Mar 15

Home Practice Spotlight March 2015

It’s amazing to see how many hard working artists at CRES have a home practice as well.   

Here are a couple examples of recent student work from home. 

“Sheep Doing People Things” by Sylvia 3rd Grade (The first image on the upper left illustrates two sheep doing a little Irish Step.)

This horse was created by Ella M. In 4th Grade

This drawing of the Nubble Lighthouse was created by Hikaru 3rd Grade.

Jan 15

Journaling and Sketching Emotions

Feelings are often difficult to deal with, and communicating them is even harder.

While researching short videos on emotional intelligence to share with my 2nd Graders during our Expressionist unity I found this brief PBS Parents video.

The video explores a journaling/sketchbook technique to develop and foster social and emotional intelligence with your children, students, and self.

Jan 15

Creative Juices

I need to make one of these for my classroom.


Jan 15

Before Photography – Photographic Processes Series

Jan 15

Art Quotes


Jan 15

Science Shows Art Can Do Incredible Things for Your Mind and Body

Arts.mic or Mic.com just published an interesting article on art’s effect on the human brain.  Some of the highlights of the article were that “experiencing art decreases stress levels” and that “the brain is hardwired to process art.”  The article also noted that the biggest benefits come from actually producing art.



“Along with the perks of enjoying and experiencing art, there are real-world benefits to making the art with your own two hands. According to a 2014 study, producing visual art improved psychological resilience and increased brain activity for the participants by the end of the experiment.

The study had two groups of recent retirees. One group was given lessons by an art educator and the participants actively created pieces of visual art that displayed their own personal form of artistic expression. The other group was treated more like a discussion class, where they talked about and interpreted selected paintings and sculptures. Both groups had their brains scanned before and after the period of courses.

The brain scans of the two groups before the classes (T0) and after 10 weeks (T1).Source: Anne Bolwerk/PLOSOne

Of the two groups, the one that produced art reaped the neural benefit of increased connectivity in the brain’s default mode network over the ten weeks of art class. This area deals with cognitive process like introspection, self-monitoring and memory.


As Hyperallergic points out, the researchers speculate that the first group got the gains because of the combination of motor and cognitive processing. They state in the study, “The visual art production intervention involved the development of personal expression and attentional focus on self-related experience during art creation.” Utilizing motor skills and thinking about art together becomes more beneficial instead of doing either separately. “

Click the link below for the full article:

Dec 14

Teaching art or teaching to think like an artist? | Cindy Foley | TEDxColumbus

Dec 14



Nov 14

Aelita Andre, World Famous Painter, Age 7

It’s amazing what children can do when they are allowed to explore, experiment, get messy, and play!


Aelita Andre’s Website:

Nov 14

The Science Of Art: Why People Who Doodle Actually Pay More Attention



Nov 14

Overcoming Obstacles: Sargy Mann

overcoming obstacles

After being diagnosed with cataracts at the age of 36 British painter, Sargy Mann, decided he needed to “carry on.”

He started to register as blind in the mid 1980’s.  Completely blind since 2005, he has continued to make and develop his craft.


three bathers

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 12.26.07 PM

Mann using piece of modeling clay to serve as coordinates for him to come back to.

cover_338_91048e_c sargy0009 Here are some additional links:

Nov 14

Specialists in Elementary School Classrooms? (Huffington Post)

Thought provoking article on the Chinese elementary school model, where every teacher is a specialist.





Nov 14

Tour of the 2nd Annual Summer Sketchbook Spectacular Exhibit

Here is a quick tour of the 2nd Annual Summer Sketchbook Spectacular Exhibit at Chases Garage Gallery, York, ME.  To all of you who made it and participated…THANK YOU!

Also, a big thanks to Cait Giunta and Ned Roche the Co-Owners and Directors of Chases Garage for hosting the exhibit, helping hang, and for being such great ambassadors of the arts on the Seacoast. Thank you.

