Reflection – 31 Days of the #K12ArtChallenge

Hello and happy summer –

Here it is the last day of July, which means it’s the last day of the Twitter #K12ArtChallenge hosted by Tim Needles at The Everyday Renaissance @timneedles along with Arlene Shelton @smARTisteacher. Each day has been a different theme and Tim has shared out highlights the next day. The prompts have been interesting and sometimes truly challenging. Here are my contributions:

July 1: Where are you? – Celebrating summer with the neighbors:

Tools – iPhone camera and Photoshop

7.1 Where are you?

July 2: Gold – Our alpaca, Andy Warhol, is always gold in his own mind

Tools: iPhone camera and Rhonna’s Designs app

7.2 Gold

July 3: Transit – Natural Gas In Transit

Tools: iPhone camera and PicPlayPost app

July 4: The Americans – The Old Stone Church in West Boylston, MA

Tools: iPhone camera

7.4 The Americans

July 5: Sun-Day – Our gate collaboration (Mr. G & me):

Tools: iPhone camera and PopAGraph app

July 6: Dream – Portrait of Frida’s Fictional Dream of Peacocks

Tools: Sketchbook Express app and Sensu Brush stylus

7.6 Dream

July 7: Music -“I’ve Got the Music in Me” by Judy the Goat and Kiki Dee

Tools: iPhone camera and ChatterPix app

July 8: Belle Fiore – These Beautiful Flowers all blooming in my yard/home:

Tools: Nikon D50 camera and Animoto

July 9: Black and White – Yucca blossoms reaching toward the light

Tools: iPhone camera and Photoshop

7.9 Black & white

July 10: Fly – Photo of one of our doves taken w/long exposure

Tools: Nikon D50 and Photoshop

7.10 Fly

July 11: Street – Beach Street, Narragansett, RI

Tools: iPhone camera and Waterlogue App

7.11 Street

July 12: Antique – antique 1950s watercolor tin painted with antique 1950s watercolors

Tools: Watercolor paints

7.12 Antique

July 13: Words – Do you know what this #blackoutpoetry is about? I have clues, but try without them (answer – Paul Revere’s ride and the lantern at the Old North Church)

Tools: Sharpie on Yankee Magazine

7.13 Words

July 14: Water – Tricia Fuglestad showed me how to use Green Screen and we made this movie at the NAEA conference in San Diego in 2014

Tools: iPad, Green Screen app by DoInk, caffeine 😊)

July 15: Tweet – can’t live w/out my #artsedpln (professional learning network)

Tools: Tagzedo online and Photoshop

7.15 Tweet

July 16: Tryptich I – Polarized peacock

Tools: Nikon D50 camera and Photoshop

7.16 Tryptich1

July 17: Tryptich II – Polarized peacock 2

Tools: Nikon D50 camera and Photoshop

7.17 Tryptich 2

July 18: Tryptich III – Polarized peacock 3

Tools: Nikon D50 camera and Photoshop

7.18 Tryptich 3

July 19: Animal – Andy Warhol the Alpaca in B&W

Tools: Nikon D50 camera and Photoshop

7.19 Animal

July 20: Location – Cambridge, MA @ oldest college in US @ this location since 1636

Tools: iPhone camera and Instagram filters

7.20 Location

July 21: Jazz – Jackson Pollock No.2 jazzed w/purple liberties taken @ Harvard Art Museums

Tools: iPhone camera and Photoshop

7.21 Jazz

July 22: Doodle – a section of today’s #SketchNotes (cross between doodling & note taking)

Tools: iPad, Adobe Sketch app, Adonit Jot stylus

7.22 Doodle

July 23: Wander -“I know not how I may seem to others, but to myself I am but a small child wandering upon the vast shores of knowledge, every now and then finding a small, bright pebble to content myself with.” – Plato

Tools: iPhone camera and Instagram filters

7.23 Wander

July 24: Folk -While I love the city and the intellectual stimulation it provides, after a full week there I’m happy to be home and ‘just folks’ at home on our little farm…

Tools: iPhone camera and Instagram filters

7.24 Folk

July 25: Earth – eARTh without ART is just “eh”…

Tools: iPad, AdobeSketch app, Adonit Jot stylus

7.25 Earth

July 26: People –

Driving in on this highway
All these cars and upon the sidewalk
People in every direction
No words exchanged
No time to exchange

