From the Vault – Fourteen

I always enjoy going through my files and finding pieces that have been created over a decade ago.  “Fourteen” is a 16″ X 20″ pastel on construction paper sketch, and it was one of the key pieces I included in my entrance portfolio for art school.

I was really proud of how this piece turned out.  For starters, it was one of the first pieces I had completed after about a four year break (I wasn’t able to take art until my senior year).  I was excited that I finally was grasping the concept of creating a three dimensional feel from a two dimensional paper.  I also was working on creating lead lines through composition and repetitive forms.

Inspiration Station – James Hance, Relentlessly Cheerful Art.

Anyone who has been in existance since 1980-something and has had visual awareness of the world around them needs to go to this site: James Hance, Relentlessly Cheerful Art.

You will find your chlidhood, slightly modified and kept with artistic integrity.  You will find wonderfully crafted sketches and doodles.  You will be filled with squee’s of artistic glee.

I recently stumbled upon James Hance on Facebook via another friend, and I am SO GLAD I did!  WOW — talk about modern art that is wonderfully on point, technically crisp, beautifully colored with tongue-in-cheek wit and hue.

His Wookie-the-Chew series is a delightful romp through pop culture… the pormonteau’d results of A. A. Milne and George Lucas’ love child.  Images such as this tickle your funny bone and also allow you to give an inner “Dawwwwwww…”  (And really, who couldn’t use more of that?)

Image Copyright James Hance:


I would challenge anyone to go to his archive linked above and NOT find something you remember.

Go forth, artistic adventurers! Find James.  Find your own inner, relentlessly cheerful doodler artist, and start a sketch quest.  May the force be with Chew.

Picasso Dogs – Who Let the Dawgz Out?

How do you take the concept of abstract / subjective art and teach elementary students how to create it?  You want them to draw something “recognizable,” but not really, and trying to get them to understand the concept of “Abstract” can be difficult.

Enter the “Picasso Dogs” project.  This project is one of my absolute favorites to do with my “ArtRage-ous Ipad Art!” kids at the TCCA.  I found the original instructions in this book, “Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists,” by Carla Sonheim.  It’s a wonderful reference for drawing projects that are very convertable to digital media.  (This book was one of the best purchases I’ve made as I’ve started my art education career.)

This project takes the concept of abstraction and makes it accessible for elementary to middle school aged students. (Although I do have a high school junior who’s been taking classes with me for 3 years now, and I’ve been able to adapt all the lower level projects to more challenging ones for her, so don’t let that stop you from being inspired!)  It deconstructs the process of making abstract art into step-by-step instructions (ie, “Draw a small eye.  Turn your paper. Draw an eye several times larger. Turn your paper,” etc.) 

The results can vary WIDELY — here’s two examples of the Picasso Dogs lab I created with the classes in the fall semester of 2011.


And here’s what the class came up with: