Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Hip, hip, hooray!

I got a job as an elementary art teacher. Not just any job, my dream job at my dream school. I cannot express how excited and overwhelmed with joy I am! What a blessing.

I hope this blog will aid me in keeping lessons organized, categorized, etc. but also develop a sense of community with other art teachers out there. Many of you have already inspired me over the past few months, and I can't wait to share with you my endeavors in the world of elementary art.

I have to say, I have not held myself completely accountable to blogs in the past, but maybe I can make this part of my daily (or, at least, weekly) routine. It will be a challenge to juggle everything in my first year of teaching... I know that... but it will be totally worth it.

Feel free to leave comments, suggestions, questions, etc. as we embark on this adventure together. Thank you for stopping by and for inspiring me!

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Cafe Terrace at Night by van Gogh: A Critique

The Cafe Terrace at Night by Vincent van Gogh, September 1888

***This blog post was created as an assignment for a class I took. It is meant to aid students and parents in the process of critique. Fellow teachers, you may use any of this information in a lesson plan or blog post, just please cite me as the original author! Thanks. :)

Van Gogh is know for his style of painting. An impressionist painter, he is famous for his innovative use of line and texture, as well as vivid colors. Let's go over the elements and principles of art, using The Cafe Terrace at Night as an example.

Let's take a look at the elements of art in this particular piece. Without these important aesthetic criteria, this painting could not be called a work of art.

We'll start with color. What colors do you see in this painting?

**Note: color is the actual pigment that we see, while hue is the color's name (i.e. blue and yellow).

Intensity describes how bright or dull the hue looks. In this case, the painting has an overall high intensity.

Next is form. Form means a three-dimensional shape. What forms can you see in this artwork?

Van Gogh is known for his use of line. What words can you use to describe the lines in this piece? Which lines stand out to you the most?

Space is another element of art. Space describes how much of the canvas is being used, or filled up.

**Note: negative space is the absence of form, texture, line, etc.

Texture is the use of line and pattern to create the illusion of roughness or smoothness on a surface. What textures do you see in this particular painting?

The last element of art we will talk about today is value. Value is how light or dark the colors are. Find as many values as you can.

Now let's talk about the principles of art. The principles simply describe how the elements work together in an artwork.

Balance describes how the painting feels in relation to its symmetry. Does one side seem "heavier" than the other? Symmetrical means that if you were to fold the painting in half, both sides would mirror each other. This creates a formal feeling. Asymmetry is the opposite; both sides would not line up to one another. Asymmetrical pieces feel much more informal. Radial symmetry means the focal point is in the center of the piece and everything else revolves around that point.

Keeping these terms in mind, what type of balance do you see in van Gogh's The Cafe Terrace at Night?

Although there is an understood division in the center of the painting, I would describe this piece as asymmetrical. Since the eye is drawn to the left side of the painting, rather than the center, it has more of an informal asymmetrical composition.

Contrast is the use of light and dark, various colors and textures, as well as different sizes and shapes. Contrast helps each part of a painting stand out on its own. The most obvious contrast in van Gogh's painting is the use of color. By using colors of equal intensity, the blue and yellow make one another stand out even more than they would by themselves. He also used a variety of values and textures to create contrast and visual interest.

Emphasis refers to the focal point (or focus) of the painting, where your eye is drawn to at first glance. Walk away from the image for a moment, then come back and note where your eye is immediately drawn. That is the emphasis of the painting.

Movement is how the artist uses the components of the piece to let the viewer's eye move around and back to the focal point. Van Gogh uses movement in this piece through the use of color, line, and texture. In what direction does your eye move when you first look the painting?

Pattern describes repetition of color, line, etc. in a piece. What patterns can you find in this piece?

Rhythm is similar to pattern and refers to the repetition of at least one element of art we talked about earlier.

Lastly, unity describes how all the parts of the artwork work together to create a strong piece. Do you think this particular artwork has unity? If so, what did van Gogh do to make it feel unified?