Tools: iPhone camera,iPad, AdobeSketch app. Adonit Jot stylus, Instagram filters

7.26 People

July 27: Sleep –

Sleep pretty darling
Do not cry
And I will sing a lullabye…

Tools: Artrage app, Adonit Jot stylus

7.27 Sleep

July 28: Artist Trading Cards -I would trade the card but not the peacock (Pavone)…

Tools: ArtRage app. Adonit Jot stylus

7.28 Artist Trading Cards

July 29: Fear – My greatest fear is of losing a loved one

Tools: ArtRage app and Adonit Jot stylus

7.29 Fear

July 30: The End – The end is really just the beginning – pier in Truro, MA

Tools; ArtRage app and Adonis Jot stylus

7.30 The End

July 31: Reflection – I found out that I love walking around with the theme in my head throughout the day. It entertains me as I go about my business as the little undercurrent is always there to see if connections to the theme exist. At the end of the day I would usually start creating something, not really having a plan or knowing where it would end up. At first I created videos with different apps, sometimes I took photos and “doctored them up” with Photoshop or an app. Gradually I began using my iPad to draw or doodle. In the end, I employed several mediums to complete a daily task and I was able to publish every day. I love looking back at this as a body of work. If nothing else, it marks my year and documents my comings and goings. At best, there are some expressive moments, times when my thoughts and memories are right out there in the art. Any way, all in all, I loved the chance to be creative each and every day. Thank you, Tim Needles and Arlene for this very fun daily challenge!


Summer Art/Writing Contest For Teens & Tweens

The Upton Town Library is hosting a contest this summer for kids going into grades 5 – 12. Artists/writers are challenged to write a story and/or illustrate a response to the prompt:


“A Man sprints down the sidewalk, looking over his shoulder. Half a block away, someone is chasing and gaining on him.”

This is certainly an imaginative prompt that will encourage many unique and creative drawings and stories!

Entries are due by July 24. See the information here:

Teen Story and Art Prompt

And download the flyer here:

Teen Story and Art Prompt

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Artistic Moments & Creativity, Please…

This is a weird post from me. No apology, it’s where I’m at right now. My Educator Evaluation Teachpoint file is complete.  I have submitted evidence and pondered over reflections. I have evaluated my students’ summative assessments against their formative assessments. My students’ grades are almost all entered into the computer. I could go on.

My left brain is exhausted, my right brain is screaming for attention. I know this because as my art club completed a recent project, I almost forgot to look at each piece as a whole, and instead got lost in the creative, artistic moments of exploration, discovery, and risk-taking within their work.


The projects were in response to posters the art club had completed for a Kentucky-Derby themed event hosted by our local men’s club. The posters were executed using the old-school technology of an overhead projector and they came out great. I’ll write about that another time.

Kentucky Derby posters for the Upton Men's Club

Kentucky Derby posters for the Upton Men’s Club

As the fifth and sixth grade art club and I reflected on the project at the next meeting, they expressed a desire to create “horse” posters without the stress of worrying about a finished project. And they made these:

Grace B

Grace B

Sam D

Sam D


Lorenzo C

Angelo G

Angelo G.

Jason L

Jason L

Jake R

Jake R

Allison C

Allison C

Emmerson F

Emmerson F

Amanda F

Amanda F


Sophia P

Sophia P

Chloe T

Chloe T

Jess M

Jessica M

Erin T

Erin T

Wow! This is the project I was referring to at the start of this post. As I put the posters in a pile once they had dried, I couldn’t help photographing the artistic moments that caught my eye. Often as small as a business card, I see these sections as full paintings in and of themselves. Together, they created a feast for my right brain.

Artistic Moments

Artistic Moments

These artistic moments will hold me over until summer. After a full school year of facilitating hundreds of students in art making, creativity, and expression, this art educator has a desperate need to make art. Summer is coming. My right brain is excited.

Here are the artistic moments separately:































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Beat The Heat: Painting With Water

We left the art room carrying buckets of water and brushes with a desire to be outside. Temps were in the high 80’s inside and out and after a full day at school, the Art Club was ready to shake off the heat. So we took our creativity for a walk outdoors. Initially we were simply going to paint on the concrete wall with water.


Grace and Amanda paint their favorite things

But then the creativity kicked in: What if you paint the significant characteristics of a creature or object, just enough to be able to identify it? And you left just enough room to jump in and personify it?

Queen Emmerson

Queen Emmerson


Or is it Emmerson the butterfly?


Sam the fire-breathing dragon

Allison the butterfly

Allison the butterfly


Jessica shouting “No!”

