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Basic Supplies for Acrylic Painting Beginners

I’ve compiled a list of basic supplies for those interested in beginning acrylic painting. We went over this list in the first session of Acrylic Painting for Adults at Mt. Lebanon Public Library. It is not meant to be comprehensive but as a starting point for those new to the medium.

Paints, 2 oz.

Suggested Brands: Liquitex, Utrecht, Golden

Titanium White

Mars Black

Alizarin Crimson

Cadmium Red

Ultramarine Blue

Cerulean Blue

Phthalo Blue

Hookers Green

Phthalocyanine Green

Cadmium Yellow

Burnt Umber

Brushes [ https://www.dickblick.com/info/brushpdf/brushsizing.pdf ]

Round

Flat

Filbert

Painting Surface

Pre-stretched canvas

Wooden board

Watercolor Paper

Matboard or Museum board

Paint Palette

Any impermeable surface such as:

Styrofoam plate

Aluminum foil

Plexiglass or glass sheet

Plastic or glass tray or dish

Other supplies

Acrylic medium (matte or glossy)

Gesso

Easel

Artist & Craftsman Supply, 5603 Hobart Street, Squirrel Hill, 15217

Dick Blick, 5534 Walnut Street, Shadyside, 15232 www.dickblick.com

Watercolor for Adults

Students gathered at Mt. Lebanon Public Library to experiment with loose drawing techniques and watercolor in a class meant to excite and promote creating for personal pleasure because ‘Why else make art if it’s not fun?’

In our first session, I introduced gesture drawing and students practiced with each other and then toy dinosaurs as models. Next, we transitioned into mark making with 02 Micropens, using fine line methods like hatching, cross hatching, stippling and gestural. In the end, after a few quick experiments with liquid watercolor, students used vintage nature cards as reference for a three layered drawing/painting.

In our final session, we capitalized on the warm weather and sketched outdoors in the library’s beautiful courtyard.

After reacquainting students with fine line methods, we conducted a few experiments with water and oil solvent materials and then used music as a way to manipulate the speed of our brushstroke and mood of our composition. We listened to classical, hard rock and pop and the results were drastically different. One student brought along her six year old daughter, who used her whole body while dancing and painting to the music. In the end, students had about 25 minutes to bring all of the elements together for a culminating drawing/painting.

Drawing with Adults

Earlier this spring I taught a two session drawing course for adults at Mt. Lebanon Public Library.

In addition to the adult students, we had one stay-at-home mother with her three year old son. Our youngest student was a joy and completed every single activity, toe to toe with his more experienced counterparts.

In the first session, we focused on fundamentals like gesture drawing, contour drawing and fine line drawing techniques like hatching, cross hatching and stippling.

Students paired up to complete loose armature sketches, capturing the gesture of their subject. Next, they used quick ‘scribbles’ to define shape, size and location. Finally, students moved to the outside line to refine the contour of their subject. After a few timed gesture drawings, students moved onto still life drawings comprised of small dinosaur toys and bouncy balls. In this short amount of time, students practiced with graphite, charcoal and micropens.

In our final session, students jumped right into artmaking with a collaborative ‘automatic’ drawing game. Students experimented with solvencies and created a complete artwork together after group critique and a discussion about focal point.

We finished class with an extended still life study using a wide variety of drawing materials.

Two students from my drawing class, and a few others, joined me today in an Experimental Watercolor course. I’ll post more details after our final session next week.

TAC Exhibition and Third Thursday

My students made the Exhibition Post Card!

The Art Connection Student Exhibition will take place in the Carnegie Museum of Art’s Hall of Sculpture May 4 – May 19. An Opening Reception will be held on Sunday, May 5, 3-5pm. This event is free and open to the public, just check into the admissions desk for your free pass. Students grades 5 – 9 worked 18 weeks to produce thoughtful works, please come out to support their incredible efforts. I am currently installing my 6th graders’ work and will update with my progress, sweat (and likely blood and tears) through instagram.

