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About Me

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Guymon, Oklahoma, United States
I am blessed to live where my grandfather homesteaded, to have three beautiful daughters who are my best friends, to have six delightful grandchildren who live nearby, to be married to my sweetheart of 35 years and to thrill to the special magic of creating my own works of art. I'll never cease to thrill to witnessing new ideas and images come to life from the point of a pencil or splash of a brush. I am blessed.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

TODAY IN MY CLASSROOM

I teach a variety of high school classes.  On any given day you will find some students drawing in pencil, others watercoloring and some may be making paper mache'.  I love the variety of media I get to teach but it can be overwhelming trying to keep up with all these different supplies.

I try to plan ahead so my classroom and supplies can be arranged in a way where each unit can live happily in the same space.  Here is a taste of what's going on today.
My Art 1, beginning students are half way through a linear perspective unit.  Fortunately this doesn't require much more than paper and rulers.  This fall I bought a hanging shoe holder and its been great to keep track of classroom sets of rulers, scissors, glue or whatever I want to provide my students.  These little classroom supplies don't cost much but I don't want to constantly have to buy replacements.  I see at a glance that my rulers are back at the end of class before I dismiss my students.

While my students are finishing up perspective next week, I will be organizing tempera paint and brushes to start a unit on the element of color.

My craft students are just beginning printmaking.  We start out with carving little rubber plates and then move on to more difficult linoleum.  My goal is to push my students to be innovative, little mad scientists so I require them to make creative prints on all sorts of unusual surfaces.  Right now this requires keeping track of their personal gauges and some ink pads.  Soon I'll add lots of brayers, ink plates, printing ink and even a table sized printing press.

I was fortunate to have friends buy my class some gelli plates for mono printing.  My advanced students are making background prints to use in an upcoming painting.  I am requiring them to make 10 small monoprints and then develop a drawing/painting on top of one.  It's messy but a whole lot of fun.

My second year students are just starting a unit on pastels.  I do all sorts of fun projects to get them familiar with hard and soft pastels.  Next week we buckle down and do a realistic portrait.  The student in this picture is collaging pictures on a piece of masonite as the background for a painting.

Here are two of my advanced, 4th year students gluing wallpaper, scrapbook paper and images on their masonsite.  We will then slop gesso and watered down acrylic over them before they paint or draw their work.

Here is an example I am doing to show my students how to work on a collaged surface.  I am building on photocopied $5 bills.

Meanwhile my other advanced students (3rd year) are creating dimensional watercolors.  They are to create a background watercolor painting then on separate watercolor paper create cut outs that they attach with foam dots.  All of my advanced students are doing something that requires layering images and solving composition problems.

Well, that's today at Guymon High School.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

TYPEWRITER PRINT STARTS PRINTMAKING UNIT



Printmaking Unit Begins with Rubber Carved Stamps

One of the many joys of being an art teacher is getting to play around with all sorts of art projects.  I teach a variety of classes.  My first class of the day is a crafting class for seniors.  It is so much fun to start each day with this happy bunch.  We do collage, paper mache', make handmade paper, weaving - all kinds of non-drawing projects.

This week we started printmaking.  I have lots of examples (after 15 years in the classroom) but each new unit requires I demonstrate the assignment steps.  I decided to create a funky little typewriter.  We are using rubber plates (I call them eraser prints and sometimes we even use Pink Pearl erasers) to start our unit.  We will gradually move on to more difficult linoleum plates that hold up better and let us print on all sorts of surfaces.

After showing my students how to create a successful design, transfer it, carve it safely and ink it with an ink pad or magic markers I remembered that long, long ago I purchased some mini alphabet stamps out of a $1 bin at a craft store.  Now I've got a use for those tiny letters....they look like old typewriter font so they work great as a personal message on the paper. 

Just wanted to share what's on my desk today.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I AM NOT A DRAWER


I AM NOT A DRAWER - I AM A DRAGANEER!

When people ask me about my art I always find myself annoyed with describing myself as a "drawer."  Sure I paint some so I am a painter.  I can sculpt a little so I am a sculptor and I can craft like any crafter but I have never liked the term drawer.  So I've decided to invent a new term (or repurpose a really old one) for those "drawers" out there who also dislike this awkward term.  I am officially promoting the term "draganeer."  Doesn't that sound better?

