Sunday, March 28, 2010

Student Portraits On the Wall

Here are some of my favorite portraits from the 2nd and 7th graders respectively. One of the things I love most about the younger students is the fearlessness with which they approach drawing themselves. Sometimes they are slightly concerned with the portrait "looking good," but for the most part they don't put a lot of limitations on themselves. The 7th graders are a completely different story. I suppose because adolescence is hellish enough what with the self-identity issues etc. that drawing a portrait of yourself is terrifying. There is much giggling, holding up portraits and declaring of "badness," and a HUGE amount of concern over whether or not the portrait represents a good likeness. I try to stress to them that I am more concerned with their attempt to draw realistically than I am in the result. . . I'm not sure it helps much. Both of the students who made the 7th grade portraits above hate them. I think that both are really, really good. It was, for the both of them, the very first time they had ever attempted to draw themselves realistically.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Today in the Art-room.

We have been working on self-portraits across grade levels. Now that I am hanging up the fruits of my students' labors it is really neat to observe how the different age differences play out when students draw people. There are self-portrait examples hanging from 2nd grades, 7th graders, and high school students. I love them all. . .But, I ain't gonna lie, the cute 2nd grade stuff just slays me.

Busy at Work

When one student finished he asked to work in his journal. I thought it might be for an assignment, but it was a real journal; and he had it really filled up. Wouldn't you kill to have a journal like that left over from when you are 7? How hilarious would that be? It turns out the journal is a prompt-based journal that is thematically centered on the Diary of a Wimpy Kid. My student told me that some of his journal was about him, but that a lot of it was stories he decided to make up. He showed me this story and page. Be prepared to be impressed. He is really only 7!!

Hi. My name is Lucky. I know you think this is a diary, but it is a journal. Greg bought me a book with the word, diary. So just for the record don't. . .say. . .DIARY! This week I always got off the hook. Like when I took a math test and cheated, I looked at Gabe Boniel's paper and he saw me. But I got lucky.

This illustration is about Lucky being lucky. Someone else is being shoved by bully near the lockers.

And, in other news, while walking around with the camera I slipped on my seriously slick floor. The awesome janitors buff the art room every night. While it looks pretty, I wish it could be permitted for it to get a little junked up. The polish makes it like a roller rink in there. I slip and slide all over the place all over the time. As I went down, the camera snapped. Pretty cool angle, no?


Spring Finally

So, Spring teased me. She teased me bad. On Monday there were SNOW FLURRIES! This is Georiga, Spring. You need to understand that I am a Swamp Blossom and live in this Swampy climate because I like hot, muggy, nearly uncomfortably warm weather. Bring. It. On.

So, last night while walking into the Visual Arts building on campus I was thrilled to see the above. Sigh.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Front Page of Etsy

Wowza! So, eaaarrrlly this morning one of my necklaces made it to the front page of etsy. Go and check out the listing!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Inspiration: Elsa Mora

As a full-time graduate student studying art education I have been asked to keep a record of my artistic and educational experience. I’ve decided to make this a part of my weekly blogging experience. My professor has requested that I reflect on the artists I’ve listed here as inspirations. This posting is the first in a series about my inspirations.

Truthfully, I can’t remember how I first came across the blog of Elsa Mora. It could have been from any number of places as nearly all of the blogs I frequent have at the very least mentioned her at some point or another. Her blog is striking. The images are all her own creation and even the words somehow seem to take on an artistic bent with her penchant for centering text.

She writes about herself, her family, and her extended family. I especially love her ability to be so open as to view the world with everyone else’s eyes as well as her own. The writing she does about her children especially highlights this ability. Instead of pointing out how charming the language of her children is (and truly all child language is magical), she partakes in it and seems to be a part of both her own world and theirs.
She seems to exude art. Her blog cites her many different artistic endeavors, her book, and her life with her husband and children. It would seem that she makes the most of every moment of her life using it for creation and love in some manner or another. And, I am so inspired by that.

