Wax painting

Another successful community push toward recycled art!  THANK YOU to everyone who contributed crayons.  We collected about 25 lbs. of old, beat-up crayons for this project.  TWO of my favorite things – UPcycling, that is, diverting items from the landfill to use in artworks, and collaboration, that is, folks coming together for the sake of art in the community.

Our theme for this visual art series was the Circus.  Inspired by old-time circus posters, we created accordion-style books from mat board scraps, newspaper, black tempera paint, duct tape, and crayons melted into liquid wax form.

Students discovered that the process of starting with a newspaper background, and sketching with a fat paintbrush with black paint led to a loose, painterly underpainting.  Then they gooped on layers of melted wax to create a deeply textured surface, which could be carved into and manipulated in an almost sculptural way.  The wax cooled quickly so we had to work fast.

Details may have been a bit elusive with this medium, but that places the burden of emphasis on your composition and form, or in layman’s terms, it forces you to focus on the big picture instead of getting lost in the small details.  Art presents many profound lessons for life.

Warhol-inspired Self Portraits


Artist Residency 2011 – 2012 in collaboration with Artist Carolyn Grane and the 7th grade class at McClure Middle School, Seattle, WA.

For inspiration, we focused on Artist Andy Warhol and the pop art movement of the 1960’s.  Looking at examples of Warhol’s pop art imagery – Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, Mao Tse Tung, Campbell’s soup cans, etc, students were led through a drawing and painting sequence.

Placing a sheet of Plexiglas over their photo, the students traced their picture, exploring varying qualities of thick and thin lines, patterns in hair and clothing, and the selective omission of lines. (wrinkles, smile lines, etc.)

In our painting session, student artists were challenged by exploring the ancient reverse-painting technique.  The process invloves painting in reverse, or mirror image on the back of the glass.  The front will be the glassy side, the linework visible through the glass.  The kids were excited to use bright, unrealistic colors in the vibrant style of Warhol, expressing their colorful middle school personalities.

The 150 finished artworks are permanently installed in the school.

Thank you to McClure PTA for fuding visual art.

“Peace by Piece”

mosaic stepping stone     Mosaic stepping stone installation     Mosaic stepping stone

“Peace by Piece,” a mosaic stepping stone installation by Seattle artists Nicole Appell and Carolyn Grane in collaboration with students and families at McClure Middle School.

(It doesn’t look like 22 mosaics in that picture but it is!)

1st Avenue W, Seattle, WA

Ribbon-cutting ceremony September 13, 2012

Funded in part by Seattle Mayor’s Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Youth Arts Awards recipient, 2011 – 2012 and by McClure PTA.

For more on the mosaic process for this project, see my earlier mosaics post.