Monday, June 5, 2017


No, we haven't been painting this and only this since January...that would be CRAZY!  Students worked diligently during their Art classes in January and just into February, then we hit a point where all that was left were touch-ups, which are hard to manage with three classes full of sixth graders.  This left their fearless Art teacher and VERY generous and talented night custodian Miss Lynie (her superpower is painting) to finish the task.  Since the building isn't heated in the off-hours (warm enough to not shake while painting, anyway), we had to pick and choose our weekends to work based on the outdoor temperature as well as work around our own crazy schedules.   At long last (and 12+ hours later) all of the touch-ups and punch-ups are complete.  We didn't want to change what the students did, just enhance it to its full potential.  Here are some final results, with a few before-and-afters.

The Ocean Wall 

Lunch Kids


Dragon Wall

Detail of one of my favorites (It's just rude to step on a dragon's tail...)

Paint Blob before....

 And after

Paint Blob Wall (and that object to the right of the outlet is an upside-down cell phone with paint blob wallpaper).

Friday, May 12, 2017

Chocolates and Flowers: 2nd and 1st Grade Ceramics

Chocolate...a favorite for (most) students.  The idea of chocolate will make kids do some amazing things, like eat broccoli, wash the table, or pick up their toys.  What better subject to use for our clay project in Art class?  Previous 2nd grades have made donuts and ice cream bars from clay, but this year we changed our tasty treat to CHOCOLATES.  Peter Anton is a Pop artist best known for his over sized and hyper realistic sculptures of food, including a box of chocolates that is about 4 feet tall.  His sculptures are made from wire, plasters, foam, and paint,  but look SO delicious.  Second grade's mission was to make a chocolate from clay, then paint it and make it look so real their families would want to eat it.  I say mission accomplished.

Can you find the tractor?


Of course, what goes better with chocolate than flowers?  These beauties were started in FEBRUARY to make sure they were complete in time for Mother's Day.  Glazing has to be completed in small groups, so March was over before all of them were ready for their glaze firing.  Now they are finished and B-E-A-Utiful.  Our inspiration was from Georgia O'Keeffe, and we attempted to capture the shape and texture of her flowers in 3D, starting with a pinch pot base and throwing in a little slicing for petals.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Youth Art Exhibit, 2017

The annual Youth Art Exhibit kicked off on Friday night at the Tippecanoe Arts Federation at 638 North St, Lafayette.  It was a full house and the cookies disappeared VERY quickly, but the art silently stole the show.  Since I work at two schools, I was able to bring a total of 20 pieces (8 from OES and 12 from PCE) to the show.  A "Best of Show" award was given to one student per grade level, and one of my students was lucky enough to win one!

The dates for the exhibit are February 17th-March 24th, and gallery hours are 9-5, Monday through Friday.  Hope you get a chance to check it out!

Kindergarten, including our Best of Show!

First Grade

Second Grade

Third Grade

Fourth Grade

Fifth Grade

And last but not least, Sixth Grade!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

OES Mural: Week Two

Work continued on the mural last week, and this time things went a little faster.  Set up was much easier now that the 6th graders knew what they were doing, and they all settled in to paint with a more relaxed vibe (as opposed to last week, which was a little antsy).  They had a few "beautiful oops" moments where they had to think on their feet and figure out what our oops needed to become, but I hope the kids are learning that whoopsies (and working with them) are just part of the process.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

OES Mural: Week One

On January 11th, painting commenced in the specials hallway!  After several days of sketching and sanding (all done by the contest winners and some willing volunteers), we were finally ready to get some actual paint on the wall.  Since we're using acrylic, we have to lay plastic down every time we paint and everyone is working in sock feet to avoid ruining expensive shoes.  So far, all of the 6th graders are ready and willing to paint, and there was little goofing off to be had (teacher win!!).

Now that there's some actual color on the wall, the younger students are starting to understand what we're up to.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Art Room News: The Mural! and Other Things

"Mrs. Heigl!  The 6th graders are drawing on the WALL!"

This has been a common report for the last few days...and the answer as to why I'm happy about it is at the end of this post.  On to the long overdue Art update!

Both schools are now building their Artsonia galleries (PC and OES) and have posted 1,115 pieces of art between them THIS SCHOOL YEAR, which is amazing considering it's only grades 3-6 participating at the moment.  If you're a 5th or 6th grade parent wondering why those grades have posted less, the answer is simple.  They're awesome.  Due to this indescribable awesomeness, their art takes time.  Take 6th grade mugs, for example.  They get three weeks (three 40-minute classes, mind you) to build, then they dry for two weeks, and it takes 2-3 more classes to get them glazed.  They get fired again, and THEN they are done.  Great art takes time, and there will be more pictures posted in the near future (i.e. second semester).