Art is always on my mind

Art is always on my mind

How cool is that? Just another fun way to beat the heat as the school year winds down…

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The Little Things

I was away last weekend. I was far away in California for my niece’s wedding. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. My seven siblings and their families, along with my mother (eighty-seven years old, God love her) descended upon Orange County from all over the country. We have not all been together like this for several years due to various work and immediate family commitments. I am so glad my family set aside this time to be together to celebrate this next generation of family!

Wedding flowers by the sea

Wedding flowers by the sea

My trip ended Monday as we flew into Logan at midnight. I was at school Tuesday morning feeling tired yet happy to be back and still basking in the afterglow of sunny California. Having taken a few personal days to make the trip, I felt out of sync with my students, who had been working on an oil pastel flower project in my absence.


Using a slide show shared via Google Classroom to experiment with brushstrokes for a warm-up exercise

It was really weird picking up a lesson after someone else introduced it – even though I designed it. I took some time to listen as my students shared how the lesson had been described and their varied interpretations of the directions. Although they were drawing from observation, the students were encouraged to utilize layers of color starting with an underpainting and building up by adding thick strokes of color. They listened as I described the following scenario, which I hoped would steer them away from tight drawings of flowers in vases on tables with a window behind and a sun in the corner, etc.: Imagine you gathered a large bouquet of flowers in a field somewhere. Sadly, you trip on the way into the house and the flowers cascade all over the floor in front of you. While shaking off your slight injury, you look down and see a jumble of color and shape all over the floor. Now, make a frame with your thumb and forefinger on both hands and crop the section you will draw. Bring it to life with layers of color using thick pastels.


One section of the start of a larger drawing from observation while encouraged to experiment with abstraction…

They were working, they were happy getting their hands dirty. As I walked from table to table, I absently picked up Jared’s sketchbook because it is a particularly nice sketchbook which looks very professional on the outside (his grandmother bought it for him, he said). I was curious to see how he had filled it and started flipping through. Suddenly the little things began to catch my eye. It wasn’t the sketches completed using a whole class period (although really good), but the little warm-ups and creativity spark responses that caught my eye. Somehow the little things spoke more about Jared than the pieces he had labored over.

NoseBlog post

Warm-up: Draw a nose

Creativity spark: Draw your brain during MCAS

Creativity spark: Draw your brain during MCAS

Warm-up: Draw an ear

Warm-up: Draw an ear


Creativity spark: Draw a face and tell what you find most challenging about doing so


Creativity spark: If you could add a modern element to your paper castle, what would you add?

They say a trip away can be enlightening. It is a lot of work to prepare for, it is most enjoyable in its duration, and the return to work and routine can be something we dread. However, time away can help us see our usual surroundings from a brand new perspective. We become more attuned to the little things. I’m glad I went away and I’m glad to be back. I’m grateful for the perspective gained and a new appreciation of the little things.

“Little things seem nothing, but they give peace, like those meadow flowers which individually seem odorless but all together perfume the air.” – Georges Bernanos

My mother and I on the pier at Huntington Beach

My mother and I flying a kite on the pier at Huntington Beach, CA


My #NAEA15: Delegate, Presenter, Princess

How can you not love a convention that starts like this?

I went to New Orleans to be in the company of 4000 other art educators at the National Art Education Association (NAEA) annual convention. I went as a delegate for the Massachusetts Art Education Association (MAEA), as a presenter, as an award recipient, as a member of a global Professional Learning Network, as a student of best practices in art education.  My plate was full and I was excited!

My plate was full...

My plate was full…

Tuesday was a travel day, which passed quickly with MAEA president, Kristi Oliver, in the seat next to me. Flying from Boston to New Orleans did not take long at all, but what a difference there in climate and atmosphere! We were so happy to finally have a break from our record setting New England winter to feel the warmth and humidity of Louisiana!

Wednesday: The NAEA Delegates Assembly began bright and early the following day. I was elected as President-Elect of the Massachusetts Art Education Association in January and with that, became a voting delegate for Team East of the NAEA Leadership. I had been reading through the position statements and issues group proposals for the past month and we had discussed them with the MAEA executive board. After reviewing them one more time the night before, I felt ready to discuss and debate the various items. I didn’t expect all the gifts and tokens when I arrived!

goody bag

Two of the issues I felt passionate about were the creation of a Media Arts issues group (different from the Art Education and Technology issues group), and whether or not there should be a position statement endorsing TAB (Teaching Artistic Behaviors) over other teaching methodologies. There were several other important positions and policies to review, and it was a full day. Good thing I had Kristi Oliver by my side to help sort it out.


