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Teaching Art - Experiences, Methods and Materials

Teaching Art - Experiences, Methods and Materials
Professional visual artist and teaching artist blogs about art related topics in hopes that her descriptions and reflections about teaching art, methods and materials, are of use for non-artists in developing their own framework for processing art te

Articles

Making Holiday Gifts With A Diverse Group Of Students
2007-11-27 18:52:00
Sometimes the most simple solution to a challenge is a good one. I have been in diversely populated school settings in which teachers approached gift making by avoiding it. One example is a teacher I know who abandoned the idea of making father's day gifts because she didn't want to cause any pain to children with absent fathers. Winter is a festive time of year with calendars filled with religious, cultural and ethnic celebrations and holidays. The city in which I live places a high value on social inclusion, which has contributed to my creating art projects and activities for diverse groups of children. I have found that children have a need to make presents for important people in their lives. When a class works on gift making projects together, the children feel as if they are personally engaged in the holiday season. In order to create an open spirit of warmth in a classroom, I have started projects by asking each child to identify, in his or her mind, the recipient of the gi...
More About: Holiday , Gifts , Students , Diverse , Group
Art Museum Field Trip To Study Art Fundamentals
2007-10-19 22:29:00
If at all feasible, a trip to a museum provides a great benefit to young students. Much of art appreciation happens by physically being in the presence of the art object. The meanings the viewer experiences through his or her relationship to the the scale of the work are not communicated in reproductions, not to mention accuracy of color and detail is lost in photographs. Many times classes make trips to museums to see specific exhibits, as the content of the exhibits and the related museum provided activities/lectures support the already topical classroom curriculum. Another reason to bring a class to a museum is to give the students an opportunity for an exercise to identify the formal elements and principles of art used in the works. Any permanent museum collection would work for this exercise.Exercise:Ask the students to select at least three works in the museum collection and spend a minimum of 5 minutes studying each work for a total of 15 minutes of observation.Ask them...
More About: Study , Museum , Trip , Field , Amen
Teaching Patterns and Design In The Classroom
2007-10-17 18:54:00
One starting point for teaching the ideas behind creating patterns and visual design is to have four cups each filled with many units of the same object. (For younger students possibly one cup of elbow macaroni, one cup of kidney beans etc., for older ones, possibly boxes instead of cups filled with items of unusual visual interest which have no logical relation to each other such as...who knows.... large nails, hair rollers, empty pop cans, paper clips etc., ) Place four students at a table giving each a cup. First time around, have the first student put one or more pieces on the table, followed by the next student etc until there is a line consisting of a combination of the four items. Then, underneath, REPEAT the same arrangement thereby MAKING a pattern.For younger children, have them draw contour shapes of the pattern on paper, IE., three kidney beans one macaroni etc., repeating at least three lines of it. At this point everyone should have three lines of the same contour ...
More About: Design , Teaching , Patterns
Was Jackson Pollock Random?: A Debate Which Can Initiate High School Art St
2007-10-17 04:41:00
Is it possible to humans to be random? Or, after the first action, is every subsequent action part of a pattern? Debating about Jackson Pollock's paintings is a lively way to initiate teens into thinking about patterns on a conceptual level. These quotes represent two sides of the debate:Jackson Pollock's paintings are not random:Richard Taylor is a professor of Physics and an artist who is using computer analysis to reveal Jackson Pollock?s paintings are not just random and messy mistakes of paint being splattered on a canvas. Rather, the data he is gathering is proving that within a Pollock painting one can see complex and intricate systems of designs embedded within each other. Taylor?s research has discovered that Pollock?s paintings contain fractals that not only show they are not random splatters, but populated with structures that are tied to specific technique which can be used to identify Pollock?s paintings. http://www.the-means.com/communiques/?p=1 76Jackson Pollock's ...
More About: Random , School , Debate , High School
Teaching Art As Core Subject
2007-10-16 18:17:00
Last night I attended a school board candidates forum on the arts hosted by a local arts commission. My general impression is that some candidates had more personal experience in the arts than others, all were willing to listen to reasons to support the arts, and given the reality of the system resources, if elected, even defining and implementing short term arts goals would be a challenge none of them seemed confident that they could meet without exerting a lot of sweat equity. Some expressed caution about not wanting to focus on the arts at the expense of core subjects. My question is: why aren't the arts considered to be core subject matter? One reason, I assume, is that when discussing the arts, people focus on the affective, experiential, expressive, social and humanistic aspects of art. I believe that a more effective case for arguing the arts as a core subject in an academic setting would be to discuss the cognitive modalities learned and exercised when students begin to ...
More About: Teaching , Core , Subject
Teaching Art, Science, and History Using One Project
2007-10-15 18:55:00
