Friday, January 1, 2016


Fear of being alone.
Fear of heights and fear of clowns.

My last blog post was about a theme I used in my advanced art class as we transition to TAB. (Click here to read about Opposites). After "Opposites", we moved on to "Fear". The idea was supposed to be "facing your fears through art" but due to unfortunate timing (I introduced this in early October and Halloween was not even on my radar), a lot of students initially took it as "make something to creep people out". I felt like a couple projects were going in a direction that was veering toward inappropriate for school so we had to have a talk and a student said she wasn't afraid of anything. I said that everyone is afraid of SOMETHING if you're brave enough to be introspective and reminded that they don't have to be physical fears like my fear of spiders. I understand that it's hard for some teenagers to be vulnerable in their artwork, so I think that I should have sat on this theme until later in the year. I'm pretty happy with most of the students' efforts in the end.
The only good thing about my weird timing with this project, is that another TAB teacher, Mrs.Rose, just happened to be introducing the same theme to some of her students. Maybe it was even on the same day. Anyway, we were discussing it in the High School TAB Facebook group and decided to have our classes Skype about the project. I think the students were a little slow to warm up to each other but by the end they were planning to find each other on snapchat. I think it was a good experience for them to "meet" and I'd recommend other classes trying it out in the future.

To help the students see how they could FACE their fears, I decided to walk the walk and face my own fear. I think that was kind of a turning point for a few students who became very encouraging. My next post will be about my fear painting.

I really need to start taking pictures with my good camera again instead of relying on my phone. The skull represents fear of death. The skull was painted with acrylic and to make the "dirt" around the skull, we mixed brown paint, mod podge, and sand. It has awesome texture and depth to it in real life.
This project represents fear of not reaching his goals. This student thinks about every little element that goes into his work.
This painting is about the fear of being normal. Half of her face is "normal" and the other half has been changed.
The two works above were students who pursued others' fears instead of their own.
I have one student in my advanced class that is a real natural at illustrations and digital art. I've been encouraging her to keep exploring and learning new skills in Photoshop. She wanted to represent the fear of drowning in her artwork. She started by scanning her drawing and painting it. I'd already shown her how to dodge and burn to add highlights and shadows but she found a youtube tutorial to help with the water effect. Here is her reflection on the project for the students' final:
My "Fear" project is my most successful because it's the only project I've done that means something to me. I'm a great swimmer, actually; but there's something about the water that will always scare me. I only have this irrational fear towards ponds and lakes because I don't know what's at the bottom, I have to be able to see where it ends. This is why I am afraid - as much as I hate that word - of water:Before you can even begin to process what’s happening, you flail and you toss; there’s no upside down or right side up. At that point it’s hard to even think anything besides “help” or “please.” There is no begging to fear because it’s not real, it’s the product of thoughts you create. Danger is very real, and there’s nothing you can to save yourself at that point.In the movies drowning is loud and splashy; the orchestra subdues the crashing of waves so the ambience is dramatic. That’s how entertainment makes it look. In reality the only sound you can hear is the ringing of your ears as water engulfs you and you start to lose consciousness. Drowning is quiet, your moves are subtle. The moment that the breath you held runs out, your head starts to pounding as your body screams for oxygen. It feels like your head is about to explode until you finally take your last, involuntary breath. Water fills your lungs and there is no more time to think or react. Your mind stops. I look at that project and see the tremendous amount of effort I put into it and how well it turned out. The colors, texture, and shadow turned out great. Regardless of me using a tutorial, I actually didn't follow as much as I thought considering color, style, and texture. Some people say that "computer art isn't real art," and I think that's a load of bologna. I had to draw out the girl in the image before I did anything else, after that I did do the rest on the computer. I'm actually really proud of this one and have yet to find a problem with it unlike my other digital-art projects.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Katie,

    I came across your blog while searching for images and activities for grades 1-6. I'm the education coordinator at the Zanesville Museum of Art in Zanesville, Ohio, and I'd like to use a project you posted on May 30, 2013 (the found object faces).

    It's a little last minute, but may I use the image you included in the blog post as well? It will be posted on our website,, to promote the workshop called "Art Adventure: Face off with Found Objects."

    I'd love to hear from you, and I'm sure I'll come back to your blog as I am just starting out in this career. My email is

    Thank you,