Art in Action with Students


Yesterday was a professional development day.  We have been going to the National Gallery and I loved the experience.  At first I will admit, not a work of art I would observe for a large length of time in front of this work if alone, but this experience created a stream of thinking!

Our group simply looked at memorial for a few minutes and shared observations: all gold, facing the same direction, marching together, one man on horse.  Then we looked for signs of leadership:  drummer setting pace, pose of man on horse, readiness of horse, unity of group.  Our last interaction was to spread out and on the count of 3, take the position of someone in the work and freeze.  The docent then went around and tapped each of us on the shoulder to share one line of what we thought the figure was thinking.  The answers were thoughtful, touching, humorous, hopeful and empathetic and could inspire a larger act/performance.  The warm-up to a greater art response was excellent!  I especially loved this experience because after seeing how this teacher inspired taught history, connected empathy through performance art with his 5th grade

The exercise reminded me of steps towards performance art and what other paintings that could be used to inspire performance: Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party.  Alix Pearlstein’s performance art study of the observer and observed inspired me to think of other behaviors or characteristics to explore with students.  Like Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party. This painting strikes me as a good one to explore Communication.  Which character would we be?  How would the location be similar or different?  Where is your favorite spot to spend time with friends?  What has changed in our time since then?  How could my body language intentionally or unintentionally form a viewers opinion?


“Left Behind”


This big nest is waiting for you in the garden! It is 4 feet in diameter and 2 feet tall. The nest was made using discarded yard waste from the corner of the community garden. I loved the repetition of going back and forth to the pile to find the next handful of twigs, placing them in the established form and thinking about the gift of life. An assignment called “Left Behind” requires making a series of work that thinks about the space and uses materials that relates to the space.
The nest is a start and I have invited viewers to place an object in the nest, take a photo and email it to me.


Storytelling in Art


We went to Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum today.

The exhibit The Art of Storytelling is fantastic and I just posted my

experience on the blog for my class  Art Outside the Gallery.

So, I am hoping you can see this great exhibit for its greatness

in connecting us by our experiences through visual art.

“Lotta Lichtenstein’s in my back pocket!”

These last few weeks before holiday break is quite a situation and I’m sure it can be at your school too.  Since viewing the amazing Lichtenstein Retrospective, I have been trying to incorporate the Ben-day dots at the elementary level.  Wham!! Popped bubble wrap in my head.

Bubble Wrap print paper

Timing could not have been more perfect.  We still have some work to do in reminding and holding our students accountable for their words, but Lichtenstein helped break the ice.  As a artist he was grouped in with the pop-artists, whether he liked it or not. We talked about how we too can be put into general groups that does not entirely define us.  Lichtenstein has expressed that he dealt with feeling frustrated that he could not paint like Van Gogh, Matisse or Monet and how that can feel frustrating, insecure, isolated and perhaps lonely. Some of his paintings ‘pay homage’ to his fellow painters and

With a list of a few more feelings we have, I asked the students:  “If your friend or someone in your family felt one of these, what would you say?”  They posted a few ideas to share and we discussed how “wow” is not good enough and why “feel awesome” is just not quite right.  Here are a few for spotting Loneliness, New at School & Name Calling…more in progress!

We still have more work to do around campus and creating a “lotta Lichtenstein messages for our back pockets”.  Art Teachers if you try this lesson at your school, here is what I did and why:

1. Before students arrived, printed a variety of skin tones and other colors~yellow, red, blue, turq, orange. WHY because, I do plan for students to make their own, but we had to discuss much about the purpose of making art & the value of its message before they print their own.  They had to understand the value of bubble wrap as an art tool before I turned them loose!  We will use excess printed paper and create more for an extended lesson that explores students personal style and use of space in composition.

2. Made a list of feelings we have and used post-its for students to share bubble comments. WHY because, we are finding this time of year and shift in the students we teach today.  Sometimes they seem to feel entitled or detached and we need to reel it in.  Our students need to see and experience how we value them & they can value each other.




Dad, I missed the assignment, but not the exhibit!

Yesterday, Geoff and I took the city bikes to see Lichtenstein~Bam, Wham exhibit!  His body of work is so much!

We glanced to the other side of the gallery and noticed Shock of the News so here is the story:

Dear Dad,

I missed the assignment, but not the exhibit!  Geoff helped me paper mache this chair during Hurricane Sandy.  You know the cross media class, well she asked us to pick one everyday object around the house that collects, so I picked the magazine, but my thoughts were totally consumed by living in Mt. Vernon, NY with you! So much fun~the diners, trains to the city, the Guggenheim~and the newspaper antics (mine at least).
Now, because we don’t get the paper, I chose to cover the chair in New Yorker magazines.  I remember your dining room chairs were stacked with newspapers that you had not read yet. October came and I would carry September papers down to recycle and you would come home and wonder where they were. So I would take the elevator back down, through the tunnels of basement and bring them back up.

To my surprise all these years later, newspapers are the total art of this exhibit!  You would have loved the Shock of the News exhibit and I did too.  The memories of all those teenage years of delivering newspapers and trying to remove them from the apartment flooded my mind yesterday! No pictures allowed, but you would have loved the stacked newspapers in the entrance, the appreciation of newspaper as part of collage and as the ground for drawing.  One artist even created a stack of fresh paper for every guest of the gallery to take. How generous and thoughtful is that?!  Amazing exhibit Dad.  I remember your interest in taking the time to sit, read and appreciate every page.

As for the assignment, it was the act of bringing in the everyday object, “creating/performing a temporary installation” and being done that evening. My classmates brought in stickers, googly eyes, plastic cups, toilet paper and salt.  I only had this screen in my hand, thinking I would paint the view of apartment building courtyard on the screen to go with chair.  So instead, I joined the group with only lipstick in my bag, kissed the screen for the next two hours and still received a thumbs up!  Love, Paige

Citybike visit to Ai Weiwei

Riding the city bike to the Hirshhorn yesterday was so much fun! The leaves on the streets, tourists, crinkle of gravel on the mall and pumping peddles with sound of train pulling in to Union Station on my way home were the highlights of the ride. The visit to the Hirshhorn blew me away in seeing the artwork of Ai Weiwei for the first time. There is no way at this moment that I could describe his work as others critique with such detail and elegance, but I will say that his work and message leave me excited to be human. His materials and message motivate me to think and care about this world we share. My professor told me to go & check out his use of tea, the last photo. The exhibit is fantastic and am very curious about the relationship or choice of the surveillance camera and helmet in marble. I certainly appreciate the camera, because of all the annoying cameras we have in the city and the helmet for opening up all these great revitalized parts of the city to check out!

















10 variations

10 variations is an assignment from my Cross Media class at the Corcoran. We select one object to produce “10 sketches” and from there select 3 to revise. The experience has allowed me to see an everyday object in a new way, expanded my list of materials for art and created an opportunity of understanding meaning and why that is important in art making. I realized that tea reminds me of my mother and her favorite shape the oval. Polyurethane reminds me of my father in law using polyurethane on the boat railings and all our great days we had on the water. Also, how themes surface in our work during the process that we might rarely think about. This happened with the ballet figure. When I pulled the string around the damp tea bag, it reminded me of a feminine shape and suddenly my mind went right to Degas. But in the past, when I see his paintings of dancers, in their beauty, the subject matter did not hold my attention. So it brings me to thinking about how images circulate in our memory and how powerful that is no matter what our interest might be or have been. They still do produce a response and have potential to resurface. Therefore, my conclusion is art images bring value to us in all of our interpretation and opinion.