Rachel Simpson2018-09-25T12:33:12+00:00

Art Bio

Rachel has always been a part of art, ever since she was a child. The community of Bellingham, the outdoors, travel, diversity, and her family are a big part of her life and inspiration. Rachel has a plethora of experience in many forms of fine arts; from art history, drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, screen-printing, photography, upcycling/recycling/reduce/reuse art, dyes, fibers/fabrics, textiles, sewing, costumes, masks, art installation, collaboration, and mixed-media. In 2007, she enrolled at Whatcom Community College, then went onto the Woodring College of Education for Fine Arts in Education K-12 at Western Washington University. In the fall of 2013, she was given the opportunity to be a fine arts student teacher in England at an international school called Box Hill. There, she was able to meet and work with a fine group of teachers, staff, and wonderful students from all over the globe. Rachel graduated from WWU in December of 2013 with a certification in arts education. Since then, she has continued her love of the arts and education in many ways: art exhibits throughout Washington state, volunteering & teaching at Allied Arts of Whatcom County, volunteer tutoring at Explorations Academy, substitute teaching for the Bellingham School District, teaching art workshops throughout Whatcom county, teaching Community Ed Art at Whatcom Community College, and teaching kids art classes for BAAY EduArts Enrichment.

Teaching Experience

Over the past eight years, Rachel has been working and teaching with various different organizations and groups that are focused on equality, diversity, and creativity. These include volunteering at; Allied Arts of Whatcom County, Bellingham Pride, Bellingham PFLAG, Bellingham Roller Betties, tutoring at Explorations Academy, substitute teaching for the Bellingham School District and Pioneer Montessori School in Ferndale, WA, and teaching at many art workshops throughout Bellingham. Currently, Rachel is teaching art classes for BAAY’s (Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth), EduArts Enrichment program, a fine arts teacher at Jansen Art Center in Lynden, WA, in winter quarter of 2015 a Community Ed Art Teacher at Whatcom Community College, and a teacher artist at Allied Arts of Whatcom County.

Teaching Philosophy

“Art is and always will be a part of my life. With my passion, I will bring forward all of my experiences, skills, techniques, and enthusiasm to my students. To me, art and education provide a feeling of newness, whenever and wherever we look for them. Everyone should have the chance to learn new things, use their imagination, communication, and be a student in life. Learning through hands-on experience, gaining valuable life skills such as problem-solving, seeing the beauty in everything, being part of a community, meeting new people, and exploring through nature and our environment are all a part of living life to its fullest, which is art. If you can have a moment in time that was unique, an experience that affected your life, then you have felt that newness that I speak of. Each student in life can overcome challenges, gain insight, and find that it can be so very rewarding. I believe that everyone can learn to express themselves with use of their imagination and communication through the arts. All of these things are important to me in life, art, and education.”

Lesson Plans

3 Hour Lesson Plans (For Grades 1-5)

Let’s Paint Raccoons & Foxes! Artists Charlie Harper & Van Gogh Mash-Up:

Let’s have fun painting & drawing with mixed media and in the style of artists Charlie Harper and Van Gogh. We’ll learn about who the artists are: Charlie Harper in all of his wonderful wildlife creatures, as well as Van Gogh with a story read aloud.  Next, the students practice in pencil, then use oil pastels to draw raccoons and foxes of their own. We will use upcycled newsprint papers to give our animals a softer effect, and help our environment. There is a texture aspect portion of this project that includes rubbing pastels over paper/textured surfaces, and creating the bark of a tree with a variety of tools, to add to the wildlife scene. We’ll then cut out the animals to be collaged onto our beautifully patterned starry night sky like that of artist Van Gogh. The background will be painted and drawn with bright acrylics and oil pastels.

Seahorses and Sea-life in Mixed-Media with Eric Carle book Mr. Seahorse:

First we will read the book Mr. Seahorse by Eric Carle and discuss how there are different kinds of families, and what kinds of marine animals live under the sea.  Students will then use pencils, paper, pastels, brushes, paints and more to create their mixed media artwork. We will paint our underwater backgrounds using layers of bright acrylics and oil pastels, than add imprints of textures to give the effect of waves and bubbles. Students will choose their own sea creature to use as their subject and focus for a unique family. Seahorse, jellyfish, clownfish, starfish, seaweed, and shells (or other marine-life) will be cut-out and collaged onto the water background. The beautiful finished projects will be large enough to put up on display for all to enjoy.

Gyotaku – The Art of Fish Printing:

Gyotaku (gyo (fish) taku (rubbing) is a Japanese art form that creates an image of a fish or other marine object with exacting detail. This definition and name refers to the technique of using ink, and rubbing to transfer the features of the fish onto paper or silk. In this art lesson, we will discuss the science and environment in which we can find sea life locally and globally, the varieties of marine life, a brief history of Gyotaku, and learn some of the techniques to get fish prints, using printing ink, sumi-e ink, and/or gouache/acrylic paints, colored pencils, ink pens, and/or pastels, various papers, daubers, and rubber fish replicas for printing. We will also learn how to paint fish eyes, make our own signature stamp, practice and make detailed backgrounds, and the use different colors for the fish scales using a variety of art materials.

