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Art Fundamentals - Assignment 1

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Aidan MacGregor

on 30 September 2014

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Transcript of Art Fundamentals - Assignment 1

Art Fundamentals - Assignment 1
Learner Centered Art Experiences
My art piece was “Drawings of an Apple”
“… Informed engagements with the several arts is the most likely mode of releasing our students’ (or any person’s) imaginative capacity and giving it play… The point is that simply being in the presence of art forms is not sufficient to occasion an aesthetic experience or to change a life.” (Greene, 1995)
The art participants experienced the creation of fruit drawings, prints and stencils using a range of different techniques. These involved a variety of mediums including pen, pencil, ink and acrylic paint. The artists were encouraged to be “fruit detectives” and investigate the real features of their fruit and recreate these using a realistic approach. The artists were given both looking and thinking time to identify the true features of the fruit which is an imperative part of art creation according to Perkins (1994).
Throughout this lesson, the art participants learned how to pull apart the different characteristics of fruit by incorporating feel and touch techniques, as well as the visual aspect into their investigation. This enabled the participants to fully understand and realise the true shape and texture of the object that may not be immediately captured by the eye. The artists were encouraged to explore each angle of their fruit and make sketches showing the differences. The artists experimented with different techniques including line, shading, dots and scribble to create an aesthetically pleasing drawing that incorporated elements of depth and realism. This lesson also allowed the artists to learn of the difference between positive and negative space and the importance of this when creating stamps and prints. Layering and repetition were also largely covered in the stencil and printing sections of the activity.
As a researcher I learned how beneficial it is for art participants to learn through their own experience. This lesson allowed each individual artist to explore and discover different techniques in art making. There was no demonstration of what was right or wrong or what to do and what not to do. The guidelines were simply set to inform the participants what their overall goal was. This allowed the artists to really experiment with their learning of different techniques and be creative.
The process of art learning is different to many other forms of education. The unconstrained approach to art allows its participants to truly think creatively and use their imagination to experiment and make accidents (Heath Brice & Wolf, 2004), accidents that may not be accepted in the learning of other subjects. Art is truly a case of trial and error and it is this that makes a work of art unique and meaningful to not only the artist but to the public as well.
This particular approach of learning-based teaching is beneficial for both teacher and learner. It acknowledges the imagination and creativity of the learner while giving the teacher a chance to learn about his or her students and perhaps find ways to enhance their learning in other areas based on these experiences.
The teaching of this art activity is extremely important in the attitude and success of the art participants. While this is a learning-based practice, the teacher must provide a precise and realistic goal that he or she expects the students to achieve. It is important that these are simple; yet challenging while also allowing the participants room to experiment and make mistakes. Burton (2000) states the importance of providing the artist with a psychological view of learning rather than an artistic one in order to deter from the non-artistic participants losing interest and receiving “arty” criticism. This lesson requires the teacher to circle the room constantly and provide ongoing assessment, individual interventions and encouragement to all students (Hetland, Winner, Veenema & Sheridan, 2007).
The learner-centered approach is an ideal way for teachers to defer from their usual position in the centre of students’ attention and gets to know their students and observe them on their artistic development (Hetland et al., 2007). It is very important to occasionally hand over the reigns to the learners and let them discover and learn through their own means.
This lesson perhaps was slightly rushed when practiced and I believe that those who were less artistic would feel more comfortable and reach their full potential if there was a less stressful time constraint. Apart from that, this art activity was found to be successful and an idyllic way to start off the unit. Students were able to become not only “fruit detectives” but art detectives as well and explore their artistic talents and boundaries.
Connecting Art Practice, Historical and Critical Investigations
My Art Piece was Creative Common’s "Kiwi Fruit"
“… Art, like all creative thinking, is marked by accident and experimentation should be no surprise.” (Heath Brice & Wolf, 2004)
