Thursday, August 4, 2016

Mindburst Installation

Last fall at Yavneh Academy, I worked with students and fellow arts teachers to create "Mindburst," a week-long interactive multi-media art installation.  It featured artwork by the students, videos from the film class and music ensemble, and creative writing by my class.  I visited hardware stores all over Dallas to collect hundreds of paint sample cards, which we stapled to strings to create cascades of color.  We decorated the atrium with bright explosions of tissue paper and strands of ribbon, and strung colored yarn to the hammers of a disembodied piano mechanism. The exhibit invited students to respond to what they saw.  Pens were available for people to respond to colors by writing directly on the cards, and two vintage typewriters sat before large portraits, where students could contribute to ongoing stories.  Students wrote and posted descriptions of what they saw in a kaleidoscope, created magnetic poems along the steel beams, and added to large Keith Haring inspired chalk drawings.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Creativity Camp at Yavneh Academy

Last June at Yavneh Academy, I worked with my friend Kim Corbet to present an arts camp.  We and our students explored creative writing, music, visual art, and performance.  This is a mixed-media piece we created together, on wood panel, four feet by eight feet. 

·         We began by responding to the natural woodgrain of the panel.
·         We started adding individual figures, improvising as we went.
·         We spent a lot of time standing back to consider how to unify the painting as a whole.
·         We took turns playing “dictator.”  The person wearing the dictatorial fez decided what the painting needed, and assigned tasks to everyone else.
·         We added interesting papers.
·         We added three-dimensional objects.
·         Every person brought an object that he or she was sad to part with, and donated it to the work.  The personal meaning of each object was also donated to the work.
·         We ended our week-long camp with a performance in which we played music, shared creative writing, and unveiled this painting.  The finale of the performance was a percussion improvisation in which we interpreted the painting as a musical score.  Participants (and even audience members) took turns wearing the dictator’s fez and pointing to various regions of the painting to be played.    
More details:


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Weaving in the Mountains

Ok, this isn't a canvas, but I loved what happened last summer when I was with my family, camping in Idaho.  We had the notion to create a collaborative weaving with whatever we could find.  First I strung a warp in a tree, using some orange twine my dad had on hand.  Then my nieces and I collected grasses, flowers, moss, sticks, etc. for the weft.  We left the finished weaving as a surprise for the next campers.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Color Music

Last spring at the Carpe Diem picnic, I made this painting with about 40 children between the ages of 2 and 10.  First I painted a background in dark blues.  Then I chose special music to reflect the qualities of four different colors, and covered the record jackets in colored paper.  The children took turns choosing a color, playing the record, and painting with that color in response to the music.
Here were our musical selections:
RED:  Dixieland jazz by a band called The Firehouse Five (fast, hot sounds)
ORANGE:  Sitar music by Ravi Shankar (strong, warm sounds)
YELLOW:  a Vivaldi violin concerto (bright, shining sounds)
PINK:  "Je veux vivre" sung by Joan Sutherland (sweet, joyful sounds)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Dallas Day and Night

Last summer at Carpe Diem, I worked with a group of about thirty summer camp kids between the ages of 6 and 12 to create these paintings.  Here's how we imagined our city.

The paintings now live behind the front desk in the Carpe Diem lobby.  Their job is to greet the people who walk in our door:  "Welcome, everyone!"

Painting at the Reading Room

In December I painted with a group of children and their families at the Christian Science Reading Room in Richardson, TX.  Here's what we made!

Library Garden

Last spring I worked with a group of about thirty children between the ages of 5 and 12 to create this picture at Carpe Diem.  We hung it in the Lyn Voegeli Memorial Library.  Lyn was the director of Carpe Diem for many years, and filled it with wonderful books that continue to inspire the children and adults who read together at our school.  Lyn was a dear friend and mentor to me, and I will always be grateful I had the chance to witness the many ways she showed her deep interest in the humanity of all people, and especially children.  Thank you always, Lyn.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Poetry Club at Lang Middle School

Last week I helped start an after school poetry club at Lang Middle School.  Each week, the poetry we work on will also be documented on this canvas.  Our first project was to write color poems.  As the students read their poems, they also added their colors to the painting.  Over the next several weeks, we will add many more layers to the picture.

Here are some lines from the students' poems, combined to make one poem:

Green tastes like cucumber. 
Green sounds like the wind blowing on the grass.
Green lives in the leaves.

Blue sounds like thunder.
Blue smells like seawater.
It feels like a soft pillow.  It thinks beautiful, peaceful thoughts.
Blue lives in Italy.  Blue can live in the sky.

Red tastes like cherry.  It sounds like blood.
It smells like strawberries.  If Red was a person it would be fun.
Red feels like cherries all around.

Black is charcoal. Taste of burned food.
If it were a person, what would it do?  Pass by you, fast.
What does it feel like?  Black metal.

(thank you to Big Thought for sending me to do this project!)

Painting the Music II

This painting was created by 65 preschoolers between ages 2 and 5, while we listened to Bach.  I turned the canvas one way as we listened to the pipe organ and painted in somber blues and greens with fat brushes.  Then I flipped it over and switched to bright reds and yellows, as we listened to the harpsichord and painted with small brushes.

Here are several title ideas, suggested by the children:

"A Fire Mountain"
"Ocean Rainbow"
"A Flower Vase"
"A Fishing Bob"
"The Hot Air Balloon"
"A Sea Serpent and Seaweed"
"The Sun is Going Down"
"Rainbow Color"
"Melting Crayons"
"Dynamite Exploding in the Water"
"An Elf Came in the Middle of the Night and Painted the Walls of a Store"
"Sunset in Alaska"
"A Scary Rainbow"
"American Cave"
"A Magical Butterfly in a Tree"
"The Volcano Explodes, and Fire Comes Out with Balls of Color"
"A Fish Swimming Away"
"I Think I See a Cello In There"
"A Tunnel"

Saturday, March 10, 2012


I'm thrilled to report that "Butterfly Garden" sold for $500 dollars at the benefit auction for Good Shepherd Episcopal School, and that the painting has found a permanent home with the family of the little girl who painted the blue-green smiling butterflies floating mid-left in the canvas.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Butterfly Garden

This painting was created by me and Mrs. Shinnick's kindergarten class at Good Shepherd Episcopal School.  Thank you to Kathleen Duggan O'Brien, who invited me to do this project after we met at the Plano International Festival.  Fifteen very enthusiastic children helped me paint this cheerful canvas;  our finished work will be auctioned to benefit the school on February 25th!