Art Education: Sculpture Garden, an Outdoor Classroom

sculpture garden 1024x682 Art Education: Sculpture Garden, an Outdoor Classroom

When I started at my new, fancy, private school, I was amazed at the classroom I was given. I had so much space, it was fully stocked, and it was set up to specifically serve as a sculpture classroom. I barely had to change a thing, it was practically perfect. I even had double doors leading outside, to a walled in patio space. I already had a beautiful classroom, and now I even had an outdoor workspace.

While my classroom was well put together, the patio space was a blank slate. There was nothing but a concrete slab and a beautiful brick wall enclosing it. For a year I sat at my desk, stared out the double doors, and saw a space going to waste.

At the beginning of my second year I decided it was time to spruce it up. I put in a few wish list items to our school’s arts alliance, and was granted enough money to make the space useful and more aesthetically pleasing. I purchased two planters, one round planter, and two picnic tables. I am blessed to have a landscape architect husband who helped me fill the planters with interesting flowers, wonderfully smelling herbs, and interesting foliage to look at and touch.

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When everything was put together I was excited at the transformation, but I quickly realized it wasn’t enough. Walls still stood empty, space was being wasted. The next year I added even more. I purchased two more large planters, 4 round planters, a storage shed, a storage box, and succulents to add as centerpieces to my picnic tables. Once again Nick came to my rescue and helped me select the many plants necessary to fill up my planters.

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I couldn’t believe how beautiful the space was becoming. The piles of straw for my raku firings was hidden away, my propane and acetylene tanks and a protected space to live, and my planters could barely contain my plants. My watering system was working well, automatically watering every three days, causing growth spurts in everything I planted.

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The final touch I added to the space were four sets of three slip casted tiles. These beautiful pieces sat unglazed and abandoned in my storage closet for years. Once I added bright coats of glaze and fired them, they were the perfect addition to the walls of my sculpture garden.

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I love seeing my students working out there. This forgotten space has finally reached it’s potential, and is being put to good use. I can’t wait to continue to add student made sculptures to the space, and continue to grow my beautiful sculpture garden. Check out my first blog post about transforming this space here.

IMG 8106 682x1024 Art Education: Sculpture Garden, an Outdoor ClassroomThanks for taking the time to check out my blog. Help me spread the word by sharing with others. I couldn’t do it without you. Thanks for stopping by!


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Visual Journal Page 75: Rylie Bug

Visual Journal Page 75 Riley Bug 1024x726 Visual Journal Page 75: Rylie Bug


July 15, 2012, baby Rylie was born. I was officially an aunt, Nick’s sister had sweet baby girl.

I will never forget the moment I first realized I was going to be an aunt. It didn’t happen when Randi announced her pregnancy, it didn’t happen when Randi began to show and came in town for her baby shower. It happened during a very casual conversation with my sister-in-law, and Randi’s sister, Stacey. We swapped our excitement for the coming baby, discussed how cute she would be, and how much we spoiled her. Out of nowhere I said, with 4 brothers and 1 sister I guess there is no competition for you for favorite aunt. As soon as the words left my mouth I paused, wait a minute… I’m married to one of the four brothers… I was also going to be an aunt…

We had a good laugh, and my excited increased just a touch. I was going to be an aunt… Aunt Whitney, it sounded good.

A few months later, Rylie-Bug came into the world. Nick and I made the hike to Kentucky as soon as we could, and for the first time in a long time I held a tiny, fragile, unbelievably adorable, two week old infant.

It’s amazing how much you can love something you don’t even know. A connection is inherently built through family. Although the same blood that runs through my veins isn’t the same as Rylie’s, she is my family. She is my family through love of her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and parents. The connection was formed through family reunions, trips to the lake, and dinner at the Panetta’s. I got to know Rylie through spending weekend after weekend getting to know my husband and his five siblings. Through seven years of time with the Panettas, 2 years of marriage to Nick, a base was being set for future family members, additions through marriages and births. As soon as I held Rylie I felt I knew her.

Although Rylie has moved from Louiseville, KY all the way to Italy, I am still Aunt Whitney. Although visits are few and far between, I still have that title, making each visit a family reunion, rather than a new meeting.

