I have been fortunate enough this week to attend the Studio Art AP Summer Institute at UTA. To be perfectly honest with you, I expected to sit in a chair all week and watch power point slides about how to teach AP art, but thankfully, I was very off. From the first day, our instructor, Patricia Winnard, challenged us with new projects to create and artistic problems to solve. We had to think outside the box and step outside our comfort zone to create 4 pieces that could be used in the breadth category of an AP portfolio in 2 days. She started by having us prepare backgrounds in unusual ways. Our first background started as a round robin collaborative piece. I was extremely lucky with my table mates, all of whom I consider to be friends after this week. In a table of 4, we each had our own drawing utensil and had about a minute to work on each piece on the table. The second prepared background we did was a "dancing pencil" inspired by rhythm of music - without looking, respond to the beat of music - pencil (or other medium) never leaving the paper. We were also given a still life to work on and a "Me in a Box" assignment which I will explain shortly.
Here are some photos of my completed work this week. One thing that I learned about myself is that I am extremely hard on myself about my artwork, and was pleasantly surprised by the feedback I received from my classmates. To me, these are thrown together pieces of art, but someone very sweetly told me I could build a portfolio around these pieces. And she was sincere, too! I loved the fact that the classroom environment was incredibly friendly, where we could give each other productive criticism respectfully and not just have to say "I like it" to avoid hurting someone's feelings. I got some great advice about my pieces which pushed them way further than they would have been had I been creating in a room by myself.
Here is a photo of my work on the wall during a peer critique. I loved having someone look at my work who could actually use artistic vocabulary with me and tell me that I needed a broader range in my background to foreground, that my line quality was good, and were I should increase my value. I haven't had an opportunity like this since college and I think I really needed it.
This piece started out as the collaborative prepared background. I was not married to what was on my paper, but one of the challenges our instructor set forth was that we were not allowed to throw anything away. We had to use it in some way. This is a brilliant teaching tool that I sincerely plan to employee with my advanced art kids. So the collaborative drawings ended up with a white wash, then paint swatches, then a tessellation, and then the architectural piece. This is definitely not my favorite piece, but I was surprised at the positive feedback I received. I can definitely say this would not have come about had the no throw away policy not been in effect.
This piece started out as my dancing pencil. If you look closely, you can see a dark swirly type line in the too left corner... This is the result of "Witchy Woman," I believe, haha. Like the last piece, this one was unsatisfactory in my scope of vision, so it received a wash of latex paint. Next, I attempted a photo transfer using Xerox copies and acetone, which ate through the latex, creating this great mottled effect in the paint. Obviously the photo transfer was unsuccessful. I had these great spots where the acetone had eaten through the paint, and I wanted to highlight them, so I painted the frame as an easy way to create a focal point. I spent quite a bit of time drawing inside the frame, but was ultimately unhappy with the lack of value and emphasis the drawing had. With about 30 minutes to finish this piece on the last day, I found some great classified ads in a Popular Science magazine from the 70's which inspired the inside of the frame and the Microscope.
This piece was one of my favorites to create. You know how much I love my Kitchen Aid mixer!! For this one, we started out with a collage on paper. I was intrigued by all the images I was finding of strong women, so I stuck with that theme. The next steps came from our instructor, who had us white wash over the collage and draw from a still life on top. In an experiment on depth of field, I added the irons in the middle ground, inspired by a social commentary piece I have seen with burnt iron markings. The next step was also from our instructor, to use scrubbers and sand paper to rub away the white wash to reveal some of the collage underneath.
And finally, my Me in the Box assignment. We were supposed to get adjectives from our classmates that described how they saw us. My adjectives were sunny, serene, and soft/cuddly. Can you believe those? Haha. I am glad i come across that way, but I was surprised. Those adjectives would inspire the outside of the box. Then for the inside, we had to give ourselves adjectives that we felt described us. Mine were unpolished, natural, and bold. I love this project and will definitely do this with my students this year.
This was a great experience and has ultimately given me a renewed sense if inspiration for teaching. I am full of new ideas for the classroom and look forward to this workshop next year.