Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Even though I am teaching art all day it is really hard to find time to work on my own art.  My k-8 students require so much assistance and our time together is so short that it is impossible to work on any art when they are in the room.  With my highschool classes I get a little more freedom to work on my own projects.  I think teaching by example is an excellent tool.  I think my students can learn from watching me make art just as seeing an english teacher reading a book or listening to a spanish teacher communicate with someone can be a valuable lesson.  So much of our instruction is focused on “the Masters” and their exposure to “real” artists is so limited.  I love getting to work on projects at school and when time allows it, I get great joy.

About 6 months ago I came across a site called ArtTraderMag.com.  It is a wonderful site with great art tools, an online magazine and a host of online workshops complete with workbooks and videos.  I have taken 5 classes through the site and am enjoying every minute of it.  Recently I took a color exploration class.  One of the projects was a dichromatic color scheme.  We were allowed to use two colors plus  black, white and brown.  I chose blue and orange for my color scheme.  I am really proud of my finished work.  I usually work VERY realistically so the surreal, dreaminess of this piece was hard for me.  I truly enjoyed working on it and hope the students who saw me working through it were able to grasp a better understanding of the creative process.



MixedMedia Canvas
Copyright 2009 Julie Kohl/Willowtreecreek Studio

Please do not use my work or link to it with out my permission.

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Today my bit of creativity included drawing.  Drawing is probably my most favorite art method, particularly using pen and ink. I have also always been fond of doodles.  Last spring I came across an art technique called Zentangle.  Basically you draw a random shape and fill in the spaces created by the random shape with a variety of doodles. You can even get a whole Zentangle making kit over at zentangle.com. Zentangles are meditative in nature, hence the whole “zen” thing.  Just do a google image search for zentangles and you will find hundreds of glorious examples.  So for today’s little bit of creativity I created three zentangles of my own.  Enjoy!


These images are copyrighted to Julie Kohl. Please do not use, copy  or link directly to these images without my permission.

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This past week was the K-12 Art show for our school.  I am the k-12 art teacher.  Since our new fine arts building was open this year we were able to host the show in the new Elementary PE gym.  It really went well.  Each student in grades k-8 submitted a picture for the art show.  The only requirement was that the artwork had to be something that was completed during art class.  Since I dont see all of the 9-12 graders this section was optional.  High School Students were allowed to submit as many pieces as they like.

In conjunction with the Art Show the school also had a k-4 music concert and a k-6 field day on Friday.  Each class in the k-6 was scheduled 20 minutes to view the art show and to allow students to get their faces painted.  The whole event went really well. 

Here are some highlight of the art show.

Kindergarten – The focus in Kindergarten is mostly color and shape.  We discuss each of the elements and principles but do not dwell on them.  By the second half of the year we combine what we have learned about color and shape to completed guided drawings.

1st Grade – In first grade we continue to work on the basic drawing skills that we started in Kindergarten.  We also begin to focus a little bit more on the elements of art and start to conciously incorporate these into our artwork.

2nd Grade – Students in the second grade complete a unit called “Art Around the World”  We spend the year studying different cultures and replicating that art.  Most of the projects we make are 3-dimensional but here is a small sampling of their 2-D work.

3rd Grade – The third grade focus is the Masters.  We spend the year looking at famous artists and mimicking/adapting their styles and creating one of a kind artworks. 

4th Grade – Student in the fourth grade spend most of the year learning specifically and in-depth about the elements and principle of art.  The last few weeks of school this year we worked on a “Weaving in the Round” project that the students really enjoyed.

5th Grade – 8th Grade – I see the fifth grade through 8th grade on a rotation everyday for 9 weeks.  This enables us to get a little more in depth with some projects rather than trying to do projects we can complete in one or two 40 minute class periods.  My 5th – 8th graders did a wide variety of drawing and painting projects.