Drawers for me growing up was a term for underwear.  I have drawers in my dresser where I keep my underwear.  Drawer is a clunky word I've never liked.  I've tried on the term sketcher - ugh.  I've used illustrator or graphic artist but neither fits.  Sketch artist sounds like someone who only sets up at carnivals or draws eye witness accounts of wanted criminals.

I looked up the origin of the word draw and discovered the Old English ancestor of the modern English draw was dragan (which means to drag as in drag a pencil or brush).  I LOVE THAT!  So I decided to add to that term. As a lover of Walt Disney I remember he titled his imaginative staff of artists as Imagineers.  Adding that eer seemed to gussy-up my title even more.  I decided to forever be a Draganeer.  

I hope it catches on.  So to all you fellow drawers out there - let's join forces and claim our new title.  Daganeers unite!

My studio is a mess, I have a major show to prepare for 
but I decided to spend my morning happily 
drawing in my sketchbook so I could illustrate my new title. 
This happy fellow is created with watercolors, ink
and now lives in my sketchbook.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

OKC PORTFOLIO REVIEW TRIP WITH STUDENTS


My students at the OKC Museum of Art

We live 5 and half hours from Oklahoma City yet that seems to be where a lot of exciting events take place.  This past week I traveled with some of my advanced students who signed up to show their art portfolios to college and art school recruiters.  I am so proud of them for having the courage to do this adventure.

Some of my students haven't been in the U.S.A. all that long.  Some have struggled to learn English but all of them have fabulous skills as young artists.  We spent time building portfolio cases and mounting artwork and sketchbook pieces, boarded the bus before dawn and made it a full day of artistic adventures.



When we arrived at the Museum of Art I was thrilled to see recruiters from almost every four year and two year college in our state.  The Chicago Art Institute also had a representative in the room.  Each recruiter was kind and encouraging and my students received some personal feedback plus a few scholarship offers.


It was exciting to see my typically reserve and timid students visiting with such poise and polish.  We had been planning this experience for about four months but we had no idea how impressive an experience it actually was.  I felt like a proud mom standing in the corner pleased with how their hard work was paying off.

My trip co-sponsor is a close friend, fellow teacher and skilled artist, Cricket Acevedo.  He is the director of our district's alternative school and has a wonderful rapport with kids.  I love this guy.  I've known him since he was in high school and admire what a difference he makes in the lives of others.  I think of him as my little brother.  We even share the same birthday.

 

Following the museum of art, I took my students art supply shopping.  Most of my students had never shopped for art supplies outside of our town's Walmart.  I've always loved new art supplies and my students were overwhelmed at the selection of open stock painting, drawing and printmaking materials.  The store was shocked to have a charter bus pull up in their driveway.  We left with lots of new toys.



Another treat for the day was visiting one of my former students who has a successful art studio, business and art career in OKC.  Jerrod Smith graduated from our school over 10 years ago and is responsible for claiming and renovating a thriving arts neighborhood in OKC called the Plaza District.  His most recent project was organizing and executing a series of murals around OKC.  He recently launched his own business of handmade items for the motorcycle enthusiast.  It is attached to a very hipster barber shop that specializes in straight razor shaves and grooming for men with Jerrod's love of beards.

At the end of the day I think it was a very special day.  There aren't a lot of examples of working artists, art communities and galleries where we live so I believe this experience helped my tribe to see how their love of art can open all kinds of doors.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

WHALE

Whale
Mixed Media Drawing on 6.5" x 9" Antique Dictionary

A customer at a recent art show requested a drawing of a killer whale for her grandchild's nursery.  The baby isn't due until February so she was gracious enough to let me enjoy the holidays and get school underway before I started on her commission.  She generously purchased a drawing for each of her grandchildren but needed this picture to complete her gifts.

This fella was a lot of fun to create.  I respect all the concern over keeping these magnificent creatures in captivity but I have to admit I cried with joy when I got to see them perform at the San Diego Sea World a few years ago.  I noticed then how much personality these monsters seemed to exhibit.

While I researched my drawing I noticed the same facial expressions I first saw at Sea World.  These creatures seem to actually smile.  I thought a smile was the perfect expression to hang on the walls of newborn.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

GUYMON PUBLIC LIBRARY SHOW



Our rural community recently built a huge, new, city library.  Our former library was in terrible condition with a badly leaking roof and cramped quarters.  No one could accuse this new space with being cramped.  I think the librarians might need roller skates to manage.

