Ellen Clark attended the University of Utah where she studied fine art and business. She also studied design at the Salt Lake Academy of Graphic and Fine Arts and cartooning at the Successful Artist School. She has kept a daily visual journal for many years and has written and illustrated several children’s books. Ellen was an instigator in bringing the SCBWI Network (The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) to Bellingham and facilitated the local group for two years before turning it over to an enthusiastic member. She also has experience designing theater sets and props. Recently Ellen has taken up filming and has produced several YouTube videos that are also being shown on local television.
Ellen has been teaching art in public schools through the Allied Arts Education Project since 2009. Ellen is also a Promising Young Artist Mentor working with teen students after school in a one-on-one mentorship.
It gives Ellen pleasure to see students develop a deep understanding of what they can accomplish. When children get the opportunity to explore art, they become open to other subjects and learning tasks such as seeing basic shapes in their world, improving problem solving skills, working with others to make a product better and when putting away tools they become organized. This sets the pace for life long learning.
Art is an evolving process. When Ellen does residencies, she is careful to discuss the purpose with project leaders and teachers. What do students already know about art and how can we improve that understanding? Ellen likes to establish up front the availability of space, materials, budget, and perceived end goals. The key steps she uses in the initial meeting are to set up a calendar, get contact information and present a sample of the intended finished product.
To engage students, Ellen begins a class by asking questions such as: Who knows a foreign word? Who can tell me what the primary colors are? How many of you have a pet? She gives them a practice sheet first, modeling for them on the white board while they follow her drawing, then she gives them a final sheet to produce their own art while helping them individually. Applying what they have learned increases their thinking skills. To assess student work at the end of class, Ellen leads them to a completion table to view and discuss their work. She asks them about the techniques they have applied and why they chose the examples they used to create their final. She uses the answers to develop critical thinking skill and encourage confidence in personal style. It also assists her in discovering if there are any areas of the lesson that need more emphasis.
From Ellen’s early desire to pursue art to the fulfillment of her career, she is a living example and can assure students there is good money to be made in the arts as a profession. Lesson plans come easy and she loves adapting to whatever situations occur on the fly.
Ellen continues to hone her skills as both an artist and a teacher by reading educational books and participating in advanced learning workshops. She has attended the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conferences and retreats. She has attended and taught at Arts Time in Tukwilla, she has lobbied on Arts Day in Olympia, and she has attended the Cultural Congress in Skamania. Ellen belongs to several Artist groups online and actively stays involved in her local art community.
Lesson Plans –
3 Hour Lesson Plans (For Grades 1-5) In-Person only
Plasticine Self Portraits or Landscapes
Portraits: Students will be taught to make a basic head shape that will fit into a metal frame lid. Adding neck, ears and nose, sculpting holes for eyes and mouth, they will complete their portrait with hair, eye and clothing colors.
Landscapes: Students practice basic drawing with a perspective lesson. When their draft is complete they will start with a color pallette that grows complex through choice and mixing.
When the portrait or landscape is completed I will bake and cool them for taking home. Material cost: $2 per student, I will bring in the curing oven.
12 Hour Lesson Plans (For 5th Grades Only) In-person only
Creative Book Making:
We will study cartooning and sequential page lessons. Creating a super hero to admire and respect, someone with a history of providing for and protecting others.
Students will be guided in writing a story and will paint pictures showing action scenes involving diverse populations, endangered species and issues of the world. We will experiment with cutting windows, folding and expanding panels. Each student will work on their own guided ideas to assemble a book.
All School Projects In-person only
What are the special qualities that your school has? My experience with school wide art projects will assure that all students get access to art and the opportunity to experience team building. I will design a custom project for your school based on current events and collaboration with teachers, parents, administrators and kids.
Number of Sessions required are specific to the project
Length of each Session: 1 to 2 hours per class
Total Project Length: Dependent on number of students
Space and equipment requirements: Dependent on project
Materials needed and cost: I will develop a budget, order materials and help find funding for your project