We are finding our “VOICE”

28 09 2013

Artists usually have an idea as to what they want to create within a few minutes of the art teacher explaining the lesson to the class.  The teacher sets up exercises to help guide all the students and help them achieve success on the techniques.  Art history is usually mixed into the concept so the art class can see how other artists handled the same materials or ideas.  Not all students enrolled in a visual art class are innate artists, they may love to work with their hands, want a class they perceive as easy, or just appreciate the process.  In any visual art class we the art instructors have to reach all levels of interest, ability, and talent.  The lesson needs to be attainable and challenging.  The lesson also needs to fit the budget, space, and class time schedule.  This is the logistics of the daily balancing act the visual arts instructor has to face hourly.  Students may enter the studio really excited to get started and the very same student the next day is not engaged in the process at all.  It could be artists block or emotional stress from other factors outside our class.

The work in the studio must continue and we are the people who need to link and motivate the individuals in our studios to attain a level of success.  I have at arm’s length physical examples, books, and scratch paper.  I also have wonderful students who are willing to talk, share, and encourage.

Body Map

Body Map

This week we had a series of lessons move from learning exercises to projects.  I have built in challenges and expectations for the students to demonstrate.  I also am always asking them to resolve the lesson with what they want to express.  Students need to find their “voice”.  This is the number one complaint I get.  “Why can’t you tell me what to do?”  I just keep asking them questions, “what do you want to say, what do you want it to look like, what is the emphasis, what effect are you trying to achieve?”

Figuring it out

Figuring it out

Now- when I walk around the studio I hear students talking about their works in progress and I hear my students using the same line of questioning.  I love it.  More and more I see my students struggling with how to express themselves  NOT just getting the assignment completed.  Yes- this is an artist studio.  We explore, we experiment, we have some limited success sometimes, but other times we rock it!

Body Map Progress

Body Map Progress

We had a formal AP ART critique and we were looking at our Body Maps.  This a lesson with a theme based on themselves as the artist and their journey.  The students could select the medium, size, and imagery.  We had portrait style pieces, symbolic imagery, oil paintings, collage, photography, and low relief.  We have great variety and excellent discussions during the process.

During the critique students made conclusions and revelations about themselves and how their message is delivered.  I also was pleased that my voice was not the strongest, loudest, or most critical.  My students do care about the quality of each other’s works and do want success.  The more critical evaluations are handled with care but also with encouragement.  This was our first formal critique and we are not totally finished with the whole class but I am encouraged.

It has been years of cultivating a culture of creating an artist studio.  It has been carefully crafted to be inclusive and supportive.  The work in my studio is not for the value of a grade but value for the individual.  Yes- we get grades but the grades will fade over time but the work of art will hopefully live within the walls of the artists or a relative for a much longer time.





Homes for Haiti- We are still going strong

22 09 2013
Art Club selling our pins

Art Club selling our pins

It’s sometimes hard to imagine how this little project has evolved over the years.  We are stronger than ever this year with great student leadership.  I have students in middle school – high school who come to support our cause for Haiti. I have excellent students who articulate the project well and with passion.  We had over 25 different students for three different sifts sell our Homes for Haiti art pins and ornaments.  I had students stand in the road in the middle of the festival and invite festival goers to our booth to hear about our project.  Everyone was impressed with the pins and ornaments  and our passion for the project.  We had people purchase pins and ornaments and some plain straight donations.  We turned people on to the needs in Haiti and explained our commitment to Haiti.

Some of our ornaments

Some of our ornaments

This project is  much bigger than raising money for the needs in Haiti.  It is also about global awareness, leadership, building self esteem, opening the eyes of others to philanthropic works, and the power of art to change the world.  As an art educator I strive to bring what they learn in the art studio into the real world.  I want my students empowered to create art and change the world for the better.  I want them to embrace an idea and do the hard work to achieve greatness.  On this beautiful day in Arkansas we raised $1288.25 for the Bill Clinton Haiti Relief Fund.  We also got invited to sell our pins at three different events at no charge to help our cause.  Seriously- I am exhausted…I spend all week with my art students in class, lots of time after school, and my Saturdays.  But I find the excitement in my students contagious and the esteem growth intoxicating.  I feel I have found the fountain of youth.   

