After spending the last few weeks painting, we moved into making some 3 D art. We started by looking at sculptures of the human figure.

Alberto Giacometti and George Segal:

I introduced the students to Alberto Giacometti, Swiss Sculptor and Painter.

Although he was a painter as well, Giacometti is most renowned for his expressive sculptures of the human figure following World War II.

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Some view them as representing the isolation and loneliness following the war. As if the figures were turned in on themselves and failing to communicate with others, despite their overwhelming desire to reach out. Others see strength of humans in the frailty of the characters. Giacometti himself said he was not sculpting humans but rather “the shadow that they cast.”  I paint and sculpt to get a grip on reality… to protect myself. Alberto Giacometti

We looked at some of his sculptures and talked about how he exaggerated the arms and legs and how thin and flat the figures were. The students were surprised to find out that one of his sculptures recently sold for $104 million dollars, breaking the record for a work of art purchased at auction.

We also looked at human figurines sculpted by George Segal an American painter and sculptor associated with the Pop Art movement. artwork_images_117528_261874_george-segal

Segal pioneered the use of plaster bandages (plaster-impregnated gauze strips designed for making orthopedic casts) as a sculptural medium. In this process, he first wrapped a model with bandages in sections, then removed the hardened forms and put them back together with more plaster to form a hollow shell. These forms were not used as molds; the shell itself became the final sculpture, including the rough texture of the bandages. Segal’s figures had minimal color and detail, which gave them a ghostly, melancholic appearance.

We talked about the human body and proportions of head, chest, arms and legs, and how to accurately portray the human figure. Then we set to work creating our own figurines.

Our figurines.

Creating our figurines is a multi-step process that began with thinking about different gestures and trying them out on our wood models.


The students then built the armature of the sculpture out of wire.


Once the structure was built, they wrapped it with foil. We talked about how this was like building the muscle of the body.


The next step was to add the skin to hold it all together. We did this by wrapping the sculpture in plaster of paris strips.




Finally we dressed our figurines with strips of cloth dipped in Paverpol.

Paverpol is the leading textile hardener and fiber sculpting medium in the world, and the only one awarded the AP non-toxic seal by the Arts and Creative Materials Institute (ACMI). It was created by a group of Dutch artists in the early 1990s as a user-friendly, environmentally friendly alternative to resin and is now used by artists and crafters in more than 20 countries around the world.

It was messy but a lot of fun to dress our figurines.

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The final step is to paint the figurines all black and then add bronze or silver texture to make them look like metal sculptures.

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The Teen Class:  Students of all levels have enjoyed this project.  We modified the project to make it more challenging for the Teens who are creating larger figurines with more complicated positions and interest.  It has been really fun to see their individual personalities expressed through their sculptures.

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They are really enjoying this project!  We should be wrapping this project up this week so look forward to your student bringing their creation home. Enjoy!


Teen Still Life Paintings

As part of our Acrylic Painting series, the Teens painted fruit still life paintings.  Here is a peek at their work.

We warmed up by doing some exercises with brush strokes, surrounding color and layering of colors.

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They picked the fruit they wanted to paint and the background colors.

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We talked about using complimentary colors to create shadow and they practiced color combinations that would work for their paintings.

Then they got busy painting. They all seemed to really enjoy this project and I love the paintings they created.



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We framed the paintings in clear glass.





We have added a new Tuesday night Teen Class that still has a few spots in it.

Register for Weekly Teen Art Classes (grades 6th – 9th)

Tuesdays 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm  – Limited Spaces Available

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See you next week as we continue to work on our Figurines.


Elementary Art Class – Mixed Media Winter Scenes

It may be raining outside, but it has been snowing in The Studio.

Winter Scenes

After working so hard on the Sunflower Paintings, I wanted to start the year with a fun project that introduced some new art concepts. Last week, the elementary art students finished their mixed media winter scenes.


