Tag Archives: art education

We Are The Champions.

Greynolds Park Elementary’s Red Fish Blue Fish tree triumphed over all the others. Happy Holidays indeed!

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One Fish, Two Fish, Christmas Tree!

My classes had a blast decorating this, tomorrow we get judged against the other schools. Fingers crossed…

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More Color!

Last week we learned the Color Wheel using crenellated lines with markers and water. Now we sling some paint. Colorful times.

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Crenellated Color Wheel Lesson.

These are fourteen vibrant photographs of the new Color Wheel lesson I developed using crenellated lines. Glorious stuff.

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Amazing New Method of Teaching Color Theory.

Those are four truly amazing drawings that were done by my second graders this morning, showing primary and secondary colors. Marker and water on paper.

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Thursday Thirteen: An Art Teacher’s Manifesto.

watchmen_classroom_by_biigurutwin

(Watchmen in the classroom, by biigurutwin.)

I like to reflect. When I sat down to write a Thursday Thirteen this week, I decided to list the things I strive to instill in my students. This is my revolution.

1. Creative Success. Each student will feel the specific joy that only comes from inventive accomplishment.

2. Expansive Ideas. Each student will think about the world in new ways.

3. Wide-eyed Wonder. Each student will be exposed to a view of life as an unfolding gift of infinite potential.

4. Unknown Connections. Each student will see everyday things from extraordinary angles.

5. Controlled Freedom. Each student will have fun with their art and their friends while maintaining appropriate personal discipline.

6. Underlying Principles. Each student will understand why I enjoy each project enough to teach it to them.

7. Unwavering Positivity. Each student will have at least one teacher who is always in a good mood.

8. Modern Myth. Each student will relate some part of the lesson to comic book superheroes.

9. Relative History. Each student will be able to understand the origins of the things they know and love.

10. Convex Consumerism. Each student will flip the script from consumer to creator – from audience to artist.

11. Trading-card Tickle. Each student will get one of my extra Vs. System cards at random as a reward for good behavior and trade them joyously with classmates.

12. Punctual Responsibility. Each student will have an art teacher who is  a model of consistency and is always exactly on time.

13. Unconditional Love. Each student will be valued and loved equally as a creative human being.

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High-pitched Squeals.

x-babies x-babies

“I wake up dreaming again.”

– Little Feat

I am done pinching myself. That card is real. The one deck archetype that I created all by myself, immortalized on official Vs. System cardboard. Life just keeps getting better for me. Being human in 2008 is simply exquisite.

One of the ways I maximize the human experience is a sort of deep reflection coupled with the urge to figure things out. So why do I like the X-Babies so much? I wonder.

x-baby

I think one of the main attractions to Chibi characters is the sense of vibrant color that youth infuses into the grey mental objectivity of adulthood. I don’t ever want to grow up.

x-babies

Kids retain an essential purity. People can be so cruel. They often grow increasingly ugly in attitude and perspective. Youngsters start fresh, and they represent the hope of remaining uncontaminated.

x-babies2

I also adore flying eyeballs, so I guess a certain quest for philosophical simplicity may be in play. I love to distill things down until they are a single point. Then, when I return to the complicated experience of humanity, it looks like a little child all over again.

atoms-001

That’s a photo of my classroom this morning, and it brings me to one more reason that I will always dig the X-Babies. Today I am teaching computer theory to second, third, and fourth graders. I explain how a silicon chip converts binary codes thanks to the ability of their individual atoms to be programmed to stay “on or off”. You can see the fabulous drawings that one class of seven-year-olds did scattered around the tables. Want another second grade artistic interpretation of the atomic-level workings of computer memory? Okay.

atoms-002

That, however, is not the thing that I feel every time I see the X-Babies bursting forth from their new Vs. System card.

When my son was four or five years old, I taught him about atoms. They are spinning bits of matter that are really made of energy, and there are no batteries inside. He figured out, in true X-Baby style, what that means.

“God is in the atoms!”, he said.

It was the best explanation I have heard, and I have been squealing like this ever since.

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President Obama, the Artist.

murphy4

My formal education was focused on Fine Arts, yet I consider every person an artist. No matter what you do or how you do it, you have your own sense of style.

But.  If we do not rescue the Arts at this turning point in our nation’s history, our cultural identity will be reduced to basic marketing and data processing. We will all still be artists, but we won’t be any good.

When it comes to the visual arts and Arts education, we are in trouble. The struggling economy combines with an emphasis on high-stakes standardized tests to strangle the creativity from our national voice. Arts programs and teachers are being cut from the system like blooming branches, leaving nothing but a bare trunk.

That is the main reason I focused all the energies I had on electing Barack Obama as President of the United States. After our completely exhausting, yet utterly satisfying victory, the new website change.gov was launched. I rushed over to see how the platform for the Arts contained in my first link had been preserved. Boy, was I in for a surprise.

Before I go any further, I would like to introduce the work of Michael Murphy, exhibited in the Blackridge Gallery at Georgia College & University. The magnificent drawing at the top of this post is his, and his wire sculpture knocks my socks off.  Mike was gracious enough to give me permission to host his stuff here, but you really need to visit his site to get the full effect. Again, that’s www.mmike.com. It will enrich your soul.

The swirling uncontrolled greed that George W. Bush and his cronies unleashed on our nation has depleted the resources necessary for the Arts to thrive in our schools. Barack Obama understands that “The Art Spirit” needs to have a home in education and in our culture as a whole. He clarified his position a bit more within an issues page on change.gov, and he actually admitted that he considers himself an artist!

Barack Obama’s Plan

Arts

Our nation’s creativity has filled the world’s libraries, museums, recital halls, movie houses, and marketplaces with works of genius. The arts embody the American spirit of self-definition. As the author of two best-selling books – Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope – Barack Obama uniquely appreciates the role and value of creative expression.

At first I was conflicted. Whoever wrote “as the author of two best-selling books” should have known how crass and common that pitch would sound. When I calmed down enough to understand what it was trying to say (taking out the “best-selling” would help for me) I realized that basically…

Our new President Elect considers himself an artist. As should we all.

John Lee took that photograph. It was two years ago, as Barack the Artist was sharing his work with an appreciative audience during a book signing. His chosen medium has changed drastically in 24 months. He will now be molding the clay of the entire planet.

Of course the tiny blurb about the Arts on the new website is nothing substantial. It is still more than we have heard from anyone this close to the ability to enact real change. Combined with the call for feedback sitting one click away from it on the page, it is more than enough for me.

Our cries have been heard, and understood, and championed by a fellow creative soul. President Obama, we salute you. Artist to artist.

By Joe Raedle, right down here in Miami.

By schwa242 at deviantart.com.

By artumus-gonzo at deviantart.com.

By roberlan at deviantart.com.

Whatever your style, whatever your most important issue, make sure you click around on change.gov until you find something to add to the new national suggestion box. There is a new day rising for feedback between the government and its people. Be creative with it, and express yourself. We are all artists in our own way. And now we have a President who understands that.

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Getting in the Spirit.

This, the month of all months, is almost halfway gone. What are you going to be? Today I’d like to share with you some of my students, turning themselves inside out.  Boo!

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