I can’t wait to watch that baby grow up. I have already witnessed her 2 year journey thus far, from snuggly infant to a sassy, energetic, and hilarious little girl. In one month she changed so much, in two years she was a transforming into a person, I can’t image what the next 10, 18, and 20 years will bring.


  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Book pages
  • Construction paper
  • Printed picture
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie


From the minute I saw this picture, that my amazing photographer sister-in-law Randi took, I was in love. This had to be the “Rylie” visual journal page picture. I decided I first needed to create a neutral, yet interesting, background. I opted to rip up pages from an older, and slightly discolored book. I glued them down layered on top of each other.

Next, I carefully cut out baby Rylie, and glued her to the left side of my visual journal. I debated various ways to write the words, and in the end decided I needed to make the words pop with a little more color. I took different shades of pink construction paper, to mirror the pink in the netting, ripped it up, and glued it down in an arc shape to fit with the picture. I placed the paper going from the lightest pink to the darkest pink.

I wrote the words on top of the pink paper, took as step back, and evaluated. Somehow, it still looked incomplete. I played around with layering black construction paper just under the words, and I liked how it tied in the black sharpie. I quickly glued it down, but was still unsatisfied. The page suddenly turned too dark. The final piece I added was another layer of ripped up book pages on top of the black paper, leaving a small edge of black. This helped tie into the background, while keeping an interesting space around my written words.


Create a visual journal page about your family. It can be a single member or an large group. Good luck and have fun!

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Visual Journal Page 74: The Water Incident

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Visual Journal Page 74 The Water Incident Visual Journal Page 74: The Water Incident

It was springtime, on the verge of summer. May was slowly turning into June, warm air began its transformation into a hot blanket of humidity, and school had just let out for summer vacation.

I couldn’t wait for my first summer trip, a journey to Nick’s family lake house. It was a four day weekend I couldn’t wait for. The lake water and warm sun was calling my name. I needed a time for reading, relaxing, and working on my first summer tan.

The day we left I ran around the house cleaning up, packing, and checking things off my to do list. Nick would be home soon, and as soon as he walked in the door we were headed straight back out, into the car, and on the way to the lake.

As I finished up my chores inside, I headed outside to do a little work in my garden. Only a month ago I carefully laid out and planted my tomatoes, bell pepper, squash, zucchini, and grape tomatoes. Every day I took a stroll to my garden, pulled out weeds, and watched my tiny plants grow. At this point, the flowers were beginning to show signs of tiny tomatoes, squash, and peppers, only a little more patience and I would have home grown vegetables ready to eat.

As I headed back inside to start loading the car, I turned on the sprinkler to give my plants a final drink of water before we left. Before long we were on the road, headed to a weekend of complete relaxation.

It was a lovely weekend. We caught up with Nick’s family, ate good food, enjoyed beautiful weather, and the pups got some very much needed time running around in the woods. In a blink of an eye the four days were up and it was time to head home. Although I wasn’t tired of relaxing in the sun and playing in the water, I was ready to get home and work on my summer to do list. I was ready to paint the guest bedroom, work on artwork, and check on my garden.

As usual the first think we did when we got home was let the dogs out. Nick walked to the back deck, and watched the pups frolic in the yard. With him supervising the dogs I began unpacking from our weekend. Suddenly, Nick said “why is the sprinkler on?” I froze. Why was the sprinkler on? Nick turned around, looked straight at me and asked again, “why is the sprinkler on?” I felt the panic begin to rise. Why was the sprinkler on? I turned it on before I left, but I turned it off. I know I turned it off. There was no way I was that irresponsible.

Nick stomped into the yard, towards the garden, and to the light spray of the sprinkler. I couldn’t move. I was frozen in place. Someone must have come over and decided to water our plants for us. There was no way I left the sprinkler on. Finally, I got up the nerve to follow Nick out. Halfway to the garden I knew it was me. The incredibly saturated, puddled, wet ground was evidence of a four day, continuous watering.

My first thought was my garden. Had I killed every plant I so lovingly looked after for the last month? My next thought was how much is this going to cost us? Nick shut the water off, walked back in the house, and straight to the back room. I decided he needed a minute. I immediately went to our last water bill to do some calculations. It wouldn’t be that bad… it couldn’t be that bad…

I tried my best to calculate the worst case scenario, however the Atlanta water system is very convoluted. Between sewer charges, meter readings, and additional charges after using so much water in one month, I really had no idea what our next bill would look like. One month our water bill would be $75.00, the next out of nowhere, a $200.00 bill would show up. I decided at best the bill would be around $700.00, at worst over $1000.00. Our discovery was getting worse.

