I teach art and fashion classes to children, teens and adults at Danforth Art School at Framingham State University. The following are recent examples of student work from my classes in each category. To read my mission statement as an art educator click here.
VISUAL ART CLASSES
K-1’s Summer Arts– “No Person Is an Island” Fabric Relief Sculptures
Kindergarten and 1st grade students explored the Danforth weekly theme “Wovens and Wearables” by learning about many types of textile art. For this project, students were introduced to the work of Ghanaian artist Kwesi O. Kwarteng, who takes culturally significant African textiles and sews them into billowing, flowing, harmonious compositions that celebrate the beauty of diversity. In a short movie we watched about his techniques, he said, ‘In Ghana we have the saying, “No person is an island”.’ Although Mr. Kwarteng hangs his soft textile pieces differently each time he sets up for an exhibition, for this project we experimented with fabric stiffener (glue and water) to capture the arrangement and freeze it in time. Students were challenged to create a harmonious composition where all the parts are getting along! They were asked to create movement through ripples, waves, twisting, scrunching, and whatever else they could make it do. They were also asked to think of words and phrases to describe their artwork
Self Portraits in Splendid Traditional Clothing- K-1’s
We looked at the artist Marion Boehm who creates beautiful mixed media portraits of people from cultures around the world in traditional dress. Her artworks are filled with splendid patterns, colors and textures. They also learned about Frida Kahlo, a surrealist painter who created self-portraits in traditional dress. We read the book “What People Wear” to show examples of traditional costume from around the world, and students were very curious to know where all these places were! After a guided face-drawing exercise, students first drew self-portraits, carefully looking at their own faces in the mirror and rendering their features with colored pencils; then these were cut out to be added later. Students painted the background in bright colors with added pattern, and patterned collage paper by experimenting with textured items and paint. Finally they put it all together and embellished around the face and body with collage materials to create a splendid traditional outfit of their own design that celebrates who they are. Students learned that some projects have many steps, and that the final product is worth the wait!
6-8’s Drawing and Painting- Summer Arts
Atmospheric Charcoal Self-Portraits
Through drawing these self-portraits using mirrors and lights to create dramatic facial shadows, 6-8 grade students learned first-hand how to use types of charcoal such as: vine, compressed and varying charcoal pencils. To make the drawings atmospheric, they were instructed to treat the background as equally important as the subject, thereby creating a “space” for the subject to be in, giving it more life. They learned that negative space and its value are important and relevant parts of the composition. Through this medium they learned to render light and shadow with a full value scale. Students were introduced to the work of Kathe Kollwitz, Olusola David Ayibiowu, and Australian artist Robert Kelly.
Landscape Paintings- 6-8’s
Students each chose a unique landscape photo to render with acrylics. This project provided a number of important lessons such as: how to mix paint, how to “block in” and simplify the main composition before addressing any details, how to use the brushes in an effective sequence (large to small), how to render light and shadow on forms, how to see color in shadow, and in some cases, how to render light and shadow in bodies of water. Students worked on these for three days and did a wonderful job pushing themselves and sometimes overcoming struggles, to create these beautiful and realized landscape paintings. Students were introduced to the work of painter Carol Marine to see how she blocks in the simplified value relationships.
Watercolor Paintings of Animals
This was a fun way for students to experiment with the techniques of watercolors, watercolor pencils and in some cases, gouache. Students were nervous about this medium so were encouraged to use this as pure exploration and vehicle for their curiosity and to not worry about the outcome.They asked themselves many questions such as: What will happen if I mix these? Can I blend these to make an interesting effect to render that space? How can I make this look textured or more lifelike? Students looked at watercolor art by painters Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent.
Light on Water Study- 6-8’s
Students were challenged to tackle a very difficult artistic subject: water! Through a simple technique of layering a ground then applying dark tones, medium, and then light, and studying the colors, shapes and directions of the waves and ripples from photos of light on water, students endeavored to create realistic renditions of light on water with acrylics. Students looked at the work of Massachusetts artists Michele Poirier-Mozzone and Deborah Quinn Munson, both who are masters of rendering the subject of water through pastels and paint.
Art Studio 2-3’s April Vacation Workshop
In the following recent class for grades 2-3, students explored concepts such as positive and negative space, creating a sense of space using overlapping, directional lines and atmospheric perspective, expressionistic use of paint, the shapes and colors in cast shadows, and assemblage. The projects drew direct inspiration from artworks in the museum, where through visual thinking strategies and engaged discussion, students learned from the techniques of the artists.
High School- Drawing at the Museum– Winter 2021-22. This class drew inspiration from artists and works in the Danforth Art Museum, which the school is privileged to have on the premises. Students were asked to approach the museum as a visual “playground” and to look deeply at techniques of artists of their choice to create reinterpretations. In one assignment they were given the prompt to incorporate one recognizable technique into their own artwork but change the subject matter. They were encouraged to explore the expressive power of various different drawing materials, and in many cases, try them for the first time. The following are examples of reinterpretations and the original artworks that inspired them.
The painting above is by Ann Lambert entitled “Van Gogh Rowing”. This student experimented with her (and Van Gogh’s) Post-Impressionistic directional lines, and even moved into the realm of pointillism to create this artwork based on his photo of a woodland landscape of a pool of water and rocks. He used gouache and oil pastels.
The photograph above is by Sally Brecher from her series “Glass Houses”. The student used pen and ink and chalk pastel in her artwork below. She chose to keep the playful, color block theme while adding a sense of being slightly off-kilter. This student also looked at other artists who use fine line and bold color shapes such as Paul Klee and Joan Miro.
In my fashion classes, students learn how to create a cohesive, clear mood board to inspire their own unique fashion collection. They learn to draw the fashion figure, how to add gesture, and how to render materials and express themselves with a variety of mixed mediums and techniques. I also teach patternmaking, draping and sewing. Students are taught fun fashion history and about early and current fashion innovators, and are given thought-provoking, cross-referential design challenges to spark ideas and creativity.
Student High School Work from Summer Arts 2020 and 2021
6-8 Grade Work from 2021 and 2022