Comics and Graphic Novels as Primary Sources

I was lucky enough to spend a week this summer learning more about comics and graphic novels through a course offered by the University of the Arts in collaboration with The Library of Congress: Teaching with Primary Sources.  The course cost me a whopping $50! A steal, if you ask me! I would highly recommend…

Arte Útil: Art as a Social Tool

I just spent the last two days at MoMA as a participant in La escuela de Arte Útil conceived by the Cuban artist Tania Bruguera.   There were close to thirty participants and for two days we learned under the guidance of Tania, more about the lexicon of Arte Útil, of what it is/isn’t, of it’s shortcomings and…

teaching philosophy

Imagine coming into an open art studio and seeing young artists in various states of absorption and focus.  In one corner you see a student with headphones on working meticulously on the details of her painting, never even acknowledging your presence.  Opposite her are a group of students debating passionately about how to combine their…

Green Tara Mandala

For the fourth year in a row, Lama Tenzin is visiting us from Geneva, NY to construct a sand mandala.  This year it is the Green Tara Mandala, which helps one overcome obstacles, to become fearless like Tara. Tara, the “mother of all Buddhas” is considered one of the first emancipated women. It is said…

becoming the teacher I longed for

At At the art reception, one of my student’s mother asks me in Chinese, “So how is T in your class, is she shy? Does she raise her hand?” I tell her that T is indeed quiet in the class but that it’s not an issue. “I am also shy…she is doing amazing work and is…

Teacher as Learner

For the past several years I’ve requested that my department be able to leave campus in order to take workshops together during the mid year Parent Conference Day.  Since we usually have very few visitors during that day, what better way to spend the time than to learn something new as a group.  This year…

“bad drawings”

I’ve been thinking a lot about observational drawing lately since my 9th graders just started the drawing unit.   Drawing from still-life is an age-old skill that frustrates and delights, depending on who you ask.  Before we started the unit I asked my students to categorize their relationship with drawing: “enjoys it”, “finds it challenging”,…

Linocut Project Redux

  Every year I rethink Studio Art 1 for the 9th graders.  How can I make sure that it’s a positive experience for all students especially given the fact that for many, it may be their only visual art class in their high school career? We try to start out with something that easily builds…

the heart, not the hand.

I came upon this passage from John Ruskin’s 1858 inaugural address for the Cambridge School of Art and could not help but see a parallel to what I’ve been struggling with in my classroom: “Of course, there is always a vast temptation, felt both by the master and the student, to struggle towards visible results,…

summer 2017

Finding solace with a brush in hand this summer. an afternoon spent under my favorite Japanese Spider Maple. working from a model at an acrylic workshop at the Art Students League Solar Eclipse 2017. I traced the shadows on my stoop and felt the temperature drop. Urban Sketching in Stockholm. family art time in Sweden.

Joie in Ireland

I just returned from a week in Ireland as a chaperone with a small group of students at Cow House Studios.  You can see some photographs from the program here: http://www.cowhousestudios.com/friends-academy-global-studies-scholars/ My week was filled with walks, jaunts, studio time, and great home-cooked meals.  On one of my walks I found a piece of wood lodged…