Tag Archives: art teacher

Rite of Spring

21 Mar

stravinsky 1952Great teen art class yesterday. We looked at album art from the last 60 years, discussed design styles by decade and the signifiers of genre. I made up a couple of quizes using Pinterest boards, where they had to guess the genre or year an album cover was designed.

We talked about the 5 purposes of design (descriptive, utilitarian, emotive, decorative, narrative). I got that from my neighbor Steve Aimone’s excellent book Design: Lively Basics for Artists and Craftspeople.

Then they paired up and each had a chance to be the musician client and the designer, creating ideas and sketches for a new album. They really got into it.

I try to coordinate the music I play while they work, with the theme of the class. There were way too many choices this time.

One of the album covers I showed them today, as an example of a decorative purpose for design, was this one by Stravinsky. Being the first day of spring I decided to play his amazing piece The Rite of Spring. The bassoon at the beginning is so evocative, and those drums with brass later are primal. Paul Rosenfeld, in 1920, wrote of it “pounding with the rhythm of engines, whirls and spirals like screws and fly-wheels, grinds and shrieks like laboring metal”

Genius. Also played Hotel California for a little variety 😉

At some point I want to share some of my lesson plans online. I get my best ideas from other art teachers doing that. Incredible Art  is a good source, and Pinterest is amazing. Thank you awesome art teachers out there for helping me inspire these kiddos!

Seems easier for me to write about teaching than art making.


Art Teacher

11 Mar

It should not be hard for you to stop sometimes and look into the stains of walls, or ashes of a fire, or clouds, or mud or like places, in which…
you may find really marvellous ideas. 

Leonardo da Vinci

fairy class 1

my samples of abstract emotion painting

I’m an art teacher among many things, and have found unexpectedly over the last two years that I really enjoy it. I started offering the classes as a way to trick myself into doing some art. But it brings its own rewards.

I try to design each class for the specific kids signed up (knowing many of them ahead of time from the homeschool community helps). I look for ways to engage them, yet sneak in academic stuff like history and geography. I can get them to consider challenging ideas along the way by using games, wide ranging examples of art, and interesting conversations.  Talking and listening to them like adults helps. Focusing on the process and not the product helps.

Kids naturally want to make art but they have confidence issues. Some have already learned what’s “good” and “not good”. Just like grown ups. My mission is to help them recover their curiousity and undo the preconceptions. To show them the surprising possibilities of art – the power and the fun of it.

The first Fairy Art class went well yesterday. The kids responded to the Rapunzel story and the process of abstract painting. They had a lot of ideas about emotions and colors. The basic class structure I designed seems to hold up and the girls (ages 8 to 10) seem to be easy and open.

In another life I would have liked being an art teacher in a school, with my own room full of supplies, big tables, inspiring quotes on the wall and a parade of young artists coming through.