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S. worked on two homework projects: a copy of a high contrast drawing by Katherine Nelson, and a portrait head by a contemporary artist (name forgotten) who draws very much like John Singer Sargent. The first project was high contrast and took a long time. It was a good start, but lacked fluidity. The second, S. worked it as a large sketch and used a much freer line. She got a pretty good likeness but did not seem very happy with results. She had used an ordinary 2B pencil, which has very limited tonal range, and newsprint paper, which has no texture. Despite these limitations, the lines and proportions exhibited a successful effort at searching out shape, form, relationships and tone. During the week, I had emailed her a 5 minute video by San Franciso artist Zimou Tan who achieves excellent results with vine charcoal and an eraser (from a live model). S. had not seen the video yet, so we watched it together. She agreed with me that she is already comfortable with the very... read more

S. had her first try at gesture drawing at a horse farm in her neighborhood. We lasted about 20 minutes: though it was fun, the bugs were biting. We returned home and S. tried her first sketches of trees. Again - the bugs were too annoying, so we went inside the house and reviewed recent homework. S.'s homework was adequate but it is clear that she needs to move away from dependence on line. Conceptually, she understands gesture drawing and how to build a more finished work over a gesture drawing. We spoke about the "spirit" of a drawing and why it is important. Since her grasp of line is already strong, it is now the time to challenge her by moving into more shading and contrast. For this reason, the last 20 minutes today we looked on several artists' websites. These are artists who draw exclusively in charcoal and, as I emphasised, they use only techniques that she already knows. She seemed a liitle surprised that these sophisticated and dramatic results are achieved with... read more

S.'s homework, as before, demonstrated strong comprehension of the prior lesson and serious time investment. She is a quiet person who absorbs information with little comment and processes it with surprising quickness. Her homework drawings were based on still life compositions of her choice. Her control of proportion and spatial relationship in the homework assignment achieved effects far beyond the lesson. It is apparent that Sylva works very well on her own, and my role, fortunately, is more of a guide than a pedagogue. I have shown her techniques that most beginners might get lost in. When she produces a homework assignment, it is obvious that she not only understood the principle of the lesson, but makes it her own. I was impressed by her new freedom of line and sense of confidence in her recent homework assignment. She is getting proficient with the use of directional lines, measuring, object rendering, and even light, shade and texture. It is not surprising that her still life... read more

S*** invested at least 3 hours of time in her homework and the results were exceptionally good - surprising that she has never explored drawing before. Her skills are at a higher level than the usual beginner.  As part of her homework, she listed what she liked in six issues of "Drawing Magazine". Her taste is as broad as the subject itself! So my challenge, as a teacher, is to help her develop her "foundation" skills, but not discourage her creativity. She is very detail oriented and has good hand/eye coordination, so I am sure she will master representational drawing if she decides to do so. At the same time, it is apparent that there is a "dream" or fantasy side to her interest that should also be encouraged. Therefore, I am going to suggest that she keep a sketchbook in which she can draw whatever she wants, without any "lesson" or discipline in mind.  For her second lesson, I brought some objects for still life study - mostly small... read more

Hello fellow artists.  Today I would like to let you into the wonderful world of gouache.  This painter friendly medium is easy to use and gives wonderful rich coverage and and clear saturated colors. Gouache dries very quickly and because of this characteristic a painting can be modified without having to wait hours for it to dry. The most important thing about gouache is if the underlying layer is dry and you put another different color layer on top, it will not turn the new color to mud. It will blend, but the color on top will be the predominate color.     Give gouache a whirl, it is the unsung hero of the art world.  It can be used on traditional watercolor paper or illustration board or mixed media paper. It can also be used on mylar.  It is delicate, though, gouache paintings/illustrations should be framed under glass. It can be used in both fine art and commercial applications.  It is similar to watercolor in that it can be cleaned... read more

