Week 11 - March 16-17

Week 11 - March 16-17

Perpich Center for Arts Education - Pat Benincasa - 5.5 hours

This is my last week at Perpich :( Very bittersweet for me. But my lesson was awesome!

I didn't spend too much time with the sculpture students this week, its still this crazy time at the school because seniors are putting up a senior retrospective exhibition in the school and there is only 3 sculpture students. And they were just sort of doing their own thing, so we just sort of hung out! Kind of a nice way to end my time with them (since I'm not the master sculptor… haha)

Student Work

I only had four students in the painting exercise, for the same reasons that the sculpture class was small. But this was perfect for me! I think I had a really nice, diverse group of students. Each one of them made very different paintings so that was good.

The actual lesson went really well. On Monday, I walked them through a power point with a ton (maybe even too many) of examples of artworks that demonstrated atmospheric qualities and complex edge relationships. Artists like Jeremy Mann, Sophie Jodoin, and Ann Gale were among them. There were a bunch of things I would do differently next time I give this lesson, I would have less images and wanted to have more discussion about the work. I was sort of blazing through the slides trying to show the students lots of examples and it was really nice when one of them would speak up and talk about something they really liked about a particular piece. 

Student Work

After the presentation, I did a short demo for them. I had them working on masonite board which was nice since they are very new painters and have only been working on canvas paper up till now. I think the demo was the most helpful part of the lesson, which I actually was not planning on doing. But I am now so thankful that Lynda talked me into it! It helped them a lot to be able to actually see the process of creating paintings with atmospheric qualities. 

I wanted them to work fast. They are used to having two or more weeks to create their assignments. Young artists also tend to think that detail is what viewers gawk over and what makes good art, but that is not always true. I didn't want them to use small brushes (a lot of them use the smallest brushes ever! Seriously like 1/4 or even 1/8 of an inch) and encouraged them to use palette knives. I brought them some nice metal ones that I really don't care for (they are too pointy to me) that I let them use and told them they could keep them. 

So the lesson was meant to allow them to work fast, and efficiently, and let go of obsessive detail-oriented painting and create specific shapes and marks and to activate negative space with mark making. I brought in images for them to work off of, to conserve time so that they didn't spend time searching for an image to use (some of them weren't too happy about that! But  they got over it.) I just wanted them to see this at a young age and have this method of mark-making in their back pocket… it didn't matter to me if they never painted like this again, but I wish someone would have shown this method to me when I was 17!

One student finished theirs the first day! Then showed up with a new one the next day. Actually, almost all of them finished before I had intended. I wanted to take away their images after the first day so that they could break away from the boundaries trying to copy a photo can have on an artist. I wanted them to react and respond to the painting was doing and what the painting needed, not look at the photo to see what they think the painting needed. But most of them did this anyway before I took the reference images away, and were done within minutes!

Pat was very pleased with the results, as was I! Each of them said that they would absolutely use this technique in work from now on. One students said they loved the palette knife and might never use a brush again. They said it was awesome to be so loose, and not concerned with "perfection" and obsessing over small details. It was an awesome two days.

I did have one student not finish, but her painting was looking beautiful So we critiqued the work in progress. She was using a palette knife for the first time and was doing so very effectively, she also tends to spend an outrageous amount of time on her paintings, so she was actually moving fast compared to how she usually works, and it was looking great, so we weren't mad :) And one student made two! So it made up for it and we had four and half painting to look at during critique on day two. 

The joy I felt from the students response to my lesson was ineffable. Such a great experience! I brought the students girl scout cookies and said bye to the seniors who weren't in the classroom with me. There was many a hug involved. I had such a great time here! Pat was an amazing mentor and I will carry this experience with me forever! I am actually very sad to be leaving… which I wasn't expecting. I think I really had great relationships with some of the painting students so I let them know that they can email me through my website anytime they would want a critique on their work or anything. I also made up a little student evaluation form for the students to fill out, which isn't required for my course, but I think it will be very helpful for me! 

See ya, Perpich! Its been great! 

