Jacob Lawrence

This is from a while ago, perhaps a year ago. But I did this project with my lower elementary students. We learned about Jacob Lawrence and his cityscapes, and then students drew a city with oil pastel. Then, they added black outlines on top with acrylic paint and extra colors with tempera paint. Everything was drawn on cardboard because toned paper adds an extra element of pizzazz. So here they are:

Warm, Cool, & Neutral Colors

Warm & Cool Sun & Moons: I taught this lesson during my student teaching and I taught it again when I first started teaching. Students learn about warm and cool colors and draw a warm sun and cool moon. The moon side is drawn in profile view (to the side) and the sun is facing forward. We also reviewed patterns and students added different repeating shapes and lines into the background of their drawings.

To continue with learning about colors, we also did a neutral colors and texture drawing of an animal (some students did a scene). I showed students how to draw a few different animals, and then students used fabric, bark, and other textured items to create a textured rubbing. I also let them use a few warm or cool colors as well to complement the neutral colors.

Earth Day Stewardship Hands & April Showers Bring May Flowers

Earth Day Stewardship Hands

For Earth Day with lower elementary and kindergarten, we read the book Earth Day by Todd Parr, which is about different ways people can help the Earth. Then, we brainstormed different ways we can help and honor the Earth (turning off the lights, planting flowers, recycling, walking, etc.). Students traced their hand onto their paper and drew a picture of themselves helping the environment inside the hand, and in the background, students drew their favorite place in nature or other things they appreciate about nature.

In the spring, we were still mostly doing virtual school, so short, one-day lessons worked the best, because otherwise, many students misplaced their art and would have to start over in the next class.

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Another one-day lesson I did was this “April Showers Bring May Flowers” card. On the outside, students used cool and neutral colors for April Showers, and on the inside, students used bright colors and the rainbow to show “May flowers”. We also reviewed the colors of the rainbow (can’t forget about indigo!).


I started teaching at my current school in February 2021. Because I was a new teacher starting mid-year and I wanted to get to know my students, our first project was a self-portrait lesson. We looked at Kehinde Wiley’s art and compared old, neoclassical art with Wiley’s updated versions of these artworks. We also discussed patterns, colors, and representation in art and throughout art history.

Students then created their own versions of a self-portrait with their own patterns and designs in the background.

Here are some of the self-portraits made by my students:

For the future, I would also include an alternative assignment where students can create an indirect self-portrait. Students can choose an object that means something to them (for example, a toy, a book, clothing, etc.) and draw that object.

For example, I did an indirect self-portrait in college of a scarf because I am known for always wearing scarves:

Lower Elementary Still Life Art

Lower elementary learned about still life art and created their own still life vase with paper crumpled flowers. Again, another lesson I wish I could do in person so we could paint and use tissue paper, but I love how they came out anyways.

Day 1

  • Warm-up – thumbs up or thumbs down – have you heard of still life art before?
  • Introduction to still life art
  • Still life freeze game – I showed students pictures of still life art/photography and some photos of animals or things that move, and students stayed frozen like a statue for still life images and moved around for non-still life images.
  • Introduction to Matisse – fauvism
  • Student independent work time

Day 2

  • Still life review
  • How to crumple paper to make flowers
  • Continue still life art
  • Gallery walk/artist statement

Student Art:

My Daily Self-Portraits

Because I already had an alarm set for 8pm each day, I decided I might as well draw every night when my alarm went off. And I was pretty consistent for a month and a half, and then I stopped. I made myself draw even when I didn’t want to draw. Some drawings are more gestural, some are just a few marks, and some I spent more time on. Some drawings really suck – the eyes are too close or too far from each other, the proportions are off, the nose looks flat and squished. Some drawings I spent 5 seconds on, some I spent an hour on. Some I drew in the dark. When I skipped a few days, I made it up by drawing more than one self-portrait over the next few days. At the end, I was skipping more and more days and I was spending less time on my drawings, so I thought it would be a good place to stop. I’m going to draw myself every day again soon. I want to fill that sketchbook with bad self-portrait drawings. My favorite drawing is the one from 10/22/2020 because I stopped caring about details and focused on shadow and gesture. Here are my daily self-portrait drawings from 10/15/2020 – 12/5/2020:

Inktober 2018 – Day 8, 9, & 10

This week has been super busy because I have been trying to finish all my studio work before fall break.  I painted the majority of the day yesterday, and today I spent the whole day in the printmaking studio working on my intaglio etching project. I finally had time to write a blog post today since I did not have class. Here is a recap of the Inktober days that I missed:

On Inktober Day 8, I spent the whole day working on my design and then scratching my design into the copper plate. I drew the main component of my design on a piece of paper and then did a graphite transfer drawing onto my copper plate.

sketch for my copper plate

On Inktober Day 9, I did nothing. Well, I did do things I just didn’t have time to do Inktober; I had class all day and no time to draw. I still wanted to do a drawing for the prompt (precious), so I did a drawing today to make up for missing yesterday. I drew this from a photo that I took when I was a relatively young kid.

childhood is precious

On Inktober Day 10, today, I worked on making prints using the printing press. Honestly, I am not very happy with how my prints turned out because I don’t like my design, but I don’t have time to change it so I have to stick with it. I had a difficult time with coming up with a design for this project because I had so many ideas that I couldn’t commit to just one. The objective for this assignment is to create prints (using etching intaglio process) related to the theme of memory.

one of my prints (oops, the photograph quality is awful)