When Redlining works for my students, I try to keep their stylistic choices in mind, even as I correct anatomy.   For those who don't know, Redlining is the process of drawing an informal sketch over another person's piece of art to point out and correct flaws, especially in anatomy. The sketch is usually in red, hence the name. However, as I often correct posing, rather than drawing over the original sketch, I set them side by side.   In this piece I not only corrected the pose and anatomy, but corrected the misuse of bandages to bind [which can be very dangerous, bruising and even fracturing ribs, and often causing permanent scarring] into a small leather riding corset.   In this piece I did two redlines. The first one simply corrects the anatomical structure of the picture, but the second one shows what I personally would consider better poses for the idea the artist was trying to portray.   In this... read more

Over these coming warm weather months I plan on incorporating lessons in the parks of New York City. This is an ideal place for drawing, watercolors, painting and of course live sketching. Today I worked with a students who is focusing on creative concepting for an illustration series. I look forward to working with new students who want to broaden their fine or digital art skills while taking advantage of all the resources NYC has to offer! Feel free to contact me if you would like to learn how I can help you with your creativity.

Have you ever felt like you have fallen into a rut, stuck doing the same things, with no noticable improvement in the quality of your life, career, or relationships? Falling into a rut means you are following tried-and-true but well worn steps instead of taking a chance or exploring new areas. What is the primary reason we do this? Fear.   Most people make their decisions based on some level of fear. “If I try that, I might fail.”, or “If I do this, others will think poorly of me.” or the big one: “If I take a chance, I might end up living in a van down by the river.” Fear is the biggest factor that holds people back from trying new things and fulfilling their dreams. I better not chance it; it’s just too risky. Don’t get me wrong; we live in dire economic conditions right now. There are millions of people in this country out of work or under-employed, so there are real-world consequences to going off on a new path on a whim. The fear of losing something... read more

Hello!  I am writing to let you know that in 2014, as an ART TUTOR I will be offering lessons that you don't need to haul any art equipment to.   If you want to schedule more then one lessons, and invite some friends, the lessons would have, food and music in a quiet not distracting setting and I would come to your residence.   Great for Summer parties with kids!  Adults can take in the fun too, for everyone needs some fun time, and down time, from everyday schedules.  I have an open backyard for painting if you prefer lessons at our home.  (Weather permitting.)    I am excited this year to try something new and FUN!  There is Art companies out there who can do the same thing, but you don't know the instructor.  Get to know me.  I am a mother of 5, and enjoy art.  I help out doing art in my daughters school once a month.  I have experience, and schooling, and a degree.   If you want an... read more

So you are halfway through summer and you suddenly decided you are tired of going to the pool, or your usual crowd has become lame, and you are starting to wish it was time to go back to school already. What do you do? Your parents keep hassling you - asking you, "What's wrong?" All you can say is that you are bored! Step #1- Visit your local library - not online - in person. Check the library activities board for upcoming events for your age (adults too). Ask the librarian to help you find how to books of your favorite subject area- or a new area that you think could someday be added to your list of favorites. Some examples of books my children used to check out include: the basics of Karate (and other martial arts), books about drama, foreign language learning, how to make the best paper airplanes, how to draw cartoons, and how to do skateboard tricks. There are hundreds of books on subjects ranging from sports to arts and crafts, and from do it yourself handyman to... read more

I am interested in teaching problem solving and confidence, I believe every child can achieve excellence and I have the skills to allow children to do just that! I have been a teacher in the Cleveland CCCCA School District. During that time I have served as a certified and licensed art teacher. This particular field is unique because it has allowed me to work with students in all grades. I have had the opportunity to teach senior high school over the course of my career in China. I believe I can make parents' and students' lives more productive with less conflict.

Being a visual teacher, I understand the effects of visual stimulation on brain development and utilize imagery where appropriate to enhance learning. I also utilize graphic, image-rich technologies in my teaching and understand the advantages and disadvantages of various visual technologies and try to use them appropriately. I avoid passive learning and bridge the gap between seeing and doing. I often create assignments and activities that allow students to develop and apply their visual information and handling skills. Kinesthetic learners Tips Take study breaks often Use large paper when learning Read stories that are filled with action Highlight information when learning Keep moving, but don't misbehave Participate in activities that use a lot of energy like, running errands & walking Move about while studying When learning a new skill repeat it several times step by step Visual learners Tips Draw or write on in large, colorful spaces Doodling... read more

