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RE: Negative Space Experience


From: Jeanne Voltura (jvoltura_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Aug 28 2003 - 13:39:58 PDT

Messagethank you Grace...
  -----Original Message-----
  From: Grace Hall []
  Sent: Wednesday, August 27, 2003 4:55 PM
  To: ArtsEdNet Talk
  Subject: RE: Negative Space Experience

  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 taught...
        "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
        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?