Friday, November 9, 2018


7th grader Ava with her collection of drawings, prints, and a terrific Cubist style painting

Our amazing middle school artists recently worked to curate and hang their own informal art show! After nearly an entire semester of hard work practicing a variety of skills, students chose their best pieces to mount and display. They independently chose background mounts to neatly attach the artwork, and then hung their own work for the show. They discussed a variety of art venues, including public art, installation art, museums, and galleries. 
Please click on the grade level tabs to the right for more information. 

Talented 8th grader DuanJhae with an observational drawing of her "word" sculpture, a painting, and multi-color relief prints of a beautiful peacock

6th grader Egypt with his awesome collection of artwork including drawings, a glue-line cardboard relief print, and a relief foil sculpture entitled, "Burger King" in the style of Alabama artist Dr. Don Stewart

7th grader Nathan with his exceptional artwork including drawings, relief prints, and a hilarious painting of a duck done with a monochromatic blue color scheme

Talented 8th grader Ethan with his realistic drawing, carved relief prints, and a "sweet" painting

6th grader Maggie with her fabulous artwork including glue-line relief prints, a monochromatic painting, a foil relief sculpture, and a still life drawing

Parents, if you would like to see the curriculum report for the first and second nine weeks, click here

Monday, November 5, 2018


6th, 7th, and 8th grade art students pictured with Mrs. Nichols in the sanctuary

Surprise! The Alabama Art Education Association honored Mrs. Nichols with a prestigious award, the "Middle School Art Educator of the Year" for the state of Alabama! We are proud of our art teacher, and our art teacher couldn't be happier with this year's group of middle school students. 

"I look forward to going to work at Heritage Christian Academy; my students' faces brighten my day each and every day. I couldn't ask for a more respectful, hard-working, creative, and fun group of kids!" Mrs. Nichols

Mrs. Nichols receiving her award at the AAEA banquet (from president Tammie Clark)
all the AAEA award winners for 2018

Monday, September 17, 2018


Genesis 1:27 tells us that we are created in the image of God. John 1:1-3 explains that all things were made by Jesus, the First Artist!  Everyone is an artist; everyone is a creative individual - it just comes out of us in different ways. Some people sing, dance, play a musical instrument, act, or paint and draw. Others like to cook, sew, write stories and poetry, or work with wood. To be human is to create! 

"Art class is how we teach students to keep their creative powers strong.The world needs creative solutions to problems; being creative is vital to being human. Just as we don't expect every student to be an Olympic athlete, we don't expect every student to be a professional artist. But if you have a body, you need to exercise it to keep it healthy. And if you have a brain, you need to exercise it to keep it creative and flexible. Big problems will keep on presenting themselves and it's the creative people that will be able to solve them. And that's how it is. No joke. It's that serious. And I truly believe that." Rosanne Walsh

What Does It Mean To Be An Artist?, video by Kayla Marie Ohlms, YouTube


All of us have heard someone say that art is a waste of time, it's not necessary, it is just something to do when you are bored. Is Art class really just a "frill?" 

Actually, we would all be naked and living in a cave without art! 

Without art we wouldn't have clothing, jewelry, shoes, houses, furniture, cars, televisions, movies, books, magazines, the Internet, video games, theaters, stores, amusement parks, museums, schools, cell phones, cameras, and the list just goes on and on! A creative artist had to invent all these things at some point for us to enjoy them. 


There are three main ways: 

1. Art makes you smarter! “Creativity” means “problem solving,” and in Art class you are using your brain in ways that you don’t get to in your other classes. On this chart of higher order thinking skills, “CREATE” is at the TOP! It can be a real intellectual challenge to come up with ways to effectively communicate your thoughts, ideas, and feelings! It can also be a challenge to figure out HOW to make whatever it is that you have envisioned! Creative problem solving is what we do all the time in Art class! Studies have shown for years that students who take art actually score higher on standardized tests such as the ACT than students not in an art class. 

2. Art helps you communicate! When you hear people say that they can “express themselves” through art, what they really mean is that art helps them communicate. You can say things through colors, lines, and shapes that cannot be said in any other way. An image is extremely powerful…a picture is worth a thousand words!

