Friday, May 25, 2012

Falcon and TMHS Public Art History

Art Club got off to a great start with an even newer Falcon Design!
Several Art Club members tag-teamed this design together.

If you'd like to use this design on your TMHS stationary, poster, etc contact Ms. Ridgway for a better quality image, or take it from here. Please credit TMHS Art Club Fall 2012 when you use our "Art Club Falcon. Thanks!!

Ryann sketched out a life-size protoype to help communicate our ideas (a falcon design that can flap and fly - like wings!"). Lena researched for strong frontal images of falcons with wings spread wide, Nikki worked on letters, and Ms. Ridgway built the frame, ordered supplies and stretched the "silk." Then, Nikki and Alaney transferred the design onto the silk screen. Ridgway and Alaney, and even Micheal Limbaugh painted screen-filler around the design and Ms. Ridgway printed 2 white on blue, and two blue on white designs just in time to show them off at the Homecoming Pep-Assembly!

We printed Versatex opaque white ink on a dark-blue micro-fiber towel from sweet-smiles ( and a cookie-monster blue "cuddle comfort" fabric sample from JoAnn's. We didn't have the right color blue fabric ink, so we used Speedball Blue Acrylic, which isn't wash safe, but looked great on the white micro-fiber towel, and the white cotton terry-cloth sample from JoAnn's. The terrycloth feels more like a towel, but it absorbs a LOT of ink! Micro-fiber absorbs less ink, and the sweet-smiles towel's blue color is most striking. The design was made to be light on dark, and some things don't make as much sense dark on light (like the inside of the mouth is light, the space between the talons is too prominent. Everyone likes the look of the white on blue towel best, but the ink is stiff and scratchy! When we talked of how they felt, the terry-cloth towel with Jacquard Textile Color was preferred.

Ridgway ordered a sample of another white ink that might be softer, and 10 microfiber towels. We'll print these 10 towels at our next 8-Hour Art Club Workshop - October 6th! Come learn how to screen-print! Bring your own towel and go home with the new falcon design, and help print the 10 new towels to test our fundraising market. 10-6pm - Potluck. Sign-up with Ridgway in advance to be sure we have enough supplies.



In 2012-13, Art Club kicked off the year with a school logo contest! Uncertain about the origin of the many fabulous falcons in our community, we determined to establish a firm, fresh falcon for this fifth year of our school. The following designs were submitted, and for fierceness and strength, Derek Isturis' "Ya Feelin the Thunder" took first place:
Derek will be receiving a T-Shirt with this logo.
Close on his heels, the following entrants earned serious consideration.
Avery Bunton & Estie Dawson's:

Hunter Cameron's:

James Gilchrest's:

Hannah and Rachel Everett's:

 Trevar Fiscus':
and Earl's!

Throughout the year, we learned a lot about where our other falcons come from:

 This is the Air Force Academy Logo. It was designed by a government employee on government time, so it is "in the public domain," but it is still trade-marked. We bought our "fierce falcon" logo with our scoreboard, from a sports equipment company. It may have been inspired by the Air Force logo, but the overall design is elongated horizontally and some of the values and colors are different.

This year our football team purchased new gear sporting this design. It is a mascot option offered by the Nation-wide company that sells sports equipment: 
 The falcon on our welcome mats was designed by Cordova artist, Mike Anderson. He is the same artist who designed, built, fired, and installed all the incredible ceramic work in the commons, under our totem pole, and at the entry of the school. He was striving to create a graphic version of the ceramic falcons he installed in the posts of our entryway. This falcon was a gift from him to us, and is sometimes called our "soft falcon."

Since our quest to build stronger TMHS Falcon Logo tradition at our school, Mr Voth submitted his own twist on the Mike Anderson falcon:

...and together, Jeannie Macaulay and Ms. Ridgway designed a new heading for our bulletin:

You can find out more about Mike Anderson on his website:

While completing this research, wefound out more about other artworks of our school!  Susan Arnold at Central Offices gave us this information from Maintenance: 

Michael Anderson
A ceramic artist from Cordova, Mike sculpts highly realistic and detailed bas-relief recreations of natural environments and ecosystems. His work is created to be closely observed and touched; educational tools so beautiful and engaging they continue to offer new insights each time they’re experienced. One of Mike’s recent public installations is at the Islands and Oceans Institute in Homer. There he created an underwater world that covers the floor, climbs up columns, and seems to be slowly making its way through doorways, taking on a life of it’s own.

