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My Art

I studied art at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where I earned my BFA in 2007. My primary studio concentration was in painting and drawing. My medium of choice was oils and my style tended toward a modernist aesthetic. My paintings from that period have been displayed in galleries and private collections across the United States.

Over the course of my career, I started to shift my perspective. Teaching elementary art has informed my own art-making practice in a number of ways. In developing a curriculum to address the needs of diverse learners, I was forced to expand my knowledge base giving me inspiration from different styles and movements. Teaching children and having my own children has helped me to re-connect with art seeing things through the lens of a child. I started to approach work more in the way that I did when I first started making art- unabashedly taking elements from whatever I saw that I thought looked cool. I could prattle on about "the democratizing effect of synthesizing disparate influences in a direct manner eschewing the esoteric nature of modernist abstraction," but I prefer to simply say I do what I like and hope others like it too. I try to make work that my kids can enjoy and I have started making limited edition prints (pigment based inks on archival, acid free paper usually in runs of 50) all priced at a point that is affordable for the average person. My current practice mixes digital and traditional media. Typically I will sketch on paper then transfer the drawing to an iPad using photographs I take (often of my paintings) of various colors, textures, and patterns. I  digitally collage and hand draw over the top then print on museum grade paper. Every print is hand signed and numbered.

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Do I Really Wanna Know

As my school year winds down, I try to take a little time to reflect on my year. I try to do this while things are still fresh. Things are so fresh in fact, I still have another week and a half left in school. While this time of year is crazy and so many kids are checked out, i thought it might be nice to get feedback from students on all of the changes i have made this year. Of course when I think of all the work I've put into those changes, the natural question becomes "do I really want to know students opinions?" The natural answer all of us are taught to say is yes, of course we want feedback from all stakeholders and students should have a say in their education. Of course that sounds good in theory, but in practice, it can be much harder. Realistically, it is hard not to take it personally when a kid says they don't like the system you set up. I wouldn't want to gather data as a show of valuing student opinions while they feel pressure to compliment me, so …

My First Post!

Welcome to my elementary art blog. I will be posting various lesson plans and resources used for teaching k-5 Art. Check back regularly as I intend to update this weekly with videos and other resources that help in my classroom and they can help in yours too.

One thing that has been transformative in my teaching is video demonstrations of key skills. I started making videos after coming to the realization that when I did a live demonstration of clay or origami, half the class could not actually see what I was doing. By recording video, I could project it larger so kids could see better, but I also found that it freed me up to focus on my students and my instruction better. I no longer had to worry about the creation of a sample project, I could simply focus on the explanation while also looking at my students to find signs of confusion, anticipate problems etc. If you have not flipped your art room, I highly recommend it.

In addition to the relative ease of direct instruction, creatin…

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