Friday, October 18, 2013


News from the Art Studio @ Capitol Hill School

 October 2013

In case you haven't clicked on the Philosophy and Expectations tab, I have copied that page here.
As a brand new program and a brand new teacher to Capitol Hill, you don't know me nor how I approach teaching art.  People have lots of different views on how it should be done because it has been an unregulated, undefined subject area for years and years.  That suits me fine as I am an independent thinker and over my years of teaching, have developed a philosophy that is effective with students at differing developmental stages and true to my experience as an artist and teacher.

Teaching Philosophy – Visual Art

Someone said “Art documents the human experience.”  I believe that statement is true.  Art gives us a window into the thoughts and perspectives of the artist (student who makes art); it is a graphic version of communication in its literal (representative, recognizable objects) and emotional forms (color, texture and shape).   Teaching of communication skills combined with guided opportunities to practice is a valuable portion of any education.  Art skills and concepts are completely learnable and in my experience they are often easier for students to master than many of the other concepts and skills taught in school. 

Humans are meant to make things with their hands.  It is only in very recent history that we have become major consumers and not makers of stuff.  We need to and enjoy making and manipulating materials, assembling layers and understanding the sequence of building processes.  The making of art or art activities are important to satisfaction in our lives.

Famous artists are wonderful and historically interesting, but they are just human.  My teaching strives to demystify art and artists.  What they do is not other-worldly and impossible to recreate.  Artists are just people who took the time to learn skills and commit to their craft and follow through with their ideas. We/students can be artists too when we decide to make intentional effort to master skills (at our own developmental level), control materials and communicate our inspirations and ideas visually.

Expectations for Art Students of all ages

Students need to come to class ready to learn, with an open mind, and willing to try new activities.

The classroom expectations for behavior are no different than a regular classroom, in terms of attentively listening to the explanation, lesson and each other as we brainstorm and discuss the possibilities.  Students need to use their best judgement and respect for the tools, materials and each other.

I expect each student to try and to work to hone his/her skills, so his/her finished product is the best it can be and clearly understandable to whomever views it.  Learning to wrestle with a project, critiquing and needing to rework it, builds persistence of character and the confidence that effort retries and restarts can become successes (and often do).
The end result is that the student will "own" his/her work and be able to take full credit for the accomplishment.

Children have great ideas, a strong sense of color and balance and composition (how it all is arranged).  Art training and the opportunity to work with materials and learn to handle those mediums effectively gives the kids a chance to create and communicate successfully in visual way.

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