Whirlwind of Art: Summer Aartz

July 4th, 2013
Proud young artist!

Proud young artist!

Parents ask how it happens.
How So many children walk out of my studio at the end of four jam-packed days of  Summer Aartz camp with SO much wonderful art. The answer is that it isn’t hard and it isn’t easy. But it is intense.

I have students from ages 7-17. The common denominator is art.
In each session the sequence of projects is somewhat variable, although Day One is always Mud Day.  Here’s what we’ve done this year:

Day One On the first day we Clay-DAyalways work with clay… Otherwise I’d never be able to get the work through the firing process in time. In the morning we make small sculpture, pinch pots, coil vessels… I demonstrate a technique, then they use it to create whatever they choose. In the afternoon we make clay wall pieces- 3D drawings. A full day of MUD!

Needle felting!

Needle felting!


Wool felted drawing, 9″ x 12″

Day Two
This is variable… Some years we’ve made books, giant masks, 3D paper sculpture, collages… This year we spent the morning exploring needle felting. With special felting needles students created 9″ x 12″ brightly colored drawings on felt. The results were fabulous, whether the young artist was 7 or 16 years old.

In the afternoon we used watercolors and then drew with charcoal. A busy day!
Meanwhile the kiln has been loaded and set on the lowest temperature to quick dry the clay work. I stay late into the night, slow-firing the work to avoid explosions and cracking.

Day Three
We began our 16″ x 20″ acrylic painting by preparing the mat board with a base color, and working on a preliminary sketch.  We also did a basic drawing exercise, learning how to assess forms to be able to draw WHATEVER we choose. For example, can you draw a llama using rectangles, cylinders, ovals, triangles and circles?


16″ x 20″ acrylic painting

In the afternoon, when the kiln finally cools enough to take the work out, we glaze the pinch pots, coil vessels, sculpture, bowls, cups, etc. That night I load the kiln again and fire it.

Day Four
First thing, we put a base coat of black gesso onto the clay 3D drawings. Then we  complete our 16″ x 20″ acrylic painting on archival quality mat board.

Clay drawing, painted with acrylic

3D Clay drawing, painted with acrylic

Then we paint the clay drawing. After lunch we just have time to make a beautiful bas relief in heavy artists foil.

Bas relief in heavy foil.

Bas relief in heavy foil.

Lest you think the day is ALL WORK, the schedule also includes a snack break, after which students have the opportunity to recite a poem or rhyming words to earn a gummy worm. For those of you who don’t know, that’s a worm shaped, gum drop sort of candy.

At our favorite ice cream shop: the Inside Scoop.

At our favorite ice cream shop: the Inside Scoop

Then, after an hour or so more of work, we take a nice walk, have a picnic, swim, and stop for ice cream on the way back.

Our grand finale exhibition is always amazing. Each student has produced wonderful art in a wide variety of art mediums.
It’s so difficult to choose which images to share with you. If you’d like to see more check out: Summer Aartz photos.
(It’s a Face book album, so you have to be a FB member to see them.)
We all go home smiling!



2 Responses to “Whirlwind of Art: Summer Aartz”

  1. Amy Walker says:

    You came recommended by Mr.B, via Neshobe for summer art school/camp for my 7 year old son Ryan. Please email me any information you have on the summer session (pricing, dates, times etc….)
    Thank you,

    • lizamyers says:

      Hi Amy, I’m working on my summer schedule now. Thanks for asking! And say Hi to Mr. B from me! I know he is a terrific teacher!

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