Over the years I have made it a priority to reinvest in my teaching practice by attending workshops, seminars, conferences and classes that relate to art education. Sometimes these professional development opportunities are theoretical and other times they are materials based.
This week, I am attending the Summer Academy for Teachers at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA). If you are unfamiliar with PAFA and their offerings, I urge you to visit their website for more information. The focus of this year's program revolves around the museum's collection of historical American paintings. I saw this as a chance to learn some new approaches to teaching art history, collaborate with other art educators, and spend some time being inspired and making art (the program leans heavily on art making - yay!). I also felt this was a great opportunity to expand my knowledge of this genre of art history - our 8th grade Social Studies Curriculum focuses on American History and I try to collaborate within my building as much as possible.
Today we started the day with a brief tour of the museum. Our guide refreshed our understanding of Visual Thinking Strategies (VST) using Benjamin West's monumental painting, Death on the Pale Horse. VST is a great technique for looking at art with children because there are no wrong answers. VST is also an invaluable tool for today's learner as it helps to increase visual literacy. We also spent some time comparing and contrasting two of the museum's portraits of George Washington.
In the afternoon, we visited the studios and began work on a grid enlargement drawing. This may sound odd and you may be asking yourself, "what art teacher doesn't know how to do this?" Well, you are correct, and I would bet that ALL art teachers know how to do this and have taught their students using grid enlargement at some point during their career. However, PAFA's summer academy is open to any TEACHER, thus not all of the participants are working as art educators.
I chose to work from Modigliani's La femme a l'eventail. Having three hours of uninterrupted time to draw was glorious. This is a luxury I do not often allow myself and I found the experience to be refreshing and inspiring. I'm not quite finished, but you can see the progress and the resemblance. I increased the image size by 2.5 - the drawing is 15 by 23.75 inches.
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Middle School Art Educator. Adjunct Art Education Professor. Non-Profit Arts Organization Board Member. Artist. Arts Advocate. Dog-Mom. CrossFit Enthusiast.
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