Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ahh.. Art

I've had more than my fair share of ahhh choo this week (allergy woes), but when I left my classroom today it was ahh, art. First the  my sky, a parade of clouds against gorgeous blue, it stopped me. 

Cloud Parade
iPhone photo
Orlando, FL 2:42 pm

I love clouds. I love drawing them, doodling them, painting and collaging them. I can't quite capture the gradual shifts in color but I enjoy trying to. Emerson said that the "sky is the daily bread of the eyes." Art is too. 

My second moment was the student exhibit set up in an empty classroom. The classroom, really partitioned offices in a portable building (or a "concrete-able"), is finding new life as a gallery. The white walls seemed whiter in contrast to the students' pieces. Mrs. Gardner have me a tour, talked me through the exhibit and kindly allowed me to take pictures. 

Students inspire. They create and have courage. I snapped a picture of Zhang's "Little Italy" for my brother. He's been playing with pen and ink drawing towns on stock paper. Though I wasn't sure about the Princess Leia-esque residents walking down main street, I like the perspective and the intricate detail. The water seems to be rising, but it looks good for whale watching, there's no worry over the tide in this piece.
"Little Italy" by Wailin Zhang
Ink on Paper
9 x 6
The difference in layered detail between Zhang's "Little Italy" and "Geometrics" reminded me of an artist's reach and willingness to stretch or experiment. "Geometrics" brought buildings and high rises to mind--though those are rare sightings here in central Florida. Something in the bend or the reflective gold called steel and sky to mind. 
"Geometrics" by Wailin Zhang
Acrylic on Canvas
12 x 9
Mrs. Gardner worked with these students through several pieces this year. One art assignment was to investigate a fairy tale and capture them in art. Ashley Arlow used photo and drawing transfer to create "The Fisherman's Wife." She's no victim. I love how Arlow recaptures the wife as sea-made siren. Those blood red lips and lobsters rolled coiffed into careful curls. The center design transferred and drawn out reminds me of an oracle or a totem capturing the essence of the wise Flounder.

"The Fisherman's Wife" by Ashley Arlow
Mixed Media on Wood Panel
19.5 x 12

See the cottage at the top of the totem detail? (purple circle mine)  I see two stacked heads and a fish-ish body--the powerful flounder from the tale is what this image brought to mind. I like the energy of the water swirls and the sea life Arlow captures. The hand drawn details are an interesting contrast to the  photomontage. As a whole, the piece reminds me of trophy, or a trophy wife captured at her greedy best.

"The Fisherman's Wife" drawing transfer detail. 
Look closely at those blood red lips. They're shrimp, though there is nothing shrimpy about them. The lips alone make quite the statement about thsi beauty though I love how the balance and symmetry of cheek and nose is lightly marred by wood grain. For me it echoes how "The Fisherman's Wife" goes against the grain of common sense or virture and falls into the trap  of her own desires.

"The Fisherman's Wife"  detail

"Plates" by Ashley Arlow
18 x 14
I've got to show "Plates" to my student poets struggling to describe love triangles this week. We talked a lot at Poetry Club about how "side ho" is not descriptive, but lazy writing. Dish came up as an appropriate euphemism and this piece captures that. The check board detail and balance rock too.

"Wave" by Leinani Hession
Media on canvas
16 x 14
Leinani Hession's work made me think about story and how images tell stories. "Wave" whispers to me of storms and traps of danger and anonymity. I wonder what my students would make of it? 

"Wave" seemed opposite in tone to Nicole Vargas' "Quinceañera." While "Wave" may dread the traps of adolescence, "Quinceañera" celebrates its transitory nature. The work in this piece impresses me--assembling each cut flower, persistence made tangible. The sash of fifteen (captured in the detail below) will soon be thrown off, the petals, though preserved, will wrinkle, but the memory, the whimsy of fifteen swings through the frame. 
"Quinceañera" by Nicole Vargas
Cut Paper and Wire
7 x 3.25 x 5.5

"Quinceañera" detail
Art works. Art attempts. Art speaks. So do our students. I love that I got to listen today., truly a treat.

Head over to Two Writing Teachers for a second serving;
the Slice of Life Story Challenge
runs daily during the month of March. 


  1. Whhaaaaaa. (Picture a minion saying that). I'm stunned by the art. Completely mesmerizing. Had a nice chuckle over the princess Leia comment, but I really dug the piece. Reminded me of a woodcut. All them kept me glued with all of the variety of approaches. I love it. The Fisherman's Wife is especially awesome.

  2. Wow, and more wow! I love the pieces and love the comments. We have several students at an art charter school near & I've had the pleasure of attending some of their shows. Like this, the talent & creative thought just blows me away. So wonderful to see. I don't have a favorite, they are all amazing, Lee Ann. Thank you!

  3. These are some wonderful pieces and your comments added so much to the experience of looking at them. Thank you, very thought provoking!

  4. I am in awe of the talent of these young artists! Thank you so much for sharing their work.

  5. Amazing art! I'm glad you could share photos with us. I also love the clouds. I have an ipad full of photos of clouds taken from airplanes. If it's a flight where I can have the window open, I just love taking pictures of the view up there.