge of each leaf to create a shadow.

I repeated the wet on wet technique with the bark on the trunk and roots, although I used less water so the colors wouldn’t blend as much. To fill in the dirt I simply painted dots all around the bush roots, using different shades of brown.

I really wanted the ring to stand out, since it is the focus of the story, so I decided to draw it out with colored pencil, so the material would contrast against everything else. I drew it on a separate sheet of paper, filled it in with colored pencil, then cut it out and glued it to the page. I cut sections of the ring out to show the roots painted on the page to make it appear as though the ring was overlapped by the roots.

To add the words I wanted to create a space that made sense with the rest of the image, so I drew out and painted a scroll like bar. I painted the same texture at the end of the roll as the bark on the bush, to look like it was being pulled out of the trunk of the bush. I wrote the words using a thin paintbrush and watercolor.

Through the years this page has held it’s spot as one of my favorite visual journal pages I have created. I am very happy with the final image and the story behind it is one I will never forget.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page about a piece of jewelry. It can be a sentimental piece, the loss of a piece, or the desire for something. Have fun and good luck!

Interested in more visual journal stories, tips, and how tos? Check out my visual journal blog page here and my visual journal bundle on TPT here. Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Help spread the word and get involved with visual journaling by following, sharing, and commenting!

Story Bazaar LA: A Visual Journal Journey

I have been visual journaling for the past 8 years primarily for myself and my students. But, and a couple of weeks ago I packed up one of my visual journals to head off on a journey across the country from Atlanta to LA to an event called Story Bazaar LA.

One of my longest and dearest friends, Elly, has put her time and energy into an amazing cause for a local LA charity, Ruckus Roots. They focus on bringing the arts to underprivileged youth in the Los Angeles area, something I am also passionate about. The focus of her event is story telling through a variety of mediums: poetry, fiction, fact, film, photography, music, and other forms of art.

My visual journals focus on telling the story of my life through both mundane and milestone events. Naturally, my journals fit into the theme of Elly’s project, so when she asked if she could use one, I gladly got one ready to ship.

My “Between the Lines” visual journal was mailed to Los Angeles, CA a couple of weeks ago and will be on display at the event on Sunday (6/24/18). Elly plans to have the book open to a specific page, with a blurb about the page next to it. I couldn’t decide which page to choose, so I sent her three options to pick from. You can check out my “Breathe In, Breathe Out” page here, “My Hands” page here, and Don’t Stop Arts is below (a blog post about this one will be coming soon).

I am flattered and excited to be a part of such an important and useful event. I wish I could’ve traveled alongside my visual journal to attend the event, but I will have to live vicariously through pictures and stories after the storytelling event closes.

If you live in the LA area and want more information check out the event page here, facebook page here, and get tickets here. Remember, all proceeds are donated to the amazing organization, Ruckus Roots.

Thanks for stopping by!

Teachers Pay Teachers: AP Art Curriculum including Breadth, Concentration, and Quality

For the past year I have been working crazy hard to get a comprehensive high school art curriculum put together on my Teachers Pay Teachers site. I started with my Introduction to Art curriculum, and it quickly gained popularity. I realized there was a market for complete curriculums so teachers can worry about focusing on their students and whats going on in their classrooms, rather than the lesson plans.

After the success of my Intro to Art curriculum I formulated a plan. I would create a curriculum bundle back for all the high school art courses I have experience with, then bundle all of those into a mega-super-TPT-art bundle. As of last week I completed my AP Art 2D Design and Drawing curriculum, which completed my 2D focused high school art curriculum. This huge bundle includes year-long intro to art, advanced art, and AP art curriculums and semester long drawing and painting curriculums.

This was a HUGE accomplishment for me and a goal I’ve been working towards for a year. However, for this blog post I am going to focus on the details of my AP Art bundle, and save the high school art curriculum for a later post. Check out the details of my AP Studio Art course below.

I taught AP Art for a few years at my last job, and loved it, but it was an overwhelming task to take on. It’s difficult to motivate students to produce the amount of work required for the AP art portfolio. After taking a break from teaching it and a lot of reflection, I began developing some material that would have helped me a lot in the beginning.

