Week 21: Teacher/Student Collaborations (part 5)

As another semester is tucked under my belt I find that I’m very reflective and filled with a sense of accomplishment, pride in my students and my work with them, and also a lot of melancholy as I realize that our circumstances are changing so as to no longer include on campus studio classes for a time. I’ve had a lot of amazing students over the last few years and am glad to see that now many of the first are making big leaps of their own: graduating or transferring, getting new jobs, moving, starting businesses, etc.

At the end of the term I’ve been using the 52 week challenge to share some student collaborations and now that the semester has wrapped up I think I’ll take a break from this for a bit and explore some other projects – so here are the last 2 for awhile.

Collaboration with Shannon:

Shannon may outwardly be a rather quiet woman, but she has a rather loud imagination and comes up with a lot of different characters and illustrative images like few I’ve seen. She provided the following drawing of a girl that seemed to float on the surface of a lake or shimmering pavement.

In determining how to work back into the drawing I decided to bring into some of my more playful (and divergent) explorations with medieval bestiaries and inserted some of these gentle flying turtles (from a 1558 British map) into the environment.


I really wanted to start working with some watercolor but Shannon is so talented in this area that I thought she’d appreciate having the opportunity to add (or subtract) more elements before laying in a more consistent color washes.

In the work that she chose to work back into for me, she added her own personal character “Lili” that is special to her. The little fairy works out very well in the space and interacts with the flower as though it was intended for the work originally. The gentle touch of color is very sweet and I look forward to working more with the piece.

Collaboration with Josephine:

Josephine hasn’t been a student for some time and we’ve kept in touch. She’s also highly creative and very prolific in her own personal artistic projects such as her line of planner stickers featuring her cute “Kawaii Critters” on Etsy. She provided the following marbled watercolor paper to me with adorable sea creatures frolicking in the bottom corner, just waiting for additional sea life to emerge.

The paper was marbled using shaving cream and food coloring – something I’ve seen done but never personally created or worked with. I had a little trepidation about working on the surface of this at first but soon realized that it wasn’t that challenging – certainly not as much as the gold modelling paste in my collaboration with Kathryn in Week 16.


When I added in the seahorse (king) I found that drawing onto the surface felt a little like trying to draw over wax – sometimes the ink didn’t really want to stick. I used microns for the black lines and I used a glitter gelli roll to create a little sparkle in the highlights on top of areas where I painted in some light washes of white gouache (which pulled up a bit of the food dye) in the seahorse.

Josephine chose the roots above from my collaboration pieces and worked back in with her homemade highlighter ink watercolors. Hidden in the swirls of neon are little sprite-like characters that remind me a lot of her sea creatures in the previous piece. I plan on continuing the fish theme in this with some references to the other collaboration piece.

All in all, I’ve had a lot of fun with this project and now that the students who wanted to work on a collaboration with me have their works back it’s time for me to start finishing the works of mine that they contributed to.



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