Welcome to Art Room 161

This blog was created as an extension of the dialogue that began in our classroom and the purpose is to share creative ideas, images, and critiscm. All posts should be appropriate for the high school classroom and critiscm should be helpful and positive.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Drawing: Last Day of the Semester Class

Today it's the Last Day of the Semester which means it's our last day of Drawing.  We will be collecting the final CHOICE assignment and choosing Artist Trading Cards from our partner classes in Idaho and Wisconsin.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Digital Media: OKgo Sandbox Project- Needing Getting

We are going to take the next step in our OKgo Sandbox Needing/Getting project and learn how to create rudimentary instruments out of materials we have in the classroom and that will include our own smartphones.  We will continue to practice making music together and keeping time as well as working on building a song with the various sounds we record. We will be downloading a free app called Google Science Journal that makes use of the existing sensors in your phone and adding an audio element to make them playable as an instrument.  We will also look at ways the song Needing/Getting has been covered by different people to inspire our own rendition. Here's a look back on the work we have done so far in the project. Tomorrow we'll try recording a full track!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

AP Art: The Storytelling of Art

In AP Art we are focusing on writing about our art this week, specifically looking at the Storytelling of Art.  Today we look further at the work of artist  Olafur Eliasson and see how he discusses his own work as an example.

Monday, January 13, 2020

AP Art: 2020 Competitions

Grades 9-12. Only 3 students per high school building may be entered into the All County show. CATEGORIES: Drawing, Painting, 3D, Photography, Mixed Media and Digital Media. AWARDS: Best in Show - $100.00, Each Category - $50.00, 3 Honorable Mentions – $25.00 gift cards ​ 

This portion of the show is open to SENIORS who will be attending a collegiate art program in the Fall of 2020. Students are required to submit 3 pieces of artwork along with a typed written essay. The theme for the essay is “What inspires you as an artist?” The essay must be typed. Only 1 senior per high school building is permitted to enter. The same display and eligibility requirements apply to the SCALA scholarship application. First place $750, second place $500.00, third place $250.00.

Students, parents and teachers are invited to a reception honoring the artists. The museum extends free admission to teachers, school staff and students. Students will be given passes that entitle them to bring two free guests, as well. Passes for reception & information for teachers and students will be handed out or mailed when artwork is received by the museum.
  • Receptions for Eastern Suffolk students: Sunday, March 8, 12-2pm & 2-4pm
  • Reception for Western Suffolk students: Sunday, March 22, 12-2pm

Friday, January 10, 2020

Digital Media: Film Editing

In Digital Media class we are beginning to learn the basics of Film Editing and our first project with be based on the video Needing/Getting from a favorite band OKgo.  In the video the band uses everyday objects to make sound as they drive by in a car and that is paired with instruments to create their song.  If you're not aware of OKgo, they are known for their creative music videos and unique approach, I once saw them perform at a This American Life event in NYC and was able to be part of a song thanks to an app they created that let the audience be part of the song.

We are going to collaborate on this project thanks to their OKgo SANDBOX which gives some insight into their creative process.  We will use their approach to making a song with everyday sounds but edit it together on video in the style of Eclectic Method who sample sounds and edit them together with video to make music.  Our goal is to create a song collaboratively by having each student create video clip samples of sounds taken from objects in the classroom.  It's a great creative challenge that will help build our video editing skills while we create a song together.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

National Art Honor Society: 2020 Sketchbook Project

We will be starting our 2020 Sketchbook Project this week and today we decide on our theme.  we've created a collaborative book annually for a number of years and they travel the US then reside at the Brooklyn Art Library in Williamsburg.

We will also begin preparing for our induction ceremony next month and collecting the annual dues for the Honor Society.   The current projected date is on February 6, 2020 in the Little Theater.  We will also create a short video of our year so far so be sure to share artwork, video, or photographs from 2019.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Adopt-A-Family Holiday Cards

The holiday cards we created for the Adopt-A-Family were delivered over the break to families in the area so thanks to everyone who created a card, they were appreciated!
Above you can see the cards along with the gift cards and other holiday gifts that were given to the family.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Drawing: Mini-Comics

This week we are drawing and designing Mini-Comics in Studio Art and Drawing class.  We will learn about the basic elements of a story, the folding techniques, and the variations in the media.  Then we will brainstorm ideas and begin drawing and designing our own.  You can base you comic on the character you created in our warm-up cartooning activities or start create new original characters but the final comic should include 8 pages including a cover with your name and a title and a back with Smithtown High School East, the year, and Mr. Needles written.