3. Art brings beauty to the world!
 As artists, we have a "Super Power;" we have the ability to find beauty even where there is ugliness. We can show others the beauty we see! 
Also, it is often relaxing and therapeutic to create with art materials like paint, or clay, or paper mache. Scientists have shown in studies that people who practice an art form actually live longer! 
Here is a short video clip of Alabama potter Larry Allen in his studio...he describes his ideas about beauty: 

Encourage Creativity; Teach the Arts, Americans For the Arts

Art Speaks, Springfield Public Schools

Genesis 1:27 

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

John 1:1-5 
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Spring Band Concert & Art Show!

It is the time of year when we come together to enjoy and celebrate the hard work of our student artists. Under the direction of our band director, Mrs. Marjorie Lee, our Beginner and Advanced Bands will perform this Tuesday night at 6:30! 

Also, the best artwork from all of our upper and lower school artists will be on display. This is a competition as well; prizes will be awarded for the most outstanding visual art pieces in each category. 

Lower school art will be displayed on the second floor hallway. Upper school art will be displayed on the third floor hallway. 

It is an honor for each piece to be included in the art show; these are the most creative and well crafted pieces done by our students this year. Each student enrolled in art class has at least one piece of art represented! 

Please take the time to encourage your child's efforts - sometimes it is not easy when practicing new skills and it can be humbling for attempts to be put on display. Everyone can be good at something as it relates to visual art, whether it is coming up with interesting ideas, drawing skills, painting, engineering/building, good design, or visual communication. All students can be proud of their achievements in this art show!

A few students will go home as "winners," with ribbons and prizes, but ALL of our students win this show. 

Our Art Show Judge is an art teacher with Vestavia Hills City Schools. She will be judging art pieces generally based on creativity, completeness/effort, the level of skill displayed, overall design, and craftsmanship. (Our youngest artists' categories will be judged only on effort and creativity.)

I am very proud of our students' hard work! Each and every piece represents effort, creativity, and expresses the unique voice of the student who made it. 

Categories for Lower School:
"Best of Show"

Categories for Upper School (7th-12th grades):
Drawing Design & Technique
Most Creative Design Overall
Painting Design & Technique
Sculpture Design & Technique
"Best of Show"

Romans 12:6
 "We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us." 
I Peter 4:10
 "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms."
Colossians 3:17
 "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

Monday, January 29, 2018


"Ink blot" printing with K4 and K5


I Peter 4:10

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms. 

John 15:11-13

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.

During the month of January, our young artists practiced a variety of printmaking techniques, made patterns, learned about a famous artist, and talked about how we can use our gifts to serve others.

The first few weeks we reviewed warm and cool colors as well as creating a pattern. Students created a patterned design using squares of colored tissue and water (grade 2 used diluted glue). We used a simple printmaking technique with black paint and cardboard pieces to print a pattern of lines onto our designs. We also discussed Piet Mondrian, a 20th century artist who was famous for using simple shape/line patterns and primary colors in his paintings. 

In addition, we watched the story of Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, by David McKee. It is about a colorful elephant who learns to use his gifts to serve others. 

K4 and K5 students apply tissue with water.

First graders apply their tissue designs after reviewing warm and cool colors. 

1st and 2nd graders stamp a pattern of lines with cardboard and black paint. 

K5 and K4 tissue printed designs

First and second grade tissue and cardboard printed designs

The last few weeks of January, K4-2nd grade artists reviewed I Peter 4:10, about using our gifts to serve others. We reviewed the story of Elmer and watched several more children's stories on YouTube about characters learning to share, to be unselfish, and to work together as a team: Rainbow Fish, by Marcus Pfister, Fish Is Fish, and Swimmy, by Leo Lionni. Then, we created a paint blot with primary colors, watching how they mixed to form new colors. (This lesson is based on one from art teacher Grant Thomas.) K4 and K5 traced a fish template onto these paint blots and cut them out, while 1st and 2nd grade artists drew their own fish after a lesson on drawing basic fish bodies, fins, etc. and looking at a variety of pictures of real tropical fish. They also gadget printed circle patterns onto a larger sheet of construction paper to make the "ocean" for their fish. 