IMG_9159 IMG_9160


IMG_4363 IMG_4376 IMG_4386 IMG_4400 IMG_4410 IMG_4412 IMG_4414 IMG_4421 IMG_4426 IMG_4427 IMG_4438 IMG_4440 IMG_4442 IMG_4443

Nov 14

Artist Spotlight: Kailee E.




IMG_0314 IMG_9259 IMG_9263

Q:  What grade are you in?

A:  2nd Grade

Q:  What is your favorite subject?  Meaning, what is your favorite thing to make artwork about?

A:  Dogs and Birds. and I like doing cats too.

Q:  What is your favorite color?

A:  Pink

Q:  How do you feel when you’re making work? 

A:  I feel really good because art is my favorite subject.

Q:  How do you want people to feel when they see your work?

A: Good.

Q:  What are your favorite mediums to use?  What are your favorite materials in the CRES studio? 

A: Texture boards.  I like the Inspiration Station.

Q:  How did you start making work about birds?

I use to like bugs, but now I like birds.  I really like seeing birds come to my feeder, I have a bird feeder outside my house.

Nov 14

iPhone Photography Tips + Hacks

If you’re interested in photography here are some great tips and tricks that can turn a basic cell phone camera into so much more.

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 3.53.10 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 3.54.14 PM



Nov 14

Artist Spotlight: Mateo C.



Baby Man

Baby Man

Raining Tires

Raining Tires

Crocodile Eating Puppet

Crocodile Eating Puppet

Person For Dinner

Person For Dinner

Q:  What grade are you in?

A:  2nd

Q:  What is your favorite subject?  What is your favorite thing to make artwork about?

A:  I really like to use my imagination when I do artwork and make up things.

Q:  What is your favorite color?

A:  Blue.  It’s also my middle name.

Q:  How do you feel when you’re making work? 

A:  It’s really really fun and I feel happy.

Q:  How do you want people to feel when they see your work?

A:  Amazed!

Q:  What are your favorite mediums to use?  What are your favorite materials in the CRES studio? 

A:  Collage

Oct 14

Creative Process

During the first month of school we’ve been focusing a lot on the creative process.  There are so many similarities in how artists, musicians, writers, and engineers work through problems.

Here are some examples of flow charts I found on the creative process.






Currently I’m working on developing my own chart for my classroom.

Are you a creative thinker?  If so, I’d love to hear about your process.  Please feel free to email me @ artedgeek@gmail.com

Oct 14

Muscle Woman

Muscle Woman
, 2014, Sam D., 4th Grade, Collage, 12″x18″

Oct 14

Average Day

Q: What was your idea? Your concept?

A: The title is Average Day.  The man is just watching TV, things are happening around him and he doesn’t notice.

IMG_0170.JPGAverage Day, 2014, Kevin B., 4th Grade, Collage, 4″x5″

Oct 14

Michael Stripe of REM Prompts College Students

In a recent SPIN article REM frontman Michael Stripe is prompting students at NYU in a new collaborative project “NEW SIGHTS, NEW NOISE”.

“Each week, Stipe and a different special guest will give the class’ 18 students a prompt, and they’ll respond with ‘100 images and gifs, both found and made, all of which will be uploaded to a private class website,’ and projected on the walls, automatic for the people (sorry). At the end of the class, the space at 80 WSE Gallery will open up to the public so they can see what they accomplished.”

For more on the project check out the whole article:

Wouldn’t this be a fabulous project for a digital photography, digital media, or graphic design class?

Oct 14

What is the Inspiration Station?

The Inspiration Station is a center in the CRES Studio that young artists can visit for:
– Inspiration
– Art History Books
– Reference Books
– Science Specimens
– Still-life Supplies
– Models
– How-to-Draw Books
– Drawing Prompts

Oct 14

Sketchbook Prompts as Inspiration

Since September students have been working on finding inspiration through sketchbook prompts and the Inspiration Station.



