Sunday, July 19, 2015

In the Art Room: Tennessee Arts Academy, 2015

Every summer, right in the middle o' July, I attend the most amazing professional development known to man: The Tennessee Arts Academy in beautiful (albeit hawt as Hades) Nashville, TN. If you follow me on the Instagramz than you've prolly seen me sharing the most amazing projects, craziness and overall good times which all went down this past week. AND if you've been hangin around this here blog for a pinch, then you've seen my past TAA adventures here and here. This year was easily one of my faves because I got to spend time with my craziest art teacherin' buddy, Laura Lohmann of Painted Paper
Laura is a powerhouse of an art teacher, y'all. My group stayed with her for just two days and we learned so stinkin' much about her amazing approach to teaching art to children. I'm gonna share just a handful of her projects but I gotta encourage you to visit her Teachers Pay Teachers store to purchase complete copies of her lesson plans. Laura pours over these plans and they are a steal of a purchase when you see all of the art history and project ideas included. Y'all can thank me laters.

On our first day with Laura, we worked with Model Magic to create flowers. Our inspo was Monet but Laura left the creativity and imagination up to us. Her projects are very open-ended and her directions are short and to the point. Once the flowers were done, we set about painting paper. This is Laura's whole deal: have the students create tons of painted paper to use in later projects. That stack in front of her was created by my group in a matter of an hour. We used a variety of texture tools and simply painted as many papers as we could in the time we had. This became our beautiful stash to create later projects with. Like those flowers I mentioned...
Once the Model Magic was dry, we painted our flowers anyway we liked an adhered them to a piece of cardboard with Aleene's Tacky Glue. Our painted papers serving as a background. After gluing my papers, I did enhance them with a small brush and some white paint. 
Because of Laura's anything-goes teaching technique, everyone created a wonderfully different piece. 
This photo gives you a little peak into how Laura teaching painting to children: without water. RIGHT?! The kids work from paint palettes that have been set up in Roy G. Biv order. When they paint, they start with the lightest colors first and work their way around the color wheel. When they wish to change colors, they simply wipe their brush on their place mats. We used maps of Laura's home state of Ohio for our mats!
Laura's suggestion of painting tools included many that I'd never thought to use with my students: round stencil brushes, scouring pads, odd looking paint tools from Lakeshore, you name it, her kids are painting with it! 
Next up, we created Tikis! Using our painted papers, we learned about Paul Gauguin, Tahiti and the history of tikis. Then Laura let us loose and we created the most amazingly fun tikis ever, if I do say so mah-self.
 Like, riiiiight?
 On our second day with Laura, we painted large flowers on tag board. This lesson is actually FREE on Laura's TPT page right meow. You needs to get it because these flowers were so beautiful and fun! 
What a lovely way to start off the school year and brighten the halls of our schools, right?!
 After that, Laura had us creating landscapes inspired by Monet...
Like this lovely reflections painting by a fellow art teacher buddy.
And Gauguin. Now, I gotta tell ya, normally, I'm all chatty at TAA because I do love to hang with "my people". However, I was so into what I was creating on this day that I don't believe I said a peep...and I ended up with a stack of ideas to bring back to my classroom. I'm so excited!
A view of our Gauguin-inspired landscapes.
On the third day, it was time to switch classes and go spend the next coupla days with one of the funniest dudes I've ever met: Jim McNeill. Jim is the illustrator of Pam Stephens' "Dropping in on [insert famous artists' name here] with Puffer" and Tessellations: History & Making of Design.  I gotta tell ya, I've never been a fan of tessellations myself and had some pretty serious reservations about this two day event. However, I really got into it! I fell in love with creating my Diner Dames, as I've dubbed them, and actually think I might have to make more! 
Folks had some super clever ideas for their tessellations. There were even ones that popped out, morphed and transformed! It was pretty magical. 
I even did a lil art teacher teachin' for a couple days and taught some fiber techniques for teachers to take back to their classrooms.
My art teacherin' students learned needle felting, string art, yarn bombing and how to teach embroidery to small children. I absolutely love teaching art teachers, they come up with THE BEST ideas!
On Thursday, Laura and I had to get all pretty for our big AOE conference! I was so glad that Jessica of AOE allowed that crazy girl and me to present back to back since we were at TAA that day. I had the opportunity to watch the presentations last night and, as always, I learned so much (Alecia Eggers, can you PLEASE come organize my liiiiiiifeeeee?!). 
Now, whilst I was painted paperin' and gettin' my tessellation on (er, whuuuut?) the high school art teachers were hanging with Debbi Engbring, high school teacher from Arizona (pictured second from the left) and Laurie Gatlin (on left) from SoCal. 
Laurie is an incredible teacher with a unique way of teaching her students through the use of sketchbooks. And I'm not talkin a black-leather bound book or some spiral bound nonsense. Naw, her kids MAKE the books, paint the pages, and sketch daily. I first met Laurie this past fall at our state conference where she was our keynote speaker and shared her method. I was blown away. She's amazing!
Debbi had her students IN TWO DAYS create these magnificent teapots. Y'all. These were not thrown on the wheel! She had a very clever way of having the students use half styrofoam sphere's to create each half of the sphere and then put the two together. From there, more clay was added to decorate as well as black glaze for some sgraffito. Super amazing.
 Now, I gotta tell ya, my favorite-favorite part of TAA is hanging out with this bunch! We are the facilitators or the helpers for the arts portion of TAA. Jim Dodson, on the left, is our fearless leader who organizes everything from the art shows that take place (both student and teacher art shows happen at TAA) as well as arranging all of our presenters and speakers. Libby Lynch (second from the left) organizes the art shows mentioned including the finale art show that features the work of all the teachers. And the rest of that line up is just a buncha trouble! From the right, there's Ken, me, Debbie Flynt and Kim Shamblin, all art teachers and all TAA buds for life. 

Okay, that's a wrap! For more information on Tennessee Arts Academy and how you can attend (anyone can, y'all!), be sure to pop over here. There's A LOT more to it than I've managed to squeeze into this already-large post. So, if you have any questions, leave 'em in the comments! 
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  1. Everyone did an excellent job, even Cassie.

  2. SO COOL! How did you hear about the TAA conference? It looks like such fun! Thank you for sharing :)


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