Tag Archives: teen art


8 Apr

teen art bridgeC’s Odyssey of the Mind team came in 2nd at the state tourney. Very proud of my team (I am assistant coach). Now we have to do a LOT of fundraising to get them to the world tournament in Iowa – because I didn’t have enough to do already!

Had a great great great teen art class last week. Took them to one of my favorite spots in Asheville, a derelict bridge where nature is taking back the urban landscape. Full of strong straight lines for perspective practice, graffiti, a burbling creek and early spring growth. A little slice of urban sketching heaven for me and the 6 teenagers.

I had planned several exercizes but they got into the first one so much I didn’t stop them. Even the “non-artists” felt successful and enjoyed it (one of my main goals).

I was so happy there – watching them work, experience, learn. And I drew as well. I remembered the deep lessons of the simple act of observing what you see and putting it on paper:

Everything can be seen only in relation to everything else
There are no real edges
The tension between complexity and simplicity is a place to practice free will
Learn to see what is there vs. what you think is there

Grateful for these opportunities.


Rite of Spring

21 Mar

stravinsky 1952Great teen art class yesterday. We looked at album art from the last 60 years, discussed design styles by decade and the signifiers of genre. I made up a couple of quizes using Pinterest boards, where they had to guess the genre or year an album cover was designed.

We talked about the 5 purposes of design (descriptive, utilitarian, emotive, decorative, narrative). I got that from my neighbor Steve Aimone’s excellent book Design: Lively Basics for Artists and Craftspeople.

Then they paired up and each had a chance to be the musician client and the designer, creating ideas and sketches for a new album. They really got into it.

I try to coordinate the music I play while they work, with the theme of the class. There were way too many choices this time.

One of the album covers I showed them today, as an example of a decorative purpose for design, was this one by Stravinsky. Being the first day of spring I decided to play his amazing piece The Rite of Spring. The bassoon at the beginning is so evocative, and those drums with brass later are primal. Paul Rosenfeld, in 1920, wrote of it “pounding with the rhythm of engines, whirls and spirals like screws and fly-wheels, grinds and shrieks like laboring metal”

Genius. Also played Hotel California for a little variety 😉

At some point I want to share some of my lesson plans online. I get my best ideas from other art teachers doing that. Incredible Art  is a good source, and Pinterest is amazing. Thank you awesome art teachers out there for helping me inspire these kiddos!

Seems easier for me to write about teaching than art making.