Monday, June 22, 2015


watercolor with a bit of pen & ink

makes me a happy camper.
I adore watercolor,
so when I teach this unit,
 I really enjoy being surrounded by all the pieces from years past that I have bought from the students. They make terrific examples to teach with,
and are a delight for both young and old eyes.

Other art teachers often ask me if I show off only good examples when I start a new unit.
The answer is no.
I also like to show pieces that are not designed well,
or where the specific technique was not used correctly.
I think it is important for my students to also see at least one professional piece
 that I've either purchased, 
or that the kids can view on my blog.
And I use my blog quite often as a teaching tool.
The pro piece in the photo above is 2nd on the right,
bottom row, 
done by watercolor artist Jim Chapman.

Probably the most exceptional piece this year at our Open House show was this watercolor
by junior Jonathan Hsu of senior Jovani Garcia.
Whitney science teacher Mrs. Z is now the very proud owner of this work.
Jonathan chose the largest piece of watercolor paper I had,
30" by 36" Hot Press Arches for it's size and smooth surface.
But look at the results I'm getting with decent materials.

He made a quick sketch in pencil of Jovani,
and chose this lovely primary color scheme to work in.
Then he started adding interesting elements around the head,
 and man oh man,
the crowd loved it!!!!

Next we have junior Elias Rodriquez.
He loves doing watercolor backdrops and is known for that amongst his peers.
This is his portrait of senior Nathan Chong,
and the very delighted owner is our new Dean of Discipline,
 Craig Spratt.

Another question I am often asked is how do you afford to give your students 
such expensive materials to work with?
After all,
 you are only a public school.
Yeap, that's right.
 this year I was given only a little over a $1000 dollars for 150 students for the entire year.
I spent it even before school started just getting in my ton, 
yes one ton of clay,
also glazes and oxides.
I am able to ask the parents for fair share donations,
and about 3/4 of the parents contribute.
So that helps a lot!
My husband and I do a lot of garage sales and dumpster diving on the weekends 
to supplement the much need consumable supplies.
And the rest is up to me and my pocketbook.
I share a lot of my own equipment with my students like looms, 
spinning wheels and sewing machines,
 and all the paraphernalia that goes with them.

These last two were both done of junior Elias.

The top one belongs to Nathan.
I really like how he morphed the hoodie into the black background.
He did this with India ink.

This one of Elias was done by senior Michael Cantu.
He was inspired by a portrait he saw of Martha Stewart
 that I had in my file folder,
(artist unknown)
 and asked if he could bring in pen & ink to draw in details like he saw in the example.
The result was spectacular and one of Michael's best works.
Also note that he used the exact same color palette that Jonathan used of Jovani.
Not until we put them up for critiquing did we notice this simaliarity,
 and how well they flowed together on the wall.
I think the shade of blue that Michael picked for his background
was the perfect compliment to his piece. 

Bravo young men,
you do me proud!

1 comment:

  1. As I look at these I find myself hoping that the sitters have kept copies of these portraits ... what a wonderful affirmation of their beauty (I thought twice about using that word as it can be anethema to young men ... but I think they need to know that they have that potential within them)