Barbara Craver
Barbara, a Juneau painter, uses dynamic colors and a strong sense of design in her work. She paints the intimate, as seen in her studies of faces, as well as the great, as seen in her Southeast landscape paintings. Barbara is a Plein Aire painter (also known in Juneau as Plein Rain!), undertaking many of her works outdoors, rather than in a studio. Barbara will bring smaller scale works into the school environment, but her colorful style will ensure her art is not lost in the hallways… in fact, her goal is to ensure the students are also not lost in the high school, but can see themselves, their feelings, and their world in her paintings.

Dan DeRoux
Dan is also a Juneau artist, and well-known throughout Alaska for his paintings and large-scale murals. It is not solely as a painter that he will join this collaboration, though. Dan’s excellent sense of design and wry humor will come out in a multi-media work that will require students, teachers, and all who enter the school, to use their minds: encryption and decoding experiences that will engage and enlighten. When Dan’s work is reviewed by the city and school district, the code will need to be unveiled in secrecy, so as not to reveal it to future generations!

Wayne Price
Wayne, a Tlinget Master Carver from Haines, deeply impresses the viewers of his work with his exquisite craftsmanship and traditional skills. His works are on display in both art galleries and museums, an indication of his broad abilities. Wayne brings to his work a deep respect for his ancestry and the traditions of his people. His ability to cross generations, cultures, and time through his use of traditional art forms and materials, as well as modern ones, will bring his works to life for the students and the Juneau community for many, many generations to come.

Sheila Wyne (The glass feathers behind the totem)
Although Sheila’s home and studio are in Anchorage, she has completed large public art installations throughout Alaska. She comes to each project with an artistic concept, then works with the architects and engineers (and even community members) to determine the best materials and methods for creating her artwork. She has worked in tile, terrazzo, metal, glass, wood, found and recycled materials, and even light, to surround building occupants with fine artistry and craft. Her installations become educational tools because of the depth of information she offers within them.

Nathan Jackson (Hasn't been done yet)
The CBJ Engineering and Parks & Recreation Departments intend to work together to relocate Nathan Jackson’s Centennial Hall Wooshkeetaan Pole to the commons of the new high school, and commission Nathan, a Master Tlingit Carver, to restore it. The partner of the Wooshkeetaan Pole, the Auk Pole, was restored by Nathan and relocated to the commons of the Juneau Douglas High School in 2004. Because of deterioration, these exterior poles require relocation to interior locations if they are to be enjoyed for generations to come. By placing one of this pair of poles in each of Juneau’s high schools it is hoped that a balance will be restored that was lost when the Auk Pole was relocated.

The Impressionists - the biggest painting movement in Western History

The Impressionist movement of the mid-1800s marks major changes in Western Painting forever: 

 - Paint in a tube was invented and available to buy! For the first time, painters could throw their pre-made paints in a box and go outside to paint directly from nature.

- Light, color, & optics became serious studies on the scientific front - perceptions about color expanded!

- Japan opened it’s mysterious harbors for international trade - Japanese prints became very popular, bringing exotic, new ideas about composition and flat color fields.

- The camera was invented! Suddenly, artists were no longer needed to capture realistic portraits of powerful people - so now what will they paint?

All this invention, exploration, and exotic influence, combined with political changes favoring the middle-classes,  is immediately evident in Impressionist paintings:

            ~ A brush loaded with several unmixed colors dots chunks of light atop breezy trees, rendered fast and fresh en plein-air.
            ~ A crazy cacophony of unnatural colors fades into a misty purple morning sunrise as you step away and squint a bit...

            ~ Dancers adjust their shoes backstage, ladies try on hats way off center of the canvas...   

What’s your favorite thing about the Impressionist era of painting? 

Study of Renoir's Still-Life with Peaches

Study of one of Degas' dancers

 Study of Morisot's view from a cottage

 Study of Bazille's Young Woman with Eyes Shut

Bazille looks a lot like Manet, the "father" of Impressionism - he still uses lots of browns and dark shadows, but his subjects might challenge the traditional art audience of the day, and later his work had more color variety.

Symbolism in European Painting History

After the "newness" of Impressionism wore off, many artists felt Art, and painting, should be used for even more than just capturing light and nature. They felt Art should "reveal the invisible" - Things like dreams, spiritual beliefs, and psychological states. As a reaction, many writers and artists of Europe and the US thought of themselves as "Symbolists" and they worked to stir-up visual representations of ideas, stories, emotions… even social and political issues.  