I did go through an AP certification course, but it’s a single week in the summer. I get a ton of good information and head start on the year, but the things we covered quickly left my brain as we got into the grittiness that is spring semester. If I make my way back to teaching AP art at my current job, I am excited to now have these resources to help me, and my students stay on top of the rigorous schedule.

In addition the meat of the AP art portfolio, projects for breath, concentration, and quality, I also include a yearlong timeline, printable calendar with every deadline, homework assignments, AP Art application, syllabus, parent and student agreement, summer work, supply list, sticker chart, and so much more. I have specifics that go along with each portfolio section as well as lesson plans, presentations, and evaluation sheets to go with each project.

BREADTH ASSIGNMENTS:

The breath section requires 12 works of art submitted (for 2D Design and Drawing portfolios), which can include details. I lay out 14 breadth assignments to be completed in semester one. This may seem like a lot, but some take longer than others, and it’s important for students to be able to select their best works of art, which means ideally more than 12 are created. In my breadth bundle in addition to project information I include lesson plans, handouts, evaluation sheets, critique sheets, PowerPoints, examples, and more for every project. Below are details on the 14 assignments:

Semester Long Canvas:

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • A focus on working on a work of art for an extended period of time, encouraging creativity and problem solving.
  • The ability to take breaks and work on it when inspiration hits.
  • Artist exemplars: Gustav Klimt and Pirkko Makela-Haapalinna

Bones and Exoskeletons

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • A focus on technical ability, value, and object studies.
  • Putting their own spin on a traditional subject matter.
  • Artist exemplars: Albrecht Durer and Jason Borders.

Perspective

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • A focus on technical ability, foreshortening, and displaying understanding of perspective in art.
  • Artist exemplars: M.C. Escher and Stephen Wright.

Design

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • A focus on design elements in both the 2D design and drawing portfolios.
  • Show an understanding of using the elements of art and principles of design in a work of art.
  • Artist exemplars: Jasper Johns, Leonardo da Vinci, and Barbara Kruger.

Portrait with Words

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • A focus on value, line quality, portraiture, and a connection between text and imagery.
  • Artist exemplars: Leslie Nichols, Jamie Poole, and Michael Volpicellis

Ordinary Behavior

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • Focus on elevating the ordinary subject matter through the composition and medium.
  • Artist exemplars: Henry Mosler, Ralph Goings, and William Wray.

Action Portrait

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • Artist exemplars: Edgar Degas and Nikunj Rathod
  • Focus on using the elements of art and principles of design to create a sense of movement.
  • Creating a dynamic work of art.

Abstract Acrylic

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • Artist exemplars: Piet Mondrian, Wassily Kandinsky, and Mark Rothko
  • A focus on line, shape, color, balance, unity, and focal point.

Unusual Interiors

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • Focus on light, perspective, and overlooked or not typically seen as “beautiful” interior spaces.
  • Artist exemplars: Edward Hopper and Richard Estes.

Layers and Mixed Media

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • Focus on layers, mixed media, and blurring the lines between the figure/ground relationship through stable, reversible, and ambiguous figure/ground.
  • Artist exemplars: Juan Gris and Christina McPhee

Satire in Art

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • Focus on a current issue through satire and humor.
  • Artist exemplars: James Gillray, Nate Beeler, and Paul Kuczynski

10 Interesting Photographs

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • Turn one of the student’s 10 interesting photographs homework assignment into a work of art.
  • Artist exemplars: Student selects one through research.

Scan & RepurposeEverything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • Take a work of art from earlier in the semester or a previous art course and turn it into a new work of art.
  • Scan the old work of art into the computer and digitally manipulate it or scan, print, and complete a transfer onto a new background.
  • Artist exemplars: Student selects one through research.

Visual Jourmal

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

  • Eight visual journal pages are due by the end of the semester.

