Friday, January 15, 2021

Mixed Media Non-Objective Paintings

Last summer KAEA Summer Camp went virtual due to Covid- we'd never done a virtual workshop before but it was awesome! Avery Kasper agreed to lead us in a workshop on Mixed Media Non Objective Painting. She is not only an amazing artist, she is a great teacher and already has experience teaching in an online school as well as in her brick and mortar school building. Everyone really enjoyed the process!

a screenshot of Avery Kasper teaching the workshop via zoom
Avery had us start with some drawing and mark making
before moving to painting and more drawing. We were encouraged to layer and use whatever media we wanted.

In progress- we made a smaller work on watercolor paper to warm up before moving to a larger canvas.
I had so much fun making these paintings and have made a few more since. My 2 year old promptly claimed the painting and it now hangs over his bed!

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Speed Painting

I like to do a speed painting challenge with my intro high school students when we introduce painting to encourage them to mix colors, blend paint, and loosen up! This year I put together a video for the KAEA virtual fall conference to explain and demonstrate the concept.

Here are the "rules"

  • Use only primary colors + black and white
  • No pencils or drawing before painting
  • No washing your brush- blend!
  • Fill the entire page
  • Move quickly before the paint dries

4 student speed paintingsHere are some of last year's student speed paintings. I always grab a bag of ornamental gourds and sometimes some fruit for observation.

A student's hand painting a gourd
A student works on a speed painting
a painting of a gourda painting of a gourd
A student's painting on the left and one of my examples on the right. These were similar gourds but mine had green on the bottom.

a paint tray next to a painting of a butterfly
I used some deceased butterflies I found as examples in my videos but students were happy to stick with gourds for their challenge. Maybe next year advanced students can do a more challenging subject!

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

8th Grade Space- a Choice Based Art Lesson

 I have struggled this year with not being able to find a way to give my middle school class as much choice as I usually do. The class is big for my classroom so social distancing is tricky plus supplies I wanted for their personal art supply kits were back ordered so they’ve mostly used drawing media. I wanted to cover a topic while at least allowing them to choose their direction so after observing the need in their independenent drawings, I picked the concept of space! 

1 point perspective practice2 point perspective practice
We did some warm up activities and skill builders like practicing one and two point linear perspective, a simple landscape with atmospheric perspective, and a design using negative space. When it was time to plan their project, students could choose from suggestions or come up with their own idea as long as they used space!

Negative spaceNegative space

Modified one point perspective project
I needed to modify a lesson for a student so she directed what shapes she wanted and where she wanted them. I printed out the design on card stock so she could connect the edges to the vanishing point. 
One point perspective name

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Symbolic Fused Glass

This is a lesson plan I developed after hearing Preston Singletary speak at the 2019 KAEA Fall Conference.  I think it’s important to remember thy we can be inspired by artist’s big ideas without trying to imitate the look of their artwork. (Full lesson plan at the end of this post!)

First we go through the slides presentation and use that to discuss Singletary’s artwork and big ideas. There is a nice video segment that shows his process and let’s him explain his goals. 


At the end, students are asked to reflect on their lives and what symbols could be used to represent their identity and their story. 

After choosing a symbol they work to simplify it into shapes that could be cut from glass. We have access to glass for fusing so that became the medium for the project. Students learned to cut and grind glass to prepare their work. We used Elmer’s glue or Aloe Vera gel to hold pieces in place until they were fired. 

The plan was to let students cover the edges in copper foil and solder chain to the top so they could hang in a window but we were having issues with the soldering iron and Covid happened before I could order a new one! Thankfully we have a new soldering iron now so we should be good to go if we do this again!
Video game controller design made from glassHorse shoe design made of glass

Speed boat design made of glass

Ice cream cone design made of glass
Glass layouts loaded in the kiln
Glass layouts loaded in the kiln
Finished fused glass tiles
Finished fused glass tiles

Katie Morris

Jackson Heights High School

Advanced Art

Lesson Title: Symbolic Fused Glass

Rationale: This lesson is intended to introduce students to glass artist Preston Singletary and the idea of using symbolism to tell stories.