Here is a quick little video showing the artists in action!

Oct 14

On the Coast of Maine, 2014

Each year the 3rd Grade students of Maine spend a large part of the year learning about our beloved home state.  The video below illustrates a collaboration between the music educator at my school, Karen Littlefield, the artists and musicians of Coastal Ridge Elementary School, and myself.

The students perform Mike Nobel’s “Coast of Maine” for their spring concert “Maine Night”.  Students in the CRES studio were asked to create thumbnail sketches and then a finished piece based on the lyrics.

Coast of Maine (On the Coast of Maine) Lyrics

By Mike Nobel

Welcome to a day along the coast of Maine
No place could ever be more beautiful to see
Stars are in the sky on the morning tide
The fishin’ boats are rockin’ the ocean birds are calling,
“Welcome to Maine” “Welcome to Maine”

Come see the sunrise high on Cadillac Mountain
Come see the sailboat reaching for the horizon
Come let the water carry you away
Along the rocky coast of Maine.

On a stormy day along the coast of Maine
The salty winds are singing, the buoy bells are ringing
On the rising tide, waves are breaking high
and when the storm is clearing, it’s Mother Nature saying:
“Welcome to Maine” “Welcome to Maine”

Come see the rainbow rising over the island
come see the children racing into the ocean
Come learn the song in the music of the waves
On the rocky coast of Maine.

Oct 14

5-Year Old With Autism Paints Stunning Masterpieces

This Boredpanda article is a must read.  There are so many types of intelligence.



5 year old5-year-old-painter-autism-iris-grace-20



Oct 14

How does nature inspire you?

For the first two weeks of school we went outside in the garden in search of inspiration in nature.  Here are a couple of the students discoveries.  Along with observational drawing many of them also fell in love with collecting and rubbings.

Oct 14

Specimen Studies

We have been on the hunt for inspiration in all of our surroundings.  Some of the students have been very excited about the specimen studies they’ve been creating during class.

If you are interested in purchasing your own specimens, below you will find some links:

6 Real Bugs Insect Paperweight Specimens Collection
Bug Specimens (Cricket, Locust, Yellow Leaf Beetle, Crab)


Sep 14

Finding Inspiration in Nature

We spent the first two weeks of school looking for inspiration in nature and our surroundings at CRES.  Here are some images of the artists at work.

Sep 14

Welcome Back! What are sketchbooks?

Welcome back to a new and exciting school year in the CRES Studio!






We’re starting off the school year by working in our new sketchbooks.  Students will keep their sketchbooks for three years to show their progress and help them keep track of what inspires them.

I started the lesson by asking students some questions about sketchbooks.  Here are their insightful responses.


Why is a sketchbook a tool?

  • You practice in it.
  • You use it for ideas.
  • To sketch your ideas and plan it all out. -Lucy K.
  • It is ideas that you might want to do.
  • It’s a draft for drawing in.
  • Sometimes pictures will help me more than words.
  • If you’re going to make a house you need to sketch it first.
  • Always sketch before you paint.  You can erase sketches, but you can’t erase watercolor.
  • A sketchbook is a place where you put your thoughts.
  • A sketchbook is a tool because you use it to build something bigger.
  • It’s a place you can try new things

Why is a sketchbook a great place to try new things?

  • You don’t want to waste paper.  If you do it in your sketchbook first, the paper won’t go to waste.   
  • You can do experiments in your sketchbook.
  • If you mess up in your sketchbook it’s ok it’s not your final piece.
  • A sketchbook is a good place for trying thing out and see what works and what doesn’t.
  • Explore your mind. -Jack
  • If you want to draw something you can put it in your journal or sketchbook.
  • if you make a mistake you can just erase it as many times as possible, do it over until you’ve got it right.

Why are mistakes important to keep?

