BIO: Jeana Esser-Lang

It all started with a man I called “Mr. Nose”.  He was a friend of my dad from his work and he was visiting our house..  I was 4 and my mom gave me a large drawing pad and a pencil.  I sat on my Hoppity Hop and was so intrigued by Mr. Nose that I drew him.  According to my mom and dad, the resemblance was uncanny (at least for a 4 year old).  A graduate of Louisiana state university with a BFA, I have done my best to prove myself as a working artist, a Pre-K/K  teacher, and elementary/middle school/high school art teacher.  I’m also a mom, a wife, a writer, a dog mom and a new grandma! My husband and I just landed in Bellingham after living in Louisiana.


My paintings, according to some, fall under the “edgy” category because I take real life and recreate it and take as many liberties as possible.  I have no shortage of inspiration because it is all around me.  Being creative has never been an option; it’s who I am. In my teaching,  I believe Art should be fun but also teach a lesson in compassion.  The Dali Lama said that “We need an education of the heart”.

Specialties: Painting • Drawing • Watercolor • Printmaking • Mixed Media

Lesson Plans:

3 hour workshops (Grades 1-5)


Rothko mini abstracts:  Students will create a mini abstract based on the paintings of Mark Rothko using oil pastels and paints.  The students will learn how to mix and blend colors and collage.  I like to start my projects off by introducing an artist for inspiration!

Blind contour portraits:  Students will pair up and learn the technique of blind contour drawing. It’s a challenge because they cannot look at the paper or lift the pencil (or pen) off the paper!  The drawings come out quite wacky.  They will choose their best ones and paint them in different colors.  A “critique” will follow so students can share their artwork and discuss.  They will use color to fill in segments of the portraits with either oil pastels, watercolors, or markers. 

Pop Art pizza:  Students will learn to create an oversized “slice” of pizza complete with toppings. This project is geared for younger elementary students but can be modified/jazzed up for older students.  

Modigliani inspired self portraits:  After looking at many of the artists’ paintings I will give out some black paper. The students drew their self-portraits using a mirror and made sure their necks were especially longer than normal. The placement of the facial features is exaggerated, which makes this artist especially intriguing to me, and for young artists as well.


Collograph Block print paper “quilt”: This no-fail process involves the perfect mix of pattern, shape, repetition, color theory, composition and movement. We use warm and cool colors and “print” onto large drawing paper. Materials: wooden blocks (I have small ones but large ones are better!); paints, brushes, self adhesive foam, paper.

Longer projects (12 hours or 3-4 classes ):

Still Life with Pumpkins (or oranges)

This painting project is particularly fun because of it’s simplicity and yet it is observational drawing. This project came out of the joy of mixing colors and pushing that idea by having the kids use their own colors in a project. Each student gets a small cup of yellow, a small cup of red and a small cup of white paint, each cup with its own brush in it. They will use the egg carton to mix and store their colors in. The only instruction I give at this point is to tell them that when mixing colors, it’s good to start with the lightest color first and add in the darker colors. They will see more change in the color this way and have more control in producing their colors.  They also get pencil and paper to name their own “tones and shades”. When the children finish their drawings, they use their mixed paints to color their oranges. 

Grade level: 3-5 (can be modified)

Materials:  egg cartons (or other palette), paints, brushes,  disposable gloves, small cups for paint, Oranges or pumpkins, large and small sized paper, fabric or patterned papers, black sharpies or markers.

Time frame:  About 12 hours (4  3- hour sessions)


Cosmic papier mache donuts: 

I start off by showing some artwork by Wayne Thiebaud, Kenny Scharf, and Jae Yong Kim. We rolled 2 full sheets of newspaper together into a long skinny cylinder. Then we twisted up the cylinder from the middle to both outside edges. The newspaper part of paper maché donuts before they’re completely covered with masking tape. Then we taped our entire rolled, twisted cylinders into a donut shape with a couple of layers of masking tape. Class period 2: We tore or cut copy paper into strips, and then dipped them into pre-mixed Elmer’s paper maché paste (or modge lodge). We aimed for 2-3 layers of pasted strips that covered up the newspaper text/pics. Copy paper paper machéd step. Class period 3: We acrylic painted the bases of our donuts the classic “donut golden brown” then painted over them with whatever colors they wanted to create a cosmic donut.  Later, sprinkles are added then we seal them with modge podge or non toxic polyurethane.  We will use various methods of display!                                                                         

Materials:  newspaper, tissue paper, copy paper , paints, jars, paper mache paste, brushes, masking tape, sprinkles, table coverings;   Grade level :5  ; time frame 3-4 3 hour workshops.