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Artists That Inspire Us — Art Ed Blogger’s Network

Hi!  One of my favorite parts about blogging is connecting with other bloggers online.  Some art education bloggers recently formed an Art Ed Blogger’s Network.  We are planning to post once a month about the same topic.

This month’s topic is Artists that Inspire Us.  Most readers probably know about the most famous artists that are typically taught in an elementary school…  Van Gogh, Monet, Paul Klee, Frida Kahlo, Romero Britto, etc.. (and if you don’t know those, be sure to look them up).  I decided to tell you today about 3 artists you may or may not have heard of before, but they aren’t the “go-to” artists teachers always teach about.  It was really hard to narrow it down, because I love so many artists!   These artists are some of my favorites that inspire me personally.  I will also tell you about ways you can incorporate them into your teaching.

1. Kindah Khalidy

Kindah is a painter and textile designer.  She has worked with Anthropologie, Old Navy and Vans (among others.)

What I love about her artwork:

I love the colors, the shapes, the seeming randomness of it and how it looks very child-like.

Classroom Connections:

This is a great artist for young kids to look at.  They can talk about the shapes they see in her artwork, the colors they see, what it reminds them of and so forth.  They can use tempera paints to create their own exploratory paintings with different size brushes and colors.

Kids can also see how an artist can be a designer of clothing.  They could design their own clothing– either through actually painting a piece of clothing or on a paper template.

Kindah Khalidy also has a book available (Amazon affiliate link).  I have not read this book yet, but it looks fun!

2.  Mary Engelbreit 

Mary is the owner and CEO of her own greeting card and accessories company.  Her countless wholesome, inspirational images have been on calendars, cards, mugs, home decor and more.

Her fun, inspirational style would be fun for kids to look at and then create their own illustrations with sayings or quotes.

Did you know she also creates artwork about social justice and activism?

What I Love About Her Artwork:

the cute illustrations, the social justice aspect and the inspirational quotes

Classroom Connections:

Have students think of a cause they feel strongly about and create a poster with illustrations.

3. William Wegman

William Wegman is one of my all-time favorite artists because of his broad range of art abilities, his appeal to children and because he is just a really nice guy!  My love of his art started a few years ago when his publisher contacted me to review his new children’s books (affiliate link).  I had seen his dog photographs before, but I fell in love with his art when seeing his books.  The illustrations are a combination of painting and collage (with photos of his dogs).

William is well known for his photographs of Weimaraner dogs dressed in various situations.

He also created films with his dogs and appeared on television (such as Sesame Street.)

He is also an accomplished painter.  His recent works include postcard paintings, where he takes old postcards, adheres them to paper and extends the image to create his own paintings.  As a child, I collected postcards and had several boxes of old postcards, traded them through the mail and went to postcard shows.  So, this connection to his work made me love his art even more.

So after I got his book to review, I asked the publisher if there was a chance I could interview William Wegman for my blog.  He said yes!  We did an interview over the phone.  He is such a nice guy!  Click on the image below to hear the interview.

Finally, I did an art project with my students using his new children’s books as inspiration.  You can see the lesson and student examples here. 

Later, I wrote an article which was published in Arts & Activities magazine.

What I Love about His Artwork:

The dogs are gorgeous, the photography is thought provoking, his collages are whimsical, kids easily relate to his work, plus the postcard paintings are nostalgic.  He is a good example of how artists use a theme or style across many types of media: film, photography, collage, children’s books, paintings..

Classroom Connections:

Literature– Read his books and create an anthropormorphic animal picture.

Collage & Painting– Choose a postcard or magazine picture.  Glue a portion of it to your paper.  Extend the image to make your own painting.


Art Teacher Blogs
This post is a part of The Art Ed Blogger’s Network: Monthly Tips and Inspiration from Art Teacher Blogs. On the first Tuesday each month, each of these art teacher blogs will post their best ideas on the same topic.

Participating Art Teacher Blogs:

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About Marcia Beckett

Marcia is an elementary art teacher and loves painting, drawing, sculpture, art journaling and clay. Her blog, Art is Basic, features many exciting art projects for kids.

3 Responses to Artists That Inspire Us — Art Ed Blogger’s Network

  1. Pingback: Artists that Inspire Delight, Emotion, and a New Perspective

  2. mary kernan says:

    Thank you for the inspiration and information

  3. Karen says:

    You hit on an artist and topic (Wegman) in this great list that I am currently doing at my elementary school. The kids are thoroughly enjoying it. Over the years, he has struck me as very down to earth despite his success. I highly recommend “Being Human” for a good overview of his photography work with his dogs as a personal historical resource.

    Chihuly is all around me, inescapable. I live in his hometown neighborhood, lived the the road from him (the Boathouse) when I was at the UW (where he also attended a few years before me) – and we share the same birthday, oddly enough. Am friends/colleagues with one of his former photographers, who traveled the world photographing his many installations. I even ran into his artwork – first thing off of the plane – at the V&A entry rotunda when I went to England once for a month to study. This, after passing the tav he goes to on the waterfront and the Museum of Glass he was so central in founding, on my way to the airport. !! His office kindly donated many photography books of his artwork to me and my school through a coworker of mine. I shared the wealth with my fellow art elem. teachers in the district – it was like Christmas! Thank you for your sharing your thoughts and ideas – it is always appreciated very much.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!