Rainbow Fish, by Marcus Pfister, read by Ernest Borgnine, YouTube
The Rainbow Fish, narration and music by Vanceno (slower pace for K4/K5)

First graders experiment with gadget printing to make the background "bubbles" for their fish.
Second graders apply a variety of circle prints to their background papers

Finally, students assembled their "Rainbow Fish" mixed media designs, complete with a variety of underwater plants and/or drawings of other sea creatures. We had a great conversation about what we could share with others! Mrs. Nichols passed out aluminum foil "scales" to each child as they talked about giving. Students talked about donating old clothes, toys, blankets, or simply just sharing their toys, food or candy with friends! 

Second graders finish their mixed media ocean scenes with tissue paper seaweed and the fish cut-out. 

First grade artists are working hard to create an ocean scene! 

More first grade artists finishing their "Rainbow Fish" ocean scene. 

Second Grade

Second Grade

First Grade

First Grade

K5 mixed media "Rainbow Fish" designs

K4 and K5 mixed media "Rainbow Fish" designs

Color Mix Fish, YouTube, short art lesson by Grant Thomas

Thursday, November 30, 2017


wire, fabric, and cardboard non-objective sculpture constructions by 9th - 12th graders

The month of November was dedicated to three-dimensional design for upper school art classes. Our goals were to:

1. Learn sculpture construction techniques used for wire, fabric, cardboard, paper, and foil 

2. Apply basic design principles such as Repetition, Variety, Movement, and Balance to our art pieces

3. Practice creative problem solving; THINKING like an artist!

4. Learn how historical and contemporary artists create both relief and in-the-round sculptures by carving, casting, modeling, and assembling (Historical Sculptors YouTube playlist, Contemporary Sculptors YouTube playlist)

5. Have fun working with our hands as we create original art pieces and use recycled materials...

The first day, we discussed a variety of famous sculptures throughout history, starting with a newly discovered Mycenaean relief stone carving of warriors. A relief sculpture can only be seen from one side, as opposed to one that is "in-the-round," visible from all sides. We looked at ancient Greek and Roman sculptures made of stone and bronze, Rodin's 19th century bronze, The Thinker, and several 20th century artists working with abstraction. We talked about the various techniques a sculptor can choose from: carving with stone or wood, casting with molten metal or another liquid, modeling with a soft material such as clay, and assembling various materials). Then we made our own relief sculpture from leaves and foil. This was the only representational sculpture we tried; the rest were non-objective (non-representational); purely about design principles. 

Next, we tried out a variety of sculpture techniques. A few classes made "Notan" cut paper sculptures; working with positive and negative space:

Students discussed the highly influential 20th century sculptors Alexander Calder and Naum Gaubo who used abstraction as well as purely non-objective design when creating their work. We learned how to use a staple gun to safely attach coat hanger wire to a wooden base.  Then, we could bend the wire into an interesting non-objective design to be covered with fabric and spray painted. Students enjoyed building these designs with organic, twisting and curving lines and then seeing how the whole sculpture was transformed with the fabric and paint!

wire, fabric, and wood sculptures by Rebekah and Thomas

wire, fabric, and wood sculpture by Colby

wire, fabric, and wood sculpture by Julia

Finally, students tackled a bit more challenging assignment; create a balanced and stable non-objective design out of cardboard. We talked about repeating the same shape over and over but in a variety of sizes in order to create unity. We also discussed ways to create a more interesting, energetic design; use lots of diagonal lines or curves instead of horizontals and verticals. Students were asked to try to lead the viewer's eye upward and around the piece, and to turn the piece as they worked to see how it looks viewed from different angles. This project was an excellent opportunity for creative problem solving!
Colby thinks about the design and stability of his cardboard construction. The gorgeous finished piece is pictured on the right.

9th and 10th graders puzzle over their sculptures. How do you build something stable that looks nice? How do you create a dynamic piece that is full of energy? 

cardboard sculptures by Emma and Houston

cardboard sculptures by Hannah and Wade

cardboard sculptures by Skyler and Harris

cardboard sculptures by Olivia and Christian