Monday, September 12, 2016

Photoshop Tutorials

Working with students at all levels of ability makes life fun and interesting.  Sometimes, it makes things a little tricky as well. Like teaching Photoshop. But this year I am determined to change this by creating a series of tutorials for my students to use.

I am fully aware that my videos are lame. However, if they can help my students learn how to use Photoshop, then being the creator of sad videos is worth it.

Yes, I am sure that there are some fantastic videos out there that I could purchase.. the problem is that they are not created for what I need!

So far I have 19 videos made and they are working. While I still have to answer some basic questions about Photoshop every.single.time, the productivity level of my students has skyrocketed.

Feel free to use my tutorials to learn photoshop.. and if you have something specific you would like to learn how to do.. send me an email! and I'll make a video for you!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Radial Design Color Wheels with a Resist Twist

One of my favorite Art 1 projects is the Radial Design Color Wheel. I tweak it every year, but I have to say starting the year with a project that requires the students to completely cover their hard work with a layer of black paint and to trust the process is a pretty good primer for the rest of the year!

This project is a great first project because it is cheap, relatively easy and looks great when finished... even if it is done incorrectly!

The first step is to draw a circle and divide it into 12 parts. I have little compasses for the students to use. This is an eye-opening adventure in and of itself!

If you aren't sure how to get students to divide their circle into 12 equal parts, start with dividing the circle in half. Then using the dot that was made to create the circle, line up a protractor and mark around the circle at the 30, 60, 90, 120 and 150. Next rotate the circle and mark the other half. Use a straight edge to join the marks across the circle.

Next design ONE wedge of the circle. I require my students to have their pattern touch the sides in at least 3 places. This helps when trying to line up the pattern later.

Some students will create an incredibly ornate and intricate pattern. Try to get them NOT to do that!!! If they are determined to create a pattern with tiny details, explain to them that they will have to use an alternate media to create their product, and while that is fine, it will be much harder...

Once the pattern is created, have the students use a piece of tracing paper and copy the pattern.

 My students then are given a piece of carbon paper. I have a few boxes of leftover typewriter carbon paper and I call this "magic paper" as students have never seen it and think it is super cool.  I save this for projects like this because the traditional coloring on the backside of the tracing paper doesn't work as we use BOTH sides of the transfer paper!

The key to a successful transfer pattern is that you have to flip the design back and forth with each wedge. This allows the pattern to mirror itself and it looks better than one that is not.

FYI, yes I do have some students create their own pattern completely without tracing, but since this is the first project Art 1, I try to keep it relatively stress free. 

Once the circle is complete, I have students write down the colors of the wheel above each wedge. While I have sample color wheels for students to look at, there are ALWAYS some that get the order wrong. Having them write them down first is a good preventative step.

And then it is time to color. My go to media for this project is oil pastels. Oil pastels are easy to use, forgiving and inexpensive.

However, if students have created too detailed of a project, they have to use colored pencils instead. With colored pencils, students have to put down 7 or 8 layers of color to build up enough wax for the resist.

If  When students use the wrong color in the wrong place, use a straight edge and lightly scrape up the oil pastel. This allows the correct color to be placed in the correct location.

The wheel below has some sections that are black. This was done to cover an accident where the student (my youngest daughter who was helping me make the sample) colored the wrong section and we had to cover it in black. 

Using the black oil pastel is a choice. You can look at my finished sample to see if you want to have your students use black or not.

I don't have mine use black.. unless they have superfine details that they want to add or they have to cover a mistake.

 Now is the fun and scary part.

Take a glob of black acrylic paint and cover the entire page.

This absolutely horrifies the students.

As soon as it is covered in black, rinse the entire page off. CAREFULLY!!

Once clean, let it drip dry a minute over the sink and then lay flat to dry on the drying rack.

Once dry, you have a really cool piece of artwork.

Student samples will be posted in a few days. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Blind Contour Watercolor Abstract Paintings

I'm always looking for a good beginning of the year project to do with my art 2 students. I want the students to walk in the door and get started working pretty much day 1.

Well, after all of these years teaching, I think I have finally found my GO TO project! Woohoo! (Well, I say a go to project, but then I end up changing my projects every year.. but this one may be a keeper anyway!)

Day 1: 

Blind Contour object drawings with sharpie on watercolor paper. I had the students work on 15x22 student grade watercolor paper. 

Each student had to draw four different drawings on three different papers. 

Here is a sample of a first drawing.  Students were allowed to draw any object that they observed from around the classroom.

As you can see below, I had the students rotate the paper a quarter turn for their second drawing. This creates a nice set overlapping of lines.

For the third drawing they rotated the paper again. 

And again for the fourth drawing.

This is a sample of one of the first pages. 

It is important to remember and to explain to students that each blind contour drawing sheet should in theory get better. While I didn't limit the time spent on the blind drawings, I didn't ask the students to linger over the drawings. 

These 12 drawings were a GREAT first assignment! There is something so freeing about a blind contour drawing. No judgement at all.

The next day, I had students choose their "worst" page of drawings to work with first. This allows students to figure out the media without "ruining" their best work.

This process is FUN!! 

All you need are liquid watercolors, some pipettes and a couple of spray bottles. (and lots of cleaning time!)

Here are my students at work. 

I asked students to work with the paper dry and wet, to run the watercolor down the paper, to spritz it, drop it... and anything else they could think of to "paint" the paper.

Most students "painted" two of their pieces during one class period.

Here is my sample piece.

Here are some of the awesome pieces on the drying rack. 

And aren't these pieces AWESOME!!

Next up (tomorrow), the students will be asked to select a 6"x 6" square and outline the box using a sharpie.

See below.

They will then use oil pastels and color in the block. 

Students are challenged to shade the object within the box, but they have to keep the color tones of the watercolor that they used originally.

And there you have it. A super fun and non-threatening Art 2 project! 

I can't wait to see and show off my student's completed pieces!

And what I love most is that this is a quality project that is completed the first week of school!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Wow..what the heck have I been doing?

Wow. I am a total loser! I can't believe I have gone almost an entire school year without posting!

I feel so bad.

but, I haven't really gone that long, I've been posting to facebook and instagram instead.


I wonder if I can make a live a feed from facebook or instagram post directly to this site?

I'll have to look into it!

For now...

Please just find me on facebook at  StephenvilleHighSchoolArt

We have been busy!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Zentangle Umbrella Project

Art 2 students created a zentangle inspired patio umbrella project. It was a project created and oversaw by my student teacher while she was here. It was a nice idea, but it had issues. The main issue was that it took way, way longer than the time we had allotted so the student teacher didn't get to see the project finished. That was a bummer.
Overall, I'd say that this won't be a repeat project. The students enjoyed working on it, but it wasn't worth the expense or the mess.  I think if we had been able to purchase denim or duckcloth and use bleach pens like we had originally wanted, the project would have been super cool. But we had to purchase the more inexpensive polyester umbrellas (that's all Walmart had..) and then use slick fabric paint. The fabric paint bled throught the fabric and stained my floor in lots and lots of places even though we put down poster board between the fabric and the floor.  We also used a ton of paint.. and we still ran out.
A few close ups..

And a few pictures of the finished umbrellas.