Only been working on this for 2-3 months. I think I’m finally satisfied with it, although no art is ever truly finished as they say. it’s a good 18×24 inches on nice thick sturdy watercolor paper. It started out gouache but has had lots of layers of spray acrylic sealer on top of both alcohol markers and pen and ink work, so I guess you’d have to call it “multimedia.”
My alma mater, Concordia University, Nebraska (CUNE) were the bulldogs and while the last six years were pretty bumpy, I’m proud again to have been teaching as a Boyer Valley Bulldog for my 22nd year now.
So as much as I like it, I’m not sure what to do with it. Leave it in my classroom I guess. I’m tempted to enter it in the Iowa State Fair next Summer, but my ego is still a little bruised from having two paintings declined by them this last Summer.
Part of me wants to offer it to the Booster Club to auction off, but their annual Jersey Auction isn’t till next September or October and that’s a long time to wait.
I guess I’m willing to sell it even though my conceited primadonna artist ego would kinda like it hanging in some college or high school office in either Seward or Dunlap, I’m realistic enough to know that’s not likely to happen.
I know my style is kind of eccentric (esoteric, unusual?) and isn’t very likely to match anyone’s couch or drapes, and it’s not framed or under glass, but maybe there’s some fan of Georgia, Gonzaga, Yale, Drake, the Marine Corps or Fresno State out there who’d like a big painting of an English bulldog. I had planned on donating the proceeds to the Boyer Valley Art Department, but I’ll be honest, I hit a deer on the way to school a couple weeks ago and doubt the insurance company will pay enough for any decent used cars in today’s inflated market. But I promise that at least a portion of the proceeds will go to the Art Department. For more paint and poster board to paint on- if nothing else.
I could download one of the ads I’ve seen lately on how to price your art, but I suspect they’re all click-bait. Why don’t I just remind you that you’re not paying for the $30 watercolor paper pad or the $30 of paint, $60 markers, $1.95 pen and $3.95 clearcoat. You’re not even paying for the 2 1/2 months of time on and off, during lunch, planning period, after school & or occasionally during Painting class. You’re really paying for 29 years of Art teaching experience, 27 years of being a bulldog and 42 years since I made up my mind to be some kind of an artist. That, and whatever imagination, creativity, heart, soul & love you think I put into it.
Too expensive for ya? That’s fine. I’ll try not to think of it as “my stuff is too weird, nobody’d ever want to actually buy it” and think of it more like “dang, I like this, how could I ever bear to part with it?” and since I’d just keep it either hanging or in some drawer in my classroom, eventually when I die, get fired, or retire in 2035 (whichever comes first) it will be discovered by either my replacement, a custodian or some nosey kid and they’ll get it for free. That’s fine too.
For other ways to support the Boyer Valley Art Dept. just visit https://bvartdogs.wordpress.com/support-us
FYI- this blog post was way too long for Instagram or LinkedIn. If you buy this painting, I will print this off & tape it to the back.
Teaching the Whole Artist
There are many reasons to make art. Four of the most obvious are to show things, to arrange and design things, to share feelings or experiences and as a tool to communicate.
I hope that by helping students see that there are qualities in any artwork that don’t just represent images, but also structural/design qualities, expressive qualities, and technical qualities, they can see that Art isn’t only for those who already have expert drawing skills.
I also hope that they can see that there are skills and concepts to be learned from visual art that are useful in every other class and every vocational field. Art teaches kids to observe, plan, organize, reflect, contemplate, think, scrutinize and make decisions. Learning about Art helps you learn about anything and Art lessons make for better business people, engineers, health care professionals, scientists, mechanics, farmers, entrepreneurs, writers and thinkers.
Learning to Look
& Learning to See
The learning cycle I tend to follow in most of my classes reflects what the J.Paul Getty Institute in Los Angeles used to promote as “Discipline Based Art Education (DBAE).”
We follow the four basic “Art Diciplines” in order to learn through Art History & Appreciation, the study of Aesthetics (Design), Art Making, and Art Criticism. Students are introduced to important artists, artworks, and styles or movements throught history and how culture effects art and how art effects society. We learn about the Elements and Principles of Design and the “Design Process” of problem solving. These aren’t just things that artists use, but are applicable in all kinds of areas of school, life, and work.