We will begin learning how to fold the paper and create the book then sketching out a simple storyboard like the student example seen above.  Once we have a storyboard in full color we'll create the final min-comic like the examples seen below.

After you comic is shaded, toned, and/or colored you should open it back up to one piece of paper and scan it.  We will be scanning these comics after they are completed to show and trade them. The cover and back should be fully toned and colored with the title and your name. Below are a few finished student comics from previous classes.
A number of former students have become comic book artists and work in the film industry creating films based on comics.  We'll take a look at a few during the process of this assignment.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Remembering John Baldessari

A Brief History of John Baldessari from Supermarché: Henry & Rel on Vimeo.

On Thursday we lost John Baldessari, a radically influential Conceptual artist who passed away at 88 years old so I wanted to share some of his work and life.  The short video above is a great look at his most important work in a creative way.  Below are examples of some of my favorite, works of his.
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Image result for john baldessari
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Friday, January 3, 2020


The NYC Ballet's art series was announced recently and this year it will feature the work of artist and author LAUREN REDNISSRedniss is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was Artist-in-Residence at the American Museum of Natural History. She teaches at the Parsons School of Design. Her installation for this year’s Art Series celebrates the many people whose behind-the- scenes efforts are the lifeblood of the theater. She will create a 360-degree panorama of portraits depicting more than 100 people who work at New York City Ballet.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Welcome to 2020

Welcome to 2020! I wish everyone a happy and healthy new year! We'll spend the first two days of the school year focusing and setting goals for the remainder of the year and reflecting on what we've done so far! Our Artist Trading Cards are now all sent out so we will be receiving the last few packages back shortly.
Today we'll learn a bit about author Dan Pink and what motivates us as people and author Jon Gordon who came from Smithtown and introduced the One Word idea!

Friday, December 20, 2019

Last Day of 2019


Today is the last day of class for 2019! Have a terrific holiday break and I hope you have a fantastic New Year, let's hope 2020 is a happy, healthy, and successful year for all of us!


Thursday, December 19, 2019

National Art Honor Society- Holiday Party

Today in National Art Honor Society and it's our last meeting of 2019 so we will celebrate with our annual Holiday Party complete with pizza and art and then some more pizza and a bit more art.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Studio Art- Explorer Classroom Talk

Yesterday in Studio Art we had a chance to talk with scientist and photographer Mark Elbroch from Panthera in our National Geographic Explorer Classroom live chat.  We will reference what we learned in our upcoming #STEAM project after the holiday break.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Digital Media: Digital Zentangles

In Digital Media class this week we will be drawing and designing Digital Zentangles in Adobe Photoshop.  The file size should be 8.5" x 11" (US Paper) and students can create any kind of ORIGINAL design (don't copy and paste other people's work) to fill the page with doodles.  They work best with a central design element (shape or word) but feel free to be creative!
Image result for Digital Zentangles

Monday, December 16, 2019

Digital Media: National Geographic's Explorer Classroom talk with biologist Alex Braczkowski

The Digital Media Art Class had an opportunity to talk with big cat biologist, photographer, and filmmaker Alex Braczkowski on Friday thanks to Nat Geo's Explorer Classroom, he’s been studying tree climbing lions in Africa with National Geographic.  Below is a tweet with a clip from the talk in which Alex discusses the camera traps which we've been interacting with in class to learn about AI Machine Learning.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Digital Media: AI for Mountain Zebra National Park

