What do you mean the year is almost over?!? We aren’t done learning! We aren’t done making art! If you haven’t noticed, teachers tend to buy a ticket to the crazy train as soon as people start talking about the end of the year because it’s hard to understand where the time went, what will we try to cram in last minute and what will we do differently the next year...we have to make note before we forget! This year has meant so much to me in so many ways. I love teaching art! And I love when students find their artwork and education meaningful. When given choices in the artmaking process, students gain ownership and the experience in turn becomes meaningful. When our experiences become meaningful on a personal level, we invest and actively engage, which is what we want the educational experience to be! Self-portraits are a guaranteed personal experience, but they can also be intimidating since drawing the human figure can be quite difficult. First and second graders took on their self-portraits with enthusiasm and then gave them extra character, which made the experience that much more meaningful, as they added either royal, pirate or super hero features.

Susannah Joyce

Did you know that Vincent Van Gogh only sold 1 or 2 of his paintings in his lifetime? It is mind blowing to think that the artist so widely recognized & popular beyond the study of art, who made such an influential mark, that he had no idea the magnitude of the mark he had made. Do you ever wonder what kind of mark(s) you have made or are you making a mark today? I hope the marks that I make in my lifetime are colorful, kind and loving, and that they make people laugh.

The 6th and 7th graders have been studying the Renaissance Period in which Michaelangelo is a noteworthy artist who made a significant mark during that time with his amazing sculptural work as well as the paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.


What better way to connect curriculums than to create artwork to attach to the ceiling tiles of the middle school? Each student was given the task of creating only a section of a historical masterpiece that will eventually come together in our Sistine Chapel inspired artwork assemblage. They all worked hard to pull their weight in their part of the group assignment and I didn’t want their effort to go unrecognized, so I encouraged them to make their mark. After tackling the main idea of their section, they were allowed to add any personal touches they so desired. I hope when we get these pieces up that they stay up as long as possible, like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, because there is no doubt these kids have made a mark at St. James Day School and especially in the art room.

Susannah Joyce

I can’t believe we are soooo close to summer! I have so many ideas and so many art projects that I still want to do...but if I’m lucky I might get one or two more squeezed in before these amazing students of mine say “so long art teacher!’ Then they hop, skip and jump right into summer without looking back. Because I have so many ideas, I rarely hop on the holiday art train. For one, the artwork is at risk of not being on display all year around and two, there is no guarantee we will finish the artwork before the holiday comes and goes. But sometimes I just can’t hop around it and this time I’m glad I didn’t! The bunny’s we created in Kindergarten are full of personality and a quick splash of color. The bunny’s created by 1st and 2nd grade are everything spring...clean and colorful!

Third grade is still busy with self portraits. I cannot wait to put them on display for their tours of the TRAHC! And lastly, things are still Gogh-ing well in the middle school art endeavors.

Susannah Joyce

Spring is in the air! The flowers are blooming everywhere and Van Gogh’s famous sunflowers are inspiring artististic bloom in the art classroom. Van Gogh is such a fun artist to study because just one artwork covers so much...color, value, texture, and personal expression. First and second grade are creating mixed media still life pieces that include texture as well as bright colors, both trademarks of Vincent’s work.

Third grade is half way done with their expressive self-portraits that will be on display for their tour of the TRAHC building. Fourth grade is finishing up their tree weavings and getting ready for Gogh time.

Fifth grade is embarking on a surreal weaving journey. Sixth and Seventh are combining the techniques of Michaelangelo and Van Gogh in our attempts to divide and conquer ceiling tiles in artistic fashion.

Susannah Joyce

As an art educator, it is my job to equip my students with the knowledge and skills to problem solve, invent and create. Although I can teach the elements and principles of art and provide opportunities for students to apply them, I cannot teach creativity. Creativity is personal and unique. Creativity is the individual extension of what is learned to a new idea. Sometimes these creative moments are intentional and sometimes they are happy accidents. I absolutely LOVE getting to witness both! One of my favorite things about teaching art is that no matter the lesson and no matter how specific I might be in instruction, each artwork is one of a kind. Each student has a different understanding and perception of the world around them and when these play out in their artwork, it is out of this world. It’s as if we are all reaching for the stars, but with a different star in mind or different way of reaching or coming upon one as a happy accident. The collaboration of art and science has been quite exciting and I hope you all come to enjoy it at the Science Fair!


