Feelin’ Groovy

Over the years, I’ve found myself thinking about the difference between a groove and a rut. When you imagine them, they are both essentially the same thing. However, when interpreted, a rut confines and limits movement, and a groove defines it, while facilitating flow. A rut implies being stuck, and a groove implies passage. A groove also allows for things to come together to make both things stronger.

Yep…I’m definitely in a groove!

This year (#26 for me) I am partnered with a 5th grade teacher in my school district as part of a PD teaching team. With 56 combined years of teaching experience between us and over 20 years of knowing “of” each other, this year we are newly connected and working together to create a PD experience with 18 of our district colleagues! It has been a summer filled with stretching, planning, learning, collaboration and building a new friendship. It’s been wonderful. I can’t wait to learn more as the school year goes on.

Thanks, Brenda. I think you’re groovy!!

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Creative Juices

My senior students graduated a month ago and it feels like I am now just starting to hit my summer stride. I have set a “new” routine that (although still involves school work, curriculum writing and planning) contains more time for my own creative juices to flow. I am working on a series of encaustic paintings that incorporate wax into my interests of collage, layered printed imagery, dress patterns, venetian plaster and mark making. I love teaching art – but I love making it as well. I’m so glad to have summer time to do and renew! What a good feeling.

Here are a few of the developments. Just the beginnings.

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My friend Ellen shared a great article with me about Ai Weiwei’s most recent work. The article is posted on the creators project blog.

[Exclusive] Ai Weiwei says Twitter is Art

I appreciate his belief that all of his expressions are art and agree with his rationale. Artistic expressions come in the form of physical artwork but also in the form of creative lesson design & delivery, sharing with your community, and written reflection. I found the article, this work and the concept of archiving very intriguing. I really love his mind. Below are some of his thoughts. The full post is worth the read and expands the notion of “what is art?”


Art is to express yourself through a medium in order to successfully communicate with another.

”An Archive” relates to my writings on the Internet, focusing on my writings on Twitter between 2009 and 2013. Twitter is a very interesting medium. It is not one that records the past, but one that forms in the present condition, with real connections to the future. 

I consider all of my expressions a part of my art. Sometimes it takes a traditional form or language and, at other times, it requires the creation of a new language. However, they are all the same.   – Ai Weiwei

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Doing is renewing

time to renew

It’s been a really long time since my last post. I’m back and am approaching the summer with the motto: doing is renewing.

Eager to see what develops. Happy summer.


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How lucky we are that inspiration can come from everywhere.

This lesson idea was sparked by a personal experience that I had with a very special fortune cookie from nearly 20 years ago.  I shared the story with my students and let each of them choose six fortune cookies from a giant bagO’cookies… and then waited to see what showed up. Their challenge was to use their cookies as inspiration for a sketchbook page.

I think that a fortune cookie is a pretty good metaphor for developing an idea: Choose it. Open it up. Think about it. Munch on it. Take it in. Digest.   mmm

And as for my students, I am reminded again and again…

:-) Everyone agrees that you are the best. :-)

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Art x 3 = U

The Creative Arts students participated in a collaborative art making experience designed around the theme: celebrity.  These collaborative works of art were created by the combined aesthetic decisions and contributions of three different students, who were known to each other only as a number. Each student worked on one piece for two class periods and then switched. No one worked on a piece that was started by someone in the same class period, and no one finished the piece they began. Eight class periods later, some of our Art x 3 Collaborations look like this. Layers, upon layers, upon layers of interesting! Having witnessed the incremental evolutions of individual thoughts, responses and decisions…I’m appreciative of my students’ resolve and intrigued by their ideas. If I haven’t said so lately, I think my students are pretty awesome!!

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Pop Prints

Inspired by Andy Warhol and other pop artists – my students created these fun pop prints! Click here to read more about the lesson!

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You’re My Sweet Art!

This colored pencil drawing lesson had several learning layers that added to its sweetness! We drew, we shaded and learned about color and value. We also looked at several living artists whose work is physically made from sweets or artists who use sweets as their subject matter. But, the sweetest part of all, we sampled our subject and ate our still life! Fun times. Great work everyone! The work featured below is by 9th-12th grade, mostly first year art students.


I created this presentation, “Confectionery in Art” to share artists who create art using sweets as their material or their subject matter!

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Drawing…it’s just like riding a bike!

The bike…our first drawing assignment of the year.  More than 75% of my students this year are new art students. I love watching kids do things they never thought they could do. Ride on!

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Idea Emporium!

Welcome back to School!  As part of the AENJ 2013 Conference, I participated in the “Idea Emporium!”  Here are some PDF lessons that I shared at this fun event. Whether you were there or not, here are some lesson ideas!!  Email me if you have any questions.

50 Artists Everyone Should Know Lesson

Cut Paper Lantern Lesson

The Next President Collage Lesson



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