Of course we apply what we learn to making art ourselves. I try my best to model this for students by creating with them, not just especting them to make artworks themselves. In Middle School “Exploratory” classes we survey a variety of media; drawing, painting, collage and computers. High School courses tend to be more focused on specific media; Drawing, Painting, Ceramics, Photography, Commercial Art, and Yearbook.
Process vs. Product; National Standards,
but Individual Attention
One of the benefits of teaching at a small community school is the lower student-to-teacher ratios we have. As a membber of the National Art Education Association (NAEA), I have access to current research and important trends in Art and Art Education. I try to integrate their recommended benchmarks on Creating Art, Presenting Art, Responding to Art and Connecting Through Art into my curriculum as much as I can but without losing sight of the learning needs and styles of our local community, each class and particular students.
I think that may be why I try to have the more holistic, and nurturing approach that I do, rather than a more aggressively competitive one. It all goes back to something one of my Art professors at Concordia University, NE once told me. Nebraska artist, Reinhold Marxhausen had been on ‘Late Night’ with David Letterman several times for his amazing sound sculptures, including the popular “stardust” metal stones that made ethereal sound like futuristic music. He taught us that Art isn’t just for famous painters, photographers or celebrity inventors (like himself). “Art is for everybody,” he said. From the farm kid in small town Minnesota like him, to Preschoolers, to adults in office cubicles, to the elderly in nursing homes.
That”s what I try to remember and that’s what I try to remind my students. Drawing isn’t just for photo-realists, it’s a thinking tool. Painting isn’t just for impressionists, it’s for anyone looking to relax or work through their personal issues. And especially these days, photography and graphic design aren’t just for professionals, they’re for anyone trying to communicate, plan, market or promomte something for themselves or their communities.
Art is for Everyone
We all need Art and ANYONE can “Art.” Why not make Art a verb instead of just a noun? It’s not for the privileged few. It’s for all of us. It’s not something to collect or own, it’s something to do and a way to be. Each student is, after all, a work of art.
ODE; A kind of poem devoted to the praise of a person, animal, or thing.
O.D.E.S.; A way to reflect on and gauge your growth and improvement as an artist.
For any given sketchbook entry,
you may focus on any one,
a combination or all four areas.
In the famous conclusion of his January 1941 speech, FDR named four “essential human freedoms”—freedom of speech and expression, freedom to worship as one chooses, freedom from fear (of armed aggression, for example), and freedom from want (for destabilizing “social and economic problems,” he pointed out, had birthed the appalling political movements that now threatened American security). In each case the president pointedly added that these freedoms must prevail everywhere in the world.
Each year before Thanksgiving, I have students listen to a portion of FDR’s Speech.
What Do Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms Mean to You? Consider Norman Rockwell’s iconic Four Freedoms paintings, then interpret each of FDR’s 4 freedoms for yourself, your own way.
Choose just one, or all four. Use large paper (12×16). I permit students to choose whether or not they want to use paint, colored pencil, or marker to color their posters once they’ve drawn them, depending on the age level, teachers can customize this to be full-blown paintings, collages, digital collages, or just sketchbook or art journal prompts.
At one time, I taught both 8th Grade Civics and 8th Grade Art- obviously this is a great way to integrate disciplines or develop cross-curricular projects. History/Social Studies students (including HS, not just MS) could analyze the text of the speech before creating an artwork. When I taught Civics, I liked to have students scan Eleanor Roosevelt’s preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) for influence of or allusion to her late husband’s speech.
Excerpt from President Roosevelt’s 1941 Annual Message to Congress
September 2018 | CBS SUNDAY MORNING–Norman Rockwell’s The Four Freedoms Today
Subject & Elements of Design
(Careful Observation & Accurate Depiction of source materials)
1 Needs Improvement
|COMPOSITION & DESIGN|
Formal Principles of Design
(Arrangement of elements effectively capture, maintain and direct attention of viewers)
1 Needs Improvement
|CREATIVITY & EXPRESSIVE IMPACT|
Content, Meaning & Impact Invoke Mood, Feeling Evoke Memories, Associations Provoke Reactions, Thought, Discussion, Action
1 Needs Improvement
Improving with or adapting to materials used.
|STUDIO HABITS of MIND|
Engaging, Persisting, Planning, EXPRESSION, Observing, Reflection, & Pushing yourself
1 Needs Improvement
NATIONAL VISUAL ART STANDARDS:
- VA:Cr1.2.8a – Collaboratively shape an artistic investigation of an aspect of present-day life using a contemporary practice of art and design.
