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RE: Negative Space Experience


From: Grace Hall (Grace_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Aug 27 2003 - 16:54:38 PDT

I AGREE WITH JEANNE!!! DITTO, DITTO, DITTO! We are just spinning our
wheels making absolutely no progress at all if we are doing otherwise.
Grace in Louisiana

-----Original Message-----
From: Jeanne Voltura []
Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2003 7:57 PM
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Subject: RE: Negative Space Experience

There are also problems that occur in having kids focus on only the
expressive side of art in primary and secondary school and that problem
has to do with being lazy and not being open and respectful to all ways
of creating and learning from the lessons of the past to our present
time...I think if you find ways of showing the vocabulary in an
entertaining and interactive way, then they will be that much ahead when
they decide to take art in college...I got the elements and principles
taught to me in high school and it gave me a head start...I could make
stronger images that were also expressive for me...and people would
notice them more when I did use the design elements...there is so much
more to making art than just the expressive... maybe the expressive is
why we create...but we create better, clearer, visually by knowing
techniques and the real language of art and what we have to help us
create...and, I know that we all learn by doing things repetitively
through all stages of our life...if we are closed off to the structured
ways of making art, then we are basically saying that anything we make
is worthy of being a masterpiece...sometimes art is ugly and not meant
to be a masterpiece..that is how we grow by creating things that we
learn from doing...throwing them away and starting again with what we
have learned...and exploring the elements and principles is an easier
way of getting there than just creating using no visual help or
structure...I define a masterpiece as that art which affects us
personally as artists in the making, enough so that we feel the need to
send it out to an audience...and if we do that, we bear the
responsibility of being able to communicate the expressive and that is
through the technical (and the organizational-elements and
principles)...and if we used the design elements and principles, then it
will show up in the work and more people will take notice...but if we
just say that "I don't care what it looks like, its all about my
expression...and thats all that matters...and that is how I define art
in all realms"...then how are we ever to grow? and actually keep growing
skillfully in art...teaching college, I can tell the students who had
teachers in high school that just stressed the expressive aspects and
not the formal aspects and the "how to" on drawing and other skill
oriented techniques...they do not even want to listen to what I have to
say...and they have this inability to be open to other ways of learning
than just the expressive mode of making a piece of art...I have had
people say that its easier to make a piece of art without any of the
structure...well, hell yes, its easier...anyone could do that...but what
does that do to allowing them access to the world and the past and to
help them grow? Knowledge is power....and in learning, if people think
its too hard then they think they cannot learn it...where is the power
and progress there? somehow, they are learning before they get to
college, that the elements and principles and skills are too hard to
use...and that runs counter to what I am asked to teach...if you go to it high school or college and don't learn the vocabulary and
what it means in practical hands on use, then the past truely becomes
obsolete...and that means the art in the past doesn't matter anymore,
that includes the cave paintings...the art of the past was much stronger
technically than what we do today, that makes no sense to me...I think
its because we tend to be going backwards in our ability to learn and
have real skills...we give up and become too lazy and have people tell
us to just be expressive...etc...human art started with the cave
painters...and it become more technically stronger as culture was
created and the need to express and communicate things clearly became
more important...the cave painters were not only expressive, but they
were clear about what they represented...if its not important for art to
be communicative, then we could go backwards instead of trying to go, I think its kind of crazy to just reject teaching things
that kids might have hard times learning...instead, it is important to
keep thinking of ways they might learn those things better...and, kids
are always going to find ways of expressing feelings and ideas...but if
they have other things they are learning along side, they will be much
more developed visual thinkers...

-----Original Message-----
From: The Hammond Family []
Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2003 4:48 PM
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Subject: Re: Negative Space Experience


----- Original Message -----
From: Patricia <> Knott
To: ArtsEdNet Talk <>
Sent: Monday, August 25, 2003 5:46 PM
Subject: Negative Space Experience

Well yeah
This is what is wrong with the standards and how we think art should be
"they " are not going to get it
and even if they get it for a lesson
"it' doesn't carry over"
I will never "get" certain rules of grammar, I will never "get" beyond
what what was drilled to me in basic math, .. and science - well if
somebody can tell me what the point is in memorizing the periodic table
well ???

Same is true in art.
We spend our time being frustrated over teaching elements and principles
that sometimes we ourselves don't understand.
And we expect kids to get "it." I didn't get "it" until I was in

Let's not get hung up on the "grammar." Let's get hung up on finding
ways that kids express and then
point out how the expression was significant
who cares about negative space?????

care about what they want to express and then coddle them into ways of
expressing it better.

I have spent an enormous amount of time investigating assessment in art.
The majority is product oriented. Art is going into directions that I am
not sure we are addressing.
And I don't find evidence of why the "grammar' of art is not retained.
Just like I resist in other disciplines I don't know why why we
expect kids to get what they resist about what we think is important to
teach in art.
Can we accept that and find another way?

I don't ever want to penalize a kid because the perception is different
from the standard I am being bound to.

Where did art expression come from? Certainly the cave painters didn't
have a teacher telling them about elements and principles and god
forbid if they had.

We have to look at some ways to do this differently.

P.S. Betty - this is not a criticism of you. We ALL have to look
I hate rules
I trust myself and I try to teach my students to trust even when
it's not my rule
Art history has been a series of progressing through disregarding and
I don't know why we hold onto to something that has outlived it's time
and not progress to the next expression.
What is negative space? a black hole?