THOMAS — Visual arts influence everything, said Snake River High School art teacher Jason Coles. For example, engineers design how a car moves but an artist designs what the car looks like. The same goes for shoes and shoelaces.
"People don't think of the influence of visual arts," Coles said.
Coles' favorite art medium is oil.
"There's something about taking a blank piece of paper or canvas and creating something," Coles said.
"I think it's important for my students to see me enjoying working on art," he said. "Hopefully, it inspires them.
"When I was going to school, I enjoyed watching my instructors do art," Coles said.
Coles teaches a fundamental class where students learn foundation drawing skills. Drawing I focuses on portraits where students break down how to do features and proportion.
In Drawing II class, students learn about color and the different properties of color. They also draw the whole figure.
After the second class, students can apply to take the advanced placement (AP) course.
Drawing III three is the AP class. Students take an experimental approach in this class and use mixed media.
Coles has taught art in high schools for 15 years. He taught in Cascade for two years at the beginning of his teaching career. This is the 13th year Coles has taught at Snake River (SR).
"My favorite part of teaching is watching students grow; to see them get excited about [art]," Coles said.
Students in Coles' AP class are working to complete their portfolios. Twenty-four pictures with 12 of those in one area of concentration will be completed for their AP portfolios.
"Students develop their own references; their own still life," Coles said. "They do all the work.
"After students learn technical skills, they advance beyond [the technical skills]," he said. "They have confidence to continue,"
Students will send their completed portfolios to college boards for grading.
Senior Sandra Molina said, "I like art because I can express my feelings and use my imagination."
Senior Nicole Lott said, "I'm good at [art]—most of the time—I enjoy it."
"Art is relaxing," said senior Jared Smith, "I like it."
"I like being able to express myself in different techniques and media," said senior Kassi Roe. "I like working with watercolors and watercrayons."
Coles grew up in Idaho Falls, graduating from Bonneville High School in 1988. He attended Ricks College before transferring to Boise State University to complete his bachelor's degree in art education. A couple years ago, he received his masters from the University of Idaho in art.
Working on his masters "was fun to do," Coles said.
His master's portfolio features a collection of football portraits. Some of this collection hangs on the walls of his classroom.
Coles and his wife, Julie, have six children—Brett is 18, Taylor 15, Taegan 14, Blake 13, Tianna 12 and Colby is 8.