- VA:Cr2.1.8a – Demonstrate willingness to experiment, innovate, and take risks to pursue ideas, forms, and meanings that emerge in the process of art-making or designing.
- VA:Cr2.3.8a – Select, organize, and design images and words to make visually clear and compelling presentations.
- VA:Cr3.1.8a – Apply relevant criteria to examine, reflect on, and plan revisions for a work of art or design in progress.
- VA:Re7.1.8a – Explain how a person’s aesthetic choices are influenced by culture and environment and impact the visual image that one conveys to others.
- VA:Re7.2.8a – Compare and contrast contexts and media in which viewers encounter images that influence ideas, emotions, and actions.
- VA:Re8.1.8a – Interpret art by analyzing how the interaction of subject matter, characteristics of form and structure, use of media, art-making approaches, and relevant contextual information contributes to understanding messages or ideas and mood conveyed.
- VA:Cr2.3.IIa – Redesign an object, system, place, or design in response to contemporary issues.
Some people think that the only art that is any good is art that looks likes something. The recon the more realistic it looks, the better art it is.
That’s fine if that’s your personal taste, but you’re 1) missing out on a ton of great art which isn’t realist, 2) you probably assume that you can’t make art yourself because you don’t have the skill to perfectly replicate everything you see and 3) why do we need people to draw or paint anymore because we all have cameras on our phones so ANYONE can capture perfectly realistic images without knowing diddly about art.
Just like there’s more purposed to shoes than keeping you feet warm, more purposes to cars than getting from home to work and more purposes to food than just nutrition, there is a whole lot more to art than just accurately depicting things you see.
A short list of purposes might go something like this
- SUBJECT VIEW- These are realistic images. Their main purpose is depiction
- COMPOSITION VIEW- The point here is arranging the elements of design (line, shape, color, space, value, & texture) using the principled of design (balance, emphasis, contrast, rhythm, hierarchy, scale, unity & variety). In other words, the structure, the layout, the juxtaposition, the design is the thing. This is what Picasso was after with cubism. Mind you, compositional work may be realistic, but not only could it be abstract, it could even be non-objective, because the subject and object and action aren’t the important thing- how things are put together is the important thing. Consider instrumental music. Why do songs have to have lyrics? You can be an excellent designer without being able to draw your way out of a paper bag. But good design makes great art even better.
- CONTENT VIEW- In Subject view the actors/models are the message- these are people, see the pretty people? In Composition view the media is the message- this is a painting, this is an artwork, see the shapes & colors? In “Content view,” the message is finally the message. The point of this artwork is the meaning, content, idea, concept, feeling, mood or experience that the artist is trying to share. Terry Redlands or Thomas Kincade may depict a tranquil, nostalgic or heart warming scene, but they paint a farmhouse, a cabin in the woods or deer nibbling on a snowman to share that mood, memory or moment. Mark Rothko just sits you in an empty room with a big indigo field and lets the color consume you and transport you to wherever your psyche thinks indigo is and lets indigo do whatever you conscienceless thinks indigo should do to you. Pop artists, Surrealists, expressionists and abstract-expressionists all manage to invoke mood, evoke memories and associations and provoke reactions with or without realistic imagery. Any of us can and should make art for catharsis sake, it’s very therapeutic. And again, realistic drawing skills help, but aren’t a prerequisite.
- Then there’s UTILITARIAN ART- the art that we take for granted, often people don’t even think of it as art, yet it’s everywhere. In fact, in a post-literate, globalized, and hyper-visual world, this kind of art isn’t just ubiquitous. Frankly, it’s the kind of art that makes visual literacy vitally necessary. I chose to categorize it as a “utility” or tool rather than calling it “commercial” art, because so much of it, even if designed by a commercial artist, may have a public service function, not just a sales or marketing function. Icons, pictograms, placards, logos, labels etc. etc. etc. This doesn’t just include branding and packaging, but warnings and directions too. These are images who’s main function is to communicate quickly and effectively. You can argue that art in the “Content View” communicates too, but I would say that Content view Art is like fiction, poetry and theater, whereas Utility View art is more like non-fiction, news, or user manuals. It’s not about concepts or feelings, it’s about directions and labels.
