Rachel Simpson 

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, murals, 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, board member & teaching at Allied Arts of Whatcom County, kids art via Rachel’s Whimsical Arts in after school enrichment classes at elementary schools in Whatcom County, has tutored at Explorations Academy, been a substitute for the Bellingham School District, taught art classes with Community Ed Art at Whatcom Community College, taught art classes for all of K-8th at the Franklin Academy, and taught kids art classes at BAAY EduArts Enrichment. 

Teaching Experience

Over the past twelve 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 Whatcom County. Currently, Rachel is teaching art classes for kids K-5th in after school enrichment program with several elementary schools in Whatcom County, and a teaching 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)

Self-Portraits – Frida Kahlo Inspiration 

Students in this Art class will learn about the famous artist Frida Kahlo, how to draw a 

self-portrait in accurate proportions for the human face, create unique individual paintings with symbolism, that have meaning about themselves, their life, and learn about how to make skin color with paints to match their own. We will create a large painting on thick paper with drawing, and painting with many different supplies such as; watercolors, brushes, oil pastels, colored pencils/markers, and mirrors to observe our own faces. We’ll share our self-portraits to each other as a class, and explain the symbolism chosen to represent ourselves at the end of the art sessions, to show expression, individuality, inclusion, diversity, and use of communication skills. 

This lesson will include the following in curriculum: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Emotional Development, and the Elements in Art. 

Storytelling & Design an Illustration Page: Fairy Tales/Children’s Books (a variety of Children’s Illustrator/Artists Books & our dreams like artists Salvador Dali and Jean-Michel Basquiat for inspiration)


Everyone can sit in a circle and tell their story – better yet, we’ll get to show our stories in either beautiful mixed-media paintings or learn how to transform the drawings into a 3/D project using hand-sewing for our own stuffed-animal-toys with felt, beads, trim, & buttons. This can be either a drawing/painting (K-4th) or a drawing/sewing a stuffed toy of their main character in the story (5th grade). The paintings will include a wide variety of materials: colored pencils, oil pastels, sharpie markers, watercolors & painting techniques.  

This lesson includes the following in curriculum: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Emotional Development, and the Elements in Art.

12 Hour Lesson Plans (For 5th Grades Only)

Papier-Mache Animals: Draw a Hybrid Animal to Transform into Sculpture Grades: 5th, 12 hours 

Let’s have fun making our own Hybrid Animal in this art lesson that will let the students draw a mash-up of 2 animals, into their own Hybrid Animal, by using our imagination, and then we’ll transform the design into a 3/D sculpture with Paper-Mache! We’ll start out our 1st day with a drawing game to get some ideas flowing and discuss what kinds of animals we feel connected with. This will be a longer art project that will develop many skills, communication, and steps with building armatures out of cardboard, newspaper, wire, and masking tape, and then we’ll do 3 layers of the Paper-Mache, allow to dry, & finally paint our hybrids with brushes & acrylic paints. The final project will be able to hang up to see their sculptures on display. (Note: this will require some planning with teachers to make a space for drying the sculptures – which can be hung, & I’m happy to help.) 

This lesson includes the following in curriculum: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Emotional Development, and the Elements in Art. 

Reduction Printing – Objects & Nature  Grades: 5, 12 hours 

In this Art lesson, students will learn how to make reduction printing of 2-3 ink prints (copies of their original art design), learn about different kinds of printing, and a choice to design either a favorite object or something in nature, like a paint brush, a mug of hot cocoa, a butterfly, a leaf, or a flower. We’ll have fun learning how to use a variety of materials with 3 colors in 2-3 prints such as: drawing/carving/cutting in foam, brayers, barons, inks, trays, and matting their prints onto construction paper to look like a finished artwork. 

This lesson includes the following in curriculum: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Emotional Development, and the Elements in Art. 

Neurographic Art – Drawing & Painting Marine-Life Grades: 3-5, 3 or 12 hours

The term Neurographic Art is an art therapeutic way to work with the subconscious mind through drawing and can be a peaceful experience that also included emotional development. While the student draws, they are conscious in thought and do not follow a repeated pattern. Students can choose one of the photos of the marine-life animals provided, (such as Sea Turtles, Angelfish, Sea Otters, Clownfish, Whales, Seahorse, Octopus, Jellyfish, Sharks, and more!), as their subject for the finished piece. We’ll learn to make this art in this style of drawing with pencil, black sharpies, and then adding color by using markers with a fun unique method of painting (like watercolors). 

This lesson includes the following in curriculum: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Emotional Development, and the Elements in Art.


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