Thursday, August 26, 2010

Public Art

If you are in Chicago, PLEASE, for your own good go to the viaduct on Ogden just south of Hubbard. There you will find an art installation that is so breathtaking you will have trouble believing what you are seeing. This is not my art. I simply NEED to share it with you.

The most amazing thing about this art; the artist did not sign this work anywhere! Who knows how long this will be up so I suggest you go by there before it floats away.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


This summer I went to Europe with Peter and his family. We went through several parts of Germany followed by a week dedicated to Paris, France. We stayed with family friends in a beautiful building that happened to be across the street from École des beaux-arts which we could see from our window (first picture) and as soon as I learn the french language I am going to take some classes at this beautiful school.

We were in walking distance to well, everything, including the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris, the Siene river, and a ton of different ice cream stands.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Irving has partnered with CME for the last three years to clean and improve the school each spring. Part of this program is to create an addition every year to the mural at the 'T' hallway. This year I got to work with a group of sixth and seventh graders to design and paint the latest mural.
I don't know about the kids but I really enjoyed spending time in that hallway just letting the compliments flood in..

For our addition we decided to pay homage to all of the wonderful field trip destinations the students visited this year: The Children's Museum, The Field Museum, Millenium Park, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Shedd Aquarium, and The Notebaert Nature Museum. The finished piece is below. What a great job!

Eight Forty-Eight - Into the World of Synesthesia

Yesterday I caught a story about Synesthesia on Eight Forty-Eight. If you are unfamiliar with Synesthesia it is a condition in which people have two sensory experiences simultaneously, think of eight as always being pink or in the case of this story, angry. Early on in my career I worked one-on-one with a pre-school aged boy with Autism and it changed my life. Autism is not Synesthesia but the story supports the theory that people experience the world in a different way. In fact they take the stance that this 'different way' reminds us that we are all unique and that the world is full of rainbows like we suspected when we were children. Ok, the rainbow part is my idea but I think it's going to catch on like wildfire.
Eight Forty-Eight - Into the World of Synesthesia

Friday, August 6, 2010

Middle School

We used another middle school class period for still life painting.
I brought in several fruits and several bags of chips and soda cans that used the same colors as the selected fruit. The students aranged them on the table (very well I might add) and painted them as they saw them.
Throughout this class period we talked about the difference in the two groups of food. We talked about colors, nutrition, space, and composition. Before they left the students begged me to sell them the chips and pop. I gave them their choice of what to take for free and in the end, took the fruit home. It's a work in progress.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


This spring we were invited to Ravinia for a performance by high school musicians. It was amazing! The kindergarteners and I played a fun game where we tried to guess what picture the music was painting. One of my third grade students chimed in saying he saw a skull and when the song was over we were told this: Cum mortuis in lingua morta (With the dead in the language of the dead) was the name! You can imagine how he swelled with pride. As did I.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sailing Crew

The kindergartners used this fun paper that I got from Creative Pitch to draw and cut out the three shapes needed for a simple sailboat. The trick was that they had to use just one of the three shapes they cut out and trade the other two with the kids at their table. Fun! and aren't these the cutest?!

Middle School Art

My schedule lacked space for middle school art at one of my schools last year but I really missed teaching them and they really missed art (I swear-they told me so). Knowing that by Thursday and Friday I was to tired to do any planning during my prep time I decided to invite them to come for a more experimental art period. Wow was I rewarded for sharing that time! They painted and sculpted and took risks and everyone had a great time.

Flowers made from plastic water bottles. One can't just go out and buy spray paint in Chicago, it's against the law, so I offered the spray paint that I already had, they loved the color choices!

For one of the middle school art periods I put out some glue guns, some tacky glue and any and all recyclable materials I could find. The pictures are the result of this experiment before they were painted. Oh and a new lesson learned: do not spray-paint Styrofoam. It melts away.

Several abstract sculptures, one alligator, and one hovercraft!

Why Art Matters Week 2010

This year for WAM week we had a beautiful gallery with the addition of sculpture throughout! Some of the students even helped me with the installation. My favorite thing to hang was definitely the water bottle flowers. Enjoy!

I happened to be teaching at two schools this year which really limited my schedule at this school. I asked the homeroom teachers if they would like to celebrate art with their students by honoring an artist on the classroom door. Some examples of this WAM activity are show below.


In the Spring of 2009 I felt that we needed to celebrate the arts at my school where energy was so heavily focused on testing. We called that celebration Why Art Matters or WAM (week). I designed this week to include a student juried gallery of student work. We even had some school staff artwork! I offered classes to the staff a few times and it was a great release for all involved.

The WAM week included a visiting artist day with a chef, Slang, a comic book artist, a poet and composer, and a couple of my friends from the web graphics industry.


This lovely lady is simply 'Woman with a hat' from the french painter Henri Matisse. The kids talked about why she looks like that and then created a collaged background from our recycled scraps of paper. On another sheet of paper I asked them to draw a portrait of someone facing slightly off to the side. I asked the children to use crayon to force them to work with their mistakes and trust their ability to draw overall. It worked really well after the murmurs subsided. You can see below madame a couple of the finished products. Some of them look Matisse, some Picasso, and some simply original!

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