Susannah Joyce

If I said we’ve been clowning around in the art classroom, I’d be lying. I take art making and the learning process very seriously...although it’s always super fun in my book and silliness is my 2nd nature. The truth is, art is priceless. Theses pieces of art created by each of my students, each a treasure in it’s own special way. Not each piece is a guaranteed masterpiece, but I remind them as often as possible that perfection is NEVER our goal and that mistakes can add magic to our art. First and Second grade have been working on clowns with our new neon paints and oil pastels. Although some of these clowns are as silly as their artist, our inspiration is the joy found in art. Not too long ago, I was approached by a student’s parent regarding the artwork of her St. James alum. She mentioned how her two older children had created portraits of a clown during their 1st grade year at St. James and how she hoped for another from her current 1st grader. Well of course I’m going to grant that wish of joyful art!!! Art is a documentation of time, an expression of feeling and personality and for these young artists it is an expression of growth, creativity and moments in their life that will never be so young and innocent as they were then and such fruitful gifts are these works of art, the child and the artwork.

In collaboration with what the older students are learning in science, 5th-7th grades have been reaching beyond the stars in their solar system artwork. They are far out! We are juggling more than planets though as we continue in our learning of different art making processes as well as creating our doodle for google entries which are due March 18!

Susannah Joyce

Charles Schulz, who is most well known for his Peanuts cartoon, used simple characters and everyday happenings in life to help readers look at life a little more light-hearted. Although he is no longer with us, his legacy lives on through Peanuts. There is a Peanuts calendar that I am gifted each year that starts each month with “Love is…” and it is always followed by a kind gesture that we can demonstrate to one another because: Love is...a choice and an action. I am constantly impressed with the kindness the students at St. James demonstrate to one another as well as me! When my classroom gets quiet...like really quiet, I always stop everyone and say “do you hear that?!?” and they look at me confused until I excitedly tell them it’s the sound of art being made! And then of course I go on and on about how much I looooove it and how it makes my heart full when my classroom becomes so engaged in art making that you don’t hear a peep. Because on a daily basis for me, love is...art. My goal is to be an example of love and kindness in my efforts to teach art and I will have days that I struggle and days that I succeed.

But, when I hear that beautiful silence of students actively engaged in their creative process, I know I’m doing something right and it fills my heart with all the love and its feelings. In celebration of such great love and Valentine’s Day, the artists Jim Dine, Romero Britto and Chris Uphues, were introduced to students and used for our inspiration in truly beautiful work.   

Susannah Joyce

Did you know that Winter Blues is a real thing? Seasons no doubt affect us whether it be our mood, allergies or both. We get so excited to see the sun for warmth of course, but also during the winter the little of color left on the ground or in the trees seems to illuminate under the sunlight just enough to remind us of great color to come in spring. The color brought forth in the art room lately can cure any kind of gloom. All grades have been busy working on their Art to Remember fundraiser piece and they are all so great! No spoilers here though.


In preparation for Valentine’s day and Grandparents’ Day, all grades are channeling bright colors and happy feels in their artwork to bring our prehistoric cafeteria back to life. These are the kind of flowers I hope to get on Valentine’s day!

Susannah Joyce

I am So, so, So excited to be back in the classroom for the sake of the art making! Although I have big ideas and too many plans already, I’m going to try so very hard to take things nice and slow as we ease into the new year...however, I already caught myself talking way too fast today because I wanted to squeeze so much in! There is just never enough time for making art, if you know what I mean. In my attempt to take things slow, we are starting the new year with sketch books to practice each art making tool before we take it to the surface of our final draft. These fabulous sketch books didn’t fall from the sky though. Each student has been given the tools and materials to create their own sketchbook for the spring semester and the satisfaction of creating your very own sketchbook gets me all kinds of excited with each and every class! I hope you hear about our sketchbook lessons and trials. And, I hope you enjoy seeing the tools and techniques your student has explored and made progress with in my classroom when they eventually bring the sketchbook home.