Nick emerged from the back room, and before I could say anything he said, “it is what it is, there is nothing we can do about it.” It was done, it didn’t need to be discussed, there was no reason to dwell. Now we just had to wait for the water bill to see what damage was going to be done to our bank account.

The next day, Nick ran a few errands and came back with an auto shut off watering system. After the “water incident” there was no way I was going to water the garden for the rest of the season, but I looked forward to using it the next year. I successfully killed every plant, except a few tomatoes. At the end of the month the bill came, and my forgetful moment cost me $550.00. A simple forgetful moment turned into a dead garden and unexpected expense.

“The water incident” remains a sore spot, something not mentioned, a hard lesson learned. I still can’t believe I did it, I still don’t understand how something so harmless could cause so much damage.


  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Black Pen
  • Colored Pencil
  • Bleeding tissue paper
  • Paper towel
  • Magazines


When it came time to make this page, I already had a very specific vision in mind. I wanted to keep the sprinkler simple, with the focus on the water. I decided to draw a simple ink outline, fill in the hose with blue water, and emphasize the water lines leaving the sprinkler with blue. I decided to incorporate my words into the water lines, so I left breaks in the lines to fill in with my text. After completing my drawing I carefully tore it out, and began working on the background.

I wanted a big difference between the sprinkler and the background. I decided to use bright colors and a completely different material, magazine pages. The shiny surface of the magazines contrasted nicely with the matte finish of my drawing. I ripped out page after page of green from magazines, began ripping them up, and gluing them down. I left a small space in the top left corner for a little blue sky.

Once my background was filled in I glued my sprinkler drawing on top. After taking a step back I decided I wasn’t completely satisfied yet. I went digging through my visual journal folder and discovered a piece of paper towel that had been dyed with watercolors. I ripped out the half circle and glued it just under the edge of the sprinkler. It tied the image together and emphasized the saturated ground.


Create a page about a lesson you learned the hard way.

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September Giveaway: Canvas Print via Canvas Champs

IMG 8123 copy September Giveaway: Canvas Print via Canvas Champs


This month I am very excited to offer an amazing giveaway from Canvas Champs at There is nothing better than hanging a personal picture in your home, and I love the look of the ever popular, canvas photo prints. It takes a photograph to the next level, giving it an artistic and high quality look.

When I was contacted by Canvas Camps to review their product I didn’t hesitate. I was thrilled when they also decided to offer a giveaway to one of my lucky readers. Check out details below.

I went through picture after picture trying to decide what to get printed. I could do a photo from Nick and my engagement session, wedding day, honeymoon. I could print a picture of our puppies or chickens. It was a tough choice, but in the end I decided to go with one of my more generic photographs, a picture of pretty, green succulents.

IMG 8124 1024x682 September Giveaway: Canvas Print via Canvas Champs

As soon as I snapped the picture I was in love with it. My favorite colors are included, from the shadows to the highlights, and I was very pleased with the composition. It was also taken on a recent trip to San Diego. It was my first time visiting, and it captured a memory of a fun adventure. I sent the picture off, and eagerly awaited its arrival.

A very short week later the package arrived on my doorstep. I couldn’t believe how quickly it came. I opened it up, and was very pleased with the outcome. The print was clear, the colors were perfect, and it was a print from an Iphone photo. The print was printed to the edge, and wrapped, making framing an option rather than a requirement. I also immediately noticed unlike other canvas print shops this print was mounted on a wood panel. This made the print even more sturdy, without the risk of the canvas ever being punctured.

IMG 8127 1024x755 September Giveaway: Canvas Print via Canvas Champs

The prints come ready to hang, all you need is a hammer, nail, and a wall. All in all I was very pleased with the ordering process, shipping speed, and product. I will definitely be placing my future photo print orders with Canvas Champs.