What I love about Artsonia is that it is an excellent confidence booster for those who needed it.  Kids that are signed up (via parent/guardians who were sent a slip or an email) can have a fan club of family members and friends.  Their fan club members are allowed to comment on their art (with parental approval), and this is where the ego boost comes in.  Kids who were struggling before (and not believing their art teacher) are now trying harder and believing in themselves because they know people important to them are watching.  If you're not signed up, check your email!  I may send another round of slips home at the beginning of second semester.

I've also been building my YouTube channel, which, as I've told the kids, does not need to go viral.  My students call it Digi Heigl, because it's ME, but digital and therefore better in their eyes.  I find it handy because by using videotaped demonstrations 1) everyone can see, 2) I can rewind, and 3) absent kids can be easily caught up via Digi Heigl while I work with the rest of the group.  It has been a time saver for all, and it has helped student performance.  I even have a few students watching my channel in their free time and bringing in what they did for extra credit!

Anyway, as for new news...Otterbein 6th grade was granted permission from our fearless leader, Mr. Brown, to make a mural for the specials hallway.  The mural will replace the little signs that are hanging on the cork strips to tell kids where to hang their coats.  All 6th grade students made a design, and the 6th graders narrowed it down per class (America's Got Talent style...some were channeling their inner Simon Cowell).  I, with the help of 4th grade, helped narrow the pool to 5 final winners.  These winners will draw their design on the wall so that each 6th grader can paint at a later date.  Project updates will be posted as soon as work commences!

These designs are just rough sketches on photos of the wall.  More pictures to come once they start on the real thing!

Jacelyn V.

Braelynn H.

Jocelyn W.

Ashlynn S.

Jenay G.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Medieval Arts: Gargoyles and Salt Cellars, 3rd and 4th Grade

Also known as "The Art that Didn't Make the Hall Display...Because We Ran Out of Time."

These ceramics are impressive, BUT since my previous supplier retired, I am now using a different brand of clay with a MUCH longer drying time.  After the first (almost) disastrous firing, I give it a good two weeks to dry instead of my standard one week wait, and this greatly affected finishing times for our ceramics this semester.  Therefore, this is why this awesome work was quickly photographed and sent home...the last week (or day!) of school.

To tie in with third grade's Rouault based portraiture (who was inspired by stained glass), the kiddos watched a short video about the Cathedral of Notre Dame while I hurriedly passed out clay to each of them.  Once the video was complete, there was a quick discussion about the gargoyles-what they are, why they are called gargoyles, and how they're posed (we were in a hurry for the above reasons AND most of my classes had 1 or 2 classes to get the gargoyle made from start-to-finish...with only 40 minutes per class including a 10 minute clean up).  In order for the kids to build while I was building and not waste any precious time, I made a video so they could follow along.  Keep in mind, they were all heavily encouraged to NOT copy my gargoyle.

The tongue hanging out was pretty popular, and there were some that took it to the next level-trying to lick an eyeball, hanging out the side of the gargoyle's mouth, or two tongues in one mouth.  A few added arms or wings, and several made mustaches, horns, and very pointy teeth.  Since the gargoyles on the church are plain ol' stone, we left ours white to mimic that look.  This is another Artsonia featured project, so click on the link to see them all!

4th grade also had a done-at-the-last-minute ceramics project in the form of salt cellars.  Once upon a time, salt, among other spices, wasn't as commonplace as it is today.  Those that had it made a point to display it prominently in their home in the form of a metal, or sometimes porcelain, box called a salt cellar.  Our modern day salt cellars will probably end up holding change, hair clips, or ear buds, but they will still be on display somewhere in the kids homes across the county.

They started by pounding their chunk of clay into the desired shape, then yours truly got to slice'n'dice their lid (clay wire required=teacher 's duty).  After carving out the inside and smoothing it out, they used the leftovers to make legs for the box, a knob, and any other decorations their little hearts desired.  Since the fanciness of the box determined social status, most did a nice job of adding a lot of detail all the way around with both additive and subtractive decorations.

We ended up with everything from a standard decorative box to elephants, cows, and puppies (each is above, if you can find them).  The kids painted them with gold or silver to create a faux metal look, which they love, and they were all sent home the very last week of school.  48 of them had to go home on the last day, and I hope they made the journey in one piece!