Cultivating the Elements and Principles of Art (Part 2)

Every summer since I was very young I have experienced a bad case of poison ivy. I’ve used special soaps, unusual concoctions, and seek the advice or professional doctors and allergists. Chanting the old adage “Leaves of three, let them be.” while I work the garden is not unusual. Despite this evil little plant, I cannot seem to pull myself away from the beauty of a garden.

In a previous post Cultivating the Elements and Principles of Art (Part 1) I shared with you the bones of my garden and how I incorporate my art knowledge into its beauty. Using the elements of art to lay the ground work of what will become a thing of beauty.

The time and the labor put into this space is overwhelming but the end results help to make it worthwhile. Colors, shapes, lines, and texture call me here every summer. It is truly my living work of art.





Can a seasoned veteran still teach in the 21st century?

After taking nine months off for a sabbatical to recharge my batteries, I find myself in a conundrum of wondering, “What do I do?”, “Where do I begin?” and “How do I instill all my new found knowledge into my teaching?” this fall.  I’ve spent the past school year in a much needed respite from the classroom.  Instead I have been refueling my intellect with classes in Technology, Creativity, Common Core Standards, as well as STEM initiatives.

This road to discovery has been full as well as fulfilling.  I’ve embarked on a technological journey of learning that was rigorous as well as enlightening.  I am now able to communicate with students of the 21st century through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Blogging.   And I’ve delved into the recesses of right/left brain thinking, advocacy of the arts, and blogging for educators.

Today educators are required to take students through school to become innovative and creative individuals of the 21st century.  My concern has been if I would be able to lead them effectively on this new path of discovery.  Do I know enough about technology, do I understand the Common Core; am I meeting the STEM outcomes?

The lingo is new, the timing is pertinent, and the students are young and savvy. Has education really changed so much that I have forgotten how to teach the pupils of today?  Merriam Webster defines a student as an attentive and systematic learner.  They are children who are inquisitive and explorative in nature that want to play and create.  They work to achieve goals and praise that builds confidence to become tomorrow’s leaders.

Yes, the buzz words may have changed and some techniques may be different. This is a phenomenon that has happened throughout the history of education – it is ever-changing. But the process is the same.  Therefore, my mission is the same.  Whether it is through Twitter, You Tube, or the latest STEM initiative I will continue to do my job… instill the love of learning.

How is being a project manager like teaching?

A friend of mine recently purchased a large Victorian home in a small town.  His intent was to turn this lovely icon into his workplace, i.e., law offices.  One afternoon I joined him and his wife for lunch where they began to share with me what has be a lifelong dream of owning their own office space and expanding their practice with their son. .

Talk quickly turned to the building and keeping the flavor of the Victorian home while creating an inviting non-sterile office space.  Doing what all good teachers do, I asked questions, posed problems, and showed interest in what seemed to be an insurmountable task.

Before the entrée was complete, we were talking about architecture, colors, and the reasons for staying true to Historical Society’s requirements.  By the time the check came, I found myself saying yes to a project that would consume my thoughts, dreams, and time for the next nine months.

Contractors, electricians, painters and such were asking me to make decisions.  Budget and ADA requirement codes were being assessed. Soon, I began to wonder, how did this happen to someone that offered to choose paint colors and how can an elementary art teacher become a project manager?

Now, as I sit back and take in the fruits of my labor, I have to ask myself in what ways these two jobs strangely similar.

10 ways that being a project manager is like being a teacher:

1.       Have patience.

2.       Bring together a group of people to complete the task.

3.       Follow a schedule and keep a deadline.

4.       Organize supplies within a budget.

5.       Submit plans for approval.

6.       Make decisions on the spot.

7.       Communicate with superiors on a regular basis.

8.       Be flexible and make changes when necessary.

9.       Work and manage many different personalities.

10.   Enjoy yourself!

















Cultivating the elements and principles of art…..

I have spent the past three days in my garden. I never thought I would say those words. I was perfectly content to spend the days reading the latest novel or sketching my current inspiration. Seven years ago my husband and I moved to a new home after 21 years of residing in the “house we would never sell”. Due to extenuating circumstances life brought us to a new place with a new purpose. My first thought was what will I do, my second was I can’t handle this, my third being o.k. let’s tackle this yard!

Our home consists of many different sloped or hillside areas. Yard maintenance was a priority and the only thing to do was garden that which you cannot cut. And so I developed one of my largest passions and the biggest perennial garden of my imagination seeing that I knew nothing about perennial as well as gardening in general.

So, today, as I ice my aching knee, I wonder how did I get to this happy place of loving to be in my garden/s? Logically the answer is art. Color, texture, repetition, balance are all a part of the scope of my garden which has become my spring and summer work of art. I love that I can use repetition of colors and plants, add different textures for interest and create a focal point with things that are growing and living. I also enjoy nurturing and pruning into shapes and the scale that seems to fit the landscape.

Nature and gardening are natural, art and the elements and principles are natural. Equating the two and finding the balance that helps me to express as well as create is what it is all about.



What does it mean to be an artist?

art·ist [ahr-tist] noun

1. a person who produces works in any of the arts that are primarily subject to aesthetic criteria.

2. a person who practices one of the fine arts, especially a painter or sculptor.

3. a person whose trade or profession requires a knowledge of design, drawing, painting, etc.: a commercial artist.

4. a person who works in one of the performing arts, as an actor, musician, or singer; a public performer: a mime artist; an artist of the dance.

5. a person whose work exhibits exceptional skill.


I have always had a difficult time admitting to anyone, especially myself, that I may be artist?  Even though I have always enjoyed art and art making, I have never felt that my skill or craft has been perfected to be considered an artist.

As children we learn though creative play.  We use building blocks, draw with crayons and make toys from pots, pans, and boxes.  But, as we grow older we do not allow ourselves to explore play and playful opportunities worrying about what is right or wrong.   We lose touch with our creativity and therefore stifle our imagination.

I have purposefully set aside time every week to “be” creative.  I’ve given myself the opportunity to explore new avenues of art and art making.  Artistic thought processes interrupt my sleep as I grow back into my creative skin.  I am finally allowing myself to accept that I may be an artist.


                                                    my drawing 2

                                                     my drawing 1

Week at a glance……

As I awoke this morning I realized it was Friday!  Wait!  Where did the week go?   “What did I do this week?”   Do you often wonder where the week has gone and feel like you have accomplished nothing!

Now as I take a sip of coffee and look around

photo(5)      photo(4)

Commissioned furniture

photo(2)                         photo(7)

Auction pieces for charity.

……………………I realize it’s been a busy one.