Painting: Layers and Colors

Last week students did a great job on the layered painting assignment.  We built paintings by layering.  First was a grisaille, then we taped over at least half of the painting and painted over the entire painting.  The next day the tape was removed and stencils were applied.  Then we spray painted.  Finally, the last day students outlined and or painted imagery over their paintings.  Below are some results.


This week we launched into the palette studies by creating a triptych utilizing three different palettes.

After spring break, we will have one day in the library to pick out a “masterpiece” to recreate.  Your masterpiece should come from a BOOK to ensure accurate reproduction quality.  This painting should be one that you LOVE and you should think of the artist as your teacher for the next two weeks of art class as you learn their secrets for success.  The painting must originally be in oil and show strong blending.   If you want to get a jump on your homework you could start this process and begin your research earlier.



Homework due Monday 3/26:  Print out and complete the artist information sheet.

Your name:_____________________________________________________


Artist name:_____________________________________________________


Birth date: _________                         Years lived:__________________



Name of painting selected:__________________________________________


Year it was created:_______________


Size of painting in inches: ________________________________


Location of painting:______________________________________________


Color palette of painting  (i.e. blender/monochromatic, etc.) ________________________________________________________________

Important influences in artist’s career,  (i.e. historic events, family support, health, access to training, etc.)








Important historic events during lifetime:  ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Movement he/she is associated with:_________________________________________________


Challenges he/she overcame: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Interesting factoid(s):



Book Source:_____________________________________________________________


Summer Activities?

Hi Students,

Its time to make your summer art plan.  Maybe you  will just chill out and make art now and then, but for those who would like to jump ahead, here are some summer programs to check out.  Some offer college credit too!  Let me know if you have questions.


Alfred University; Alfred, NY                         

Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp; Twin Lake, MI    

Carnegie Mellon; Pittsburgh, PA                     

College for Creative Studies; Detroit, MI        

Corcoran College of Art; Washington, DC      

Eastern Illinois University

Kansas City Art Institute;  Kansas City, MO   

Otis College of Art and Design;  Los Angeles, CA

Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Fdtn;  Colorado Springs, CO

Maryland Institute College of Art;  Baltimore, MD

Northern Illinois University;  Dekalb, IL         

Northwestern University; Evanston, IL            

Pratt Institute;  Brooklyn, NY                          

Ringling College of Art;  Sarasota, FL            

Savannah Collge of Art and Design, Savannah, GA

School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Chicago, IL

University of Illinois

Washington University; St. Louis, MO           

Data Visualization to Color Studies

A hidden organization of our reality becomes visible when focusing on the specific element of color in cultures and sub-cultures.  New visual patterns and unseen thematic relations become visible.  Identity color codes signal social identity.  Color is a common denominator for people to connect (e.g. school colors).

Recently while visiting Chicago, I tried to find a color that exemplified the city in February.  I tried grey.  But everywhere I looked was grey.  Then I noticed that cerulean blue was used for official city communications.  As I strolled along I found lots of applications of this color used to link, celebrate, remember or honor Chicago history and citizens.  Blue was there all along, I just had to discover it.


Homework:  Choose one of the options below.

  1.  the Doodle 4 Google contest entry will be due Friday 3/2 (rather than our usual Monday).  You can download a form, but must show your work in class.  Parents must sign if you are under 18.
  2. Choose a color, photograph 15 to 20 examples and create a color collection on a padlet by going to  I find it easiest to put my edited photos into a folder.  Then, you can highlight all your photos and drop into your padlet.  Send a link to your padlet to with subject line:  color padlet.

We were just discussing….

Michelle Obama’s portrait.  Here’s a thoughtful critical response, from Hyperallergic.


Have a wonderful Agora Days.  See you Monday, Feb. 26 to critique your data visualizations.  You have put in great effort and I am sure the results will be spectacular.  If you want me to print them, the sooner you send me the file, the better, but definitely send it to me by Friday 2/23 at noon.

Homework:  the Doodle 4 Google contest entry will be due Friday 3/2 (rather than our usual Monday).  You can download a form, but must show your work in class.  Parents must sign if you are under 18.


Get a jump on your homework!


This homework will be lots of fun and you might want to give it a little extra thought.  Also, it is due a bit before our typical Monday time slot.

Doodle 4 Google

I have entry forms for you, but you can also download your own at the site above.  Because I will be mailing entries from Uni on Friday, March 2, your homework is due on FRIDAY 3/2 rather than our usual Monday.  If you want to actually enter, (which I encourage) your parents must sign the entry form.

Have a great Agora Week!





Designing the Data Visualization

This week we delved further into the facts and figures needed to analyze our problem.  Also we thought about the design options we have for making our visualizations eye catching.

Here is a great exercise done by an art student showing 3 different ways to visualize the same data.  Her task was to visualize her activities during the time she spent on a Sunday afternoon dedicated to homework.  What one do you prefer?  Why?


Homework due 2/12 (but feel free to complete early)

You’ve now got your concept, your data, your angle and your metaphors nailed down.  Please address questions 5 and 6 on the project hand out sheet and send me your plan or show me in class.  Remember form follows function.

5.  What type of charts/imagery (e.g. photos, illustrations, cartoon or pictograms) will be used and rationale? What will be the flow of information and visual flavor (humorous, scientific, casual etc.)?

6.  Design choices: What font(s), colors, and methods of production? (The final project can be hand drawn or computer generated. )

Final Project Critique:  Thursday 2/15


Data Visualization

After an impressive homework critique where we were treated to an exhaustive study of the micro nuances of Helvetica by Julian, we launched into our next project, Data Visualization,  by listening to David McCandless.

kib-cover-fullWe also evaluated the efficacy of information graphics about the BP Oil Spill in hopes of making our own data visualization more effective.

Data Visualization = data compression via visual insight

Homework due Feb. 5 at 10:30 am

Send me an email with your topic, your angle on the topic, some visual metaphors you are considering, and your bibliography including websites using MLA.  (You don’t have to have read all these references yet, but you should be collecting 7 or more credible information sources).    The more authoritative and scholarly your sources, the better, so use good judgement.  You might want to use Noodle Tools to simplify your citation task.