What I learned in school today…

First, try to find and read Art & Fear David Bayles & Ted Orland, or watch a few reviews on youtube on the book.

My teacher gave us a reading from the book and it was out of chapter 2. Looking through my notes, I took away from the reading: the process is the purpose of the journey, not the destination. In fact, the destination remains a moving objective for artists.

I might have been tired when I read the chapter, because I just finished an amazing series of reflective questions the teacher asked us to prepare for the next class, based on the reading. I missed so much in the reading and have a much greater understanding now. I’m sure it will change again after we have our class this week.

Until then, here are some of my first reflections on the subject (ie: my first answers to her questions).

A.1) – How do you deal with the fear of the unknown?

I let go of perfection and control over achieving exactly what I originally envisioned. I embrace the possibility that the outcome will be something far more revealing and introspective, that can further my self-awareness. (Hmmm.. I have to think on this… not clear even to myself.) I remind myself to let go of all self-judgement.

A.2) – How do you work through your fears of failure?

I embrace the process as an exploration and learning opportunity, thus the outcome, whatever is will be, becomes a gained learning experience.

A.3) – How do you think you can support your future students to address these fears?

By sharing my process and views on learning, exploration, and failures. By asking questions that help them see something different in their work and acknowledging how amazing that discovery can be.

B.1) – What is the destination of your artwork?

If I understand this correctly, it is either for public viewing or private reflection.

B.2) – Who is your community support that values your art?

Currently, it is from my social media networks and blog followers, with a few family & friends thrown in. I would very much like to expand it with more intimate connections in. a support group of fellow artists that can question and challenge my work. This will help me develop a better understanding of myself and my work.

B.3) – How can you create a community of mutual support in your classroom?

Establish ideologies and mindsets that there is no right or wrong work, that mutual respect starts with understanding each other, so ask questions about around the “why”: intentions, feelings, visions, process, etc… Share the work in class and invite open discussions. Create collaborative projects.

C.1) – How do you explicitly and tacitly reference your past artwork in the creation of new artworks?

I tend to work in series that explore materials, methods, and/or styles until an end of my interest. I actually say this to myself and state it in my posts and published descriptions where sharing the work. I allow myself to believe the possibility that the theme-exploration might resurface at some later time, should the inspiration for it hit again.

C.2) – How can your curriculum ask your students to reflect on their past artworks to inspire future works?

Establish that all work is playful exploration and the playing is the journey, not the product. Set series of projects that permit you to revisit themes and early work with new materials to use, new methods to explore, and new styles-perspectives to reflect upon.

D.1) – How do you develop an “imagination” of the possible in your artistic process?

This really became clear to me through ceramics when I embraced the reality that anything can happen in the kiln. It pushed me to study mistakes and fall in love with serendipity and the aesthetically unique possibilities mistakes bring. I allow the materials to work with the environment I’m working in; the moods I’m feeling during the making; and the physical state I’m in (tired, eczema flaring up, allergies or cold, energetic, mellow, etc…).

D.2) – How could you do this for your students?

Create activities to explore moods and feelings; how they are expressed by the individual and the group. Create reflective discussions on the work of the individual and on the similarities within the group. Invite expression of feelings on the work done: how one feels when viewing and/or making it, and why. Establish that play and discovery (PARTICIPATION) over form (PRODUCT) is the goal of the activity.

Onward Conclusions…

This is another step on the ongoing process of understanding. I may revisit this directly with additional feedback (notes) from the class discussion coming this week, or it may resurface again in a totally different activity. Either way, I invite you all to engage in this discussion in any way you desire and together we will develop a greater understanding!

6 thoughts on “Art & Fear – What to do about it in your classroom?

    1. Thank you, Sand. Even coming to the conclusion that my artwork is really art play has been a long journey. It has to do with replacing a childhood beliefs that play has less value than work with a belief that value comes from the reactions and reflections my art-play inspires.
      The next step is realizing that I play with materials for my own pleasure and just be grateful when others enjoy it too. Trying to guess what everyone else likes is a waste of energy that can be used on creating more art.
      I’m very grateful for your comments and the opportunity to discuss them with you. Please keep them coming as you please.

      Liked by 1 person

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