Mr. Carr comes to see our good work.

Mr. Carr comes to see our good work.

The support I get from my students, parents of my students, colleagues, and the community is amazing.  Life is good.

Look at my students work

Look at my students work





Chalk Side Walk Art and so much more…

16 09 2013
Our Tree in Mural

Our Tree in Mural

Paves the Way is a wonderful event held in the front of the Clinton Presidential Library.  Schools from all over Little Rock Arkansas gather on squares of side walk that line the front lawn of the library.  Each school comes to create an original chalk art mural for everyone to enjoy.  Elementary art clubs through high school art groups show up to work.  This year we did a combined grade level mural designed by a senior who has been doing Paves the Way for her fourth year.  The experienced artists paired with new chalk artists to create a colorful chalk mural with a positive message.  Ours said “We Danced, We United in Peace and that’s all that Matters.”  Our drawing starts in the city and moves through a global image on to a country image.  The last two sidewalk blocks we added because we had such a large group of excited students.  So we added outer space and under the sea.  Students learned who Keith Haring was and his iconic figures.  We also learned to add visual elements to tie the whole mural together.  We used colorful leaves to dance across all the side walk blocks, along with hearts, and bubbles.    http://theafoundation.org/about-thea/

Leaf symbolizes Costa Rica from our exchange student.

Leaf symbolizes Costa Rica from our exchange student.

 

We had a supportive senior group to help aid our youngest artists this year.  The collaboration and support each student provided was remarkable.  Everyone was able to add a bit of themselves to the mural.

Global Symbol

Global Symbol

Filling in our Heart

Filling in our Heart

Bringing the chalk mural together

Bringing the chalk mural together

 

City Panel Progress

City Panel Progress

 

A portion of the mural

A portion of the mural

 

We had Fun!!

We had Fun!!

 

Our Crew

Our Crew

Beautiful Day

Beautiful Day

Paves the Way 2013 (82)

Well Done!

Well Done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Sharing the results from my art studio

10 09 2013

 

 

Image

 

This was our warm-up lesson for Painting I class.  We had such a ball creating this large mural.  We reviewed elements and principles of design while we explored the problem.  The task was to trace a contour line drawing of every person in the class, create interesting divisions of positive and negative space, while filling the picture plane with shapes.  The color scheme was very limited- warm tints for the interior of bodies, changing the value when shapes overlapped.  The negative space was to be cool colors with shades.  We encouraged texture and value transitions to create visual interest in large areas.  The students made the decision to leave the hands white- they liked the symbolism of the hands and wanted to create an emphasis to that particular area of the painting.  I feel the experience of the process was a great review of the art elements and principles but also a great bonding experience for the whole class.





Got this started…

5 09 2013
Green Pear in Orange Bowl with Red Drape

Green Pear in Orange Bowl with Red Drape

I have a wonderful new group of students who want to learn about how to become better artists and curious about art history.  This gets me excited because one I love teaching new skills and two I love sharing my passion about art history.  Art history can be introduced in many ways but my favorite is through art techniques and art ideas for compositions.  I have a renewed respect for Paul Cezanne and his still life drawings while I am busy steering my beginning drawing students on how to create the illusion of depth plus managing all the stuff that makes a still life composition engaging.

Still Life Progress Mug and Drape

Still Life Progress Mug and Drape

Pears with Value Progress

Pears with Value Progress

I have a love of weaving in current news about the latest discovery of valuable famous art painting purchased in a yard sale for $50.00.  I still want to be that person, but so far no luck.  I find nice things to sketch, decorate my home, and yard.  Never a rare expensive work of art.  I feel if you can get students to understand art movements and recognize some special masterworks then we have a start.

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/09/03/20303402-painting-bought-for-50-at-auction-is-worth-388000?lite

 

In my Painting class we are reviewing perspective.  This is an important skill to understand and apply.  We will be looking at the retrospective works of Richard Diebenkorn.  It’s great for students to see how an artist worked through a series of styles within their lifetime.  I will update our progress as we work on different stages.

The quarter will be rounding the bend soon enough, so I keep my kiddos on their toes.  Hope you are having a great week in the studio.

 








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