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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Meeting an Original Highwaymen

One of the wonderful parts about the Orlando Conference was being able to meet one of the ORIGINAL Highwaymen artist and watch him paint. This is R. L. Lewis, one of 26 artists who, in the early 1950's through the 1980's, developed their own style of depicting the Florida Landscapes, selling these paintings out of their cars and vans as they traveled up and down the coast. During that time, an African-American, would not likely find Art Galleries open to displaying their work, so they would take it to the road, so to speak. Today, their artwork is eagerly sought after by collectors willing to pay top dollar for Highwaymen originals.
Duval Art Teachers Association was very blessed to have R.L. Lewis paint one of the wooden palettes that are being auctioned to provide funding for the Leslie Beddard Scholarship Fund. His particular palette is being auctioned on Ebay and has already had an offer of $600. We would really like to thank Mr. Lewis for his huge contribution!

IMing with Iraq - Talk about ART and TECHNOLOGY!

We spent almost an hour IMing with my son James, who is on tour in Iraq, while, part of the time, seeing him through web cam. It is still hard to fathom being in contact with him, half way across the world. But one thing that really struck me was the marriage of art and design with technology that made it possible for this Mama to stay in contact with her boy. We are so surrounded by art being used to simplify and improve our lives that we hardly know it as art! If you have Instant Messaged, you know that there are hundreds of little "things" that you can send through the IM to enhance your words. My Daughter, Morgan, was constantly pulling up these little pictures that did some kind of funny action, when activated, to send with her text. Funny!!!!! Of course, James had to send some back as well. One thing I know......I have an aweful lot to learn! But, I am thankful to be able to keep in touch so often with my son. It almost makes him seem as if he is not so far away.

Clay Workshops at the Cummer

This past Planning Day I was priviledged to be able to teach three clay workshops to fellow Elementary Art Teachers on using the "Hollow Egg" technique of clay handbuilding. What an honor, as my colleagues are amoung the BEST art teachers in the state of Florida. I hardly felt adequate to teach them anything at all. However, in each of the three workshops that I gave, I had many teachers thank me for showing this method as they began to get many great ideas on how to teach this to their students. Wow!!!! Of course, I didn't walk away without new ideas myself! Just goes to show that you can NEVER stop learning. The teachers created the cutest, wildest, and most beautiful pieces using this technique. It was just fun watching the ideas move from the mind to the clay.
Of course, we couldn't stop at just teaching the technique, we had to find all the ways that this project tied in with the various academic subjects. When we introduce clay, we have to talk about how important clay has been in learning about ancient cultures. Because it does not breakdown quickly (not even after 12,000 years) archaeologists are able to learn so much from what is painted on the clay AND what is found inside ( sometimes grains or ashes). Of course, that moves right into how clay is made, naturally, from disintegrating rocks, and water. On to different processes that clay goes through to go from a lump of earth to a solid piece of pottery. Math jumps in their when we have to estimate halves, and then put them together into a whole. I could probably go on and on. Not to mention it is all A LOT OF FUN!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Learning Lots in Orlando

Wow! It is a wirlwind down here! I haven't stopped since I stepped out of the car. The workshops are wonderful, and the ideas are coming. There is so much creativity flowing that I should come back with a new lesson plan or two to try out with the students.
The workshop I gave with my friend, Judi Evans, really turned out to be a huge success. Everyone was telling us how fascinating it was to learn how much a small book can help teach students so much. Not only, art concepts, but concepts they find in their classroom as well. See to see the details on this workshop and see some of the beautiful books created by these teachers.
A couple more workshops to go and then I am heading back to Jax.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Heading off to FAEA Conference

It is that time of the year again, when all kinds of crazy art teachers head off to Orlando for the Florida Art Education Association Conference. All of you who go to conferences know that not only are these large gatherings FULL of information, and learning of new skills and techniques, they are also just fun! Rubbing elbows so many creative minds from all over Florida can only result in tons of new ideas to try out as soon as I get home. My biggest problem is TIME. How to fit in all the neat stuff into one school year. I am willing to give it a shot.

If you teach art, conference should be built into you annual school plans as often, we are alone in our jobs at our schools. We don't always have someone to bounce ideas off of or discuss celebrations and concerns with, therefore leaving us feeling like we are an island that no one understands. At Conferences, whether local, state, or national levels, we are immersed into the whole "art-thinking" thing with hundreds of others WHO ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT! It is just as much a time for interactions, making contacts, and building relationships as it is for learning new procedures or how to improve our craft.

I will be presenting this year by doing a workshop on Artist Trading Card books, how to make them, and how to use them to teach the elements and principals of design. I think it will be tons of fun to see what the workshop attendees come up with while designing their own books.

I will also be going to the reception, where all our "very interesting" centerpieces will be displayed. Now, I would really like to be a fly on the wall as people encounter these "interesting" works of art. I'll try to remember some :-)!

So....FYI.....I will be gone from Thursday, Oct, 16th - Sunday, Oct. 19th. Pray I will get there and back again in one piece and that Judi (with whom I am doing the workshop) and I are successful in sharing all our little secrets about ATC Books with all who grace our workshop.

See ya Monday!

Still time to Order ATR!!!

If you have not turned in your Art To Remember, you still have time. Even though the deadline was October 10th, I will be sending in a late order in the next couple of weeks. You should still have your order back in time for the holidays, so send it in. REMEMBER - if your order is below $25, you must send in cash.