12 Hour Lesson Plans (For 5th Grades Only)

Fabulous Tooling Foil:

Animals-  Students choose an animal such as a cat, fox, fish, wolf, rabbit, deer, or owl; create a line drawing and then tool the design into a relief on metal foil. It’s quite the experience to learn how to use tooling foil, wooden tools, and India ink to create an antiquing effect with all of the recessed and raised tooling lines in the relief. Finished pie

ces will be mounted onto a mat board for display.

Masks- Masks are found throughout many cultures, such as in Africa, South America, Thailand, Mexico, Hawaii, Native American Culture, Ancient Greece and even the Celts. We’ll focus on one culture of the teacher’s choosing, and draw various designs of masks with patterns, textures, and shapes. We’ll also learn how to use tooling foil, wooden tools, and India ink to create an antiquing effect with all of the recessed and raised tooling lines in the relief.

Optional: If time allows, we can add color to the pieces by either using colorful sharpies or by painting acrylics, and we can add beads with yarn looped through the edges as well.

Tim Burton Inspired Self Portraits:

Create a Tim Burton inspired Self Portrait using charcoal, colored pencil, and sharpie. We’ll have several steps to create this style and follow guidelines of a self-portrait, and learn how to use proportions to draw a face. There will be a study of art history and a short bio about Tim Burton, his art, style, and even take a peek at some screenshots of some of his most famous films (some animated films). The students will look at the similarities and differences of Portraiture vs. Tim Burton style Portraiture. Compare and contrast is a skill that can allow us to see more in shapes, sizes, styles, and proportions of the human face, and give us a better overall understanding of how to draw.

Leonardo DaVinci’s Heart Pounding Studies:

We’ll follow the intense curiosity of Leonardo DaVinci to learn about the function and structure of an oxen heart.  We will sketch the outside of the heart and the inner chambers of the heart while learning renaissance art techniques. Students will make their own quill pens with feathers, make egg tempera paints with eggs, use dip pens & nibs with ink, and use watercolor paints for washes.

Next, the students will get to reveal their inner expressive heart by using a second drawing of the 4 chambers which are representations of different kinds of things that each one of us holds close to our hearts. For example; chamber 1 – Love, chamber 2 – Family, chamber 3 – Art, chamber 4 – Nature. What do you hold close to your heart?

As each heart is a reflection of similarities that unites us, each heart is a unique expression of self. Decide how you’d like to assemble the layers of your heart. You decide how you’d like to speak with your heart & communicate what’s inside.

This art unit can coincide with a writing component and/or an integrated curriculum with the classroom teacher.

Gyotaku – The Art of Fish Printing:

Gyotaku (gyo (fish) taku (rubbing) is a Japanese art form that creates and image of a fish or other marine object with exacting detail. This definition and name refers to the technique of using ink, and rubbing to transfer the features of the fish onto paper or silk. In this art unit/lesson, we will discuss the science and environment in which we can find sea life locally and globally, the varieties of marine life, a brief history of Gyotaku, and learn some of the techniques to get fish prints, using printing ink, sumi-e ink, and/or gouache/acrylic paints, colored pencils, ink pens, and/or pastels, various papers, daubers, and rubber fish replicas for printing. We will also learn how to paint fish eyes, make our own signature stamp, practice and make detailed backgrounds, and the use different colors for the fish scales using a variety of art materials.

In the 5th grade extensive unit, we will also learn how to paint the fish eye, make our own signature stamp, practice and make detailed backgrounds, and use different colors for the fish scales using a variety of art materials.

All School Projects

Art Mural – Rainbow School of Fish:

Each student will design and create a clay fish of their own choosing.  The fish will be painted in analogous colors and hung inside the school from the ceiling in a hallway to form a “swimming” rainbow school of fish as a hanging permanent art installation. We will learn about analogous colors, rainbows, primary, secondary, and tertiary colors of the color wheel. We’ll talk about schools of fish, and the local fish that swim in our waters, such as salmon, and how they are a part of our eco-system.

Art Mural – Rainbow of Hearts:

Each student will create their own 3.2” wide square of artwork with a heart and in their own colors. Kinders will use paints & oil pastels and, First graders will use felt squares and paint, Second graders will use pipe-cleaners with beads onto felt squares, Third graders will use embroidery and buttons, Fourth graders will use needle felting to create their hearts onto squares, and Fifth graders will get to create their small hearts with clay and glass beads. Together, we will place all hearts in a rainbow of color onto boards (about 3’ x 6’ large), that can be hung inside the school for everyone to enjoy & know that this school is full of heart.

For more information about Rachel’s art classes and artwork, visit rachelsimpsonart.weebly.com