  • You can make a mistake into inspiration. -Maddie
  • You can keep an accident, because you can make it into a “happy accident.”
  • The reason why you keep a mistake is because you could turn it into a masterpiece.
  • There are no mistakes when making art!
  • You can get great ideas from mistakes.  Like happy accidents.  You can learn from mistakes and make your drawings better.
  • It’s good to learn from our own mistakes.
  • It’s just your sketchbook, not your whole life…don’t over react over anything.
  • You can turn your mistake into something else.
  • Keep your mistakes in your sketchbook so you can look back and not make the same mistake again.
  • There are no mistakes just happy accidents. That means if you make a mistake you can turn it into a beautiful drawing.  -Lexi R.
  • You can learn from your mistakes. -Cami

Why do most artists, writers, or other creative problem solvers keep a sketchbook on them at all times?

  • You can put your feelings in it.
  • It’s good because you can write down or sketch your ideas.
  • If you have a great idea write it on a piece of paper.
  • You might want to bring your sketchbook with you so you can draw stuff you like.
  • It’s good to sketch in a sketchbook
  • When you are inspired… don’t fear… get it!

Why might you write in your sketchbook?

  • If you make a picture and name it, write it down so you don’t forget it.
  • To tell about your art.
  • You could draw the picture and then tell how you made it.
  • You could write down your idea and save it till you need it.
  • You can put your feelings in so you don’t hurt.
  • To tell whats in your picture.
  • You can write about your picture or instead of drawing the picture you could write it out the idea.
  • You can have writing in your sketchbook because later you can read the ideas and make it into art.
  • You can write a tip for another drawing. -Cami

Sep 14

Summer Sketchbook Spectacular 2014: Day 73


“Design a Tree House: Draw/Paint one and journal about it’s special features.”

(This prompt was borrowed from artjournalist.com.)

Aug 14

Summer Sketchbook Spectacular 2014: Day 72


“Stars & Moon: The summer is a great time to go stargazing- make a page about something related to the stars or moon.”

(This prompt was borrowed from artjournalist.com.)

dans super moon
















The photo of the super moon above was taken by my scientist/artist partner Dan Esposito.

Aug 14

Summer Sketchbook Spectacular 2014: Day 71


What do you love/hate about the beach?

(This prompt was borrowed from artjournalist.com.)

Aug 14

Summer Sketchbook Spectacular 2014: Day 70


What is your favorite way to keep cool?

Aug 14

Summer Sketchbook Spectacular 2014: Day 69


“Sunshine: For many of us, summer is the only time we ever get to see the sun! Create a page about soaking up the rays or staying in the shade.”

(This prompt was borrowed from artjournalist.com.)

Aug 14

Summer Sketchbook Spectacular 2014: Day 68


What are your favorite summer scents & smells?

(This prompt was borrowed from artjournalist.com.)

Aug 14

Summer Sketchbook Spectacular 2014: Day 67


What is your favorite food?

Aug 14

Summer Sketchbook Spectacular 2014: Day 66


Create something inspired by your favorite song.

Aug 14

Summer Sketchbook Spectacular 2014: Day 65


What is something you dislike?

Aug 14

Summer Sketchbook Spectacular 2014: Day 64


What is something you feel you couldn’t live without?

Aug 14

Summer Sketchbook Spectacular 2014: Day 63


Try drawing a still life or scene made of all white.



Andrew Wyeth, Off at Sea, 1972, tempera on panel, Private Collection. © Andrew Wyeth

My Inspiration:

This week I had the good fortune of seeing this piece at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC in the exhibit:  Andrew Wyeth: Looking Out, Looking In.

Aug 14

Summer Sketchbook Spectacular 2014: Day 62


What is your favorite animal?
















This week I’m visiting one of my favorite artists and dear friend Daniel McClendon at his studio and gallery, The Lift Studios, Asheville, NC.  Daniel’s primary inspiration is animals.

You can see more of his work on his website @  http://www.danielmcclendon.com