The day went by quickly and wrapped up late in the afternoon. The next event was the French Quarter Ghosts and Vampires tour with the #artsed PLN. This is a Twitter group that was established by a few active art educators who wanted to connect with other art educators. It has since grown to become a very large group. There is always at least one “Tweet Up” at the convention, and the first one this year was at the tour. We had a lot of laughs and fun together and were having way too much fun to get scared. I can personally thank Chris Parker (@kreyus) for cracking me up non-stop with his one-liners.


Thursday: The next morning was the official opening day of the convention. First we heard the inspirational words of NAEA President Dennis Inhulsen, who would end his term at the close of the convention to become Past-President.

“When I look out and see all of you, I think of you as teachers,” he said, “And when I think of you, I think of all the art education students you’re representing back home.” And I thought about my students back in Massachusetts, and what art education had meant to me when I was their age, and art education in our district, and art education in our state, and art education across the country… and I realized at that moment that what we were doing there in New Orleans was terribly important.


When Dennis was finished, Tim Gunn (Project Runway) took the stage and shared many words of wisdom through an interview format. He was funny, yet motivating as he told his stories about being a fashion student as well as an educator.


Here he is talking about reaching students of all levels, whether they are “brilliant children who fly around with angel wings” or those who struggle with the most basic of tasks:

Seeing Tim Gunn was thrilling. It buoyed me through the rest of the morning as I rehearsed my presentations, which I hadn’t looked at since the weekend before. The first presentation took place at 2:00. It was about my students and my journey with using a 3D printer in the middle school art room:

You can find the link to the presentation here: Be A Maker And you can read more about our no-cost 3D printing journey here.

It went well and there were so many interested people in the room. 3D printing is a fascinating new technology and art educators everywhere are interested in including it in their art curriculum. It’s a natural fit, as you’ll see in the presentation.

Presenting at the National Art Education Association conference

Presenting at the National Art Education Association Convention/Photo by Chris Parker

There were a lot of questions and connections made after the presentation, and when all was said and done, I had just one hour before my next presentation, which was to be held back at the hotel. While walking there from the convention center, I consciously worked on switching the focus from the 3D printing topic to my next presentation, Extending the Learning Digitally, a collaborative presentation with the one and only #artsed iPad diva and green screen queen, Tricia Fuglestad.

Tricia and I submitted our proposal to NAEA last May. In early August, Tricia’s husband, Dave, had a terrible accident from which his intense recovery continues. When we learned of our workshop acceptance in September, we weren’t sure how we would proceed. We checked in with each other a few times in the fall, and it wasn’t until February that we decided to go onward and forward, with technology making it possible to cover the distance between her home in Chicago and mine in Boston. Here is a little promo video I shared just prior to the convention. I tried to alter my voice to align with Tricia’s, but we all know her lovely, lilting voice is inimitable:

Tricia made a video covering her entries into the presentation. I copied segments to add to our Power Point presentation. Because I was actually presenting, I was able to talk through my content, all still photos, which seems odd as part of the presentation unless you know the back story. Aren’t you glad you know the back story? Here is the link to the presentation: Extending The Learning Digitally If you have any questions about any of my content, contact me, I’ll be happy to explain the projects and methods.

If you are an art educator who has reaped the benefits of Tricia Fuglestad’s talents through her various sharing sites (at the end of the presentation), you may want to visit www.crowdrise.com/FundFugie to readTricia made a video covering her entries into the presentation. I copied segments to add to our Power Point presentation. Because I was actually presenting, I was able to talk through my content, all still photos, which seems odd as part of the presentation unless you know the back story. Aren’t you glad you know the back story? Here is the link to the presentation: Extending The Learning Digitally If you have any questions about any of my content, contact me, I’ll be happy to explain the projects and methods. about Tricia’s husband’s story and support them as he recovers.

I can’t believe I’ve written all of this and I am only through Thursday. Stay with me….

Friday: With my presentations behind me now, I was able to explore the exhibit hall and attend some sessions! A memorable session from this day was Critical Making: Making the Future  with Rhode Island School of Design President Roseanne Somerson.  This presentation took “making” beyond the 3D printer and maker space to a whole new realm of possibility including furniture. Somerson presented fascinating ideas and her own beautiful work like this:

critical making

The Exhibit Hall was bustling with activity. I checked in with the companies whose products I use, such as Dick Blick, Mayco, Artsonia (free T-shirts for subscribers), The Art of Education (fun pins) to see what is new and improved. I picked up a few more posters for the art room and some fun advocacy trinkets. I talked to vendors about new products. One that stands out is Bulb, which is a new online portfolio system that works outside a Learning Management System. When our regional art shows and annual school art show are over, I plan to set up an account and give it a try. I usually wait patiently for a spot at the creativity table of at least one vendor in the exhibit hall, unfortunately there was not time this year.