  1. The students will participate in an inquiry based discussion of glass artist, Preston Singletary’s work.

  2. The students will describe how Singletary used symbolism to tell stories.

  3. The students will reflect on their own lives and make a list of stories that are important to their identities.

  4. The students will brainstorm possible symbols to represent their identities and personal stories.

  5. The students will work to simplify and abstract images into geometric shapes.

  6. The students will demonstrate good craftsmanship and safe use of tools and materials when working with fused glass.

  7. The students will design and create a fused glass design that incorporates personal symbols to tell a story.

  8. The students will consider possibilities and make artistic choices about the function and method of display for their glass piece.

  9. The students will reflect on and explain their work in a written artist statement.


Slides presentation about Preston Singletary

Fused glass book

PBS Craft in America: Nature (Trimmed: )

Tools and Materials

Paper and pencils

Fused glass

Glass cutting tools

Elmer’s glue and Aloe Vera gel (to hold glass in place)


Shelf liner paper

Artist Bio

Seattle-based Preston Singletary (bass and founder of Khu.√©ex’) is a visual artist, glass sculptor, and teacher who renders traditional Tlingit forms in the non-traditional medium of glass. He has worked globally with Indigenous art communities and artists.

Recognized internationally as one of the leading glass artists of his generation, Singletary has artworks in dozens of museum collections. In 2004 he had a solo exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum. Singletary maintains an active schedule by teaching and lecturing internationally, including an Artist Series lecture at the NAEA 2018 convention. PBS featured his work in the 2017 Craft in America NATURE episode.


Day 1: The teacher will lead the students in an inquiry based discussion about Preston Singletary’s work, starting with an image of his artwork and asking the students questions about what they see and think. The students will try to “read” the symbols to see if they can figure out any of the stories before watching a video of Singletary talking about his work and telling the stories of his people. Next, the teacher will ask the students to follow the design process to develop symbols that tell their personal stories/represent their identities which will be used in a fused glass project.

Symbol Design Process

  • Reflect on your life and make a list of stories that are important to your identity

  • Brainstorm possible symbols to represent your identity and personal stories

  • Sketch pictures of the symbols

  • Narrow down your symbols to the top 1-3

  • Simplify your symbols into geometric shapes

Day 2: The teacher will explain and demonstrate the fused glass process.

  • Start with a solid colored piece of glass as the base

  • Use scrap pieces and the glass cutting tools to create the shapes needed to represent your symbol(s)

  • Layer the glass pieces up to 3 thick

  • When satisfied, glue in place with Elmer’s glue or Aloe Vera

  • Frit (small pieces) can be used to add details

  • The glass will be heated in the kiln on top of shelf liner to a point that all the pieces are fused into one piece

  • After the initial fusing, the piece can be fired again to slump it into a mold, or it can stay flat

The students will finalize their design plans and begin to prepare their glass pieces.

Day 3: The students will finish their fused glass preparations and the teacher will load in the kiln.

Day 4 (after first firing): The students will prepare the work for slumping if desired.

Day 5: The students will reflect on and explain their work in a written artist statement which will be displayed with their work.

Student Examples



I can experiment, plan, and carry out an exploration of a personally meaningful theme, idea, or concept.

I can explore a personally meaningful theme, idea, or concept through multiple works of art.

I can experiment with different media and techniques in the planning phase of art-making.


I can work back into a completed work of art to revise or refine to meet criteria.

I can examine, reflect on, and plan revisions for works of art and design in progress by applying relevant criteria and personal artistic vision.


I can analyze how reactions to art change over time with new knowledge and/or experiences.


I can analyze different interpretations of an artwork and choose one to defend.


I can make meaningful works of art by using my knowledge of social, cultural, historical, and personal life.