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The conservatory always captivates.

Every summer for 4 years now, I disappear into art camp. It’s my favorite time of year. Painting with spaghetti, crafting sketchbooks, and visiting the park’s breathtaking conservatory are definite highlights. I’m on my feet all day supervising a couple dozen kids, and it’s always a blast.

This year my hedgehogs modeled for the teens and tweens camp, we made metal foil embossed sketchbooks, learned sword fighting, and played numerous silly games. Next week is the last camp, Paint-a-Palooza. We start with blind finger painting and end with a paint slip ‘n slide.

Parents and friends often comment that I must have the patience of a saint to deal with goofy kids who enjoy making messes. What they don’t realize is that I am secretly a big kid myself. Shh.

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Transforming spaces with 2D elements.

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One camper was not into sewing a pillow. I started listing off other possibilities, and her eyes lit up when I said,”Voodoo doll?”

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This kiddo said this was not a pillow she could actually sleep on since it had pokey pipe cleaners on it. She then said,”Maybe I’ll give it to my brother.”

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These two campers were after my own heart.

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This girl fell out of a tree and took it like a champ. Brilliant artist as well.

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Gonna miss these goofballs.



hamster eye

I heart René Magritte. His work is unsettling and beautiful. My Drawing students do not appear to grasp the wonder of surreal art. So I am starting them off with some “surrealism lite”, or “diet surrealism”.
After doing several eye studies and sketches, we are now tackling a project inspired by Magritte’s “False Mirror”.
Image credited to

Image credited to

Students are to create their own concept for placing something impossible in an eye. I drew the hamster wheel example. I really should have put a bit more detail into the actual wheel spokes, but I focused more on getting the anatomy down to serve as a good example.

A basic understanding of shading is crucial to making an eye look 3 dimensional. My students are drowning. I’m thinking we should get messy with charcoal to see if blending with fingers will aid them in their learning of the value scale.



Teaching a Perspective unit right now. My students hate it. They keep trying to draw the lines without a ruler, then wonder why their drawings look like poop. This is the conversation I have every day with at least 3 students:

“I’m done.”

“Did you use a ruler for these lines here?”


“I see. Could you try again with a ruler this time (as I instructed)?”


This could take a while to catch on.


Not for You, for Me This Time



I create a lot of art while working with my students because it encourages and motivates them to work. I would guess the majority of drawings and paintings I have done over the past year were a result of teaching.

It’s not a bad side effect by any means; I make a lot of stuff that I really like. However, I rarely have the opportunity to make art for my own personal development.

I signed up for two events. One is the Art Vs. Art competition. On “Paint Day” participants will have 4 hours to complete a painting on site to be entered in a competition. If your painting is accepted, people can vote on their favorites and even spin a “Wheel of Death” to determine how to destroy the loser.

The other is Masterpiece in a Day. This is a competition that again takes place on site during an festival known as Art Squared. You can work on a visual art piece, compose some music, or write a story or poem to enter for the chance to win cash prizes.

I’ve never done anything like this before. I used to be so self-conscious about having people watch me draw or create artwork, but since I do it around my students all them time, I’ve grown much more comfortable with it. I’m excited to have these experiences, and go public with my weird stuff 🙂

FYI, the title of this post was inspired by a Bitch & Animal song called Traffic. I encourage you to give it a listen, it’s painful and beautiful.

The Turd Week of School



My students were acting like giant turds today.

We were tasked to paint a 36″ x 48″ canvas for the Indianapolis Colts, to put up in the stadium (or something). Last week I had them brainstorm images for the painting (it was like pulling teeth). No one was brave enough to put together a final sketch, so I took their ideas home and came up with a composition over the weekend.

This week, I wanted them to use the grid method to transfer the sketch onto the canvas. I had to practically hold their hand through the process of making a simple grid. I keep telling them to focus on one square at a time and copy the lines.

You’d think I had asked them to paint a subway mural. Whining, groaning, defiance, not following directions.

One student kept saying “This is Painting class, not Drawing.” I told him that this is part of the process; all painters need to be able to sketch out their projects, especially when working on a collaborative piece.

THEN he had the nerve to demand that I draw it on the canvas for them, and the other students chimed in. I suppose this is what comes of getting students placed in a class in which I requested students first take a 2D art class or Drawing class as a pre-requisite, and having that request promptly ignored.

This is going to be a fun semester.



Jaded Journey


I renewed my CPR certificate. I paid the fees. I submitted my application for getting my teaching license renewed. Now I wait.

Once it’s renewed, I can start looking for full time positions. My only hope is that it goes better than when I initially received my license. I drove all over Indiana (even made a trip to Detroit) to sweat through interviews that inevitably led nowhere.

Can you tell I’m looking forward to it?