To say her artwork is special, wonderful, fabulous . . . would be an understatement. There is just something about it for me that clicks. It resonates with the viewer sometimes in a way that is inexplicable. She often writes about what she was feeling before a creation but at the same time often restrains from telling you exactly what the piece means or is about stating: “I won't write anything about them in detail so you can have your own ideas.” And, wow, an artist who doesn’t overstate or over-think the explanation of her own work is rare. It is humble! I like that about Elsa Mora’ work. I truly, truly, truly love that I can go to her blog, view her amazing creations, and leave with my own emotional responses to the work intact. It gives the viewer, I feel, a much more meaningful experience.

And wowza her work! From tiny dolls, to blossom buddies, to paper-cuts, to porcelains they are all elegant, delicate, and so full of emotion. There is a sort of raw innocence to her work that almost cuts me. She currently has some older work of hers posted because it reminded her of a current emotional state. The work deals with loss and life and features some of my favorite subjects: birds. From a dress made of bird discs to a cacophony of birds in different vignettes the work is so evocative. One such vignette features a small sculpture of a bird with a pair of scissors threatening to cut off the bird’s wings. The image should be disturbing, and it is raw . . . But, to me, it seems to evoke a sense of the bittersweet. The bird is being threatened, yes, but the sculpture is so static that is doesn’t feel to me that the bird is in any real threat. Instead, I focus of the beauty of the line and the execution of the work. . . And, my own private emotive responses.

Elsa doesn’t outline exactly what the piece means. . .but she does tell you where she was going while creating the entire series. I like that nurturing yet live and let live mentality. I have an idea of where she was going, but am still left with enough headspace for my own thoughts.

I recommend dropping by her blog for a visit or strolling through her store (which sells out quickly when updated).

Pronoia Studio

Pronoia is the suspicion the Universe is in a conspiracy on your behalf. Or, as the late J.D. Salinger so aptly put it: “I’m kind of a paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy. “

I've been having so much fun making my ceramic jewelry. I've decided to begin selling it on etsy. My life is busy and somewhat tempestuous right now (can you relate?), and I want to focus on the positive things that I have going for me. And really, I have so much for which to be grateful. I came across the word "pronoia" some time ago and it has been happily lolling about in my head ever since.

I decided to name my online store "Pronoia Studio." For a long time -ever since I studied iconography as an undergrad- I've had a real sense of imbuing all art objects with the thoughts of the artist. I used to think hard about my emotions while painting because I thought -and still do think- that those energies can reach out to the viewer later. . .Because, really, there is a kind of divinity in creating. And, it isn't the sort of divinity for which I can take any credit, but I'm thrilled to be a part of it.

So, hence the name "Pronoia Studio." I hope that all the viewers of the artwork and the wearers experience an acute sense of pronoia. Because, that is how I feel when I make them.

From now on, you can link to Pronoia Studio from my taskbar on the right.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


This past summer I had the unusual and great pleasure to work for the National Park Service. . .as an illustrator. As I am not a naturally outdoorsy, athletic sort of person myself, I was excited to learn more about what the Park Service does. Basically, Park Rangers are pretty much the coolest people you will ever meet. Think a mix of firefighter, trail-master, customer service rep, historian, and equal parts of chill, and you get a Ranger.

My job was to illustrate the English and Spanish Junior Ranger Manual for the Kennesaw National Battlefield Park. This included illustrations about the historical civil war battle that took place on the park grounds. I now know waaayy more about the civil war soldier's basic equipment kit that any non-civil war buff should. :)

This past week the National Park Service -in a worthy effort to save paper- published the Junior Ranger Manual online. Go to this link and click on one of the manual's to view the Manual. They are super awesome, and full of great information. If you are planning a visit to the park with wee ones (and you should it is gorgeous), simply print out the manual ahead of time and fill out the activities as you enjoy the park. When you are finished you can visit the main Ranger Station and get a Junior Ranger Badge.

Kennesaw National Battlefield Park is gearing up for its busy summer season. If you have little ones you should really check into their super awesome summer camp series. If you are outdoorsy, you should check out their trails. And, if you are like me, you should leash up your pup and just stroll among the trees!