Katelyn Gunter

There is an old wives’ tale that suggests sleeping with your pajamas inside out and placing a spoon under your pillow will increase the chances of snow. However, in Texas I don’t think you can trust any wives’ tale regarding the weather. We can’t even trust the weatherman or even the most accurate forecast for winter weather because there is always a warm and muggy day around the corner here in Texas. Regardless, we are keeping our fingers crossed for snow this winter as we create beautiful winter landscapes in the art classroom.

Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade used the book and song “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” to inspire their amazing winter landscapes.


Third grade will be diving into winter-inspired art this coming Thursday. They just finished a lesson on abstract art and created a lollipop flower landscape inspired by Hundertwasser. He was an amazing artist known for his love of nature and abstract art he created using concentric circles, spirals and bright colors.


Fourth and Fifth grades are learning how to create mixed media art by applying more than one art technique in their processes. They successfully used drawing, watercolor and acrylic painting, and collage in their Winter Birch Landscapes.


Sixth and Seventh grades have explored Chinese traditions in their art making and created a dragon with oil pastels and watercolor paint. The Seventh grade added a collage aspect in collaboration with their percent studies in mathematics. Both grades will start making some more seasonal art next week!

Katelyn Gunter

As an educator, one of my main goals is to encourage students to see things differently and understand that there are different ways of doing things. As an ART educator, my goal is to provide students opportunities to explore, break down, and create what they see, whether it’s in their sight or in their imagination. And oftentimes art can be far from anything we truly see but still accurately represent something or express a feeling. Landscapes can tell stories of time, place, and express feelings as well.

First, second, and third grade are creating fall tree landscapes with collage method. Using the fall colors to inspire what they painted on paper, they then assembled them on a background to create a landscape.


Fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh grades have explored sugar skulls, a line study of fall leaves, and abstract art. Some students have been extra busy outside of class working on the DAR contest. This year the theme is “The 50th Anniversary of the Lunar Landing-America’s Great Move Forward in Exploration and Technology. The contest entries are so impressive and truly out of this world. I was beyond proud and excited to turn them in.


Just in case you were wondering and didn’t know, our #whatliftsyou wings are up and ready for you to participate in our interactive mural! They are currently located in the innovation room of the middle school building and will soon make their public debut at the Veteran’s Day Chapel. Take your picture in front of the wings and if you post it, don’t forget to tag #stjdstxk and #whatliftsyou

Katelyn Gunter

Nature inspires so much in art and the changing of seasons makes it that much more exciting. Fall is my favorite! Colorful leaves, shapely pumpkins, and spooky decor, need I say more? We are now using the lines, that we will forever talk about, to create shapes in the art classroom. We have been discussing the two different types of shapes, geometric and organic, and how we apply them in creating art. Because pumpkins are one of the most interesting organic shapes, I insisted that every class create one or two of a few. And they are AMAZING!!!


Sixth grade has done amazing Egyption Sarcophagus art for the Egyptian Fair! They applied lines in patterns, hieroglyphics, and symmetry in creating their burial tomb.


All students have made feathers, along with help me make sure that the staff is represented, in the “What lifts you?” interactive artwork inspired by Kelsey Montague.


We’ve been busy if you can’t tell!

Katelyn Gunter

The art room is my favorite room and always has been. Watching young minds make the connections between other areas of learning and art can be quite magical. We are continuing to explore LINE in art and have used our knowledge of lines in creating patterns of all different kinds.

First Grade used lines to create patterns in a beautiful flower artwork.

Second grade explored the use of line in simple drawings made during the Prehistoric Era. After learning that most drawings were of animals, second grade artists created a Wooly Mammoth painting using lines to create a foreground, background and texture of a hairy Wooly Mammoth.


