Monday, October 25, 2010

owly & a compliment

Today I recieved a very kind compliment about my photography, and I clumsily deflected it with some crazy talk about it being all luck that someone can take 500 photographs, and get three good ones. I realize the ones I show off are nice, and I really will only admit I have a good eye for compositions, and how to best manipulate the light I've managed to catch through a lens. I do love my photographs.

A photographer once told another photographer, "Never let them see your crap!" I suppose this is necessary to uphold an illusion that we always take beautiful photographs. This may also be the reason many people feel they are not artists. Are all people really capable of creating good art? Or do they just not know it when they see it? Do I want everyone to feel they can make art? Or don't I?

Really, does it take an artist to shoot a photo? When I think about that, I realize it does not. Nor does it take any real talent to grab a camera and call yourself a photographer these days. So many people are making a living wielding a Nikon and a copy of PhotoShop. The more nonsense they throw out there, the more confusing the situation becomes. The public really does not know the difference. In fact, the more trendy it is, the more they seem to eat it up.

I have lately been concerned about the prevalence of trendy looking portraits, with no head. Purposeful decapitation. Deliver me please from portraits of a pregnant torso gripping her abdomen. I do not want to think about the headless wedding couple's snazzy outfits, I want to see their smiling faces! Plucked chicken infants served up naked on a shiny kitchen table in a crochet bonnet cause me to recoil.

Usually I do not find myself that excited about inappropriate trends in photography, but lately I have noticed more weirdness in commercial portraits than I can handle. And, yes, I can do better! Sincerely I can.

Meanwhile, I am headed in other directions.

Friday, October 15, 2010


In my secondary methods class we have been practicing co-teaching.

I sat through two lessons involving art teachers co-teaching with other content areas. One was physics or something, and for the art aspect of the lesson, we covered a tissue box with paper and used pipe cleaners and pompoms to create an atom. Mine was carbon. I went 3D. I was disappointed. What does covering a tissue box have to do with art? Since when is covering tissue boxes with paper for any other purpose than 2nd grade Valentine mailboxes? Is that an affront to our secondary grade level intelligence? Even so, I threw my creativity into the creation of this carbon atom, and in my delight at being the only interactive atom (you pull your tissue up through the nucleus of my carbon atom) I didn't really consider how kindergarteny that felt until about an hour later.

The other lesson was art/social studies/math. We were told to do a poster. Large sheets of paper and markers were plunked down in front of us and we were given instructions to "make a poster" about our assigned era of American economics. We got Reaganomics. A. I don't know enough about the subject to make a poster yet. B. Political poster making is only art if it's truly inspired by political angst or delight or something. I ended up writing an algebraic formula on the paper, and a big colorful dollar bill with a question mark in the middle of it. Then we ran out of time. On their rubric I did mention I wasn't sure what making economics project posters had to do with art.

Today we had an art/writing lesson with some very creative surrealist style writing, but the surreal style art was limited to an informative PowerPoint presentation. I had tons of fun doing the writing and was expecting to then illustrate some of our surreal if then statements. The first person was to write If statement, and then fold down the paper over their statement. The second person would write a Then statement, which was also folded down into the paper. The third person would write an If statement, and so on. I loved the lesson, and I believe illustrating the statements would have been a brilliant next move for the co-teachers.

My math teaching co-teacher and I taught a lesson on tessellation, which included a PowerPoint about tessellations and M.C. Escher, and a worksheet requiring work with five geometry manipulative stations which were set up around the room. Students were encouraged to experiment with translucent  polygon tiles projected by overhead projector on the white board. They were also given the opportunity to experiment with wooden polygon tiles, trace cardstock shapes arranged into tessellations, and also to make their own tessellation tile by cutting two sides of a perfect square notecard, and taping the cut away to the opposite edge, and tracing it in a tiled pattern as well.

As our hypothetical unit progressed, the tessellation ideas would be used to develop ideas for tessellated tile patterns. I came up with the made-up goal of submitting them to the fictional school board for possible use in new school buildings. Future lessons in our unit would be designing the tile patterns. My secondary methods professor was so convinced he had to ask, was this real? Would student ideas really be used in new schools, or was it just made up?

Now, I think it's an educational lesson. I think with a little more work it's going to encourage higher order thinking and introduce interesting concepts to students who might be math-haters (me!) to see math as a means toward making art, and hopefully less threatening or annoying of hateful. I don't think the lesson was perfect. I usually hit my stride after having some more time to live with a lesson (anyone's lesson) and really feel how the improvements need to be made. For example, I would really love to know why we need tessellations, so I could have answered that question. As far as I know, in art, we either use them to tile floors, or we use them because we can.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Photo transfers work well, except the little canvi are so little, the little words on the little artwork are a little hard to read. And, they turned out red, when I thought they would be black. Maybe I need to make a photo copy in black of the print I make in black, because it seems the printer used red ink under black ink, or something. And what I got was red. Still very interesting. I think I could ink over it, too.
So I'll play with that more over the weekend.