5th Grade

6th Grade

7th Grade

8th Grade

High School – This year I tought two sections of art one and 1 section of advanced art.  My art 1 classes focus on the elements and principle of art as well as experiment with a wide variety of art media.  My advanced art students this year each developed thier own course of study and focused on projects and media that were of interest to them.  The only thing I regret is that I allowed my high school students to take projects home before the end of the year.  Many of my students took their very best works home and gave them to family members or hung them in their rooms and didnt want to bring them back for the art show.  You can still see they are a very talented group.


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One of the greatest joys of being an art teacher is having the ability to share your knowledge and excitement for the subject with students.  However, one of the greatest challenges of being an art teacher is finding the time to create your own art. 

I teach 7 classes a day to kindergarten through 12thgrade students.  I am constantly having to switch gears.  Each class is usually involved in drastically different projects that besides all being art, usually have nothing to do witheach other.  On any given day I may be teaching pottery in one class, basic drawing in another, printmaking in yet another,discussing the differences between Christian and Secular influences on modern western art withmy advanced students and drawing cookie monster with the kindergartners.  It can be very crazy and hectic to say the least!

I love my job and get great joy from it yet I miss having the time to create more of my own work.  I miss being able to lock myself into the studio, blare music and get lost in a painting for four hours.  I have found the need to be creative about finding that necessary creative release.

Recently I was made aware of a really cool online art magazine and website.  If you like to create any kind of art and have not yet had the joy of experiencing http://www.arttradermag.com/, I highly suggest you check it out.  This quarterly magazine is available as a PDF download for FREE!!!! The quality of the articles is absolutely amazing, not to mention that advertising is kept to a minimum.

After finding Art Trader Magazine I found out that the same site offers online workshops as well! I recently enrolled in the Whimsy Art Workshop I.  Each Wednesday I can log in an download a PDF workbook and watch about 5 10-15 minute companion videos on a particular subject.  The workbooks are of the same quality and caliber of the Art Trader Mag!  The videos are wonderful and helpful as well.  Each week you can also attend and online chat session with the workshop hosts and other participants to get questions answered and feedback on your progress.

I also recently found a site called http://www.atcsforall.com/.  On this site you can sign up for swaps with other artists and trade ATC’s.  ATCs(artist trading cards) areminiature 2.5×3.5″ artworks.  The idea behind them is that you make them and then you trade them with another artist.  Sometimes I like to swap but sometimes I also like to just look at the swaps and make the cards based on the themes for myself.  The great thing about ATCsis the small size.  They do not take a lot of time to make but I am able to experiment with a variety of subjects and media.

I was on another ATC site that closed down about 2 years ago.  I was really into making cards then but got away from it.  I am glad to have found this creative outlet once again.

Below are some of the cards I have recently made.  To step out of my “comfort zone” I tried two unusual subject matters.  The first set of 4 are “Whimsy Goth Girls”.  Lighthearted yet with a dark goth twist.  The second set of 4 are based on the style of artist and film director Tim Burton.  Enjoy!

Whimsy Goth Girls

Tim Burton Style/Characters


Please note that all artwork is copyrighted.  Do not copy my artwork or use my pictures without my written permission. Thanks!

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Yes I am a teacher and yes school has technically been out since the 23rd of May and yes we did take 5 days to go to Virginia.  But we are also required to get 60 hours of professional development over the course of the summer.  The education co-op offers workshops all summer long but Richie and I decided we wanted to try to get them out of the way early this year.  Since we both have master’s degrees and Richie has about 40 credit hours beyond a master’s we have been in University classes every summer in the eight years that we have been married.  This is actually the first summer that neither of us have University obligations.  Well today was our last official workshop until school starts back on August 7th. I have 43 days of uninterrupted vacation ahead of me.  I was able to attend all art related workshops.  Richie attended 3 of them with me which was really nice.  It was really neat to see him tap in to his creative side and he did some interesting work.  Here are some of the projects we did over the last 3 workdays.


