Saturday, May 22, 2010

Student Saturday

I'm going to start a new tradition, beginning today of posting about my students and their work on Saturdays. We'll start with some recently completed works by three students, and hopefully in the future I'll be able to write more about what my students are working on, maybe get into videos of some of my lessons! Who knows where it will go.

But, for now, for those who don't know, I've been teaching private and semiprivate lessons for three years and just this year began small group art lessons to children age 5 - adults. My lessons are very intimate which allow me to develop technique and individual goals with my students. I have a BFA in art education and painting from Syracuse University's College of Visual and Performing Arts, with experience teaching in the public schools.

My philosophy of teaching is somewhat grounded in DBAE (Disciplined Based Arts Education) which was developed in the 80s by the J. Paul Getty Foundation. This is not a curriculum, but an instructional method that focuses not only on studio production, but also on art history, aesthetics, and criticism. How do I apply that to my lessons? Well, I definitely hone in on technique, methods of creating, but then introduce historical context, discussions about personal taste, and constantly modeling constructive criticism.

In the case of Miles' pinch pot below, this was his first real experience with clay. I showed him some examples of pinch pots and hand built pots by potter, Maria Martinez, discussed texture by showing him examples of textured clay and then identifying what created the texture, and finally constructed his own pinch pot while I pinched one of my own. He brought in found objects to implement a repeating texture around his pot and had to consider which textures to use, placement and design. Finally after the pot dried, he applied rub 'n buff in a few select colors to emphasize certain parts of the pot, while unifying the entire structure.

Laurel, an adult student of mine, was given an assignment to develop a mixed media piece focusing on a metamorphosis. In her case we did not look at many examples of the topic, instead I wanted her to develop work in a free thought manner, paying attention to composition, figure ground relationships, and exploring a variety of media. Her piece evolved over several months incorporating acrylic paint, inks, pens, and graphite. Her experience lies in works focusing on representation so this below was quite a departure.

Finally, Tina, another adult student, just completed her first oil painting in several decades. Her goal was to learn to paint again. Because this was our first time working together I gave her an object to paint from life. I did not introduce a lot of contextual examples or ground this piece in art history, aside from the process of painting. She learned to first conduct an under painting (a thin, monochromatic, traditionally neutral layer of paint covering the image that lays out the groundwork for the painting), then spent weeks laying color to achieve the excellent depiction of a depression-era glass pitcher.

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