Egg tempera is a medium which both teaches a traditional painting technique and offers a conduit into history and science. I think students enjoy preparing the materials more than the actual painting! During the preparation itself, I introduce some "kitchen science" facts and the importance of "lab etiquette": keeping the area clean and keeping track of measurement is essential for tempera painting and instills habits which can be used in any controlled setting.I simplify the process by approximating a gessoed surface: the students use plaster poured into plastic plates to create the base. The egg yolk is collected to be used for the binder by rolling the egg yolk on a paper towel in order to dry it enough to control the handling of it, piercing the membrane with a pin, and squeezing the contents into a cup. (Plenty of accidents and laughter. Limiting the number of eggs available reduces error.) The proportions of egg, dry artist pigment and distilled water for the different pa...
More About: Science , History , Teaching , Project
Classroom Auction Projects
2007-10-14 21:35:00
For an impressive inspirational display of classroom art projects, visit a link to the Rooftop Alternative School in San Francisco. http://mywebpages.comcast.net/rooftop-art /portfolio/auction.html Classrooms with artist parent volunteers can produce spectacular group art objects for their school auctions. I have come across situations in which the parents in charge of classroom art projects were almost forced into the position by default and extremely stressed out by it. The first question is, "what to make". Instead of first looking through magazines and books at other art projects for ideas and asking the teacher and students for input, an alternative is to poll the parent volunteers to see what skills and volunteer time are available to donate to the project, and use those volunteer skills as the basis for selecting a project. Sometimes, it's quite difficult to find volunteers with specific skill sets to help facilitate a project when it is in the process of being imp...
More About: Projects , Auction
Primary Art: Teaching A Sense of Purpose
2007-10-12 19:50:00
In retrospect, whenever an art project is finished, one can do a sort of forensic evaluation to identify which basic learning requirements were met by the students and to what degree. Some projects, by their very nature, are specifically designed to meet learning requirements. As an artist, my challenge is to keep the art experience free enough so children experience their own creative potential, but structured enough so that there is a "principle/practice" component to each art exercise. I find some age groups to be a challenge when developmentally, they are at a threshold which some members have reached and others have not. One such challenging threshold to me happens in the primary grades when as a group, they are supposed to have moved from the concrete to the abstract. "The age of reason". To date, I have not experienced a primary group in which all the members were either still activity based concrete learners or had that magic mental ingredient which allows for mental ...
More About: Sense , Teaching , Purpose , Primary , Prim
The Child is the father of the Man. -William Wordsworth
2007-10-12 01:49:00
Throughout my life, the quote from Wordsworth that "the child is the father of the man" revisits my mind at unexpected times to remind me about the weight of that poetic insight. On a personal note, some of my most formative art experiences happened as a child, which has led me to respect the playful work of children. There is meaning in what they do, even if they themselves are unaware of it. I grew up in an art friendly home. My mother is a painter who started her studies at the Chicago Art Institute in her youth and continued as an adult. The smell of linseed oil and turpentine was always in the air. She was able to provide enrichment through conversation, history lessons and art experiences. However, what I remember most is the home atmosphere. I never had the impression that I couldn't act on an inspiration, which is why I probably did act upon them all the time. As an adult, I sketched out a large mural wall and a passerby asked me, "how could you do this?" meaning, "ho...
More About: Child , Father , William , The Man , Wort
Creating A Classroom Climate Condusive To Art
2007-10-12 01:26:00
What makes an artist? Who are artists? Does everyone have "an inner artist" waiting to be discovered? I don't think these questions matter in the context of art education. I look upon art education as I do any other subject. Throughout grade school and high school I had to take required physical education courses. Never in my school experience did a PE teacher say, "well, only one of you students is potential Olympic material". A child did not have to be an athlete to meet the requirements of PE and health classes. Not to mention, I remember substitute PE teachers who were less than athletic themselves, following the lesson plan to instruct us to run around the gym and do various exercises. No harm was done, and benefit was gained. However, I have observed students with natural artistic ability being separated from their classmates with comments like, "he can draw", "she has a natural color sense", etc., etc., etc., I think that these types of comments place a barrier in the...
More About: Climate , Creating
A Blog For Non-Artists Who Teach Art
2007-10-12 00:02:00
Arts Education is both a national and community based topic these days. Collectively, people are beginning to show the signs of realizing the value of arts education by giving some shape and definition to it, advocating for it, developing and refining instructional strategies , and formalizing it through the establishment of learning standards. As a practicing visual artist, my bias is to support artists in education by professionalizing the field of teaching artists, and by creating as many diverse opportunities as possible for artists to directly design and implement programs in all the arts with every imaginable population. There IS NO SUBSTITUTE for an artist when it comes to teaching art. Having disclosed my bias, I realize that there is a push for classroom teachers and others in extra-curricular settings to provide art education and art experiences for children, youth and adults. As an artist who has worked in all types of settings doing many different types of things fo...
More About: Blog , Artists , Artis
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