I am now officially done with all of my placements required for the course, so this is my last journal entry, there are just too many goodbyes happening this week! What an awesome experience I've had this semester… Can't wait for more to come! 

Week 10 - March 9-10

Perpich Center for Arts Education - Pat Benincasa - 6 hours

The seniors at Perpich get to do a retrospective gallery show of their work at the end of each school year. Monday was the first day that they were released from classes to begin exclusively working on the retro show, so things were a bit crazy around the visual arts department! 

I came in a bit early on Monday to show Pat my lesson plan… She gave me some very good and specific feedback! I think it will be a great lesson, Pat was very excited about it also! She said that she wishes her seniors would be able to attend. I do too! I've made some good connections with them and it would be a really great experience to be able to teach them something valuable that they would take away from my lesson and remember forever! Just the 5 students will be a really great experience for me, though. I will be giving a presentation on edge quality and atmospheric perspective, and giving students work time on Monday, and continuing work time and finishing up with critique on Tuesday. It should be a great lesson!

So, being that the seniors were out of class doing their own thing, I only had three students in the sculpture course, and five in the painting course. Pat was needed by the seniors to help answer questions so she was running around like crazy and pretty much left me in charge! So this week I was able to just sit and talk with the students some more as they worked on their projects. The sculpture students were given a assignment to make a mobile sculpture suspended from the ceiling, and the painting students were working on a long, vertical, foreground-middleground-background painting. 

I gave the painting students a little heads up about my lesson and some of them seemed very interested! I'm excited! Only one more week and I'm all finished with my placements. It will be bittersweet. 

Week 9 - March 2

I was unfortunately very sick this week and wasn't able to make it into Perpich. I am way over on hours for the course so it will be nice to have a break, and I won't have to make up these two days.

Last week when I was at Perpich I talked to Pat about my lesson - we both didn't realize how fast it is coming up! We decided on my last two days I utilized the time to brainstorm and problem solve my lesson plan that I will be teaching on Monday the 16th and Tuesday the 17th. 

In my own work I utilize atmospheric qualities very often and think that these techniques can be very useful for artists to learn about, especially young artists. I find that young artists can find themselves focusing on "perfection" in painting, trying to make everything clean and crisp… using tiny brushes… punching themselves in the head if the artwork doesn't look exactly like the photograph. I want the students to focus on the edges in their paintings, and try to communicate to them that incorporating different mark-making techniques and complex edge relationships can activate negative space, and make even the most "boring" paintings very interesting.

I think this will be an extremely valuable lesson for these students to hear! I  am only going to have five students in the classroom on the 16th and 17th because the seniors at Perpich are released from classes to work on a senior retrospective show. Its okay though! The smaller group of students will give me good one on one time with each of them and will make critique a bit more comfortable for some of them I'm sure. 

Only two more weeks and I'm done with my placements! I'm getting excited! 

Week 8 - February 23-24

Perpich Center for Arts Education - Pat Benincasa - 5 hours

Back to Perpich! I wasn't there last week because they had Monday and Tuesday off for President's Day and staff planning. It felt like it had been such a long time since I had seen the students! The sculpture class has been working on a 2D-into-3D project, where they have to incorporate a 2D image into sculpture, I saw Pat assign this project at the end of critique last time I was here, so it was interesting to see how far the students came! They were due very soon so most of the students were already done.

The painting class was assigned a painting that had to focus on negative space last time I was there. And again, most of them were almost done with them completely. When walking around, talking with students I found two that live in my neighborhood! And one of them went to my same high school before coming to Perpich. Another student went to Anoka High School, which is right around where I grew up and right by Coon Rapids High School, where I had just finished my other placement. So it was really nice to connect with those students in that more relatable, and personal way.

As I came around giving feedback, I got to one student in particular who was struggling. She wasn't even working on anything that I could see, and since she was an advanced painter, she makes her own assignments and has having issues with a big "creative block". She said that she had been experiencing this "creative block" for quite some time now, she wasn't feeling inspired, and wasn't liking anything she was making. 