This year, in addition to the student show in the Hall of Sculpture, a show of Faculty works will be on view in the Balcony Studios. I will be showing two new works and a few older pieces.

In celebration of The Art Connection’s 90th year, CMOA’s May Third Thursday will be centered around education and this incredible program. The event is Thursday, May 16, 7-10pm. You can pre-register for $10 as an adult and $5 as a student. I’ll be there mingling, teaching, gushing … I have also been invited to participate in an education panel preceding the social event, more details on this coming soon!

“We Spend Saturdays at the Museum”

ArtLab @ Mt. Lebanon Public Library

School is out for our local schools so the Mt. Lebanon Public Library invited me to teach a program for grades 3 – 5. This program was 100% free for participants through Matt’s Maker Space. I created ArtLab so students could explore multiple printmaking/transfer methods in a short period of time. We discussed the scientific method and tested our theories throughout our class.

Groups rotated through three stations; watercolor experiments, marker transfers and shaving cream paper marbling. Groups spent about 10 minutes making in each space, completing one or two experiments each.

In watercolor, students tested solvency and fluid paths. Our tools were Dick Blick Liquid watercolor, brushes, spray bottles, water droppers, and oil pastels.

Marker Transfers

In marker transfers, students drew an abstract design with markers on aluminum foil. When the drawing was complete, they spritzed the foil with water and smoothed watercolor paper on top.

In paper marbling, students spread a layer of shaving cream on boards and used eye droppers to apply liquid watercolor. Using a popsicle stick, students connected the color droplets with varied lines. After placing watercolor paper on top, students squeegeed the shaving cream from the paper, revealing its design.

After a quick clean-up, I demoed radial designs and students created relief blocks with 2″ styrofoam plates. We printed with black block ink on colorful paper, which became the covers for their bound experiments.

I love mixing art and science in my lessons. So many tenants cross these disciplines and both cultivate inquiry, curiosity, exploration and confidence in learners of all levels.

I’ll be back at the Mt. Lebanon Public Library later this month for an adult watercolor class and early next month for an adult/child class for ages 2 – 5.

What We Did In TAC This Year | 2018 – 2019

Through out the year, sixth graders smashed fears, capitalized on surprises, and explored what it means to be creative. Each project had a traditional impetus with room for students to add a contemporary element, using the Carnegie International as a guiding force. You can follow art_connect_6 on instagram to see the class’s progress from September – March.

After completing a collaborative project focusing on making marks and elements of successful composition, students received a crash course in gesture drawing and charcoal supplies to begin work on a still life. Before their works were completed, they were challenged to create a brand new composition by altering their drawings with new materials, experimenting with solvencies, and cutting or tearing their still life apart.

For their selfie self-portraits, students first executed value and material studies before integrating knowledge about gesture and contour to capture important aspects of the photograph to include in their drawing. In the second portrait of the year, the Natural History’s stuffed animal collection was inspiration for a sculptural mask. Each artwork contains visual symbols to indicate the personal story of each character, which is sometimes an exaggeration of the artist’s own traits.

In a merge of traditional and experimental concepts, students combined fine line drawing and playful watercolor techniques to create mixed media artworks modeled after different environments in the museum.

The museum remained the subject as students invaded reproductions of CMOA artworks with their own drawings, paintings or media gatherings. Looking to CI artists Karen Kilimnik and Jeremy Deller, students also considered how their individual pieces should be arranged to create one cohesive piece.

In their final invasion, students surprise museum audiences with text-based works installed on the top of their exhibition walls. Viewed from high above, these Mel Bochner inspired works use active words, symbols, or language that will prompt the audience to react in thought or action.

This year’s exhibition will include work from all TAC participants grades 5 – 9 and will take place in Carnegie Museum of Art’s Hall of Sculpture May 4 – 19. An Opening Reception will be held on Sunday, May 5, 3 -5pm. The reception is free, you can RSVP by emailing TAC@carnegiemuseums.org.