CONCENTRATION:

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

The concentration section of the portfolio requires 12 works of art (for 2D design and drawing portfolios) that all fit under one theme. My concentration bundle pack includes 2D Design and Drawing specific introduction PowerPoints as well as lesson plans, handouts, information sheets, evaluation sheets, critique reminders and more. This bundle is meant to serve as a guide for how students can pick a topic that can last through at least 12 works of art.

QUALITY:

The quality section of the AP art portfolio has the students select 5 of their best works of art to be physically mailed in to be evaluated. My quality bundle pack includes details and information sheets to help guide the students, a PowerPoint, lesson plan, submission guidelines, teacher tips, planning an AP art exhibit, and so much more.

The AP Art bundle is my largest curriculum undertaking to date. I have spent endless hours putting it together, and I must say I am very proud. Since it was posted last week, I have already sold a few, and I can’t wait to hear feedback.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog. Help me spread the word by sharing with others. Check out my other TPT and art education blog posts here. Check out my other TPT products here. Thanks for stopping by!

Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.
Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.
Everything you need to teach an entire year in AP Studio Art including breadth, concentration and quality sections.

Preparing for Baby Girl: A, Modern, Folksy, and Whimsical Nursery

 

Baby girl's crib with a floral pattern bumper, bright windows, and the ABC's hanging on the wall.

This past November Nick and I welcomed our second child, the sweetest little girl named Kennedy. We were equal parts excited and terrified for her arrival. Having gone through it once made me more fearful because I knew exactly what was coming. There were going to be a lot of sleepless nights, a seemingly endless feeding schedule, and barely any showers; plus I also had to care for our two year old (wild man Cooper).

Before Cooper’s arrival in November 2015, I planned, prepped, and set goals to have everything ready before I started back at work in August. With it just being Nick and me (plus a handful of chickens and dogs) my goals were easily accomplished. Cooper’s nursery was ready to go months in advance. In the weeks leading up to his birth I sat around, caught up on shows, and daydreamed about life with a little.

In the weeks leading up to Kennedy’s arrival there was no sitting around or daydreaming. In August 2017 I realized a baby would be in our house in three months and I had not started preparing anything, at this point with Cooper I was already done. As the weeks passed, I would contemplate layout, design, and what needed to be purchased in between chasing Cooper and cleaning up after a two year old tornado, but there never seemed to be enough time to actually act. As 11/21/17 showed up around the corner I finally jumped in. Step one was setting up Cooper’s big boy room so I could move the crib to Kennedy’s room (more on that to come in the near future). Step two was to order furniture, rugs, and side tables, plus enlist the help of my mom to create her bedding. I was running out of time.

Just two weeks before Kennedy’s arrival, I finally got everything in place. And although her room was a much quicker process than Cooper’s, her room has become my favorite room in the house. The combination of soft neutrals, pops of color, and amazing bright light create a tranquil space.

One of the first things I did when I finally got started was begin looking at fabric patterns on Spoonflower. Luckily, I have a very talented mom who was willing and able to help me with Kennedy’s bedding. I knew I wanted something big, floral, and feminine (but not too pink or over the top girly) and for some reason I was really set on orange and green. It didn’t take long for me to find a pattern that was not quite orange but not quite pink and was just what I was looking for. I paired it with a simple  green stripe for the skirt. The name of the green stripe pattern was “She is Fierce,” which is perfect for the strong, independent, feminist woman I plan to raise. Side note: The bumpers were removed before baby girl began sleeping in her crib. They will make their way back in once her ligaments start getting stuck between the bars at night. 

The alphabet hanging above Kennedy’s crib also came from Cooper’s nursery. I have been working in mixed media, oil paint, and encaustic for the last 7 or so years and began making letters around that time. At first, the hanging alphabet was more of a necessity. I didn’t have the space to store all of them so I decided to display them. When we found out Cooper was coming along, it just made sense to keep them up in his room. You can read more about the encaustic process here. 

