Saturday, September 13, 2014

Belmont Mansion Collaboration

Students at Nashville School of the Arts will soon be taking a field trip to the Belmont Mansion.  Before we leave for our experience, students will "draw" an artists name from a "hat" and learn more about their visual language. While they are at the mansion, students will look at the portraits, landscapes, still life, grounds, interior spaces, exterior, wallpapers, textiles... anything that inspires them artistically speaking "through the lens" of the artist they selected. During the second nine weeks of school, each class will have a different assignment in response to our field trip.

List of Artist

Joseph Ford
Liu Bolin
Daria Makarenko
(Art 21) Do Ho Sun
(Art 21) Elizabeth Murray - video
(Art 21) Judy Paff
(Art 21 Laylah Ali
(Art 21) Berry McGee
William Wegman

Mary Cassatt

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My First Day at NSA - Nashville School of the Arts

These lovely doodles were created on the first day of visual art class by Ar I , Art II and Art Survey students as a warm up in about 15 minutes. Our first day was only a 1/2 day where I met about 140 students in 20 minute frantic rotations of checking roll and passing outa d picking up papers. The students shared something they most wanted me to know about them on the back. I didn't get a chance to look at them until Saturday night. As I started going through these I literally did so with my hand on my heart in awe of their unique expressions, their humor, their beauty, their courage. Later when I read the second day questionnaire I had given them where they elaborated more about themselves I realized even more how brave all these teen artists are because many of them were feeling insecure about their drawing abilities or speaking in front of the class. Each one of these is the reflection of genius that each of these hands, hearts, and minds possess and I value them greatly for their creativity and range of expression. 

Here are some of the things they wanted me to know about them:  

I like to eat a lot
I love nature, especially the beach
I typically draw a lot of animals ( mostly horses) or abstract things
I need to work on creativity
I am a caring person 
I am fun to hang with
I love drawing a lot of things most of the time I can't draw my own thing unless it's really crazy 
I'm super creative and bubbly and very expressive... Be prepared (heart) 
I'm really interested in Renaissance painting and I'm excited to learn more about it 
I prefer to be alone 
I like drawing superheroes
I don't like talking a lot or being put on the spot 
I lived in Hawaii all my life 
I don't have a favorite color- I can never decide 
I am hard working and I like to draw pictures that I can see 
I don't know what my strong part in art is 
I never had much of an art class before, and I can't really draw that well. I usually paint abstract things and what not.
Last year was the first year of art I've taken in 3 Yeats and I only took that half the year 
I am obsessed with several books and TV shows and will most likely make reference to myself and google silently. 
There will never be a day when you don't catch me drawing.
I don't like groups or people. 
I am the type of person who, if in the mood, can create a masterpiece. If not, I am the same as a pencil pouch. Just there! 
I don't like public speaking 
I struggle with creativity
I love food music and art. 
I'm a good artist when I try
Welcome to NSA!
I enjoy the surreal. I don't really have anything else to say.
This year is going to be great! 
I can't wait to be in this class I'm sure you'll be a great teacher I hope we have a wonderful school year together! 
I am new to NSA
You seem very nice! This is going to be a good year! 
I am excited for this class and I am glad you're our teacher
I struggle with creativity 
I want to become a fashion designer
I am also a dancer 
I am not organized 
I like to draw anime- style though I can draw realistic I've always wanted to paint clouds 
I really like drawing and sketching, and I most often relate my sketches to books I like or something I have an interest in and try to replicate.  I try really hard with my work ,  and I am somewhat of a perfectionist 
I am not an organized person 
I have never had any art classes. I like drawing anime eyes

Monday, June 16, 2014

Collaborative Paintings and Collaborative Music

  Artist, Michael Grine, offering one of his hand painted artist business cards 

Last week, the first Monday of June, Beth Inglish, artist and creator of the Nashville Creative Group, organized a fabulous event that combined collaborative painting and collaborative music.  I can't think of a better way to spend an evening than to share in the creative process with fellow Nashville artists. A big thanks to Jerry's Artarama who generously donated the canvases and paints. The only thing left to do was BYOB - that's short for "Bring Your on Brush!"  It's also a great idea to bring your own business card, especially if yours are hand made like the artist Michael Grine.

Beth (pictured) opened up the event with a great introduction that was supportive of each person's creative process and the power of vision when we all come together to play and support the larger Nashville Community. This even was defiantly a time for play! The My Emma space located in downtown Nashville near the Cumberland River is a great place to play.

Artists and Art Teachers:  Rachel Motta, Aimee Hall (Wink Wink Eye Wear) and Camilla Spadafino

As a Metro Nashville Public School art teacher who leads 5 creative sessions with students daily I was interested in finding out what it would be like to be a participant. I listened with earnestness as Beth gave a series of 8 directions that lead to a finished painting that involved some 25 - 30 people working together.  Working with large groups is typical for art teachers, but this setting, the inclusion of music and the actual process was far from a regular art class. I was thrilled to see three of my fellow MNPS art colleagues at this event. We bonded over our art teacher glasses!

Drawing with your eyes closed as a means to opening up more creativity 

We were first directed to close our eyes and feel the canvas with our pencils by making marks. I loved being an observer of this and noticing how people were at first unsure to trust their intuition, some were peeking while others were taking it seriously. Most were engaged in a combination of both peeking and drawing. What was so powerful about this initial step is that any time someone would peek, they would also see someone else with their eyes closed and feel encouraged to try again to "let go."

Nashville Creative group creating and learning together

Once I got my turn to jump in, it was time to paint. The directions were both about letting go of control and bringing control back in.  Although we each had a canvas, the canvases were pushed together in groups of four which made one big canvas per group.  Everyone was painting on each others' canvases so there was no real delineation of self.  Painting in this manner was very educational because you could see what others were doing and try mimicking what you liked with your own brush and paint. Painting in this safe and free environment is a great way to get people to open up, express themselves and learn about a variety of techniques. This event was like a week of painting class rolled into two hours of pleasure listening to amazing music and hanging out with friends.

Untitled collaborative piece made at this event

The end results were interesting since each table's art expressed very different artistic voices. Experiencing this process unfold was great reminder to me, as an artist educator, of the importance of grouping. The outcome showed just how much we influence each other and in order to have a more creative classroom the groups should rotate frequently.  It was great to be part of this event that was as much about playing, participating and learning as it was connecting and building community.  These are all attributes that I want to instill in my classroom and I think they show in this finished piece that was created by the MNPS art teachers at my table.