Third grade used lines to create a cave drawing similar to those found in the Lascaux Caves in France. Third grade artists first created a cave-like surface and then drew simple animal figures and symbols as if they were drawing what they saw during the day in a life of a cave man or woman.


Fourth grade focused on one animal similar to those seen in the Lascaux Caves and created a painting using both markers and watercolor paint.


Fifth grade created their cave drawings on an animal hide that they then stretched onto a wooden frame like a cave student might do in the prehistoric art classroom or cave.


Sixth and seventh grades created a multimedia cave art focusing in on the head of a bull. They first created the surface of the cave and then used a contour line to outline the head of a bull similar to those seen in the caves of Lascaux.


Furthering our study on lines, each class explored the use of lines and patterns in creating a detailed artwork with sharpie, crayon, and paint. All lower school classes created a crazy hair portrait and 6th and 7th grades created a cityscape of St. Basil’s cathedral, which is located in Moscow, Russia. Such amazing line and pattern detail make these pieces extraordinary!


Currently in the art room, we are working on a school-wide interactive mural inspired by the mural work of Kelsey Montague. The theme is “What lifts you?” Ask your St. James student all about it and cross your fingers we get it finished before we open the doors of the school for our 70th anniversary celebrations.

Katelyn Gunter

A HUGE thanks to all the parents and students for such a loving and warm welcome to the St. James family! The primary goal in the Art room at this time is to get to know one another and fully understand the rules and procedures of the Visual Art classroom. However, that hasn’t stopped us from getting a move on making art! Each student has been given a portfolio to keep up with their work for the year and they have been given the opportunity to add their personal touch to it (just ask them about their fine, one of a kind, designer portfolio ;).

We’ve already started our study on one of the most important elements of art, LINE. The elementary students are exploring how various lines can be used and have applied them in creating a colorful piece of abstract art. The middle school students have also explored the various lines that can be used in making art. In their first assignment, they were challenged to create a maze that fills the entire space on their paper by using ONE continuous line. I had to honestly admit that I, their very own art teacher, couldn’t fill the entire space with one continuous line...more like 3 or 4 continuous lines. To my amazement, at least 5 students completed the challenge with ONE continuous line! AMAZING! I have no doubt that the talent and creativity of these students will flourish this year.


Katelyn Gunter



MARCH, 2018

Kindergarten learned to cut and do without patterns while making sunflowers. Students were shown sunflower paintings by Vincent Van Gogh as well as artificial sunflowers brought from home. We identified the geometric shapes found in the head of a sunflower (circle and triangle). I demonstrated how to cut a circle from a square by cutting off the corners. They were then shown how to cut triangles from a square by cutting a line from one point to another. Students then cut a large circle and many small triangles from yellow construction paper. The small triangles were glued around the edge of the circle and the resulting sunflower was glued to red construction paper. A stem was drawn with a green marker resulting in the children seeing that the green marker changed the red paper brown. Of course, they didn’t like the looks of that! They weren’t supposed to of course. So we took a green oil pastel and they colored the stems over the brown. We talked about why the oil pastel worked but the marker didn’t on the red paper. Using their “painting finger” our little artists then were delighted to dab dots of yellow and red tempera paint (two primary colors) over the entire center of the circle resulting in the secondary color orange.

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Katelyn Gunter
Sgraffito Greek Vases

 Sgraffito Greek Vases

                                                                                                           6th Grade


In conjunction with their Ancient Civilizations studies, Sixth Graders created sgraffito Greek Vases. They designed a flat symmetrical vase form with patterns and images indicative of the era they studied. Students worked with positive shapes and negative space while using the sgraffito technique. This involved scratching away a surface layer of black paint to expose the orange or terracotta layer of crayon underneath to decorate the flat paper vase forms.

