Light Writing/Painting – High School In Class DigiPhoto Assignment

Here are some of the best images from “light writing/painting” in class assignment. More info about light writing to come ๐Ÿ™‚ .

MLK Day “I have a dream…” T-Shirts and Community Input Artwork

Waconia High School remembers MLK Jr. by having a day of service – a part of Make It Count. Our school worked with Kids Against Hunger over the school day to create meals. In order to offset some of the costs of this service project, we decided to sell t-shirts that promoted MLK Jr. Day of Service. I created the design below.

If you are interested in buying one let me know! We still have some smalls and mediums left over. ๐Ÿ™‚

In our classrooms, teachers are encouraged to take part in service projects of our own or remembering MLK Jr. legacy. Inspired by the artist Candy Chang and her community input artwork, I created these small sheets of paper that students could reflect on their own personal goals that they could work towards. Amy Fischer, an art teaching co-worker and department chair, suggested they make them artistic as well – as you can see some students really enjoyed! Here is a selection of their dreams. It is a really simple idea, but I loved getting to know our students better through it.

Antiques Roadshow – Useful Art Teaching Resource

I was just watching Antiques Roadshow with my husband when some Maria Martinez work was being appraised. I thought, “We talk about her in Ceramics!” Antiques Roadshow has a fantastic search engine including images of art and videos of the appraisals. I think it would be awesome to show one of these clips after learning about an artist in class!

Water Etching with Mod Podge – A New Obsession

I am always looking for new ideas for ceramics. It is just one of those mediums that inspires experimentation. I have recently signed up for the fantastic newsletter from Ceramics Art Daily and came across this demo on water etching. Since I’m not a big fan of wax or shellack for high school students, I wasn’t so sure if I’d be doing water etching in the near future. But I, was definitely wrong. The folks at Atlanta Clay have done a spectacular job showing off this great technique using Mod Podge. I bought 1 gallon of it at Dick Blick ($30-$40 or so) and I’m pretty sure it will last me all school year too.

Check out this awesome demo. I am incorporating mod podge water etching soon. I’ll for-sure post the results!

-Shalanah Dawson

Wisconsin Triathlon Pictures

Grant and I were invited to participate in a close friend’s triathlon (which was really fun!). Grant competed and I thought for the first year it would be fun to take photographs instead. Action photography is hard and you just have to be ready to take a lot of pictures. The major difficulties are focus (because of the speed and direction) and variable light because I was moving from one spot to the next. I really enjoyed it, and it was a great refresher for me on sports photography. For theย  photo nerds: using Nikon D300, 80-200mm lens with 2.8 aperture, and 2000 shutter speed, 200 ISO for beach and 1600 ISO for bike/run.

Here are some of the highlights.

– Shalanah Dawson

Easy Mac 5 Color Screen and Lounging People 2 Color

Here are some recent screen prints from this summer in Open Edition at MCAD. I think I would like to do a series of the Easy Macs in the near future. It was, however, a long road to completion. I completed 1 whole run of 3 color failures before redoing it to the final below. The Lounging People however was a pretty quick edition especially because registration didn’t need to be perfect. Hope you enjoy!

Easy Mac Print and Two Details
Lounging People


– Shalanah Dawson

Daniel Taylor: A Writer, Speaker and Traveler — New Website!

Hooray! Daniel Taylor’s website, a mix of his multifaceted interests, is up and running! He is a writer, speaker and traveler. I love reading his blog and skimming through the amazing photographs from his trips as a Professor at Bethel University and independently as a travel guide. There is a whole lot more, check it out!

-Shalanah Dawson

New Look – New Layout – Bonus Content

Welcome! If you are a returning visitor, the site does look different! I’m hoping that the new layout is also easier to use.

Some Changes

  • Student Galleries – These may be found under “HS Teaching Site” and underneath the given course.
  • Old Work – I have removed some ultra old work but kept some goodies under “Past Work”.
  • Recent Work – This is brand new work that I am in the process of continuing. Check back to see my progress.
  • Blog – Actually only cosmetically changed! All the old posts are here. If there are any past dead links please let me know! I’m working hard to make sure all links go to their new homes.

Can’t Find Something? Let me know! Also, let me know how you like the new look!

Thanks for visiting!
Shalanah Backus

Artist/Art Historian Website


I had the pleasure of creating Dr. Wayne Roosa’s artist/art historian website. His website reflects these dual hats of artist and art historian including books, publications and art essays, as well as, images and statements about his art. I am also definitely a proud owner of one of his “Idea of Order” (specifically No. XI) prints. Check it out!

-Shalanah Backus