Covered Bridge by Richie

Covered Bridge (unfinished) by Julie

Pattern Turtle #1 by Richie – he didn’t like it so he “ran it over”

Pattern Turtle #2 by Richie

Pattern Turtle by Julie

Mixed Animal by Richie

Mixed Animal by Julie

Pattern Hand by Richie

Pattern Hand by Julie

Comic Strip by Richie

Comic Strip by Julie (I CAN NOT draw people!)

We really had lots of fun! I got lots of great ideas for my classes next year.  I was proud of Richie for trying everything and surprised to see that he actually has a lot of natural talent.  He said the last time he drew anything was about 22 years ago!!!

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Back to it!

School started back yesterday!  I always kind of dread going back but once I get here I realize why I love my job!  We started a new semester yesterday so I got a new group of 5th graders, a new group of 8th graders and my semester long Survey of Art class (High School) switched out too.

Currently my art room is a small old house.  I get the whole house to myself which is neat but there are some problems with the building.  This house is probably close to 75 years old! There is little to no insulation and there are actually cracks where the walls meet the floor where you can see outside!  So when it was only 16 degrees yesterday we never could seem to get warm!  The house has it’s charm too.  I get the whole thing to myself which is nice and peaceful.  We can be wild and crazy here in the art room and not bother anyone. I have a big porch which is great for when we do tie-dye cause I can string a big clothesline across the porch to dry our goods. Yet on the flip side there isn’t any good storage.  We have only one small sink in the room which was the kitchen.  The room is L shaped which creates blind spots.  Of course the naughty kids always try to sit in that back area!  Still I have truly enjoyed being in this room!

About a year and a half ago the superintendent of our school informed me that we would be getting a new building on campus and I would get a brand new art facility! At first I had mixed feelings about the project.  I would have to give up my space that we all affectionately refer to as “The House of Art”.  Despite it’s drawbacks, it really does have a special charm. 

Construction on the new facility began on the last day of the 2006/2007 school year.  The summer was spent preparing the site which involved removing an old house and the current playground.  The pipework and foundation were also layed.  As the new school year began we saw the walls and roof come up. The exterior brick work was put in place and by Christmas Sheetrock and other internal work had begun.  Yesterday the water department connected the new building to the town waterlines and as we speak Entergy is putting new light polls in place and preparing the building to receive it’s own electricity!  As this work is being completed I am starting to feel the stir of excitement.  The quirky nuances of the “House of Art” are starting to become annoying nuisances and I am itching for the new building to be done!

The new Fine Arts Facility now has water and electric but there is still quite a bit of interior work to be done!  The finish of the project is slated for mid March! We should be moving in before the end of the school year!  So much of my time over the next few weeks will be spent purging my room of stuff that is no longer usable so that I don’t have to move it to the new building!

I believe that change is always met with a bit of hesitation but once we learn to embrace it we can discover joy and happiness in the newness that life and living has brought us.  So it is nearing the end of an era and the “House of Art” will soon cease to exist.  So to honor it’s memory here are a few shots of my space.


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I love this piece by Edvard Munch. It is said to symbolize the human species taken by an attack of existential angst.  I kind of feel like the guy in this picture today.  Monday I woke up with the worst stomach bug that I have had in a long time.  Was in the bathroom every 20 minutes! Couldn’t even keep down water! By 2:00 I had had enough so I drove myself to the doctor and he gave me a shot and some meds.  Dr. wouldn’t let me drive myself home though so I had to wait there until Richie could come get me.  When I got home I took my meds and went to sleep.  I must have slept pretty well cause I have absolutely NO MEMORY of Tuesday!!!!  That is really weird.  I went back to work on Wednesday but was still unable to eat anything.  Today I have brought some applesauce for lunch so we’ll see how that goes!  My body is sore and I now feel weeks behind.  I really could go for a good SCREAM!!!!!

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