To enter to win your own, personalized, 10″x8″ canvas print all you have to do is share this link via Facebook or Twitter and comment below with a link to your share. The winner will be randomly selected using the plugin “And the Winner Is…” next Thursday 9/11/14. The winner will be notified via e-mail, if they do not respond in 24 hours a new winner will be selected. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!


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Art Education: Principles of Design Poster Pack

IMG 8078 copy 1024x677 Art Education: Principles of Design Poster Pack

After creating my set of Elements of Art posters, I was addicted. I loved laying them out, creating the patterns, and playing with fonts. As soon as I wrapped up one project, I started on another, my Principles of Design poster set. I felt like it would be even more of a challenge to visually represent terms such as movement and rhythm, especially compared to the simpler line, shape, and color posters I had just completed. As I finished each one I proudly added them to my Teachers Pay Teachers shop. I’m excited that I have already sold a few copies, and I hope my momentum continues!

Principles of Design Poster Preview 682x1024 Art Education: Principles of Design Poster Pack

My general principles of design poster visually represents each principle using different colors and fonts. The principles unity, proportion, pattern, balance, rhythm, variety, movement, repetition, and emphasis, are included. I love how this poster mirrors my elements of art poster.

Balance Poster Preview 682x1024 Art Education: Principles of Design Poster Pack

The first poster I completed was the balance poster. I showed different types of balance in the poster, including radial, crystollagraphic, asymmetrical, and symmetrical. Like my elements of art posters, I was drawn to triangular shapes to create patterns. In an attempt to include a little variety in this poster I used circular shapes to show radial balance.

Emphasis Poster Preview 682x1024 Art Education: Principles of Design Poster Pack

Next, I tackled the emphasis poster. I started with triangle shapes once again, but ended up converting them into tie like forms. I copied, pasted, resized, and recolored the shapes to create more interest in the poster. I knew from the start I wanted the points of the “ties” to point to one area and emphasize the focal point. I was very happy with the end result.

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The movement poster was the most challenging of all the posters I created. I had an idea of how to show movement, but I struggled to get it on paper. I ended up showing different techniques to show movement such as diagonal lines, change in direction, change in value, and overlapping. Using these techniques I was able to capture a sense of movement, however I am still not 100% satisfied with the end result.

Pattern Poster Preview 682x1024 Art Education: Principles of Design Poster Pack

After working on the movement poster for an extended period of time, I was excited to move onto pattern. I already had an idea of reusing my triangle shapes to create a variety of patterns. To balance the triangles I also used circles and a spiral. This poster shows spiral, meander, symmetrical, fractal, and ripple patterns.

Proportion Poster Preview 682x1024 Art Education: Principles of Design Poster Pack

Proportion came next, and was just as fun as pattern. I started with a triangle pattern and repeated it through the poster. By simply copying, pasting, rotating, and stretching this shape I was able to represent different methods of using proportion. Standard, monumental, miniature, and altered proportion are shown.

Repetition Poster Preview 2 693x1024 Art Education: Principles of Design Poster Pack

The next poster I tackled was repetition. I used repeating circles on a line to decorate the top, and triangles and rectangles at the bottom. Rhythm and pattern are used to represent the concept of repetition.

Rhythm Poster Preview 682x1024 Art Education: Principles of Design Poster Pack

After showing the use of rhythm to create pattern in the previous poster, I was ready to take it on as it’s own concept. I mixed organic and geometric shapes to create a sense of rhythm in my poster. I represented flowing, random, regular, and alternating rhythm through the various shapes and lines.

Unity Poster Preview 2 732x1024 Art Education: Principles of Design Poster Pack

By the time the unity poster came along I was ready to create a nice simple, unified design. I use a solid red background and layered purple and green arrow shapes on top. The arrows are arranged in a way that creates a sense of unity through the use of continuation, proximity, color, repetition and alignment. I was very happy with the bright, but clean feel this poster has.

Variety Poster Preview 682x1024 Art Education: Principles of Design Poster Pack

Last out not least came variety. It was a struggle at first to create a poster that represented variety, without looking cluttered. I was very happy with the rain-like scene I created, and the variety of shapes and colors I used. The concept of using color, shape, texture, line, and value to create variety are shown through the poster. 

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Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog and my newest Teachers Pay Teachers addition. Check out my TPT shop here. Help me spread the word about my blog by sharing with others. I couldn’t do it without you. Thanks for stopping by!



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