The Art Connection | Our 90th Year

I’m teaching 7th grade for The Art Connection this season which is my fifth year with the program (with a long hiatus in between). The Art Connection is an incredible outside-of-school program run on Saturdays at the Carnegie Museum of Art on Saturdays for grades 5 – 9. We’re celebrating our 90th year in 2018 – 2019. We’re three sessions into our second semester but just finishing up our second major project.

Students critique work on a collaborative project on the first day of class.

I have an amazing group of artists to share my Saturdays with this year. In the morning, a large group of girls (and one new boy beginning the second semester) and in the afternoon, a smaller, very social group of students. They have already forged such strong relationships, they created a Secret Santa gift exchange before our holiday break. It has been such a pleasure and in my posts to follow, I will document our experiences so far.

Drawing & Painting @ Mt. Lebanon Library

I was approached by Artists in Schools & Communities at PF/PCA to create and teach drawing and painting based programming at the Mt. Lebanon Library for 8 – 10 yr olds. The final session just wrapped at the end of the month and I couldn’t have been happier with how they went! The programs were fully funded through Matt’s Maker Space so sixteen enthusiastic students were able to participate free of charge for up to four sessions. A family vacation limited my teaching to two programs, The Human Figure and Drawing & Painting Experiments.

The first session focused on the human face and body and squished an entire undergraduate semester into two hours. We covered four drawing methods, human anatomy and proportion, and artistic expression in the form of style and color. Students were entirely engaged through out the process and were willing to be silly, dive into science and take artistic chances.

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The second session focused on experimentation. Yet again, students were challenged to be ‘art scientists’ and to make new discoveries. Students began with a partner challenge. In this Art Game, students were asked to make marks on a piece of paper using a variety of art tools. The only RULE was to use any or all of the materials at their disposal and to remain silent until told otherwise.

Students had no idea how much time they would have each turn, pushing them to act with urgency. After a few turns each, students were able to strategize on how to complete the work using components of a successful composition like creating a focal point. Students loved to discuss each other’s work along the way and were very encouraging of each other.

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Next up were watercolor experiments using a few new tools like liquid watercolor, eye droppers, spray bottles, and salt.

Students were encouraged to create an underdrawing using sharpie and experiment with collage materials as well. Finally, students were asked to use their new skills and materials in a culminating watercolor exploration inspired by landscape.

I was so thrilled to be a part of this program and hope to collaborate with Artists in Schools & Communities and the Mt. Lebanon Public Library again!

The Art Connection

IMG_1694Eighteen weeks of intense artmaking just wrapped up at the Carnegie Museum of Art. Thirty-two seventh grade students worked incredibly hard to face fears, dive headfirst into ambiguity and learn a few new things. Students created some incredibly beautiful artworks, taking the lead in executing designs that interested and excited them. Our program-long theme was of altering media, deconstructing, and paying attention to everyday artworks and media. I couldn’t be happier with what my students accomplished and can’t wait to share with everyone during our Opening Reception on Sunday, April 8, 3pm – 5pm. The exhibition will be displayed in the Hall of Sculpture April 7 – April 22. I will post in the coming weeks about specific projects and outcomes and also share the curating and installation process. My assistants and I have documented the year on Instagram. You can follow us @ art_connect_7.

Art Cat’s Kitchen at CMOA

The second art camp I taught at Carnegie Museum of Art this summer was Art Cat’s Kitchen.

The content of this program was heavily influenced by children’s books. We read Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, the Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Max’s Sandwich. Students created a drawing, print, and collage based on food items in the style of an artist in the museum or illustration found in our inspiration books. Each of these artworks were included in a paper mache sandwich that students also created.

The kids loved the completed sandwich books! They were incredibly sensory and it was really fun to watch parents and siblings take a bite of the food inspired artworks at our end of the week ‘art picnic.’