Breadth in the Classroom

Here is an example of what makes my job so challenging. Both of the drawings below are by 2nd grades who are approximately 7 years old. They have similar grades and similar attitudes. They are both very well adjusted. One is more quiet than the other though. . . Can you guess who? The answer may surprise you. But, it is a challenge to develop lessons and units that are challenging enough for the student on the left and obtainable by the student on the right.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Greetings From My Front Stoop

These aren't Spring! flowers, but they are cheery all the same.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring. . .FINALLY!

I used to make fun of my Mom's cowardly hatred of winter. She'd shiver and complain all winter long when I was a kid. Her hatred even went so far as to seed little tiny plants all over our dining room because she just "needed to see something green." Okay. But, let's get real. I grew up in Georgia; hardly the clime of harsh winters. I clearly remember thinking "What a wuss," when I was kid.

Well, I've shivered and complain all of this winter. I've hated it since October. In my defense, we've had one of the harshest winters of my entire life down here in Georgia. . . I've had at least 4 days off of school due to snow alone. See, in Georgia winter usually goes like this: one day of 20-30 degree weather for four or five of the high 40s and maybe even one day of freakish 60s. And this winter? Well, it has been in the 20s nearly EVERY day. Oh. the horror. Look, I know I'm a big baby. But let me just say (yell) this: Winter sucks!

I'm a swamp blossom.

And, I actually teared up when I saw this tree.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Talking about Art

Sometimes talking about art with non-artist people is tough. They ask questions about your current work. You respond and then they feel this is an invitation to critique. Since most of the time the "in progress" work isn't present, these non-artist people are critiquing artwork that they have never, ever, seen. And, I suppose it is just because they want to help you, or contribute, or be an expert, or you know god-knows-what. . . But, it is nonetheless infuriating! Dealing with all those little nuanced issues is part of the artistic journey/experience I love so much. I LOVE figuring it out MYSELF. Well, at least until I hit a brick wall. . .And, then I'll show someone the art and be ready for some hard-core honest opinions.

Yeah, so it is difficult to share about your art. Sometimes it is easier to be all mysterious.

That is all.

WIP: Explorative Jewelry 4

Today I invested some money in this little art adventure (the above pics being my absolute favorite things I purchased). I purchased some underglazes (of which I know very little, so this is bound to be an experience). And, I also purchased some oxidized sterling chain to play with once the firings are all finished. I always hate it when you make something beautiful, only to wish you used decent quality supplies. Go Cadillac or Go Home.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

WIP: Explorative Jewelry 3

I've gone nuts with the ceramic jewelry. I figure at least 1/2 of it won't make it through. At this point I've determined that they will require at least 3 kiln firings before they are finished. And, based on the fact that some will crack as greenware, some will fall apart in the bisque firing, and then I'll prolly lose some (cause they are so tiny) in the underglaze and glaze firings when they stick to the kiln etc. etc.

Friday, March 12, 2010

WIP: Explorative Jewelry 2

Yes. So I went back to using "real" clay. I have to say that even I prefer it to polymer.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

WIP: Explorative Jewelry 1

Um yeah. I decided to try and use polymer clay for some unknown reason. I picked this beautiful color:

And, what I got (after about 4.5 hours of sculpting some really beautiful designs) was this:
This is a color that would not look good on anyone. In real life it looks like some kind of gnarly scab/scar against the skin. Ew. Live and Learn, yes?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sketchbook: post 5

After all that SERIOUSLY un-fun ceramical nonsense. . .I decided to try and do something that at might at least like (when it comes to ceramics). I'm toying with ceramic jewelry. Very organic. etc.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Receipt Artwork

Receipt Roses
7 in x 5 in
marker on receipts

I have tons of receipts rolling around the house. I love the weird, crackly paper. I turned them into a collage.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Mr. Seahorse(s)!!

My 2nd graders learned about actual and implied texture this week. . .Or rather, texture you SEE and texture you TOUCH. We read the book Mr. Seahorse by Eric Carle to inspire us. I can’t get over how darn cute the finished art works turned out!! The above are my favorites.