Sunday, August 6, 2017

Art & Life: finding inspiration everyday (and a free resource)

Each year I challenge myself to artistically engage more students who may not have had previous interest or exposure. Many kids think that art is just about "making stuff" and don't yet feel confident with their skills in that area, and shy away. When I think about what it is that I TRULY love about art, and how I can share that, it is a much broader picture than just making. This "big picture" approach to learning about art will focus on daily life experiences and choices, and how they have inspired well-known artists and can even inspire us as beginners. I thought about a number of catchy names for my theme but what it really comes down to is life, and students of all ages can grasp Art & Life - can't get much more "big picture" than that, right? :)


This picture is from art teacher Nic Hahn's Instagram - it shows how her garden was very productive while she was away on vacation. All the colors, shapes, textures, and even flavors are very inspiring, and a perfect example of finding art in daily life - her blog, MiniMatisse can be found here.

                                                 Observational drawing of living things

The root of my connection to art is just that, connection - to nature, to ideas, to others - and I am always fascinated by the way artists can communicate these things visually with the simplest of tools like color and line and shape, pencil and paper. As always, we will explore many varieties of media and techniques - painting, drawing, collage, weaving, printmaking, 3-D and tech - and how to use these tools most effectively using the principles of art. At the same time, we will keep at the forefront WHY a particular artist created in this way, WHY we are using certain symbols or representations of our own life experiences. I love seeing students make personal choices in their artworks, and learning design skills at the same time helps them to more effectively communicate as an artist.

American landscape painting inspired by local art exhibit
and student choice

Pet portraits created to raise awareness of the homeless pet
population in our own community

Frida Kahlo will be the first artist we will get to know - she shares so much of her life experience through her self-portraits, her symbolic still lifes, and even her style of dress. In an age appropriate way, we will find out how the  physical struggles of her youth and her brave accomplishments as an adult are reflected in her art.
We will kick off our theme this week with some fun introductory exercises and also a planning sheet for our portfolios that we can refer to throughout the year for inspiration. If you'd like to have your own Art & Life planning sheet, it is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store  FREE for the month of August. Now get out there and find your inspiration!


  1. I love the pet portraits! Thank you for giving me inspiration, my friend.

  2. Nicely done! Great way to engage kids!


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