JOIN THE CANON
Where did the project idea come from?
The idea for this project came from a book, The Annotated Mona Lisa by Carol Strickland. It was a book I initially used as a backup book for teaching AP art history then I used as an art history primer for my painting classes over the years. It has double page spreads of influential artist that Strickland thought were pivotal, Michelangelo, Goya, Picasso, and Warhol. I thought it would be great if my students could write themselves and their art into a book like this.
How was it developed?
I tried doing the project my self first! (This was in Agust 2016, I taught this in Spring 2017) I did three small paintings in the styles of my recent artwork. I have been making art for 30 years and while my artist hand can be seen in my art it has changed. I like trying new mediums and get into bouncing back and forth from the alagorical to the abstract. I then wrote up the relationship between the styles and made a double page spread. It took a week or so, however, I am a professional and I knew that the students were going to need a scaffolded approach. I needed to develop a plan.
Who was involved?
I was the art teacher and the Art Director and Kelly Willams were to be my English teaching partner. She is a great English teacher and collaborator. She was going to be the Editor. We did many projects together and I had complete trust in her, that she would keep the students directed and have them develop excellent writing. There was a problem at one of our other schools and Kelly was replaced by a brand new teacher that, had little experience I went forward with the project anyway, we pulled it off and it was beautiful and I retired at the end of the year, 27 years of teaching, 49 years old. Integrated PBL is difficult and you need a partner at or above your skill level, lesson learned.
The students were a mixed group of juniors and seniors, around 43 students altogether. We met for a one-hour art history class every morning and then half would come to my class for two hours in the morning and then the other half would come to my class for two hours in the afternoon, It was a creative schedule to teach and make.
Me and Oscar, Student Portrait
What were the skills and
knowledge of the instructors?
knowledge of the instructors?
I could paint, teach painting, write about art, lecture about art history, help students paint like the different artist in their styles and I had 17 years of integrated PBL experience, this was my Coup de Gra. Oscar had me. As I look back on this I think I must have been crazy to try this but I said that before.
What did we want the students to learn?
How to take notes for college in a difficult and new subject area, art history. How to compare and contrast art and philosophy. How to paint and make art. How to paint in the style of a famous artist and then write the work they did into art history. How to write about their work and understand where they fit into art history. How to hand in work in the right format, resolution, and size. There were, of course, other things that we all learned and continue to learn about art and ourselves since.
What did I do? Scaffold!
As we here learning art history I wanted the students to make beautiful notes. This is with pictures and writing to help them remember what they saw because they had to draw a little image too along with MSR and Influences. MSR is Method (medium), Subject and Reason for creating the art along with who influenced the artist and who was intern influenced by the artist.
It was the student's idea to have lectures and we had a student revolt saying that they did not need to make beautiful notes, I let them off the hook and most of them failed the test at the end of the week.
We started up again and I heard from many of them since starting college. They did not make beautiful notes in the beginning and then went back to making them and were successful. Head, Heart, and Legs!
Learn to Paint at the same time as taking notes . . .
The best way to learn to paint is to make a painting. The old notion that you need to learn all the formalistic skills of art before you can pick up a brush is akin to having to memorize the dictionary before you make sentences, it is what turns people off to making art in the first place.
Here is my example that I showed the student, along with the process I followed.
Each student chose a painting to recreate. They used photoshop to deconstruct the paintings to create their maquettes. The students used their new knowledge of art history to pick their painting and they used photoshop to create a new version of the famous images. They then taught themselves to paint by making a painting. I might have suggested small tweaks, but not bad for new artists.
Explodation an exploded explanation
This was a mini project was to get the students writing about art history and interpreting what images mean and how they are worth 1000 words. Each team of students chose two different genres, topics or artist and described their relationships. Then they exploded the explanation by adding images to reinforce understanding. Mine was an explanation or how Romanesque architecture became Gothic.
As the Artist
Write a famous artist into our art history book, and do art in their tradition. Students found a Modern to Post Modern artist of note. (1850 - today) (Courbet - Present Day) They then emulate their Method, Subject, and Reason for creation by making 2 images like the artist. Along with this, the students wrote the art history to explain their artist. The outline for the book will be: Who or What influenced their artist to create. Method, Subject, and Reason The make they have left on the world of art. I did this too using David Hockney. It is difficult and complex to write like an art historian. We were successful in getting the students to see this kind of writing as a genre.
You are the Artist
The students wrote themselves into our art history book.
They wrote about what makes them an artist and how they were influenced by what other people create. Each student made 1 to 2 pieces of work of their own. Then they wrote themselves into the Canon of Art using the same criteria that they used for the famous artist. I wrote myself into the book, first. I even made new work for the book. I felt that I had to see how long it would take and what the process was like. I could have used the thousands of pieces of art I made over the past 50 years, but I did not. I believe the teacher must do the project themselves first, Head to Tail!
What did I have the students do?
They took Beautiful Notes
They taught themselves to paint
Made an Explodation
How did we show the work?
The Book of Student Writing and Art
The Book of Explodations
The Studies (Mini Project Week 4)