This week we learned about how AI and Machine Learning works with Code.org’s AI for Oceans and then began use the skills we learned to work on the snapshot project for Mountain Zebra National Park by finding animals, fires, or people in photographs take by camera traps.  Today we will move onto the next step and classify 10 of those animals and prepare to talk with biologist and photographer Alexander Braczkowski who uses these AI tools as well as drones and robots while studying and filming tree climbing lions in Africa.  We’ll be speaking to him as part of National Geographic’s Explorer Classroom series this week.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

National Art Honor Society- Artist Trading Cards and Holiday Cards

Today in National Art Honor Society we'll finish working on our Artist Trading Cards and Holiday Cards!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Digital Media: STEAM Career Infographic

Image result for steam career
In Digital Media we are creating a STEAM Career Infographic based on a career of interest and we will be including an AR component.  We will research and answer 5 basic questions about the career as well as giving a basic description and examples of successful people in the career on the poster.

We will also be learning about AI and machine learning for HOUR OF CODE this week with a new code.org assignment on the topic: AI oceans puzzle

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Drawing: Looking at the work of James Victore

In Drawing class we'll look at the work of artist James Victore today and using it to inspire out next projects based on his design class.  We will alos be working with a new drawing medium, ink so well learn how to use Japanese ink and Acorn ink in class.  The 3 short assignments that we will do after seeing his work are below, we'll collect and critique all 3 on Thursday:

1. Put yourself into your art
2. Draw a randomly generated word
3. Create a motivational poster for yourself

Monday, December 9, 2019



  1. Identify a topic 
  2. Ask essential questions about the topic
  3. Inquiry, research, collect data, and analysis data
  4. Identify big idea
  5. Ask essential questions about the big idea
  6. Inquire: research and analysis
  7. Visualize the findings (through 4 art works)
Due: January 24, 7am

Friday, December 6, 2019

Drawing: Illustration Friday- Brain

In Drawing class we are going to revisit Illustration Friday in preparation for our Illustration Unit and this week's theme is: Brain.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

National Art Honor Society- Artist Trading Cards

 This week in National Art Honor Society we will be creating Artist Trading Cards to trade with AP Art and National Art Honor Society Students in Idaho and Wisconsin.  The cards should be 2.5" x 3.5" and the subject matter and medium is up to you!
 Here's a few examples of ATCs from the past few years, we will also be taking a photo with our final Wyland painting which was submitted last week and working on creating homemade holiday cards for our Adopt a Family program!

National Art Honor Society- Artist Trading Cards

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Digital Media: Video Games

In Digital Media class this week we will be finishing and completing our Video Game then playing and critiquing all of them.  Below is the rubric we'll use to judge the video games so make sure you have a working link like this example from Alexa (screen shot's above): SCRATCH: Sweet Social Hour.

Using the rubric you'll score the 3 categories each of which have a max of 4pts (12pts would be a perfect score).  For clarification, in the game play the term "hard to play" means clarity not difficulty.

We all learned a great deal about designing characters, animating, and coding video games so now it's time to share the fun!  Below are a few of the student video games that were rated the highest in out BETA testing period so far this year, try them out:

Haunted   Swish or Miss   Zoo Day   Fighter Game   Sweet Social Hour   MrSpring

Because the class enjoyed the project so much we will try collaborating as a class on a video game next quarter to build our skills even further and continue learning about the process!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Daniel Gale Art Show

Today is the Daniel Gale Art Show from 5-7pm so come join us in celebrating the work of fellow artists from Smithtown High School East!

Monday, December 2, 2019

Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

Today we are working on submitting work into the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards so make sure the work is submitted by midnight tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

AP Art: Water Conservation Mural and Storm Drains

Today is our final day of painting the water conservation mural that we've been working on with National Geographic and the video above shows our whole process.  We learned a great deal from the research and used it in our mural so now it's time to begin sharing some of what we learned with others!  We'll post the video and the final mural pictured below on social media and put together a campaign in the spring that includes the beach cleanup we organized so the community can take action.
We will also be participating in another Google Hangout with the science classes at Smithtown West 5th period today to continue our collaboration on the smaller storm drain murals that we will be painting in the spring.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

National Art Honor Society- Handmade Holiday Cards

In National Art Honor Society we will be creating 20 handmade holiday cards for our local Adopt-A-Family program this week leading up to Thanksgiving and completing our Wyland mural painting as well as the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards which are both due on December 3.

