Apr 102015


Old discarded dictionary pages served as the inspiration for these linoleum block prints. Students searched through torn out pages for words, definitions, and images to influence and inform their designs. Students also studied the works of printing masters, Albrecht Durer and Katsushika Hokusai as models of skill and innovation.


The process involved drawing, transferring, and carving a linoleum block before printing several copies of the image. Students printed water based ink on a variety of media including the original dictionary page that inspired their image. Other media included thick white drawing paper, colored papers, and greeting cards.


After the first printing session with only black ink, students experimented with different ink colors set up in stations around the classroom. With any time left over, they also added liquid watercolor paint to enhance some of their finished prints.


Part of the fun was trading images once enough copies were made. Many students were willing to share their prints, and took home a “variety pack” of greeting cards to use for special occasions.


Finally, we created origami envelopes sized to fit the printed greeting cards. Each student donated two greeting cards with envelopes to sell as a fundraiser at our Elective Family Night! Thank you to all who purchased our handmade cards in support of our Art program!


 Posted by at 12:18 pm
Jun 302014


The final project for Kapaa Middle School Art students this year was to fold and decorate a large portfolio to carry a year’s worth of Artwork home safely. With only a few school days left, I decided to squeeze one more foundational drawing lesson in and teach the kids 2-point perspective.


Students used rulers and pencils to map out two vanishing points set on a horizon line. Together we drew a small group of cubes to which we added roofs, doors, shingles, and other features.


After sketching about 3 different house structures, we incorporated the tree and branches that support the treehouse. At this point students broke free from my step-by-step tutorials and added their own creative and unique details such as rope ladders, lanais, zip lines, hot tubs, and slides.


Due to the rushed nature of this last assignment, I don’t have many finished examples to share. Several students promised to finish what they started over the summer break. I hope they follow through on that promise because these tree houses are Treemendous!

 Posted by at 3:17 pm
Oct 082013

Kapaa Middle School Art students were inspired by a “Water Life” theme for this watercolor painting project. While exploring various watercolor techniques, students also learned about asymmetrically balanced composition and value created through texture.

The idea for this lesson was inspired by a similar project titled “Beyond the Border,” posted by Art teacher Michelle East. Students used the Rule-Of-Thirds to place the focal point of their subject off-center. The main subject extends beyond the inner rectangle onto the border, which is left black and white. The final result is an illusion that part of the image is spilling over the white border that frames it.

Watercolor techniques included wash, value-gradient, color-gradient, glazing, wet-in-wet, salt, isopropyl, splatter, and blowing with a straw. Students practiced the techniques by making a bookmark with all of the techniques labeled for reference.

Finally, crosshatching and stippling were applied with a calligraphy stylus (the kind you dip into an ink-well) to create depth and shadow. Black ink outlines were also added to all contours as well as the defining edge of the frame.

Pictured below are some of the sketchbook activities that went along with this lesson.

Sketchbook Activities
Click here for Self-Evaluation and Assessment Rubric

 Posted by at 7:08 pm
Jul 282013

watercolor pencils

Summertime is my favorite time of year. Months off from school, mango season, beach days, and time for projects are only a few reasons why summer rocks! Aside from a short visit to California, we spent most of the summer vacationing at home and enjoying all that Kauai has to offer!


Between multiple house projects and chores, I also found some fun time for simple sketching… It’s been a while since I played around with watercolor pencils.


By the looks of it, I was most inspired by delicious fruit this summer! It’s impossible to count the hours I spent collecting, slicing, freezing, dehydrating, and baking mango recipes. Our cat, Callie, also enjoys the extra company around the house and makes sure to get in some extra attention with her cuteness.


 Posted by at 7:25 pm
Sep 152012

This is a simple ink drawing that I created on the front of a birthday card for Chris’s 32nd birthday. He is my inspiration and my support in all aspects of life. I love him so much!

 Posted by at 8:10 pm
Aug 302012

The 2012-2013 school year is off to a great start in the Kapaa Middle School Art classroom! It is becoming my yearly tradition to begin with the construction of a sketchbook that each student makes and then uses throughout the rest of the year. I try to come up with a different theme or design for the sketchbook cover each time because it keeps things interesting for me and also for my repeating students. Here is a sample of some of this year’s student cover designs…

The final covers are laminated and folded vertically down the center so that “Sketchbook” appears on the front, and student names are on the back.

This year’s theme involved vertical “stacks” of letters and shapes. The lesson explored letter design along with the element of texture, and principles of pattern and balance.

Although students were given the same steps and basic instructions, they still came up with a wide variety of interpretation and unique perspective.

Great job to all of my Art students! I hope that you become good friends with your hand-made sketchbook over the year, and that you spend many creative hours together!

Now for a weekend of grading! Here they are all color-coded, lined up, and ready for evaluation…

 Posted by at 9:38 pm
Mar 082012

KMS Art students wrapped up the end of 3rd quarter with a Pop Art Printing project that featured a self-portrait of each individual. The lesson was inspired by the graphic and colorful prints created by Pop Artists in the 1950s. Students were briefly introduced to the artwork of Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns and Richard Hamilton. Our main influence, however, was derived from Andy Warhol’s iconic images that define the Pop Art movement.

“Everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” -Andy Warhol

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Apr 102011

We studied the artwork of Canadian artist Emily Carr for this expressive watercolor assignment. Just as Carr enjoyed plein air painting, the students took their sketchbooks outdoors and found a tree to capture on paper. Although the initial sketches were derived from studying nature, the students used their artistic license of expression when rendering gestural lines and mixing colors.

“There is something bigger than fact: the underlying spirit, all it stands for, the mood, the vastness, the wildness.”
Emily Carr

 Posted by at 12:00 pm
Oct 272008

Teaching elementary art is very different than teaching high school Ceramics, and Kindergarten is probably the most challenging for me! There’s always at least one in the group crying for his mommy, half of them take their shoes off and can’t get them back on again, and the average attention span is about 3 minutes. Combine that with a class of 25, one adult (me), and messy paint!

Luckily I have my mom as a resource, and her good advice has rescued me several times already this year. Breaking up the time with books and songs, not to mention the actual art project, seems to work best. We’ve done school bus pictures inspired by Donald Crews SCHOOL BUS, and underwater fish paintings inspired by Marcus Pfister’s Rainbow Fish. Stay tuned for more elementary school art… next time I’ll post some images of 1st-5th grade projects.

 Posted by at 8:09 pm