I was asked to exhibit my artwork in their art space long ago but just didn't have my inventory available or other obligations.  Today I was finally scheduled to hang some of my work.


I have to share that the library's hanging system and display panels are not particularly artist friendly.  The panels are made of solid, slick surfaces and the hangers are attached to stiff wires that dangle from hooks off the top of the panels.  To attach artwork you have to thread hangers on the wire and tighten each one down with screws.  My fingers have a few blisters after struggling to tighten each hanger so my framed, glass drawings wouldn't potentially fall and break.  It's a little scary to leave your work swinging like a trapeze artist and not firmly mounted to the wall.


It doesn't look like it but my husband and I (God bless my husband for being my right arm today) managed to hang around 35 pieces which will stay on display for a month.  My spring show circuit begins the end of April and I hope to add a couple dozen new pieces to this happy family before then.  I still have pieces for sale at galleries scattered around the Southwest and continue to have prints for sale online via Etsy.


We are fortunate to have this facility in our town.  This is the architect's drawing of the library and closely resembles the finished building.  Unfortunately there was quite a bit of uproar and controversy surrounding its construction but other than a few hurt feelings and some memorable city council meetings it finally is open and in use featuring my work briefly inside.

Friday, January 09, 2015

VORFREUDE


Vorfreude
8" x 8" Crayola Colored Pencil Drawing on Cardstock

I discovered on Pinterest collections of odd, unusual definitions for wonderful words.  I've pinned a ton of them thinking I might somehow use them with my dictionary drawings.  Many of them of ancient words or from different languages.  Most of the ones I've pinned are positive, uplifting words that beautifully describe feelings and experiences.

This week I stumbled on a book by a bright 20 something young woman who seems to live a really exciting life around the globe.  She had illustrated some of these odd words and published them in a now popular book called "Lost in Translation."




There it was - that's what I decided I wanted to do with my board of obscure words.  Of course I didn't want to copy her lovely work but I did want to capture the words in some sort of clever way.

So this week, while my students and I settled into our spring semester of classes after a fabulous Christmas break, I decided to doodle and play.  This is the result.  I actually considered having flying pieces of chocolate cake and over packed suitcases circling my head but decided that most pleasures for me generate out of being creative.  I hope to give my students an assignment for a similar drawing. 

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

PAPILLON

"Papillon"
5" x 8" Mixed Media Drawing on French/English Dictionary

I am fascinated by my French roots.  My grandmother was French and my mother corresponded with French relatives who lived outside Paris.  I remember how exciting it was when our French relatives came to visit.  A few years later my mother was thrilled to travel to France and visit them.  My dream is to someday get to do the same.

I recently found an old French/English dictionary and its been so much fun to create drawings on these old pages.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

BULLDOG

"Bulldog"
6" x 9" Mixed Media Drawing on Antique, Dictionary Page

My dictionary drawings have suddenly become filled with lots of creatures.  I often have people inquire about dog drawings and my response is usually -"Which breed?"  I have a few I've created as commissions like this little guy.

A friend requested a bulldog drawing so I set out to capture a dog with some personality.  My goal was to give it a happy look without making it a cartoon.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS


Rock, Paper, Scissors
7" x 10" Derwent Colored Pencil Drawing on Canson Mi-Teintes Paper

My Christmas break is coming to close.  It's included great times with my family, cooking and eating way too much, down time just watching movies and napping, traveling and attending an NBA basketball game and the joys of fighting through Type A and Type B flu.  For just two weeks, its been a wonderful time.

During the break, I closed down my studio and decided to take a break from any commercial artwork.  I did, however, find time to just play in my art studio.  I've had this piece in mind for a long time.  I wanted the challenge of creating the three distinct textures of metal, paper and rock.  I really want to do some more study and I have a number of additional compositions in mind for these subjects.

I've also had lots of people suggest I include lizard and Spock made popular by the TV show "Big Bang Theory."  I may just have to expand and add those elements.

My students are working on colored pencil drawings when we return from break.  I hope to have the chance to play with mine more in the coming weeks.  We then begin working in pastels which is another favorite medium of mine.....well, I actually love them all.