The next items I had to focus my attention on were the rug and dresser/changing table. Because both of these items had to be ordered and shipped, I needed enough time to get them in. The rug came from Overstock.com, where I buy all my rugs. It was incredibly affordable for the size, which means it can also be ruined without me stressing over cost to replace it. The dresser came from Ikea and seems to be the standard go to for any nursery. I can’t count the number of times I have seen this in my friends’ nurseries and displayed in nurseries online. It’s durable and the perfect height for a changing pad. The Diaper Genie, baskets, and changing pad were all recycled from Cooper’s nursery.

One of my favorite things in her room is the window hanging above her changing table. This was in the first apartment I moved into in Atlanta after college. It was stowed away in a high up nook in the living room. The previous tenant had left it behind and I fell in love with it. When it came time for me to move out of my adorable upstairs duplex, on top of a hill in Lake Claire and into my East Lake home with my soon to be husband, you better believe this came with me. It lived in our kitchen for 7 years until I decided it was perfect for Kennedy. I have no idea who the woman is in the image, but I love her confidence.

The orange vintage chair was found at my favorite antique spot in Atlanta, Kudzu Antiques. I purchased it not even considering using it in Kennedy’s room, but it was the exact color orange I had in mind for the accent color in her room, it was meant to be. The pillow was found on Etsy and the stuffed animal was bought at a craft fair. I fell in love with the donkey and it was the first toy I purchased for her.

The glider was also recycled from Cooper’s room. There was something very special about continuing the tradition of feeding and rocking my babies in this amazingly comfortable spot. The fox pillow and side table were purchased from Target and the lamp and basket were purchased from World Market. I loved the juxtaposition of the modern, clean lines in the lamp and side table vs. the soft, whimsical pattern on the wall and in the rug. And of course the orange fox pillow went perfectly with the orange chair.

Another important piece in Kennedy’s room is this beautiful metal shelf. I purchased it at an estate sale the first year I lived in Atlanta. I fell in love with the green color of the bars and the antique feel of the rust. After I bought it I never found a place to hang it. This beautiful piece sat in storage for seven years before the light bulb came on and I realized how perfect it was here. It looks amazing hanging on the opposite wall from the old window above the changing table.

The chicken stuffed animal was a gift from a coworker. I knew it had to have a prominent spot because I know Kennedy will love chickens as much as I do. The K print and the floral print came from Etsy. While looking for artwork I wanted something modern and more soft. The colors in the floral print pick up the neutrals, greens, and oranges I wanted in her room and the K is clean, has good contrast, and looks beautiful next to the other print. I selected a few books from Cooper’s vast collection, and intentionally chose colors that would compliment her room.

Before this room became Kennedy’s room it was our guest room. When it came time to convert it I opted not to paint the walls, the colors were already exactly what I wanted. The pattern on the wall was painted on using a patterned paint roller. You can read details about that process here. 

The hanging terrariums also came from World Market. Nick found a birds nest around this time and it was another perfect and personal addition.

On the opposite wall from the crib is my art armoire. The dark wood doesn’t exactly fit with the decor and the scratched up finish is less than ideal. However, this is a necessary piece of furniture in our house, it holds all of my art supplies (not including the shelf in the top of Kennedy’s closet that is home to all of my artwork). I spent so much time brainstorming spots for this piece, but nothing worked in our small house. I’m hesitant to give it up for something more trendy or in line with the decor in her room because it does have sentimental value. This was purchased by my parents shortly after getting married at a garage sale. It was already loved and old when they purchased it, now twenty to thirty years later it lives with me. It would cost more to refurbish it than it’s worth, but it’s worth a lot to me in memories. It’s on my mental checklist to either take on a DIY refurbish or bite the bullet and pay someone to do it. I’m sure I will post about it here when I finally find time to do it.

Sleeping baby

Now almost six months later, sweet Kennedy is sleeping soundly in her crib every night. I love sitting in her bright, warm room rocking her in Cooper’s glider and thinking about all the great things she will do in life. While a nursery isn’t necessary, a baby will sleep just as well in a crib in the corner of your room than in their own room, it is nice to have a space that she can call her own and that I can escape to for some baby snuggles while Cooper is being a tornado in the rest of the house.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Help me spread the word by sharing with others. Thanks for stopping by!