Wednesday, March 30, 2011

All My Children....All My Dogs

Spoiled dogs...loved dogs....would not have my world without dogs!

More Paintings in Progress

Latrobe High School Center for Creativity

One of the greatest assets that Latrobe High School has in terms of art is their Center for Creativity. Use of funding has allowed this public school to have a beautiful space for displays, exhibits, conferences and even plays. Outdoors this area boasts an amphitheatre and space to conduct outdoor clay firings. Along with these assets, this school has a separate clay studio, fiber arts, photography and painting and drawing studio. The education quality in the arts alone surpasses some of the colleges I have seen.

Conducting this residency is always an experience that teaches me more about teaching. So much of the work is through experience and practice for the students and a willingness to see things with new eyes. In the clay studio the students are having a residency experience with Jim McDowell at the same time I am conducting my residency. The work ethic of all the students is really just enjoying the experience and being willing to have one on one critiques to help improve their painting and learning experience. I feel so happy to be able to be part of this experience.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Keep the Arts Alive in our Schools

Never fool yourself into believing the arts are not important.....the Three A's include ACADEMICS, ATHLETICS and ART

Vincent Van Gogh and Monet at Latrobe High School

To my good fortune, I am once again doing a 5 day residency at Latrobe High School. The class size is large this year at 28 students and time is always too short. Our first day was a basic day on the principles of color mixing with primary colors including warm versus cool colors with using acrylic paints. The goal in this brief time is a quick introduction to color schemes, success in mixing color, attention to composition and brush strokes.

I feel that the Impressionists do such a fantastic job of showing how to look at light and to have the viewer's eye focus the painting. Use of brush strokes evokes emotion and movement while the focus on the object itself becomes almost immaterial. Most of the students enjoy the challenges I present as I ask for an initial sketch as an underpainting using either Phythalo blue or Ultramarine blue. From there, I occassionally suggest turning the painting upside down to get a real look at the brush strokes as well as the use of positive and negative spaces.

The challenge in this class is that I am not asking for a duplicate of the works. Rather I ask that the student chooses to enlarge an area and focus more on the value of composition carrying through a painting to make it complete. I feel that any painting in any area of that painting should be equally strong in its compositional value.

I head back this coming Tuesday and Thursday and will continue to guide and help students solve painting issues to finish a painting that they can learn from and have a certain amount of pride in their accomplishments. On a political note, for those who do not see the value of the arts in education, Latrobe High School still strives hard to keep the arts alive!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring and Garden Time

Thank goodness that yesterday was officially the last day of "winter"....not that we are not likely to see one more snow, but just having the sun out today was a bonus. I have been busy designing new garden works, metal pieces and just having a wonderful time becoming familiar with my welder again! I am so excited to have added two new galleries to the mix and hope that my new pieces go over really well. Will post new things as they come along!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

More and More Artwork

More Artwork

Art Exhibit

The following depicts more than a half of year of the variety of work the students at Laurel Highlands High School experience with art teacher Mike DeFazio.

Laurel Highlands High School Art Program

I have had the benefit of teaching about 100 residencies in the past 12 years. I have been at affluent schools and in districts where the money spent on one child in an art program might be equivelant to a $1.50 a child for the year.

Despite the depressed economy of the Uniontown area this particular school district strives to give the best benefit of an art program for its students. From grade school to high school, these students are exposed to a variety of art forms and encouraged in high school to find their own "art voice."

Coming into this residency with Mike DeFazio as the art teacher, I found myself coming into their large art exhibit with the capability of helping in the classes while the exhibit was being hung. The amount of pride the students have in their work is evident not only by the quality of the work but also because nothing is ever vandalized or stolen while on display.

Friday night was the opening of the play Bye Bye Birdie as well as the public display of the works. The range of the art was quite impressive for high school students. Over the course of the past few years, Mr. DeFazio has spent extra hours and uses his own resources to make display fixtures, provides boards for the mosaic works and even custom mats student works.

This week aside from major tear down of the exhibit we started self portraits for the Art I students, a little metal work in the fourth period class, textured paintings and paint and wood sculptures. There is always an air of expectation and excitement as the students are willing to try something new and untried.

I always feel a positive connection with this school and the student body. Part of me has a certain amount of reluctance knowing that I will be leaving in a few days. I have learned new approaches to art and can see that the success of these students can NEVER be measured by a standardized test.......the true test is how and what these students will take from the classes offered and actually apply in their regular lives....for some the haven of this room offers solitude, acceptance and a chance to truly shine.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Waking Bear Studio Out of Hibernation!

Waking Bear Studio is excited to announce that we are once again being represented on

You can find us listed under Waking Bear Studio or you can type in my name, Martha Murphy. Right now we have 21 unique garden and home pieces to offer made from steel and copper. We also are now offering three different finishes from hand painted with acrylics, heat treated to add color and brushed steel for shine.

You can find us listed at Wholesale Crafts and we will be adding many more works within the next weeks to include painted pieces and also some clay and metal works. We are on Facebook under Martha Murphy and also have a very active blog at: and

Since I also work as an Artist in Residence for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, we hope some day soon to be able to travel and offer steel fabricating workshops! Stay tuned as Waking Bear Studio comes out of hibernation and wakes up to a Glorious Spring!

Thanks for your continued support………..

Martha McKinley Murphy

James R. Page

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Laurel Highlands Art Opening

For anyone who may be in the Uniontown area in the next week or so, there is a fabulous Art Show on Exhibit! The high school is putting on the musical Bye Bye Birdie and all the art students have a fantastic exhibit for the public to view. The show will be juried and students will receive awards and also money awards.

This year, the exhibit features the mosaic works of students along with drawings, clay creations, paintings and even mandala drawings. The caliber of work is very good and it is quite an extensive show.

I am teaching again as an artist-in-residence and so thrilled to be back at this school. Last year I had a 60 day residency and was able to make connections with many of the students. To be welcomed back again was such a pleasant surprise. Knowing many of the students has made the transition an easy one and it is such a joy to work with their talented teacher, Mike DeFazion along with such a great student body.

If you have a chance, this is an exhibit worth seeing!

Laurel Highlands High School March 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

Working with Hempfield Students

I am still in the process of working on my residency with Hempfield Elementary School. I worked on Thursday with 6 classes ranging from Kindergarden to 5th grade. The students were excited to get their small porcelain tile pieces back and made those pieces into necklaces with the help of Mrs. Hirshberg.

Our next projects involves putting together our clay mosaic works. Rick and I fired a little over 900 pieces in the past two weeks and those pieces are ready when I come back in April. The other project involves the entire school once again. We have started designing our Alphabet that will be painted onto canvas pieces. Our hopes are to use Mixed Media to represent an Alphabet that is exciting and fun to view.

My main goal with the Alphabet project is to teach the students of all the grades the importance of pattern, texture, color and symbolism. We hope to have this final 26 pieces hang proudly in the school library.

Triumph at Altoona in 10 days

The images here represent the final process of my residency with Altoona After School Arts. Hopefully, our government will some day realize that the Arts are just as important as Academics and Athletes!