 Some symbolists used specific colors to symbolize things, like age, or fear - Edvard Munch often used red for the frightening psychological power of young women, green for men, nd black for the aged or dying… Pre-Raphaelites illustrated famous stories and old greek myths; Even before the formal French movement, Fransisco Goya was using Symbolism as he painted and etched grotesque facial features, or scary swarms of owls to represent evil, stupidity, or oppression in Spain during the Peninsular Wars of the early 1800s. 

Famous Mexican muralist, José Clemente Orozco, a Symbolist painter, used his murals to promote the cause of peasants and workers through the Mexican Revolution.   Symbolism is still used today, and has often served artists well as a means of communicating about sensitive political issues like government corruption and oppression. 

If you see a painting from the early 1900s, and the mood or emotion in it almost overpowers the subject, it is probably a Symbolist painting.  TMHS Painting students were asked to "reveal the invisible" and create a symbolist painting about something evocative in their own lives. The story behind the painting can remain a mystery, but the mood should be strong and clear. We worked with ideas of proportion and perspective, viewers line of sight, color and tone to trigger specific moods or feelings in our viewers. 


Our Senior Advisory Mural is finished!

Ridgway's Advisory of Seniors is painting a mural to leave as their mark on this great edifice as they push off into their adult lives! Dawn Shane gets most of the credit for her enthusiastic participation from start to finish!

In these photos, she's mixed a neutral gray and is applying it to the falcon with a palette knife.  

Traditional Oil Painting from a Still-Life
We started with a brown under-painting, then the shadows and a sketch with dark brown washes (that's when we sighted for accurate angles and proportions). After laying in thick, pasty mid-tones (mixed with lots of white) we got to do that soft blending thing oil paints do so well! Then we mixed glazes for translucent color or value changes, and added sparkly white highlights in the end. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bob Ross was an oil painter who taught wet-on-wet technique in a running series with PBS,“The Joy of Painting,” 1983-1994. Because Bob Ross spent some time in Alaska and claimed to get his inspiration from the majestic Alaskan landscape, Alaskan artists abroad are often asked if they knew Bob Ross. He died of lymphoma in 1995, in Florida, his home state.   

His predecessor on PBS, Bill Alexander, ran a show called “The Magic World of Oil Painting,” from the 1970s to 1982. He was born during the First World War and grew up in deteriorating East Prussia. He was drafted into the Wehrmacht during World War II. Captured by Allied troops, he made himself notable by painting portraits of Allied officer's wives, thus paving his way to the United States. Bill said his early years helped him realize in painting, just like in life, you must have the dark to see the light, life has shadows as well as sunshine.  He died in 1997, in British Columbia, Canada, where he lived in a small cabin with his family, and a great view.  He was known as the “Happy Painter,” because he often referred to the subjects in his paintings as “happy trees,” “happy little clouds,” “mighty mountains”.... etc.
Our Painting classes spent over a week practicing still-life observation and layering in the traditional oil painting techniques: from a lean underpainting of brown washes, through a thick application of heavy mixed tube-paints for mid-tones, then, soft blending, oily over-glazing, and finally, the application of small flecks of pure white for highlights! 
Then, for “fun,” we tried to follow along with a Bill Alexander video tutorial - 
Wet-on-wet oil painters prime their canvas with a solution of medium + solvent + white paint. this allows for soft, wet-blending for days, and, it means you save the white of your canvas for your brightest spots like watercolor painting, rather than painting dark-to-light, like traditional oil painters.  Bill waxes philisophical in a heavy Polish accent and commits his painting magic so easily its hard to keep up with his shared secrets, but we learned even more about oil painting. 

Stained Glass Windows in our Commons, with Artists in the Schools

Artitsts in the Schools is an Alaska State Council for the Arts program run by the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council. The AIS program in Alaska is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Alaska Stare Council on the Arts, the Rasmuson Foundation, The Juneau School District, and the Juenau Arts and Humanities Council. Juneau artist Sara Conarro worked with our Painting and Mixed Media classes to produce a backdrop like a stained-glass window in our commons area! The TMHS music and drama programs performed before this backdrop for the first time Friday, April 27th, at 4PM.

Students were challenged with the idea of combining three distict styles of art to represent the 3 disitinct styles of music in the upcoming performance: 
~ Traditional Tlingit to represent the traditional Tlingit story behind the performance
~ Art Deco -  a highly stylized system of powerful lines, geometric shapes, and patterns from the 1920s and 30s, when American Jazz was becoming world popular
~ Graffitti-inspired urban art to represent the body percussion performance pieces

After illustrating a few ideas in small scale and discussing them as a class, we began sketching them out in 1:1 scale as cartoons on rolls of newsprint. As the designs took form, we hung them over the windows and began tracing them.