Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sometimes Creativity Detours

After painting my robot skate deck last week, I really wanted to try another.  But I wanted to do something completely different.  I just couldn't come up with an idea  Then, yesterday morning, a student said to me, "I want to paint animals in suits."  In my mind I envisioned well dressed creatures in Victorian fashion, but upon further questioning, I discovered my student meant animals in "space suits."  I told him to go with his idea, and I would go with mine.  I found some reference of animals and vintage Victorian photos, then began sketching.  Soon came a pencil sketch a stoic bear in a boiler hat.  I liked him and decided to place him in the middle of the skate deck. At some point in the painting process, I began referring to him as "Papa Bear," which reminded me of the story of Goldilocks, and then I realized he needed a wife and son.  The whole idea developed in a very free-flowing way.  I enjoyed the process, but have one big problem with the result . . . what skateboarder in his right mind wants three Victorian bears on his skate deck?  I mean, if you've ever stood long enough near a skate park that skaters aren't exactly into children's rhymes.  What was I thinking?  Still, I think there is something here I might explore in future paintings . . . on canvas.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Another Skate Deck

I enjoyed painting the robot skate deck, so I began work on a second.  I call this one "Papa Bear" for obvious reasons.  I still have a lot of work to do before it's completed, but I am enjoying the animals in Victorian clothing concept . . . I just have no idea what it means.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Robot Skate Deck

I finished painting my skate deck today, a tribute to my teen years a long, long time ago.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Tonight I pulled a number of old sketchbooks out of the drawer. Some of them date back almost 20 years. A lot of the art is really bad and painful to look at, but still, I really love those books. So many of my best ideas have come from my sketchbooks. Even tonight I thumbed through the pages and found inspiration for several projects. 

The moral of this story is this: sketch often. Put your ideas down on paper, even if you only have time for stick figures and chicken scratches. The time will come when many of those ideas evolve into something meaningful.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The robots are taking over . . .

I have always loved robots . . . Olympia, R2D2, V.I.N.CENT, Twiki, Johnny 5, Robby, Wall-E, etc.  They provide a unique lens through which to view humanity.  Here are a few more robot paintings I am working on.  They hold a particular meaning for me, but I am fascinated by the many interpretations others suggest, so I won't offer much as far as explanations go. I will post them again in their finished state . . . hopefully soon.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Celebrating Effort and Learning

Before I became a teacher, I drew and painted nearly every day.  It was a hard choice to leave that behind, but I have never regretted the decision.  While I enjoy creating art, I love watching my students grow as artists and learners even more.

Here are three drawings from one of my students.  We set these out a few days ago in order to see her progress over the past few art classes.  The drawing on the left is from ninth grade.  The drawing on the right is her latest work as an 11th grader.  As you can see, her efforts are paying off.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Into the Woods, Set Building, Part II

Shortly after word got out that Venture High School was performing "Into the Woods" for their first ever high school production, I received a call from a good friend of mine--a theatre teacher--who exclaimed, "Into the Woods?  You're doing Into the Woods? Are you serious?"  I have to admit, at the time of the call, I had my own reservations.  The students were given a vote on which play we selected and this was their choice. It was ambitious.  We had practically no budget and the students had little experience in performance or design. Honestly, it was an intimidating endeavor.  I worried it would be a production that parents would applaud, but that it would lack that little extra that makes a play special.

I was wrong.  

The directors pulled it together and the actors did an amazing job.  And the set...probably the most expansive, yet least expensive set I have ever worked on...turned out really well.  We built it out of 2x2s and cardboard . . . donated, used cardboard boxes, stripped down, cut, glued together, and painted.  I am proud of the final product and the work so many students put in to complete it.  Their work helped open doors, providing me with the opportunity to incorporate a Design Team class into my curriculum for next year.  So, it is with new confidence that I am looking forward to the opportunities we will have to design and build next year.