During my time here at Artsbridge I have found some time to work on my own drawings and paintings. As I’ve written before, my own art process is incredibly important to me and it has been an invaluable method in helping me to unwind and process my feelings at the end of the long, intense, and exciting days with my students. Here are a few pieces that I’ve worked on in my free time here…They are a mixture of materials, including paint, marker, and collage.
Today I asked the students to pick a an image from a magazine or book. Then, using a handmade viewfinder (a piece of paper with a small square cut out from it) they found a section on the art piece that they were particularly drawn to. By concentrating on only the square seen through the viewfinder they were able to explore the idea of mini-compositions within a larger composition and play with the idea of abstraction.
After finding the new image within the larger image, I had the students do a sketch of that section. From the sketch they created a painting in acrylic.
Here are a few examples of their work from today:)
The students finished the mural today and it is incredible! It is moving, connected, powerful, and a testament to the collaborative creativity and effort that they are capable of. They have titled it (tentatively) “The Dreamer.” Enjoy the pictures!
To see a larger version of the pictures just click on it 🙂
Today the kids began a large group mural as a collaborative art project. It was one of the most amazing art experiences I’ve ever witnessed. The kids were faced with many challenges and I deliberately stepped back a bit to see how they would come together creatively. Challenges to address included: how do we begin? how do we all paint on a canvas that isn’t large enough for all of us to paint on at the same time? should we have a theme? how should we execute the theme if we do have one?
In the beginning many of the students looked to me to tell them how to start, but I gently encouraged them to speak with each other and come up with a plan that included everyone and made everyone feel good. As I receded into the background for a while, I watched as the Palestinian and Israeli teenagers came together on their own, and began the mural.
The next two hours were astonishing to watch. They came up with a system so that everyone would rotate and have time at the canvas. Where one left off, another began. There was no fighting and everyone seemed genuinely happy with the direction that the mural was taking.
Without any prompting from me, they decided to create a mural that addressed the conflict as well as the dream of peace. In the middle is a girl, who they call “the dreamer.” She lives on one side of “the wall” which is represented by the grey areas and the bombs bursting behind it. To the right is her dream – of a peaceful time. A beautiful tree with an eye symbolizes what “the tree sees everyday, but is unable to speak of.” The tree is beginning to reach over to the other side of the wall, and seems to be forming a protective canopy over the dreaming girl.
Metaphorically I could not help but see the stretched canvas as a symbol of the disputed land and the conflict between the Israeli’s and Palestinians. Here the teenagers were presented with a relatively small canvas (small piece of land) to work on, with not enough room for everyone to “touch” at once. However, despite this seeming challenge they came together almost seamlessly to create art.
Tomorrow morning we will finish the mural and I will post the finished mural pictures. This piece will be one of the many art pieces on view during the Artsbridge Gala on August 6th, here at Boston College’s gallery. In the meantime, here are some pictures of the students in different phases of the project, and some of the almost finished mural.
During our fourth class I handed the students a piece of paper with four pre-drawn circles. We then talked about the four elements and different qualities associated with each – the four elements being: Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. The paintings were done in watercolor and the students really responded well to the medium – some using it more fluidly, while others used it as an opaque paint (by using less water). Here are some of their pieces!
Here are a few pictures of the students in action…the group pictures were taken as they got ready to decorate for a birthday today! Their goal was to create one of the longest paper chains they’ve ever seen, and I think they succeeded! At least I’ve never seen one quite as long! The process of piecing the paper chains together – cooperatively – was a beautiful experience to observe. Each link strengthened the next until it was strong enough to hang up. They worked so intently on it and with so much love for the birthday girl! (The birthday girl was incredibly touched by the decorations) 🙂
Collage Exploration: The class was given a large pile of assorted colored and decorative paper. Students were asked to tear or cut pieces of the paper up and then create a collage with the paper. Collages could be completely abstract or they could be slightly representative of things (i.e. trees, animals, a face etc). Before beginning, I showed the students a variety of work from different collage artists and emphasized the idea of composition and color in the creation of their collages. Here are some of their finished pieces!
Mark making exploration: Each person divides a piece of paper into 4 boxes. Four different songs are played (ideally in different styles/genres). After each song is played, the students make “response marks” that represent what the song feels like visually to them (i.e. dots, squiggles, triangles, crosshatching etc). It is interesting to compare and contrast the different drawings at the end, to see how different students visually interpreted the same song.
The students seemed to be very engaged – especially connecting with the relationship between the music and the mark-making. We talked about the way that visual expression can also be seen as “making music visible.”
In the second part of the assignment, the students created a new drawing that could only consist of the four types of mark making that they had used in the first part of the exercise. Here are some examples of the wonderful art they created!