The students enjoyed the creativity involved with the project and, as always, I took every opportunity to introduce art concepts. So while the pieces of work look like a winter, glittery scene we also learned the following:

Value: We talked about value and shading. Value is the amount of light reflected from the surface. Value creates depth in a picture making the object look 3 D.   We looked at photos of the moon at night and saw how the circle around the moon is lighter and how the sky gets darker as you move away. We then created value circles around the moons on our project.


Color: We also talked about the way different colors convey different emotions and feelings. Cool colors (blues and greens) can make you feel calm, tranquil or at peace. Reds and yellows can invoke feelings of happiness, excitement and optimism. A sudden spot of bright color can provide a strong focal point.  We looked at some examples of color photos and the mood created.

Silhouette, Shadows and Perspective: We also talked about how a silhouette is the dark shape of someone or something visible against a lighter background. Cast Shadow is the shadow made by an object. The moon will cause a cast shadow of the trees on the ground. We can predict where the cast shadow will fall based on the positioning of the moon. We used the position of the light source (here the moon) to position highlights and shadows more accurately.


Mixed Media: Lastly we let our creativity flow by adding ourselves and some glitter to the images.



Hope these brightened up your homes.

See you next week!

Acrylic Painting 101 – Adult Class

We have been painting with Acrylic Paints in our Adult Class.

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Catherine’s Lemon

Acrylics are water-based so they can be cleaned and thinned with water. They are also non-toxic and non-smelly which makes them attractive for the eco- or health-conscious.

We started with the basics talking about grounds, Gesso, paint brands, mediums, palettes and paint brushes.

We then spent a little time practicing some brush strokes and took a look at under painting and the impact of surrounding colors.

We then moved on to color mixing and started practicing by painting a basic still life  and sunflowers. We went over the following steps for painting a simple still life:

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  1. Simply draw the object.
  2. Paint in the shadows with a thin layer of umber.
  3. Paint in True Colors – cover entire object
  4. Add white and add the lights – dark light first then lighter lights. Use heavier strokes on lightest part.
  5. Then continue to refine with darker darks.
  6. Add reflected light in the shadow.
  7. Finally add highlights.
  8. Adjust and refine.

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This last week we discussed the concept of value as we all spent a few minutes painting the classic sphere.


We are going to spend the next two weeks practicing what we have learned so far as we continue to work on our sunflowers and still life paintings.



Teen SunFlower Paintings

It has been so fun to share my love of painting with the Teen class.

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In December, we started painting sunflowers with acrylic paint in a Van Gogh style.


Not only did this introduce us to a new medium and artist, this project was extra special to me because I am dedicating it to my dear friend Marcia.  Marcia is an amazing artist who has shared her gifts of art and service with the world.  We used her Sunflower Painting as inspiration for our acrylic paintings.

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The Teens have really taken to acrylic painting.  I hope you are enjoying the art they are bringing home.


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We have added a new Tuesday night Teen Class that still has a few spots in it.

Register for Weekly Teen Art Classes (grades 6th – 9th)

Tuesdays 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm  – Limited Spaces Available

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See you next week as we start a new figurine project with Paverpol.

New Tuesday Night Teen Art Class

We are adding a new Teen Art Class on Tuesday nights from  6:00 pm – 7:30 pm that is open to students in 6th – 9th grade.

Classes will consist of fine art instruction with exploration of diverse mediums while learning basic art concepts such as drawing, shading, color mixing and composition.  Our high quality projects are carefully developed to maximize success while building self confidence and encouraging creative thinking.  Some mediums which may be explored include watercolor painting, ink printing, contour drawing, felt art, mixed media and 3D art.


Weekly classes will begin January 12th and will generally follow the Northshore School District calendar.


Registration Fee: $50 on line payment applied to first two classes.

Weekly Class Fee: $25 per 1.5 hour class, due at the beginning of the month. Checks payable to Picket Fence Studio or Jamie Eppenauer.


Includes all class materials.

Class size limited to 8 students to ensure individual instruction.


Register for Weekly Teen Art Classes (grades 6th – 9th)

Tuesdays 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm  – Limited Spaces Available

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