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About Me

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Guymon, Oklahoma, United States
I am blessed to live where my grandfather homesteaded, to have three beautiful daughters who are my best friends, to have six delightful grandchildren who live nearby, to be married to my sweetheart of 35 years and to thrill to the special magic of creating my own works of art. I'll never cease to thrill to witnessing new ideas and images come to life from the point of a pencil or splash of a brush. I am blessed.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

TEACHING BASKET WEAVING



I teach mostly 2D drawing and painting classes at our high school.  I also teach Advanced Placement Studio Art classes to my top juniors and seniors which is a college level/honors 2D class .  My first hour is a craft class that is mostly peopled by seniors.  I love starting my day with my senior crafters.

When I started teaching 17 years ago after years of having my own art studio and working full time in social work, I had no idea what to do with a high school level craft class.  The teacher before had taught since I had graduated and for 30 years she had her students painting prepoured ceramic statues and doing cross stitch sewing.  I knew I wanted to go in a different direction.

Now I teach a variety of inexpensive crafts that focus on using recyclables and everyday materials.  We don't live near a major craft store and most of my students are on free and reduced lunches with no money to purchase supplies. As most folks know - crafting can be horribly expensive if you aren't careful.  

This week I have been preparing to start a coil basket making unit with my crafters.  I actually haven't done this unit for nearly 10 years so I had some brushing up to do.  I am excited to start the unit with my students.  We are using cheap clothesline rope for our basket core and then I am giving them a choice to weave with traditional raffia, yarn, strips of fabric or strips of plastic trash/store bags.

As an art teacher, one of the greatest challenges is managing a classroom filled with different supplies for different mediums.  It is also a challenge to prepare new units with lots of examples of project steps.  I am fortunate to have a giant Smart board/projector and a document reader which lets me demonstrate a tiny process and have it projected across a whole wall.  All these teaching techniques requires lots of hour outside of class to prepare. 

I am having a lot of fun weaving my examples.  I always get so inspired when I start a new unit.  I want to drop everything and just play away the day.  

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

B IS FOR BEE

This darling page features definitions for bed and bee.  I decided to draw a sleepy little bee cozy in his bed which is the basket of a hot air balloon.  I also thought it would be fun to have his basket resemble a bee hive.

I am having so much fun creating these alphabet drawings.  Still not 100% sure how I am going to make reproductions of these happy, little drawings.

A IS FOR ALLIGATOR


I am off and running with drawing each letter of the alphabet on the pages of this wonderful, children's dictionary.  I am trying to find a couple of different definitions on each page that spark my imagination. 

For this page I created a funny alligator in a fat little airplace dropping alarm clocks.  Airplane and Alarm Clock both appear on the page.  I was able to protect this page from tears and rips but it is extremely fragile so I went ahead and covered the back with gel medium.

I'm still debating how to reproduce prints of these drawings.  I think they would be cute as little cards that could be framed or hung together to spell out a child's name.  I also think they would be clever in a smaller card set that includes the whole alphabet.  I am getting a little ahead of myself - that means doing the WHOLE ALPHABET.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Z IS FOR ZEBRA






Last spring a wonderful customer sent me her childhood dictionary as a thank you after she purchased some of my artwork at a show.  When the book arrived I knew I wanted to do something special with this treasure.

The first thing I noticed was the lovely inscription on the flyleaf that this book was a Christmas gift in 1944 from the owner' father.

Next I noticed that the book was copyrighted in 1939.


I also loved this page at the beginning of the book.

After months of thinking about what I'd like to do with the book, I decided I wanted to create a series of drawings for each letter of the alphabet.  Unlike the other dictionaries I had used, this one had less text on each page - most only had four words defined with simple definitions.  

The first page I pulled to draw on had the word "Zebra."  

I also wanted to create more whimsical, cartoon-like drawings for this series,  I decided that I wanted to make these drawings specifically for children.

I've worked on a lot of very old and very fragile pages but this book took the cake.  The pages were extremely brittle and stiff so the slightest touch created rips and broke off edges and corners.  When I finished the first drawing I sealed the back side of the page with gel medium to try to strengthen the paper before scanning and framing.

I'm exactly sure how I will frame or reproduce these drawings.  I'm currently experimenting with lots of different ideas.

So here is my first attempt to draw on this beautiful page.  I had so much fun creating the dancing zebra frolicking through the zinnias.  At first I wasn't sure what dance he was doing then my daughter made the perfect suggestion - Zumba.

As you can see, I had to patch a last minute tear or two on the page.  I think this repair just adds to the personality of the page.  I can't wait to share his brothers and sisters.





Wednesday, March 02, 2016

IT'S TIME TO TEACH WATERCOLORS



Being a high school art teacher means I need to be skilled in multiple mediums.  Currently my students are doing paper mache' sculptures, color theory exercises, acrylic painting and my second year students are just now starting watercolors.

These students had an introduction to watercolors during their first year of class but now they are challenged to create some original, challenging work.  Anytime I start watercolors I like to set up a review of techniques and have my students practice making a variety of washes and textures.  Lots of people avoid watercolors but success is just a matter of learning how to manage the amount of water you use.

A few years ago I discovered someone had created a similar grid you see in my photo.  I've built my own version of the various techniques and instruction I want my students to understand and use.  I hope to make time to create a "HOW TO" video so I don't have to do it again and again year to year.