So how do we expose students to a wider variety of aesthetic views? I put mine on an art appreciation, aesthetics & art criticism scavenger hunt.
Students are challenged to find artworks which fit into each of the four Aesthetic Views.
Insert them onto Google Slide pages and then complete a brief aesthetic scan about each artwork. To the best of your ability, also complete a museum style “credit line” for each artwork. Think about what you think is appealing or unappealing about each artwork, and include it in your four short paragraphs about each artwork.
In this assignment, 8th graders were supposed to demonstrate one of the #PrinciplesOfDesign with a “re-boot” of #davinci’s #MinaLisa. This is my teacher’s demo/example. Watch @bvartdogs & our #Artsonia gallery for student artworks & to read their artist statements, here’s mine:
The radial balance of the clouds and chapel (it looks more like a mesa) draw the viewer’s eyes into Mona Lisa as the central figure, but her side glance at Frida leads our eyes onto her instead.
Part of me was wishing that I had started Mona to the left instead of in the center, because once I added Frida Kahlo, the composition became unbalanced and I wasn’t sure how to fix that. I thought a lot about who or what to put on the left side. I asked students and one suggested adding a third person. Finally I found Georgia O’Keefe’s painting of the mission church in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico. In a way, the church feels like a third figure, even though it’s a place rather than a person.
I think Frida Kahlo looks mischievous and maybe a little egocentric. I think that instead of an ambivalent smile, Mona Lisa’s whole face becomes ambivalent. I intended her to be looking skeptically at Frida, like “”what is up with you?”” But instead, I think she looks kind of charmed by Frida, more of a- “”alright, what are you up to?”” As if she’s “”game”” to be part of the mischief. I thought the chapel in the background would be neutral, or at most let you know this is Frida’s territory instead of Mona’s Italy- but I think it got too dark and seems sort of moody, as if things are about to get serious even though the women are both smiling.
Art teachers and historians who recognize the chapel as O’Keefe’s might think I’m trying to frame the famous model painted by a man by two woman artists, which I was.”
I’d give myself a B+ I’m not as happy with it as I thought I’d be. I don’t feel like their faces are quite the right proportions and the chapel looks too much like random mountains or mesas instead of looking exactly like O’Keefe’s painting- not that anyone can match her precision. I did receive positive comments from strangers on Instagram though, so maybe A-.
#artteachersofinstagram #arthistory #fridakahlo
Essentially this Studio Habit means to try new things. Maybe that means working in a new medium. Maybe it means trying a different subject matter. Perhaps it means doing what you’ve done before, but trying a new way of doing it. However you think of it- on the one hand it may mean moving outside your comfort zone, but on the other hand, it can mean letting go of rules and expectations and just letting yourself loosen up and have fun. Try new things without a plan. Make things up as you go along.
It’s always a great idea anytime you start something new to just explore, play and experiment. See what you can do, don’t worry so much about how it will turn out. Don’t be afraid of messing up.
The DaDaists and Surrealists were great at this. They wanted to connect with their unconscious minds so they’d engage in “automatism,” improvisational, serendipitous drawing and painting. Jazz music and improvisational theater.
One thing they’d try- like improv comedians, is to scavenge around for objects that suggested ideas to them. It could be trash, it could be natural, it could be junk in the garage, attic, basement, barn or wherever. It could be magazines or old photos or newspapers. Put things together in new ways and make collage (pictures), frottage (texture rubbings) or assemblage (3-D found object collage).
Here is a short list of easy ideas that would be perfect to try during quarantine.
- Instead of looking for pictures to draw on Pinterest or Google, look on your own phone’s picture folder! Pick something to try to draw or paint that you’ve already taken a picture of. Think it’s too complicated? Crop it into a simpler, but interesting composition. Draw the square or rectangle boarders first and then fill in the composition.
- Take a walk with your phone taking pictures of things you wouldn’t normally even look at. It can be around the block, around your yard, around your house or just around your room. Try looking specifically for examples of the elements of design: line, color, shape, space, texture, value.