Side note - last semester I went through John Gaunt's Operative Drawing course at MCAD, which was possibly the most helpful course I have ever taken in my life, as far as my art is concerned. The class was extremely processes based and experimental, and at the beginning of the course I was experiencing my own sort of "creative block," I was hating everything I was making, I wasn't having good critiques, my pieces didn't make anyone stop and look, or inspire good conversation. And I felt like I was just going through the motions, and making things for the sake of making things and I didn't care about any of it. 

So basically my heart went out to this poor student who wasn't liking anything she was making and getting discouraged. I sat her down and talked her through what I went through last semester and just talked to her about my work. As well as some other things I had done that inspired me to make whole series of works, trying to get her to see all these different avenues there really is to art making and what can inspire us, as artists, and that if she likes to draw and paint, thats awesome, but maybe she needs to go take 400 photographs before she can get inspired to make a beautiful series of paintings, or maybe she has to forget about image and focus on materials and really find out what different materials can DO. I had a process book of all the work I did in Operative Drawing, starting with a abstract charcoal drawing that I did because I had to - for the grade, and going through all these steps, each one feeding into the other, eventually leading me to a completely self-driven, very resolved solution. I would argue it lead me to make the best work I have ever done. 

The following day I brought that in and showed her all the work I made in that course and what steps it took to get me there, and the risks and experiments I took part in while making the work. I also showed her another process book that simply shows a process of turning some night photographs into abstract monotype prints, and what the process of abstracting something is like (she said she had never really done anything abstract before).

It was a great two-day long conversation, at the end of day two she seemed very genuinely thankful and said that it was very inspiring and that she had some ideas she wanted to try out… so it was a successful week at Perpich, I think. :)


Week 7 - February 18

Walker Art Center - Ilene Mojsilov - 2 Hours

This week Ilene and I worked with people from LifeWorks, a group of adults with disabilities. Again, like last week, the group had a gallery tour as well as a creative activity. There was only eight people in the group, and they also had to do a project based off of a gallery space. 

Many of the group members loved Franz Marc's Blue Horses, a beautiful Fauvist painting, probably one of the Walkers most famous paintings! When Ilene and I passed out the little photos of artworks for the learners to use in their gallery spaces, most of them picked the blue horses! We had to assist them a lot, and do more prep than usual, but I think they had a great experience! After they picked their artworks for their gallery spaces, they arranged them on the walls, added wallpaper, frames, and benches and visitors. They also had to name their gallery. 

Again, Ilene had them go around and talk about their gallery. She gave affirming statements on how each gallery was different, and made sure that each group member got the most out of this creative experience. What a great week! Such a please to work with Ilene again, and with an amazing group of learners.

Week 6 - February 9-11

Week 6 - February 9-11

Perpich Center for Arts Education – Pat Benincasa – 5 Hours

This week at Perpich I got to sit in on a critique. Pat gave her students an assignment to create a "fantasy bridge," like an architectural model. The students were open to use any material they wanted, some were made of legos, others of trees, chains, toothpaste, styrofoam… the options were endless! What a great assignment - am I right? She started off teaching them about different kinds of bridges and that gave them some options to start thinking about, and left materials wide open. The critique was very different from anything I've seen in a high school setting, the students gave great critical feedback!

The painting students began a new assignment on a painting about negative space. I'm starting to get to know the students more and I'm building a bit more of a relationship with some of them. This will be very helpful when I teach, I think. 

Walker Art Center - Ilene Mojsilov - 3 Hours

I had my first session with Ilene Mojsilov at the Art Lab in the Walker Art Center. I had never seen the Art Lab before, it was a great space! I helped Ilene set up some materials for the group that was coming in. We had middle schoolers come in and do a project with us, based off of the gallery space. The Walker has a new exhibition up right now celebrating 75 years of the Walkers collection. I haven't had the opportunity to see the entire show yet but I will soon! It was interesting how instead of just having little artistic activities, she bases her projects off the the idea of the gallery. 

