Archive for the ‘Art Education’ Category

Creativity Unblocked!

March 4, 2012

Creativity is Universal
Creative challenges and blocks do not only apply to artists, writers, and musicians. Everyone has creative aspects about their lives and personhood.

Early last year I was involved in creating a series of paintings for a solo show scheduled for 2013 in New York. I realized with a shock that I only had 10 months to prepare for my 2012 solo show at the Washington Printmakers Gallery. I had been thinking about an idea for the show, but no images had come into my mind. The more I thought about what I was going to do, the more my mind was a blank. I began to feel very anxious


Make an Adjustable Cropper/Slider/Viewer

February 1, 2011

I often suggest that students view their subject matter through a simple viewer to isolate composition options. To make an adjustable viewer, use an exacto knife to cut out a 2″ x 2″ window in the center of a 6″ square piece of mat board.  I like this size because it is large enough to hold comfortably and the window is small enough to look through at a comfortable distance from the subject.

To make the window adjustable, cut a vertical piece of mat board 6″ long by 2.5″ wide to use as a slider. Place a rubber band over the window and the slider.  Then you can adjust the slider to change the proportions of the opening.

Art is NOT a Minor Subject!

July 13, 2010

It always amazes me when I hear the study of art in public education referred to as “a minor subject”. In a time of budget cutting, the arts are the first to feel the ax and often are the last priority in recovery. Science, English, foreign languages and math are considered major subjects.  Perhaps that is because the broad-based benefits of art education are not understood or are overlooked. So I am going to take advantage of this blog to point out some of the far reaching benefits of art education. (more…)

Music to My Art

July 1, 2010

I feel that music and art are both about motion and emotion combined. While I create art in my studio, I listen to a wide range of music, including  rock,  jazz, bluegrass, country, soul, Native American and world music. I tune in to the rhythms and “vibrations” of a wide range of music to enhance the “letting go process” that leads me to feel intuitive color choices. Part of the letting go effect is mental and part is physical. (more…)

Please Don’t Draw on My Paper!

June 1, 2010

One of the most valuable lessons that I learned when I was student teaching is NEVER to draw on a student’s artwork. If the art teacher tries to “help” the student by drawing on their paper to “fix” a problem or applies a few remedial brushstrokes to a student’s painting, the student can no longer feel that the artwork is truly his or her own. It is particularly embarrassing (more…)

Recycle Your Muddy Water Jar

May 20, 2010

One really good tip that I learned when I was student teaching years ago is to use a plastic ice cube tray with multiple wells for diluting watercolors and washing brushes when changing colors.  No more muddy brown water jar to knock over. Refill your ice cube tray only when you run out of clean wells and rinse out when you are done using it. I use it for water colors and acrylics.  Don’t worry about the acrylic stains on the plastic.  They won’t affect your water and they add ambiance and character to your water tray.

Making Creative Choices

May 20, 2010

I always feel that the opportunity to make creative choices is so important for developing the self confidence and the creativity of the student/artist. In many school settings with all of the emphasis on working for test scores and a dictated standard curriculum, there is not enough opportunity for individual creative expression and decision making. Students don’t learn how to make choices or that their choices can be respected. This is something that art can offer to the student.

Finding Joy in the Process of Making Art

May 20, 2010

I feel that learning to appreciate the process of making art and how the artist/student feels about it is more important than the product.  If the artist/student can enjoy art making as a process of trial, error and discovery, then the product will usually be satisfying. The artist/student will get involved with the process and not be worried about “is it going to be good?”  When coupled with building skills in drawing, design, color and techniques as students are ready, the student builds self confidence and becomes more willing to take creative risks with their work. At least this has been my experience with teaching.