Appreciation Of Art

9 08 2010

As our new school year begins next week, I’ll be finding myself no longer teaching elementary Drama, but only teaching Art from grades 6-11. I guess I better brush up (no pun intended) on my Appreciation Of Art (below).

Even More Good Art Books

15 07 2010

OK, hopefully this will be the last in my book referrals. Here are some more art books I found whilst on holiday:



“This new title gives art students and hobbyists a complete course in the many different techniques applicable to watercolor painting. An introductory chapter describes the pigments, brushes, papers, and other needed equipment, and shows how to use them to best effect. Following chapters present 14 distinct approaches to watercolor art, each approach starting with an example of a finished work by a famous watercolor artist. Among them are a Cézanne painting of a woodland scene that emphasizes the transparent effects that can be achieved with watercolors. A strikingly different exercise shows a Turner seascape, and demonstrates how he achieved dramatic effects by applying pigments to wet paper. A watercolor portrait by pop artist Chuck Close demonstrates the pointillist technique, and Robert Delaunay’s Hommage à Bleriot, demonstrates use of watercolor in abstract art. Students are presented with step-by-step exercises to master these and the other creative techniques shown throughout the book. Full-color photos, reproductions, and illustrations on every page.”



“Titles in Barron’s Aspire Series offer students of the arts self-teaching tutorials in the form of progressively more challenging projects for them to complete. Carefully structured lessons encourage students to develop their own styles and aspire toward professional careers. In this book, author John Easterby describes photography as the art of storytelling through visual images. Focusing primarily on digital photography, he discusses cameras of different types and sizes and the uses of supporting photographic tools, such as tripods, interchangeable lenses, and lights. He advises on studying the work of professional photographers in galleries, books, and magazines as an important first step in understanding how to look at photos. Tutorial projects include “remaking” a well-known photo by a famous photographer, shooting a natural light portrait, using backlighting, shooting scenes at night, expressing movement in photos, freezing action, keeping a photographic diary, photographing sports events and crowd scenes, using a series of pictures to tell a photo story, and many others. Readers learn how to set up a desktop studio, edit images, and build their portfolio. The enlightening text is supplemented with more than 400 instructive illustrations.”

You may also be interested in 200 PROJECTS TO STRENGTHEN YOUR ART SKILLS.

If you are a teacher, perhaps request an examination copy?

Drawing Fun with Carla Sonheim

13 07 2010

carla sonheim bookFollowing on from my previous post, here’s another new book by Carla Sonheim (website / blog). It’s Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun. It does pretty much what the title suggests and is rather good.

Don’t think you can draw? It doesn’t matter. The book offers seven inspiration units ranging from animals, people, famous artists, children, imagination, nature and books and culture. These units have 52 drawing activity labs in total.

In her words, “This book is designed to get you started drawing again, and excited about it!” It’s playful and sure to get you going and/or lead you in other directions. It’s not your traditional step-by-step or how-to-draw book.

Some of the activities are imaginary creatures, Picasso dogs, scribble drawings and traveloguing. Again, for those classroom teachers that find themselves having to teach art with no background training, this book may prove an invaluable resource. For others, it will get your creative juices flowing. I may also consider using this as the basis for my after-school club activity in the upcoming academic year.

2 Great Books on Collage

9 07 2010

masters collage

With summer vacation in full swing, I’ve been trying to catch up on all the books I have ordered this year. The first book on the art of collage I highly recommend is Masters: Collage: Major Works by Leading Artists, which was compiled by Randel Plowman, who also runs the popular Collage A Day blog. This collection doesn’t offer any how-to’s, but provides rich examples from 40 different artists and serves as a valuable resource for inspiration.

collage lab

The second is Collage Lab by Bee Shay. This one offers 52 experiments, investigations and exploratory projects in the field of collage. It explores texture, surface design, imagery etc. Very useful if you teach a unit on collage or wish to investigate the medium further. I highly recommend both very much. Now I have to get back and continue with the other orders.

Jonathan Klein: Photos that changed the world

16 04 2010

Photographs do more than document history — they make it. At TED University, Jonathan Klein of Getty Images shows some of the most iconic, and talks about what happens when a generation sees an image so powerful it can’t look away — or back.

Creative Exercises for Artists

16 03 2010
Creative Exercises For Artists

Benoit Philippe contacted me offering the above ebook as a resource. He describes it as:
…a collection of 17 practical exercises for artists. I have learnt some of them over the years and designed some to fulfil my own needs. I am a painter, so most of these exercises are visual ones. However, many of them do not require specific artistic skills and are suitable for anyone regardless of their age or level of artistic ability.

These exercises are varied and you probably already own most of the required materials.

You can use them as warm-up before you start a new project or as a way to explore new avenues. I also hope teachers will use these exercises in their classes as they are great fun.

Thanks Benoit!

Artscape 2010

1 03 2010

Artscape 2010 kicked off Feb 26! It is a collection of student work from various international schools in the Tokyo area. The exhibit is held annually in Tokyo at Kodomono Shiro (National Children’s Castle) and is free. View some of the artwork below or directly through Flickr here. I couldn’t take additional photos as my camera batteries died : ( I’ll try to upload additional pics in the near future.

Tokyo Children’s Castle: 5-31-1 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3797-5666. Open Tue-Fri 12:30-5:30pm, Sat-Sun 10am-5:30pm, closed Mon. Nearest stn: Shibuya or Omotesando. (Japanese only)

Info fromArtscape 2009 may be viewed here via this blog.

How do you improve a unit?

25 01 2010

I recently returned from Singapore attending an MYP Arts workshop. I was talking to some teachers there about resources and it got me thinking.

I’m always open to new ideas to build better units. I’ll be the first to admit that it is difficult at times, especially when under time constraints. First of all, I’ll discuss it with my department or other teachers to generate ideas. (Of course, I also look at our school’s documentation and Scope & Sequence.) Next, I’ll go scouring the web by refining my Google search. However, this isn’t the most effective method. I’ll then browse Nings, check through Twitter, YouTube, Issuu, Diigo and various blogs. Sometimes what I see one person doing in photography may inspire me to apply it to drawing. Of course, this all takes time.

surrealist room joe 2009However, I am currently stumped for a grade 8 art unit I do on one-point perspective drawing through Surrealist Rooms. I like teaching the perspective aspect but I feel the Surrealist element is dying a slow death with my students. The unit used to be 7 weeks but is now 5 (as we do 5 week rotations in the arts). When it was 7 weeks, they used to paint their composition. Now they are using markers. I feel I need to improve the unit but am limited due to time. I would also like to go further by introducing 2 point and 3 point perspective as well. Furthermore, more time will be alloted to the arts next academic year so I can fortunately expect a longer timeframe within the MYP framework.

Should I scrap the unit or continue to improve it? Am I missing any resource areas or ideas? if so, I’d love to hear from you.

(photo credit: Joe in Grade 8 2009)

A Basic Introduction to Colour

13 01 2010
This is a very basic introduction to colour that I created for my grade 6 students. Feel free to use it if you wish.
View more documents from Frank Curkovic.

Intro to Portrait Painting

11 01 2010

I created this presentation for my grade 6 art students who will be working on expressive portrait painting. Feel free to use it if you wish or provide comments or feedback. You can also view the five week unit timeline here.