For the project, the students had to make their own small gallery. Ilene described the roles of the artist and the curator, and had the students assign two artists and two curators to a group. Then the artists picked out little photos or "artworks" and the curators arranged them in the little gallery space made out of foamcore. They had about 20-30 minutes to work on their spaces and then shared with the group. Some things I noticed were that when Ilene asked them about each others work instead of asking something along the lines of, "Which gallery space is your favorite?" When a group put their gallery space on display for everyone to see, Ilene would ask the viewers, "What makes this gallery special?" I thought that was brilliant wording. It helps support the idea that even the people who think their not creative, can still make something very special and different from the person next to them. 

After one group did the project, they went and did a gallery tour, the second group came into the project already having seen the gallery. It was very interesting seeing the difference in the two groups! I had a blast helping Ilene… All I did was man the hot glue gun station, but I had a lot of interaction with the kids, and saw their excitement and work ethic. It was a ton of fun! I can't wait to go back next week - we will be working with adults with disabilities. 

Week 4 - January 26-27

Week 4 - January 26-27

My first week back at Perpich Center for Arts Education, and the week of my Monotype printmaking lesson at Coon Rapids High School

Week 5 - February 2-3

Week 5 - February 2-3

Coon Rapids High School - Jennifer Latuff - 9 hours 

This was my last week with the students at Coon Rapids. It was very bitter sweet… I'm happy to have a placement finished, but I loved working with Ms. Latuff again, and her AP Studio Art students were great - I constantly was working with them and having great conversations. They were sad to see me go, but we made sure to take a group selfie, obviously. 

I was able to see the monoprint work the drawing 3 students did last week after my lesson. Some of them were absolutely beautiful! Others were very frustrated with the process - I had two students not turn in prints, which was unfortunate. It was interesting how grading the projects gave me even more insight to what I would change about my lesson plan and demo. Some of the students really understood the material and dove right in, which really reflected in their work. In the demo, I would put a higher emphasis on craftsmanship, color mixing, and mark-making.

Coon Rapids was a great experience! I'm sad to be done… even though I taught mostly with the drawing 3 class, I built much more of a relationship with the AP Studio kids. I wanted so badly to be able to stay with them through the process of completing their concentration pieces - help them problem solve, bounce ideas off each other, and help them grow and inspire them. I told the AP class to email me through my website anytime if they needed feedback, or wanted a critique, tips, or pointers on their work.

Goodbye for now, Coon Rapids High School, its been great! A huge shout out to Jennifer Latuff as well - you rock! Keep being an awesome teacher and changing kids lives, and thank you for this opportunity! You're the best! 

Perpich Center for Arts Education - Pat Benincasa - 6 hours

 I got to know the students at Perpich much better this week. Pat told me that I had to go and talk with EVERY student. This intimidated me with her sculpture class, being that I am more of a 2D artist and if the student was to ask a more technical question about building something that I might not be the best of help… but I soon found out that was a ridiculous premise. Even though I don't work in the same media, I was still able to have good conversations with a lot of the students. 

Talking with the painting students came a bit easier to me. These last two days have really opened my eyes about how important it is for a teacher to truly know a student. Have a relationship; be a mentor, friend, leader, and instructor all in one. Pat knows so much, and speaks about her work in such a inspiring and interesting way… she really knows how to captivate a classroom. I was a bit intimidated, I didn't want to "step on her toes" if you will, but after have great talks with the students, this became very easy, and fun! Some of the students were very intrigued by what I had to say about their work and it was easy to tell that they were genuinely grateful for my input and feedback. That felt good! 

I'm so excited to be at Perpich! I'm going to learn A TON… can't wait for what's next.

I start my shadowing at the Walker Art Center next week - stay tuned!

Week 3 – January 11-17

Week 3 – January 11-17

I  get to grade and assesses several students on a Life Drawing unit I taught them the previous week!

Week 2 – January 11-17

Week 2 – January 11-17

I start my second placement at Coon Rapids High School with one of my past teachers.

Week 1 – January 6

Week 1 – January 6

I start off my practicum course with day one at Perpich Center for Arts Education