Throughout this lesson, art participants had the opportunity to take a famous artwork and critically investigate it and recreate the work as a mural. This practice was done in a group challenge where all members were encouraged to participate in the research, break down process and recreation of the art piece. The investigation part of the lesson allowed students to look critically at the image and break apart the meanings, emotions, messages and purposes that the original artist perhaps was trying to convey. This encouraged the participants to really get to know the piece and look past just the visual elements. Artists experienced working with different mediums such as paint, ink and watercolour and also a number of different tools including rollers, scourers and sponges. The art participants were constantly encouraged to critique their artworks throughout the process of creation.
The artists learned the lengthy process of recreating a famous artwork and the importance of critically investigating it before doing so. Wilks (2005) encourages teachers of today to be able to use examples of different arts that provoke their students to explore issues and deepen their thinking. The artworks that were provided to each group had a different story, technique, era and meaning so therefore each group had to make their own decisions about how to successfully recreate the piece. The group assigned roles to each member including an art director and a colour mixer. This encouraged each member of the group to be a participant and have an equally important role in the task.
As a researcher I learnt how important it is for students to have the ability to critically investigate a piece of art. Art is produced to convey stories and provoke feelings and emotions. It is a necessary skill to have particularly when recreating the work and using the original artists concepts and ideas to do it justice. Looking at the work and thinking about the image that is displayed, then researching the background of the artist and making connections between their personal life and the emotions they were trying to reproduce through their art (Perkins, 1994). The connection from the investigation of the artwork to the practice of painting proved a great way for students to be engaged in their work. They were so familiar with the work from their previous research that the process of recreating the work seemed a simple process. It is imagined that if a group of students were simply given a picture and instructed to paint it without critically analyzing it, the result would have not been the same.
I understand the importance of this teaching approach, as it requires the students to find the background meanings and information of a certain piece of art and make a connection from that to how they want to recreate the piece. They are learning initial information and then using that to make their own decisions about how they want others to learn through the creation of their own artwork.
The teaching part of this lesson is important in the way that the students must have an idea of where they are headed with the activity. A teacher has to encourage the artists to be excited about the process and also aware of the connection that they are making between the original artist’s ideas and beliefs and their own depiction of these. The teacher’s role is also to encourage the students with their artistic ability and provide constructive feedback and continuously remind them to ‘take a step back’ and observe their own work. The purpose of critiquing the artwork as it is being created “is to understand and evaluate the work and working progress, and to look forward as the individuals begin to envision possibilities for how to proceed.” (Hetland et al., 2007)
This approach to art education is an important one for a student’s artistic development. Art is all around us and it is a shame when the viewer is not able to recognise the story behind an artwork because they have not been taught how (Koster Bouzer, 2001).
I believe that this activity in an art lesson is hugely beneficial to the students and their growth in art appreciation. Not only do students have to participate in the theoretical aspect but they also have the chance to use this theory to better their practical experiences in art.
By Aidan MacGregor
Burton, J.M. (2000). The Configuration of Meaning: Learner-Centered Art Education Revisited. Studies in Art Education, 41 (4), 330-345.

Greene, M. (1995). Art and Imagination, Releasing the imagination: essays on education, the arts, and social change (pp. 122-133). San Francisco, USA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Heath Brice, S. & Wolf, S.A. (2004). Hoping for accidents: Media and technique, Visual learning in the community school (pp. 4-8). London, England: Creative Partnerships.

Hetland, L., Winner, E., Veenema, S., & Sheridan, K.M. (2007). Studio Structures: three flexible teaching formats [Chapter 4], Studio Thinking: the real benefits of visual art education (pp. 21-30). New York, USA: Teachers College Press.

Koster Bouza, J. (2001). Aesthetic Development, Bringing art into the elementary classroom (pp. 164-213). Calif, London, England: Wadsworth/Thompson Learning.

Perkins, D.N. (1994). Giving Looking Time, The intelligent eye: learning to think be looking at art (pp. 36-46). Santa Monica, USA: Getty Center for Education in the Arts.

Wilkes, S. (2005). The Visual Arts as a Thinking Tool, Designing a Thinking Curriculum (pp. 71-83). Camberwell, Victoria, Australia: ACER Press.
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