Art Education Background

In the summer of 2016, Neilson retired from her position at OKM Secondary School as Art Teacher.

That September, she started teaching a Visual Arts Education methods course for the Faculty of Education at UBC Okanagan. This finished up with the end of the semester at Christmas. 

For the rest of 2017, Susan Burnham Neilson worked in Forest House Studio as an artist while also teaching the occasional workshop in the community. Neilson has also supported students in developing art portfolios for high school independent studies. Private instruction is occasionally available. 

Currently, Neilson is developing a new body of artwork with a focus on exhibition so she will have less time available for teaching. In addition to a February professional development day workshop, there will be one or two other community sessions in 2018. 


Many of the notes posted on the blog pages of this site are related to visual arts education. Others just explore inspirations and creative processes in Forest House Studio. 

Handprints and Mixed Art Making Materials - Art Methods Course Introduction & Planning

Several posts  on this site have focused on art education in Elementary Schools and art for teachers, because they were created to support specific lessons at the university or for the School District.

Other posts will reflect on playful experimental processes for artists of all ages and all levels of experience, connected to work in Neilson’s own studio.

Some notes will journal other kinds of art inspirations; from the forest, from galleries, and from everyday observations. These notes help to document ideas, planting seeds that might show up in Neilson’s artwork  or in art lessons at a later time.

We respect the privacy of students. Photo examples of student work are sometimes posted with permission, but without names or with first names only depending on student or parent requests. 



– Here is a link to a post category page where notes related to teaching for the art methods course, and new posts about art education will be found.


– Link here for more information about art mentorship or workshops in the community.


Secondary School Art Education

Neilson closed her full website for Visual Arts at Okanagan Mission Secondary School in Kelowna ( However, some educational resources shifted over to this Forest House Studio site. A few lesson examples are archived as examples for future reference.

Some note portions that were connected to the main original OKM visual arts site may still be found at : ,but the most recent posts have been cleared, with parts archived here:

School mascot husky posing for life drawing
Charcoal student gesture drawings of Yukon the husky
Planning a Steampunk Project
Student Charcoal Drawing Still Life Reflections Coffee and Tea
Student Self Portrait
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