Collaborative Introduction Activities

Art Hospital & Pet Peeves Drawings

At the beginning of the trimester in fall 2020, I had the students do a couple of get to know you activities to build community in my classes.   They also learned that collaboration was a way for artists to generate ideas for artwork.

Art hospital is an activity where one person starts with drawing “mistakes” using ink, charcoal, chalk, markers or pencil. The second person tries to add more mistakes and send it back to the first person to decide how to resolve the work.  There are variations on this.  I showed them a video on John Baldassari, a conceptual artist, and how he used mistakes in his work, such as in his photo series where he breaks the rules of photography.

The second lesson was about pet peeves. I had them pay the game “Me Too” and come up with pet peeves that way.  Then they had a lot of pet peeves to work from and chose one to draw. It could have been theirs or someone else’s idea.

Art hospital








Pet peeves

This student really didn’t like wearing his mask during COVID.

This one was about talking really loudly.

The Everyday

This project was based on inspiration from the artist and poet Bernadette Mayer, a NYC woman who made an amazing project about her daily life by taking thousands of photos each day for a month.  I suggested they try not to edit much.

The Everyday Project                                                                              Developed by Tessa Sutton


The Everyday has had a huge surge in popularity recently, stemming from Dadaists and Surrealists in France in the early 20th century as they walked around cities and took to the streets, knocking fine art off its pedestal.  A return to the local as a microcosm of the global has been of concern to artists.  How can something mundane be made special?  What is your point of view that others can peek into?  How can the details of daily life provide artistic fodder? How can you find the poetic at home, on a walk, playing with your pets?  Try to catch people you live with off guard. Try to catch yourself off guard.

To gain inspiration, explore the work of photographers and artists such as:


Bernadette Mayer – 1970s NYC

On July 1, 1971, the American poet and conceptual artist Bernadette Mayer began to record one month of her life by shooting a roll of thirty-six color snapshots every day, developing them at night, and keeping a diary of her impressions. The resulting amalgam, a “crazy headed journal” that she called “Memory,” was shown as a mixed-media installation at a SoHo gallery in 1972: a honeycomb of more than a thousand three-by-five photographs mounted to the gallery walls, with six hours of narration playing on a loop. Whatever memory is, “Memory” was an exploration of the layers of what a person thinks they remember firsthand.

William Eggleston

Hannah Starkey

Larry Sultan

You might find some more to research on here.

Learning Targets:

I can use a camera to demonstrate personal voice.
I can choose appropriate equipment and techniques to best demonstrate my ideas.
I can apply the principles of design to my images (emphasis, balance, etc.).
I can use asymmetrical balance to activate the entire frame of an image.


1 On your Weebly under RESEARCH for PHOTO II, add the links of the artists above (need two) and an additional resource.  Make sure to provide 3+ sentences, written in your own words, explaining the significance of your artist and resource.

2 Find an additional artist that you think might be influential for your project. You will also need to 3 find one additional resource that helped you prepare for The Everyday. This resource could be a Photoshop or Camera tutorial, an article to read, or something else beneficial to your photography needs.


  1.   Find a variety of moments in your everyday life to photograph, and include simple moments that people might not see from your point of view.  What is intimate and off-hand in your everyday life?  What is poetic that you see everyday? What can be raw?  What might be disturbing or beautiful? Think about your point of view…the things you catch in your peripheral vision.
  2.   Capture 20+ images demonstrating simple, mostly unedited techniques. Keep in mind this is about the everyday, so using your filters and controlling lighting and mood in the room and on your phone/camera is probably more important than editing.
  3.   Utilize tools and techniques in Photoshop to enhance your compositions as you see fit.  For example, the magical in the Everyday.
  4.    Edit 4 different images. Each image must contain different subjects. No repeated imagery.
  5.   Upload your final 4 images on your Weebly Photo II page.

student images

Camryn was exploring color here.


Maddie was playing with the idea of catching a moment that usually goes unnoticed.



Students always do research, shoot photos based on their research and then do photo check-ins before posting their final edited versions to their Weebly blog.  This time they chose minimalist photographers to check out and used their techniques.

Tessa’s nice use of light here.

Jack’s themes are about the unfamiliar in the common.

Jordan edits this down to the bare bones.

Morgan examines the details in the simple.

Camryn used stellar editing here.

Nic works with architecture.


Exploring david hockney and time

Students investigated David Hockney’s ideas on time and photography by watching a video and checking out my intro slides on the British painter.  They completed a project based on his observations of Eastern conceptions of space and perspective through making their own Joinery projects.  These consisted of multiple points of view around one emphasized focus.

Charlie explored the space of a deck.

Sarah used a simple yet effective setting.

Jessica’s candle of multiple time frames.

Jordan’s well done use of editing.

Claire is exploring many points of view here.

Self Portraits

Two-sided selves

(hybrid and Distance Learning)

Students researched self-portraits in various genres like painting, drawing and photography and came up with 2 final images after doing a photo shoot of 10-20 pictures. They had to show two different sides to themselves.

Jackson’s funny image.

Another side to Jackson.

Hali’s very powerful image.

Jessica in motion.

Tessa revealing her mysterious side.


In this unit, the students researched abstract paintings and used poems to create images with texture, color and shapes related to their poems and inspired by their research.


Surrealism Project

(Hybrid and distance learning)

Sarah did some great editing here with overlay.

Claire is playing with scale.

Jordan was working with layers of time and memory.

Nic is transforming day into night.

Posters for a Cause

Unit 5 Social Justice Poster/poster for a cause

(Hybrid and distance learning)

In this unit, students researched a variety of social justice posters ranging from 1960s French student uprisings to contemporary global warming, feminist issues, human rights and immigration. After researching, they came up with sketches on their posters after making a list of ideas. They then created the final poster using emphasis and contrast.
























Digital and Drawn Self Portraits

Unit 4 Self Portraits

(Hybrid & Distance Learning)

In this unit, students made three self-portrait drawings about a cactus drawing, digital or printed selfie drawing and a drawing in a reflective surface that was not a mirror.  The cactus drawing was first developed through a set of bio questions about themselves to help generate ideas and symbols for their artwork.  The second drawing was based of a prompt where they chose a hero and someone they admired and explored selifies using the individual face, snapseed or adobe express photo app and then draw digitally on their phone or printed on paper and drew to make the connection between themselves and another person.  The reflection drawing was made in any surface they wanted such as spoons, computers, phones or other objects.  It had to use shading and could have used color.

Part i Cactus self portrait Drawing



part 2 hero inspired selfie drawing










Part 3 reflection drawings



Elements & Principles Scavenger Hunt

Unit 1 Elements & Principles Scavenger Hunt

(Hybrid & Distance LEarning)

The first unit in Drawing and Painting I was an Elements of Art & Principles of Design Scavenger Hunt where the students needed to find images of all these categories such as color, shape, unity, pattern, rhythm etc. They could take photos or look on the Internet.   This was a great way to build a common vocabulary to start the beginning of the trimester.