The next event was the Eastern Region Leadership meeting. This was just a check in meeting with leadership from each of the Eastern states to share accomplishments and challenges. It went quickly and was enlightening and fun. I look forward to spending more time with these people at the Team East retreat in late June.


Peter Geisser leads the Team East meeting

I would see these people soon at the Eastern Region Awards ceremony later in the afternoon. This is the “princess” part!

Eastern Region Awards

Eastern Region Awards

The program notes

The program notes – that’s a B.F.A. in Painting


This photo was taken in the early fall 2014 – when I still had a tan!



Kristi’s introduction

The certificate

The certificate

With Kristi Oliver, MAEA President and Peter Geisser, NAEA Eastern President

With Kristi Oliver, MAEA President and Peter Geisser, NAEA Eastern President

With other royalty, Dr. Ruth Starrett, Eastern Region Art Educator of the Year:

Dr. Ruth Starrett

Dr. Ruth Starrett

Just having a little fun on the way to the President’s Reception:




Saturday: I had the morning without commitments so I took the street car up to the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA). I had no idea that there would be an Easter egg hunt and celebration going on in the sculpture garden. The place was hopping.

It was quiet inside the museum and I had a chance to see some nice regional art as well as works by the masters. The museum visit was a stolen moment – a chance to reflect and absorb all I had experienced at the convention. To see more of my “stolen moments” in New Orleans, check out my story on Slate – a new story sharing app: New Orleans

I returned to the convention center via cab in time for the President’s meeting. Following the meeting was a presentation by artist Lisa Hoke, whose work I first discovered in 2012 at the Springfield Museum in Massachusetts. I am a big fan of her vibrant colorful collages created with cardboard packaging, so I was very excited to hear her speak.

Lisa Hoke

Lisa Hoke

Lisa Hoke in Sprignfield

Lisa Hoke in Sprignfield


Image from Lisa’s slide show



Image from Lisa’s slide show


After her presentation, I was lucky enough to have a ticket to the after-session with the artist. About 30 of us, gathered in a room with Lisa in the center, talking about her, her work, making a living at art today, and shoes after someone complimented her on her boots. It was a warm and personal experience. Here is Lisa Hoke talking about the creative process and artistic voice:

That succinct summary of what we as artists go through with our work was the perfect last clip from my #NAEA15 NOLA experience.  Sigh.

It was hectic and stimulating and thought-provoking. It was great to see friends and meet online acquaintances. The weather was great and the food was terrific. I am so happy I went. My flight left early the next morning and I returned to Boston satiated. Yet I can’t wait until next year!


Just add “princess”…



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You Thought You Missed The Art Show?

We are all busy with lots of springtime activities to keep us busy (yay spring!). You may not have been able to make the Miscoe Hill Art show in person, but this post documents examples of all of the grade five and six art within the show. Sit back and have a look:

IMG_2857 IMG_2859 IMG_2861 IMG_2862 IMG_2863 IMG_2864 IMG_2865 IMG_2866 IMG_2867 IMG_2868 IMG_2869 IMG_2870 IMG_2871 IMG_2872 IMG_2873 IMG_2874 IMG_2875 IMG_2876 IMG_2877 IMG_2878 IMG_2879 IMG_2880 IMG_2881 IMG_2882 IMG_2884 IMG_2886 IMG_2887 IMG_2889 IMG_2890 IMG_2891 IMG_2893 IMG_2895 IMG_2896 IMG_2897 IMG_2904 IMG_2905 IMG_2906 IMG_2907 IMG_2908 IMG_2909 IMG_2910 IMG_2911 IMG_2912 IMG_2913 IMG_2916 IMG_2917 IMG_2921 IMG_2928 IMG_2930 IMG_2931 IMG_2936 IMG_2937 IMG_2943 IMG_2946 IMG_2954 IMG_2955 IMG_2958 IMG_2961 IMG_2963 IMG_2964 IMG_2965

downIMG_2972 IMG_2974

I love our school art show. I love the multigenerational families. I love the younger siblings in strollers. I love the handshakes. I love my students all on their best behavior. I love when they introduce me to their parents. I love seeing families talking about art. Thank you for coming. See you next year!


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