- On that phone walk; look for things that look like other things. Socks that look like animals, food that looks like faces, bottles that look like buildings. Let your imagination go wild.
- PAREIDOLIA CHALLENGE; pareidolia is when you see faces in things that aren’t… well, human faces. Find as many things as you can that look like faces to you (that aren’t) and take pictures of them.
- On that phone walk; look for things that look like letters and then use those pictures to spell out words- even messages.
- Try drawing with something you don’t usually use. Usually draw with a mechanical pencil or a marker? Try using a wooden pencil, or a ballpoint pen or a Q-tip dipped in paint or ink.
- Don’t have paint? Try painting with coffee, tea, punch, juice or softdrinks.
- Try drawing on cardboard or a paper bag, wrapping paper, gum wrappers, old books or board.
- NOW- Now you have things on your phone that you could draw. Draw some of these new weird things you’ve taken pictures of.
PLEASE– Take pictures of your Art explorations and email them to Mr. Mallory, attach them to this post on Google Classroom, or best of all- upload them right away to Artsonia!
A couple of weeks ago I encouraged my Art students to do an “aesthetic scan” of a famous artwork. Last week, I assigned them to choose an artwork by another student at Boyer Valley and fill out a form giving them feedback.
But I also hoped you might also Explore the Art World (one of the 8 Studio Habits of Mind) by seeking out new art or artists working today that are still alive. This is kind of a good segway into another Studio Habit for this week, Stretch & Explore.
If you haven’t yet, do a search of Instagram, Pinterest or just Google with something you’re interested in (hunting, make-up, basketball, fortenite, whatever) and the word “art.” just see what comes up. When there’s an artwork you like, find the artist’s name and then look them up.
No big form to fill out or steps to follow, but why don’t you share their name with me, along with where they’re from, and what kind of art they make and why you like it. Either do it on a google doc like any other assignment, or just briefly in the comments below the assignment post in Google Classroom.
One is fine. More if you want. I have seven examples just so you can see how you might do it. Maybe you’ll want to look some of these up and be inspired to make something like one of them does. I found all of these just this week. The last two just last night in fact.
- Sari Shryack from Austin, TX is my favorite. I love her thick, painterly style and her bright bold colors. On Instagram she always posts two or three pictures of the steps she went through, not just the finished painting.
- Kadir Nelson was featured on CBS Sunday Morning this week. He’s an award winning children’s book illustrator. In some ways his realistic work reminds me of Norman Rockwell. He just finished a big painting about having courage and hope- perfect for this pandemic we’re going through.
- David Choe is a Korean-American street artist in LA. His expressive, busy style builds layers of chaos into really exciting images charged with energy.
- Steven Paul Judd I was looking up Southwestern art on Pinterest, like John Nieto, a favorite Navajo painter I liked when I was in high school when I stumbled upon this guy. He mixes Native American culture and images with pop culture and movies. Sometimes in paintings, other times in photoshop mash-ups. He’s hilarious, but makes powerful statements.
- David Hayward is a former pastor and author who draws cartoons satirizing how faith and religion. Mostly Jesus and sheep. They look so simple, silly and gentle, but he makes strong points.
- Scott Erickson is a painter, designer and public speaker. His paintings would make awesome tee-shirts or graphics. Incredibly simple and symbolic, but they really make you think.
- John Bozz used to work for Ray Gun shirts in Des Moines, but now he’s opened his own studio/shop. He made posters for the DNR that look like 1930’s National Park posters.
- Tara Hudson is an Omaha area graphic designer who specializes in prints, screen printing, and painting. Her work hasn’t quite matured yet, but she has a edgy, “neo-expressionist” style that reminds me of a lot of young artists in the late 80s & early 90s.
So what can you find? Skateboard art? Horse art? Minecraft art? Superhero art? Anime? Go explore. Tell us what you find.
Ideas for 6th Grade Art projects to try at home
Attached are links to my classroom website and a 6th grade Art Pinterest Board.
PLEASE SHARE YOUR ARTWORK!
When using Artsonia Classroom Mode on your Chromebook or thee free downloadable Artsonia app on your phone, be sure to use this access code: YDBW-PZJP
Also attached is a PDF from Artsonia with simple directions (& links to tutorial videos) to help you with using their app and/or classroom mode.