I am currently working with a wonderful young lady in her pre-teen years to compile a portfolio for admission to the Rush Arts Academy in Philadelphia. This young lady has raw talent, but also is a fabulous listener! She struggles in self-confidence (what artist doesn't?), but we are making great improvements. We have meetings every other weekend, and I demonstrate a new technique and project for the portfolio. So far, we have completed a pencil still life of dishware, a 2-part positive and negative charcoal still life of fruit, and a watercolor painting of a bamboo plant. They have all come out fabulously. Currently we are working on her awesome self-portrait collage idea, incorporating several small canvases on a large canvas, with emphasis on what she enjoys to do. I have a great feeling about this current project! The next meeting is going to focus on creating a landscape work with oil pastel and matting her finished work for presentation. There are a few things I have done... read more

Many of my students are stumped when it comes to deciding what type of folio book to use to present their artwork for college admissions. Many schools require hi-res image uploads to specific sites where they can view you portfolio online. It is also a wise choice to have hardcopies of your work neatly and strategically placed into a presentation book. This blog will help you to decide what kind of book you might want to use. While there is no one best solution, each has its own advantages and disadvantages over the others. The easiest way to decide which presentation books are the most appropriate for your art is to first rank by importance the following criteria: cost, protection from damage, ease of use, and clarity. Once you have established the relative importance of these factors, choosing the right book becomes easy. Size Matters. One of the first decisions you need to make before creating a portfolio is to choose the format in which you will be presenting your work... read more

Who is Amanda O.? Just another art teacher in Philadelphia? I am indeed an art teacher in the Philadelphia School District, but am so much more than that. While some students have the misconception that teachers just hatch from an egg as is, we know that's not true. I have many parts to me, as I am sure you have to you. I am a world traveler, who loves exploring new places, but also loves home more than anywhere. I also truly love helping others. During the summers of 2004 and 2005 I was able to combine these two passions by volunteering for a Christian service group called Project Serve. Our Project Serve team went to a small village just outside of San Pedro Sula, Honduras those 2 summers to serve the people of a Christian Youth Camp. My team focused on building a dorm hall and establishing a clean drinking well. While it was incredibly difficult, both physically and emotionally, each time I traveled there shaped who I am today. While we worked 8 of the 10 days we were there, we... read more

COURSE OUTLINE: Preparing A Portfolio For College Admissions 2 hr - 6 week Instructional Important Steps: 1. Contact first choice and back-up colleges admissions departments to obtain their particular portfolio and admissions requirements. The required content of the portfolio may differ from college to college and each school's criteria should be followed as closely as possible. 2. Examples of requirements: Required content Original art, slides or digital portfolio Size limitations Amount of pieces (generally 12 to 20) Application deadlines 3. Abilities often found within a portfolio: Most work is done in pencil, charcoal, or other drawing mediums, but it can also include painting and collage. Drawing from observation – Still life, figure model, portrait or landscape as accurately as possible. (Taken from real life, not a photo or your imagination) Work in color – Conveying an understanding of color through pastels, watercolor, oils... read more

I am available for: Preparing A Portfolio For College Admissions 2 hr - 6 week Instructional Coursework includes: •Important Steps for applying •Presenting Your Portfolio •Practical work in Drawing from observation, Work in color, Design work, Personal art and other media. I will spend six weeks building basic skills in drawing, color and design. Your artwork reflects who you are as an artist, your motivation and self-discipline. Getting accepted to a college level art program will give you the chance to produce and showcase your own work.

The philosophy of teaching I have embraced in thirty years of teaching medical students and college students is based on the belief that learning is student centered and that students need to be equal partners in the learning process. There must be present, a student mentor relationship of trust. There should, however, always be an authoritative presence in the mentor. This leadership should be omnipresent, whether in the classroom, tutorship, or online. The mentoring teacher’s role involves using his expertise to place necessary resources in the hands of the student and to train him to be not just knowledgeable in his chosen fields of study, but to become an expert at resourcefulness and seek the role of “teacher" himself. It is here where leadership is taught through example. Now that the majority of teaching is performed on an online forum, students now know that the teacher’s role in the online classroom is to be a facilitator, in addition to being a provider of information... read more

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