Thursday, October 13, 2016

Wallpaper, take 2: Digital workflow/Computer as a tool for taking handwork to the next level

As part of 21st century learning, students of art need to have a basic understanding of digital workflow.  We artists use digital workflow as a part of our artistic process: for planning, creating, refining and presenting.  In this particular project, after hand drawing our work, we photographed it and then uploaded it to our google folders for access.

We then used pixlr express to crop and up the contrast, as well as other "tweaks" to make our photo optimized for printing. : refining our work.  There are a variety of online apps that work for this, and some of them are incredibly in depth.  Having it linked directly to google drive and being an "express," version with less overwhelming options made this a good choice for this piece.  Here is a before/after:

The next step was to see how it looked as wallpaper.  Again, there are a variety of online sites that allow you to upload your imagery to create custom wallpaper, but the User Interface of allows
for users to see their wallpaper right away, and to play with whether they want it as a repeat, staggered or mirrored: part of creating and refining.  We createda screenshot of what that looked like and using the collage mode of pixlr express, created a final that one can see the original design and how it works as wallpaper--the presenting part of the artist's process.

This whole process involved a lot of steps and as a teacher figuring out the best way to teach this material can be challenging.  Flipped classroom?!  Online tutorials?!  Teaching everyone at once?!  Because it involved a lot of tech to begin with, I decided to opt out of adding more tech and go with the model of peer teaching/helping.  I teach a few students, they then teach a few student, those teach a few more.  And, it has worked.  It is amazing to take a breath and look around the classroom and watch learning take place.  we are drawing, we are photographing, we are "wallpapering," working in small groups, working on our own.  This process of discovery and the sharing has made the excitement for learning in the classroom palpable.

Wallpaper, take 3: Community building online contest is next.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Outdoor classrooms, Nature, Josef Frank and Kehinde Wiley

These past few weeks have been so gorgeous outside, and as someone who truly believes art and education does not take place in a vacuum, we have taken advantage of this and have engaged in some place based, project learning.  This new project is very personal to me in that it touches on everything I value about teaching art: Movement, mindfulness, place based learning, outdoor education, the artist's process, design thinking and technology, and artists dealing with contemporary issues.  We spent time outdoors in either the classroom in the woods or the gardens, found sit spots, and drew from observation.  We then studied the artist/designer Josef Frank and his stylized way of working, specifically focusing on his textiles and wallpaper. The challenge for them is for them to create their own stylized wallpaper inspired by the flora from being outside.  From there, our hope (fingers crossed for funding!) we will be selecting 6 student pieces to make into actual wallpaper for installation in the new wings once construction is done.   I also like to show and have discussions with students about artists that are working in the world, connect to what they are doing, and would also just really inspire them.  The artist for this project was Kehinde Wiley.

Here are some works in progress:

Conferencing in Art

Hi, Carin Lilly here, the middle school art teacher.  We are in full swing at SCS as creative design thinkers, just wrapping up projects that are inspired by the natural world and stories from our lives. I just wanted to write a quick note that I will be setting aside time after school the week of the 24th of October for parents to drop by, or email to set up an appointment:  Monday, Oct 24, Wed Oct. 26 and Thurs Oct 27 from 3-4:30.  I will be in my room or hanging artwork in the near vicinity of it.   Also of note is the Unified Arts open house night: It will be on Thursday, October 20th, from 6:30-7:30 pm, meeting  in the cafeteria at 6:30 pm for a brief introduction. Students are encouraged to attend this event with you, and share some of the great things they are learning in their UA classes.  If these times don’t work for you and you would still like to connect, drop me an email at anytime:  

Also, please follow our Shelburne Community School facebook page, where the three art teachers post art and what’s going on in our classroom, subscribe to my blog:, or do a search on instagram for the hashtag we use: #shelburneart