Painting by Jean Smith

Painting by Jean Smith

Jean Smith discussing shading with her students at Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve 

Jean Smith discussing shading with her students at Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve 

Jean Marie Smith received a BA in Art from Transylvania University in 1984 and has been a practicing artist for 29 years, specializing in portraits. She currently works as a Resource Instructor at Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve where she recently completed a mural for an interactive children’s play area in the nature center at the preserve. She received a grant in 2015 from the Kentucky Foundation for Women to paint a Devonian Period mural at Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve as well. Jean Smith also leads the book club at the Mahan branch of the Oldham County Library in Goshen and is a member of the Code Enforcement Board for the City of Goshen.

What do you hope your students take away from your class?

The thing that I hope the students take from my class is a firm foundation in drawing and a passion for art that will continue into adulthood.

What is your favorite thing to teach and why?

My favorite thing to teach is drawing and shading with different grades of graphite pencils, graphite dust, and adding highlights using the subtractive method with a kneaded eraser. It's magical! I use ping pong balls cut in half and a marble. Students learn to do shading and highlights using a concave half ping pong ball,  a convex half ping pong ball, a whole ping pong ball, and a marble. This method can be applied to any drawing. The entire paper is brushed with graphite dust, the half ball is used to trace four circles onto the paper. These circles become the ping ping balls and marble through shading and highlighting. Students must identify the light sources, look for cast shadows, identify the highlights, and create the midtones. It's the best method I've found to teach kids how to shade and highlight.

At Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve Jean Marie Smith focuses on honing student's drawing, shading, and highlighting skills through the use of various media--watercolor, chalk pastels, oil pastels, conte crayon, markers, and charcoal. This class is nature-themed with the grounds of the preserve and the nature center providing infinite creative opportunities.

In her class at North Oldham Middle School, Jean Marie Smith focuses on honing student's drawing, shading, and highlighting skills to a higher level. She exposes the students to different art mediums that many may not have experienced before. Graphite dust is just such a medium— it lends itself well to teaching shading and highlighting. It's messy fun that teaches a valuable art lesson. Other mediums include: watercolors, chalk pastels, oil pastels, conte crayon, colored pencils, black markers with varying tip sizes, colored markers, and charcoal. She also uses toned paper to achieve this end.