Teacher as Student… Student as Teacher

“Art” as a general term is a grand umbrella under which lives a vast and ever growing list of sub categories.  Drawing, Painting, Photography and Ceramics are just a few of the more common practices that come to mind when “Art” is mentioned.  However, the categories run so much deeper than that, especially as an “Art Teacher” in which you are required to be an expert for each.  Within every two days in the classroom I teach 7 different courses, Studio Art (which in itself is a buffet of art practices), Media Arts a computer based foundation in art, Animation, Sculpture I, Sculpture II, Illustration and Computer Graphics. And within each course there is a myriad of materials and process to know and teach. I often find the need to take classes to refresh, or even learn new processes to make sure my experiences can support the work that I am asking of my students.

Starting with Web Design (to help enhance my Computer Graphics course) I took two additional classes this summer, Sculpture and Printmaking.

I chose Sculpture because next year I will be teaching both a Sculpture I and a new Sculpture II course.  It is exciting that the 3-D classes at Hastings are growing as students that are more comfortable ‘building’ rather than drawing are finding a niche.

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Alabaster stone carving, still needs polishing.

Although I had many material options for this course I chose to focus on ‘subtractive-sculpture’ a process that I have only had a little experience with.  In just a few short weeks I was able to whittle away an alabaster stone to resemble a mother bird with a baby nestled into its wings. Although I still have a lot of sanding to do to finish my piece, I am please with the results and I am taking away a toolbox of studio practice tips and trips to make this process accessible to my students.  In September I’ll be introducing a unit on subtractive sculpture to my classes, but modifying the material as alabaster is just too time consuming and demanding for a HS classroom and student attention spans.

Printmaking has been another exciting endeavor over the summer.  Although I had prior experience with ‘intaglio’ printing, (which is a form of printing that requires acid to ‘burn’ marks into a metal plate) I wanted to learn a few less hazardous methods that would allow me to bring more printmaking experiences into my classroom.

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Mono-print. Dry-point, with mono-print skyline.

Throughout out the course I focused on mono-prints as well as dry-point prints and monotypes all created using inexpensive plexi-glass sheets. Both processes and the variations that can come out of them will be exciting additions to my both Illustration and Studio Art classes.

As the summer draws faster and faster to a close, I am now setting my sites back to Web Design in the hopes of getting my new website up and running before September.

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Never Enough Time

So here we are today, the last day of our Web Design Class and I am still tirelessly working out the details of my website.  As usual I am faced with the typical tug-o-war of too few hours in a day and to too many hours worth of work to complete.

Although my many professional and personal commitments have made this course a struggle time wise I am very pleased with what the knowledge I’ve gained over the last 5 weeks and the proud of the beginning that I’ve created for my personal portfolio site.     Throughout my early tinkerings with DreamWeaver and html my greatest frustration was aligning and organizing elements on the page.  I now understand the foundation concepts that used to send a picture I wanted on the top right side of the screen to the opposite side of the site.

Although there is still plenty to learn, I am leaving this course with a solid foundation in the basics of web design and the resources and confidence that I need to continue to explore this new avenue of design and technology.

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A walk through memory lane with my Portfolio; Where am I going?

In creating my layout designs this week I was forced to start sifting back through the archives of my illustration and art portfolios.  Although in a broad glance I’ve felt a severe imbalance from my ‘artist’ self while teaching, I’ve realized that much of my art work has just taken on a different form.  Although I’ve spent little time with a brush and canvas, other than a few commissions and gifts for family and friends, I realized that much of my recent work has been Design related, creating fliers, and logo designs for non-profits and creating the app graphics for my husband’s independent game company, AlgoCrunch Inc.

So despite my lack of easel time over the past several years, I realized that my artistic journey, and maybe even artistic identity are shifting, but not disappearing. Rather than feeling nostalgic and regretful, reviewing my portfolio has left me feeling a bit more empowered and motivated to further close the gap between my two passions.

Essentially, my goals for taking this Web Design class are three-fold;

First, the class will force me to find the time and energy to finally update my artist website which has remained static since my college graduation.  I need a site that I am proud to show, and represents me as the Artist and Educator that I am today.

Secondly to enhance my depth of knowledge as a as a teacher.  Especially as a teacher of Digital Arts it is imperative that I keep up with current practices, tools and programs so that I can continue to offer lessons and projects that align with the real world field of Media Arts.

And thirdly learning HTML 5 and CSS3 will enhance my knowledge of the web and application programming that my husband does for our company.  Allowing me to greater understand the specifics of graphic needs and how to make images in a more effective and efficient manor.

Despite the physical demands of time and energy I’m still inspired by this journey. To quote one of my favorite children’s books, “I think I can, I think I can…”

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Week 2

This week has been a challenge in balancing my professional work as an educator, student and artist.  Although I am physically tired, I find myself mentally stimulated and excited about continuing my design journey.

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Welcome to my blog.  This site is currently a digital ‘sketchbook’ for me as I navigate the world of web design.

Throughout the next 5 weeks I will be journaling and posting sneak peeks of my design as I continue to develop my site.

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