About this Site and Me

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Flower Mound, TX, United States
Hi, I am an artist, wife, mom, gamer and the Elementary Art Educator at Donald Elementary, a sweet and wonderful school in Flower Mound, TX (outside of Dallas). This is a great place to see how we are integrating studio habits with technology and interdisciplinary connections. I also love to share my "wisdom" (Re: Experiences. From mistakes.) about teaching Elementary Art. I love what I do, and I've been doing it for a long time. Creating and teaching Art is what I live for. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

6 days and counting! Summer 2016 is almost here...

Last full week of school for the 2015-2016 school year! HOLY COW. This year flew by.

Sad, empty halls.

My younger grades are creating "Welcome Back" banners for August Back to School using Crayola Gel markers and construction paper crayons. Loving it!

...twenty years of teaching, I finally get smart.

This was a rough year. I need to recharge! I am so looking forward to my fav things: reading fantasy novels, listening to loud music, gardening and working in my studio. 

Part of my garden--larkspur. I LOVE it. 

Gardening in Texas is a challenge. All this was $100 and will most likely die a terrible death. 

Now that my kids are older, I have time to paint. I have a notebook full of ideas, hopefully this summer will be productive. Most likely, I will keep the couch from running out the door. 

Work in progress
Took me all school year. Finished painting: "I'm Not Dying Today-Ophelia"
Oil on canvas
24 X 36

Have a wonderfully restful, joyful and safe summer! See you in August!

Monday, May 16, 2016


 This year, I was lucky enough to receive an LEF grant for printmaking supplies. I purchased more Gelli plates (I had 6, needed 6 more to make a half-class set), splurged on foam printing plates and nice printing papers. Worth it.

Springtime = printmaking for 4 out of 6 grade levels! Yes, it was a messy, experimental and really fun time.

I have already posted about printmaking with Gelli plates with younger kids and all its awesomeness here: 1st grade printmaking-it's how we roll

First up: 5th grade, Plant Study
Inspiration: Japanese Wood Cuts of plants and flowers
Integration: Science

Research. We used iPads and fake flowers. Sorry, I did not have the funds to provide real flowers over a few weeks. That would have been ideal. Also, no gardens to observe. That would have been great, too. Fake flowers were great for observing details and the parts of the flower.

Observational drawings, focusing on texture, details and organic shapes. 

Students traced their sketch directly onto the foam, then used ball point pens to incise. The key here is deep lines and good shapes. The more detail, the better.

You can find foam plates at the Dollar Store, just trim the edges. With the grant money, I purchased Scratch Foam Boards and I really liked the clean, sharp lines and shapes. 

Printmaking Station: when the kids finished drawing, they began printing. The goal was 3 strong prints, but they might have printed 7-8 times before they had their 3. 
They discovered the coolness of ghost prints and some loved them more than their original print. 

With the foam prints, we found acrylic paint was best. I gave them the primaries and off they went. (Ignore that purple bottle...ha) I use Sax True Flow acrylic in Chrome Yellow or Yellow Ochre, Phthalo Blue and Bright Red for wonderful color mixing. Beautiful greens, oranges and purples. 

You can't beat these happy faces.

Some students chose to add color pencil for more color intensity. 

Next, 3rd grade: Gyotaku (Japanese Fish Prints)
Inspiration: Gyotaku
Integration: Science

Here's some background info:

"Gyotaku (Japanese 魚拓, from gyo "fish" + taku "stone impression") is the traditional Japanese method of printing fish, a practice which dates back to the mid-1800s. This form of nature printing was used by fishermen to record their catches, but has also become an art form of its own.

Gyotaku is a Japanese method of printmaking that traditionally utilizes fish, sea creatures, or similar subjects as 'printing plates' in its process.

Prints were made using sumi ink and washi paper. It is rumored that samurai would settle fishing competitions using gyotaku prints. This original form of gyotaku, as a recording method for fisherman, is still utilized today, and can be seen hanging in tackle shops in Japan and Okinawa." Wikipedia

After seeing videos of Gyotaku artists, we used (again, fake, sorry) rubber molds of fish to create underwater biomes. Not. Using. Real. Fish. In. A. Landlocked. Area.

I have enough creatures to do half the class. The other half has an alternate project. The next week, they switch. That is basically how I manage printmaking with 24 kids. 

Printing "seaweed" with a variety of leaves and grasses.

Added habitat details in watercolor, the fish eyes are so important! For those up to the challenge, I taught them how to add shadows using complementary colors. 

1st and 2nd grade: Plant Mono prints using Gelli plates
Inspiration: Durer watercolor, "The Large Piece of Turf", various examples of plant prints, Gelli's You-Tube tutorials (the kids LOVE these, plus they are quick)
Integration: Science

The kids loved the experimental quality of mono printing. I had a variety of grasses, weeds, and leaves from around the school. On the rainy day, we used fake leaves. It was fine. 

Again, we used acrylic paint in primary colors, allowing for color mixing and experimenting.

I have a variety of papers for printing. I especially love music sheet paper. My music teacher donated the freebies she gets at conventions. Other great paper: scrapbook, copy paper, rice paper. The thinner, the better for Gellis. 

We focused on creating masks (the white areas that are blocked out), which created interesting shapes and textures. After a ghost print (the second pull of a print, resulting in a very light print) the students printed the actual texture of the plants. They were so excited by this process. There was so much time for exploration and experimentation. 
Besides applying scientific knowledge to their art, which was cool to hear, students happily collaborated by sharing their favorite color formulas, grass and leaf combos and their newly discovered EXPERT printing advice.

At the end of class, the first group shared "printing tips" with the second group. When both groups finished, they each selected their favorite 3 prints as their editions. These 3 were trimmed and mounted for display (I only displayed one per kid, as I couldn't display over 240 prints).
Another option is for the kids to create a "Print Book" with all their favorite prints and Artist Statements/Reflections. So many options!

New topic. I need a manicure.