Kandinsky is one of my favorite artists.  I love his shapes, and I love my own shapes as well—see my painting in the middle.  So when I noticed one of the girls at the center doing drawings of flowing shapes, I decided to mention to her that she ought to look at Kandinsky.  I wrote it in her phone at her request.  When I returned to the center the following week, I was surprised to hear that she had looked him up and liked his work!  She had even saved a few of his paintings to her tablet.  The last image in this set is a practice piece that another student had done after finding a work of Kandinsky in a book of paintings.  Kandinsky: doin’ it for art students of the new millennium. 

New teaching resourse! I begin field experience in a year five classroom next Tuesday, one of the requirements of my prac is to teach at least one philosophical inquiry lesson (basically a great way to teach questioning and reasoning). I purchased this book as I thought year five may be a bit old for a picture book. Its so great, really looking forward to it.


First Week of Saturday Art:

First day of Saturday Art was a huge success! samanthamesser1 and I worked great together and really enjoyed getting to know our girls and seeing them be so creative and imaginative with their projects! I have to admit I was extremely nervous when they started coming in, but once we got upstairs and did our ice breakers we just jumped right into our lesson and it became really easy to explain what the project was going to be and interact with them while they got started! I’m glad each of the girls that came showed up. I can’t wait to see their finished projects because they’re going to be WICKED! Bring on next Saturday! 


I noticed that “love” was very prevalent as subject matter during my field work.  Both of the tiles pictured above were made as part of the students’ practice pieces, but it seemed to happen no matter what form the artwork took.  It was mostly girls who took part in the parade of hearts, which evokes questions of masculinity and femininity as discussed in Check’s article Pink Scissors.  What is the reason for this abundance of subject matter?  It’s not hard to imagine that it’s a culturally produced phenomenon.  Most of the boys’ pieces had a much more abstract bent.  But the idea of the heart is sort of as a doodle, it’s something to fall back on when one is lacking another idea.  That invites a lot of further questioning.

Check, E. (2002). Pink Scissors. Art Education, 55(1), 46-52.


Field Experience Reflection 3:

I have really gotten to know a few of the students individually. Each week, there were a range of students that showed up in digital media. There were constantly a flow of new students entering into the studio and an absence of most of the others. It was difficult to work with each set of the students because the new ones that were entering had to play catch up by completing all of the paperwork the other students had already completed and get a crash course in Photoshop and Illustrator. Because of this, I tended to let the two instructors get the new students up to speed while I concentrated on working with the students who were there from the beginning. I worked with one student in particular from day one who had a very telling story. His Hero’s Journey Final project involved his own journey. I spent an amble amount of time each week, working with him on his physical piece and also on the context and story behind his work. After I had not been there in three weeks, he was excited to show me what his finished piece looked like on the last day. It turned out so great and he was truly an influence on me and my own project I’m creating for the visual artwork for my portfolio. Since he had completed his project in previous weeks, I spent most of my last visit working with one of the other students. I had helped her with her “study piece”, but her final piece is a lot more intense and meaningful. She decided to reference her life as a puzzle and bring in the aspect of her grandma as her hero. We worked closely on making sure everything she added to her project referenced her grandma in someway, as well as physically crafting her piece. I also worked alongside of another student who had previously finished his piece, another one that turned out amazing! He, too, was excited to show me what he had accomplished in the weeks that I was gone. Between these three students that I worked with side by side each week, I have gotten to know a lot about them. It was sad to walk out of the doors on Thursday and not know where their lives are heading or if I will see them after their show on December 7th. Each of them are creative and talented and have a lot of ideas. I hope they pursue whatever it is they have their hearts set on. And as for the students that I didn’t get to know due to inconsistency in their attendance, I hope they find themselves back at this program and they, too, get the same out of the program. 

This is another technique I learned from the 3-d studio instructor.  A lot of the students were interested in creating a bowl form, but the pottery wheel wasn’t available in our studio.  Instead, the teacher instructed them to use thin slabs of clay draped over balloons.  Ingenious!


Field Experience Reflection 2: Burning Fears and Doubts

When we showed up at our field experience one week, we were instructed to go back downstairs because we were doing a little activity with the students when they first arrived. Once we got downstairs we found all of the teachers surrounding a small fire pit next door. They explained we were going to burn our fears and doubts. This was really exciting for me. I, personally, have never done anything like this in my educational career. I thought it was such a great exercise. It showed the students that they could do whatever they set their minds to. One of the instructors passed out sheets of paper that explained what the activity was. The paper read:

"When we are challenged, often we first respond with fear or doubt. We do nothing out of fear; we doubt that we are capable. If one refuses to face the challenges because of these fears and doubts, growth is prevented."

"Burn your Fears and Doubts!"

"Write down any negative thoughts, negative self-talk, negative things people have said about you or to you, or feelings of worthlessness."

"Remember, just because someone says it, doesn’t make it true. You have the choice to believe in negativity or not. Let it go so that you can move on."

We were invited to burn our own fears and doubts as well. Immediately, all of us from UC turned to writing down that we were fearing we wouldn’t have enough time to complete everything we need to have done before the end of the semester. Thinking back, I realized this was a petty thing to fear and doubt ourselves. Some of the students wrote down things like spiders and the dark. But when they were asked why they were doing this activity, some of them answered with responses that showed they took this deeply and really got something out of it. You could tell that some of them did doubt their abilities and themselves in general, it was good to see a little ignition in them. I believe this activity is one of the best ones that they have done so far and I would really like to use it in my own teaching practice in the future. 

View from the window in the 3-d studio.  I was pleasantly surprised by how much I myself learned in the studio.  Our teacher was not only a teacher but also a practicing artist in his field.  He was very knowledgeable and openly warm about his job at the center—which is only part of the work he does to support himself as an artist.  I’m not a clay artist, but I have picked up some knowledge here and there about it—pinch pots, coil pots, score and slurry.  The teacher showed us several methods, however, which I had never encountered before.  One of those is demonstrated in the middle-most pot of the picture above.  Take a ball of clay, stick your finger in it, and roll it on the table.  Soon, the sides form and you have a really nice, smooth little pot.  The teacher also explained how he used this method to create 200 of these little pots for wedding favors.