Friday, November 22, 2019

National Art Honor Society: Cyanotypes

Today we have a special National Art Honor Society collaboration with the Makerspace to celebrate my new book STEAM Power, we are learning to create cyanotypes!  Above is a cool example from artist Karen Molloy and below is a great example from artist Essye Klempner which was shown the Queens Museum.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

National Art Honor Society: Contests

In National Art Honor Society today we will be working on finishing our Wyland mural and the individual storm drain mural for Smithtown as well as planning our induction, first field trip, our first collaboration cyanotype project with Makerspace club for my upcoming book STEAM Power, our Holiday projects, and upcoming contests such as Scholastic Art and Writing.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

AP Art: Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

The deadline for the Scholastic Art & Writing awards are coming up so our next assignment is to create a NEW work for our AP Portfolio that can also be submitted for the competition.  If you win the prize is an award at Carnegie Hall and up to $40,000 plus you get an actual gold key just like the one Andy Warhol won and is wearing up above! It can be in any medium and any size under 20" but needs to be handed in by next Wednesday November 27 and submitted online at: www.artandwriting.org

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Digital Media: Lets make a Video Game

In Digital Media we have now done all the preparation creating characters and backgrounds, props, and animations so lets now actually make our Video Game!  We will be using SCRATCH to code, if you're an advanced coder and want to use something else just speak to me.  The game will be due on Wednesday November 27 (last day before Thanksgiving break) and should also be submitted to Scholastic Art & Writing Awards if you feel like it's complete by December 1.

We'll start by setting up an account and figuring out what we need to do to make our game a reality- there are many great tutorials on you tube available for people who have not coded before that can give you step by step instructions.  Here's a favorite below.

Drawing- Sketchbooks

In drawing class we are focusing on sketchbooks in advance of the sketchbook project.  We learned about a range of well-known artists who used sketchbooks so study them on our class quizlet to prepare for a short quiz on Friday.

This week we will begin working on our Sketchbook designs following a different prompt each day (listed below). You can see some of my sketchbook advice and practice on the Sharing Our Notebooks Blog and I'll do a few short tutorials this week as we work.  We'll be learning about the Sketchbook Project (The Telephone Game) as well as a few new drawing terms during this assignment.  
  • Tuesday- Words- Geometric Shapes/
  • Wednesday- Portraits
  • Thursday Asymmetrical Balance
  • Friday- Analogous Color

Monday, November 18, 2019

NAHS and Makerspace Collaboration Friday: Cyanotypes

This Friday the National Art Honor Society and Makerspace will have our first in a series of collaboration as I share a project from my upcoming book STEAM Power and show students how to create Cyanotypes.  Check out my Pinterest Cyanotype Page for some inspiring images to get an idea of what they look like and get some fodder together to create a print on Friday!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Water Conservation Mural Project

We will continue working on our Water Conservation Mural Project in classes today in our to complete it by December 1.  Don't forget to submit your individual entries and photographs as well!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

National Art Honor Society- Wyland mural

Image result for wyland mural contest
We will begin painting the Wyland mural today in Art Honor Society.  We'll be recording video for the National Geographic capstone project and working on the local storm drain murals as well.  We also have a special collaboration with Art Honor Society and the Makerspace club Friday for a creative Cyanotype project.

Image result for cyanotype

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Digital Media: Basic Principles of Animation

In digital media class we are learning the basics of animation and focusing on Frank & Ollie's Twelve Basic Principles of Animation.  We watched the video series above showing how of the the rules of animation apply and what happens when you don't follow the rules.  We will now incorporate the first 3 rules into our first animation challenge (squash and stretch, anticipation, and staging) which can be done digitally on Piskel and is due Friday.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

AP Art: Wyland Mural Painting

We will begin painting the Wyland mural today and continue this week in AP Art and Art Honor Society.  We'll be recording video for the National Geographic capstone project and working on the local storm drain murals as well.  We are also scheduled to have a special collaboration with Art Honor Society and the Makerspace club Friday for a creative Cyanotype project.

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