Katelyn Gunter
Fourth Grade Cityscapes

Fourth Grade Cityscapes


Fourth Graders recently talked about architecture and designing buildings. Examples of different types of architecture were shared with students in the Fourth Grade Classroom and Art Room.  A lively discussion of what made the buildings unique or interesting ensued. Students had several of their own ideas for some interesting building shapes, among which were The Alamo and the San Jacinto Monument! We talked about the difference in a landscape and a cityscape, and how we could make an interesting cityscape at night, reflections and all. Gorgeous, original multimedia cityscapes were created by all of our talented fourth graders. Beautiful work, fourth grade!

Katelyn Gunter
January 8, 2018

Fifth Graders combined art, social studies, writing, and technology in the creation of this work of art.  The students first used colored tissue paper to collage a bottle.  They designed the first and last name of their explorer, chose one of his voyages to illustrate, and researched facts on the computer.  Along with their explorer report, students were responsible for compiling their technology research elements.  Using a picture of their explorer as a reference, students drew portraits showing how values can be created with drawing pencils.  This portrait and the names were collaged to the bottle. Fifth Graders then glued their typed reports to a colored piece of construction paper, rolled it up, and put it into the finished bottle.  Instead of tossing them into the sea, the projects were then ready to share.

documents 5th grade message in a bottle


Sixth Grade began Explorers in a Bottle, a great unit using design skills and portraiture that we do in conjunction with Fifth Grade's Social Studies Class.  Sixth Grade has had a ball experiencing gesture drawing!  Each student poses as the rest of the class attempt to quickly lay in the action, form, and pose of the model.  Basically, it is a method of training hands to sketch what the brain has already seen.  Staying "focused" means sustained concentration.  They may take as long as two or three minutes, or as short as five seconds, depending on what the focus of the exercise is.  The fast pace of gesture poses help an artist "loosen up" to avoid a stiff drawing style.  Ask them to do one of you!

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Sunny Wright
Beginning another great, artistic year

What another wonderful beginning in ART! Kindergarten has already learned that they can draw anything if they use the five basic elements of shape: the dot and circle family; the straight line family; the curved line family; and the angle line family. As our yearly tradition of student drawn sunglasses finish up, we ready ourselves for them to be the first displayed art in the cafeteria (otherwise known as “The Louvre”). Soon the walls will have some amazing art pieces by our student artists! We have begun the year with reviewing the seven Elements of Art: Line, Color, Shape, Form, Texture, Space, and Value. These are what give us our art, along with imagination!

First Grade, using different designs and patterns, along with the five basic elements of shape, drew the hippest hippos! They are about to start drawing and painting trees to grace our cafeteria walls! Second Grade has been experimenting with different types of lines and the dot and circle family. They have created abstract art by listening and following verbal directions. What colorful and original art flowed from them as they honed their listening skills! They will soon be learning about artist Miro and how to do his overlapped abstraction art. The Third Graders have been reviewing and practicing the use of symmetry in art. They are using their paper cutting and designing skills to produce wonderful stained glass (actually paper) kites to hang in their room.

Middle School has also been hard at work reviewing all of the elements of art. Fourth Graders learned about famous cathedrals using Gothic architecture. Emulating the radial balanced design of the Rose Window, students made their own stained glass (paper) version. These will be gracing the windows in the cafeteria year round. This is almost a right of passage for fourth grade artists each year and a lovely tradition.

Fifth Grade has enjoyed experiencing contour drawing and blind contour drawing. A difficult but rewarding experience, blind contour drawing is done by keeping your eyes on the subject and drawing it without looking at your paper (much). They are about to begin Explorers in a Bottle, a great unit using design skills and portraiture that we do in conjunction with Fifth Grade’s Social Studies Class.

Sixth Grade has had a ball experiencing gesture drawing! Each student poses as the rest of the class attempts to quickly lay in the action, form, and pose of the model. Basically, it is a method of training hands to sketch what the brain has already seen. Staying “focused” means sustained concentration. They may take as long as two or three minutes, or as short as five seconds, depending on what the focus of the exercise is. The fast pace of gesture poses help an artist “loosen up” to avoid a stiff drawing style. Ask them to do one of you!

savannah jarratt