Congratulations! You have just critiqued a famous artwork. By analyzing the components of van Gogh's painting, we discovered what a critique looks like. Now you are ready to critique other art, and you have all the tools you need right here.

Parents, here is a link to a site designed to help you and your child further understand the elements and principles of art:

And a link to an image of the painting:

Mrs. E



University of Phoenix. (n.d.). Elements and principles of art and design. Retrieved from
     University of Phoenix, MTE534 - Curriculum Constructs and Assessments: Visual and
     Performing Arts website.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Great start to the morning: blueberry coffee and my cozy Private Quarters robe. I'm not a PQ consultant, but I know a couple of people who are, and I just love their products. :)

Thought I'd share some more things I've been working on the past few days. I've delved a little deeper into the world of typography, and have made some with my personal artwork as the background. It's so fun to transform pieces into something else. Anyway, here they are:

Thoughts? Suggestions? Anyone out there? :)

Furthermore, I stumbled across the website Imagekind, a website for artists to upload images of their work and sell prints, canvases, etc. The site does all the printing, packaging, and shipping, and the artist gets to decide what percentage or dollar amount you want to make off of each piece. Pretty cool. We'll see how it goes; I've only just started using it. The prints above are on the website and available for purchase as well as these photographs and more:

Not sure why I only posted the black and white ones. There are color photographs as well, I promise!

I'm thinking about changing things up a bit around here... Maybe having each day of the week under a separate category, like DIY Tuesday, Work it Out Wednesday, etc. We'll see!
Have a blessed day.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


I don't want to live a conventional life.

I want to rid my life of the things that don't matter, things that are not necessarily beneficial.

I want my focus to be Jesus, what He would have me to do, and the person He would have me be.

I want to exemplify His love.

I hope to lead at least one person to Christ in my lifetime. If this happens, I can say my purpose was fulfilled. One thing I know, however, is that I may not see with my own eyes what happens in a person's heart on this side of eternity. I can only pray that a seed is planted and that God waters it.

I want my face to be a reflection of the joy I have found in Christ, not one that looks discontent or worried all the time.

I want my words to be an overflow of my heart, and I want my heart to be pure and selfless.

I know I'm not perfect, and that has made all the difference in my relationship with the Lord. He doesn't ask or expect me to be perfect, and for this reason, I can fully understand His grace. It covers me, washes me, and makes me new in Him. With every breath, I hope to become more and more like Christ.

I want to be His hands and feet... whether that means here, in my town, in my state, or halfway across the world. I want my life to be ever-present, ever-willing, not tossing and turning like the waves.

I want to be the woman who reads the Word, soaks it in with all her heart, and determines to follow it as best I know how.

I want to be a prayer warrior. I want to pursue a life that serves others in prayer, words of encouragement, and action.

I want to chase after the passions God has given me. I want to pour them out until I am dried up and can say I gave it all away.

These are my pursuits for the year 2012 and beyond.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Haven't posted in awhile... a lot of life has happened. On November 7, my husband and I awoke to a phone call that his father had passed away unexpectedly during the night.

To say the last two months have been hard is an understatement. None of us have ever experienced anything like this before, so the process of grieving is completely foreign to us. One minute you're fine, the next you feel like a basketcase. The smallest things can make you burst into tears, and your emotions are totally unpredictable.

But God has given us an immense amount of peace. It's hard to explain, but we know our peace only comes from Him. We know he is in a better place, and I say that with full faith. We have also seen the body of Christ come alive as never before... phone calls, meals, cards, etc. have flooded our home and we have felt showered with love. Thank you to everyone who has asked how we're doing, to those who have found ways to make us laugh in this time, and to those who have simply let us know you are praying. Your prayers being lifted up have truly been felt.


On another note, I have been working on a new project. My love of music led to an idea that led to another. Here are the beginnings of something exciting: