Quarter 4 Project 1….due week of 4/6…Mandalas

Welcome to our first week of remote learning for art classes. By now I’m sure almost all of you have accessed your class dashboard on the LMS system. I have set up a recurring Zoom meeting that you will navigate to in the normal order that you have had your art class scheduled on Mondays and Tuesdays throughout the year. As you know the classes are now 30 minutes long, so it is important for you to join the Zoom meeting as soon as possible at your appointed time. For now I think we will take a break from the weekly Homework assignments that you have been finding posted here, and instead we will be working on a project each week or perhaps even over more than a week, depending on how things unfold. I will introduce you to the new project in the Zoom meeting, giving you a presentation of the assignment, with background information and examples. To make things easy to access and follow, I will begin with this class blog page to start each week. Then you will work on the project during the rest of the class time ,and or, during the rest of the week if you choose to spend more time at your own pace. We are scheduled for an hour of class time each week in two Zoom sessions. When we are at Holy Trinity in the art room the class time is normally 80 minutes a week. If you have to miss a class for what ever reason, you will be able to navigate here to see the assignment and due date. Your grades for this last quarter will be based on the Project assignments, and I expect that you will be able to show me what you have done on your device screen on the following Monday, or the due date listed in the Post title each week. If I see that you all know how to access and follow the assignments on your art class dashboard I will also post them there along with a link back to this page. I will go over all of this in our first Zoom meeting on Monday 3/30.

Mandala Project:

Screenshot_2020-03-29 Michael McKenzie

Above you see some examples of student Mandala creations. A Mandala, which is Sanskrit for “circle” is a geometric design that holds a great deal of symbolism in Hindu, Buddhist, and other cultures. Mandalas are believed to represent different aspects of the universe and are used as instruments of meditation and symbols of prayer most notably in China, Japan, and Tibet. I chose this as the first project for the 4th quarter because I understand that some of you may be worried or nervous about the current situation in the world that has made it necessary for us to work and learn from home. The Mandala, or circular design, is also reminiscent of stained glass Rose Window designs that you might see in western churches and cathedrals. A beautiful light filled design that also serves as a focal point for prayer and meditation.

Here is an image of the famous Rose Window at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris which miraculously survived the devastating fire that happened there a little over a year ago last April.


Some of you may have made a Mandala or Rose Window project with me before, but this is a new time that I believe calls for a calming, meditative, project to begin our remote learning adventure together.

Here is a short video of Tibetan Monks working on a Mandala here in Dallas at the Trammel Crow Center of Asian Art:

To begin your new project I would like you to find a blank piece of white paper, like printer paper, or perhaps your sketchbook, if you brought it home with you. Then, choose a plate or saucer to trace a circle onto the page. You can then use coins, or smaller cups, bottle caps, jar lids, or really any shapes that you have around the house to create pleasing designs to fill in your Mandala compositions. You can make your design Symmetrical or Asymmetrical, with abstract geometric shapes or with any kind of images that are interesting or meaningful. to you. After you layout the design, if you have colors like markers, colored pencils, watercolors, or even a combination you can then spend your time completing the design with your own color choices. You can use Warm and Cool colors, Complementary colors, a Primary color scheme or just improvise. The main thing is to enjoy the process and let yourself get lost in the meditative quality of the design. Please make something that you are proud of and as always:Work Hard, Be Creative, and Have Fun.

If you happen to have a printer at home you could also choose and print out a more complicated design and use your colors to personalize and make it beautiful. Here is a link to a web-site that has lots of free Mandala designs that you can print.


Here is a link to a page that explains a bit more about the history, meaning, and symbolism of Mandalas:

What is a Mandala? History, Symbolism, and Uses

Again, I will ask you to show me what you have done next week during our Zoom meeting for your 1st Project grade for the 4th Qtr.

Art work you can do at home until we can come back to school.

As I told you before spring break, I was planning on starting a new project with clay when we are able to come back to school. The project I had in mind was clay portrait heads like these.

Potrait heads Dali Basquiat

In order to prepare for these you might want to find some interesting faces to practice drawing. Here is a Youtube tutorial that explores breaking  the face up with proportions.

Here is another one that shows some of the basics of sculpting the head in clay:


I will post and share more if school art classes are postponed for more than a week. Here is a link to some virtual museums you can visit if you are interested. Have fun and remember to get outside and get some fresh air and exercise. Hope to see you all soon!


Qtr. 3 Homework #8 Due Mon. 3/9

Yesterday was Texas Independence Day…on March 2nd, 1836 Texas declared it’s Independence from Mexico. In honor of that occasion and for the last homework assignment of Qtr. 3 I would like you to choose a Texas Icon to draw in your sketchbook. A historical figure or a modern Icon of Texas that you find interesting to draw. Have fun and try to make it one of your best to finish out the quarter!