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Re:[teacherartexchange] M.Bartel: Team Learning


From: Diane Davis (dianemdavis_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Jul 14 2008 - 07:51:13 PDT

>> To what extent might this be related to the degree of expertise (is
>> learning art the same as than being an artist)?
> I write children's books as well as teach art. And I am fascinated
> to read these questions and instantly relate them to my writing
> world. Doesn't this question really ask who is an artist? Is an
> artist only one who is produces great works? Can you be an artist
> even if you only paint for yourself? Can you be a real writer if you
> never get published?
> Learning about art and never producing any, is not the same as being
> an artist and making a statement through your art . But does being
> an artist mean you must have a certain level of commercial success?
> ----------------------------------------
>> Might some artists thrive on a combination of isolation and
>> interdependent collaboration? Do not nearly all isolated studio
>> artists remain connected to peers with whom they discuss, argue,
>> and compete in some meaningful ways? Does this have anything to do
>> with the particular art form? Are some kinds of art or some phases
>> of the art process that seem better for individual work and other
>> kinds of art and phases of the process that seem more suited to
>> peer interaction?
> ----------------------------------
> Writing, and particularly children's writing, is an isolated task.
> People who write for a living talk about needing to be alone to do
> their jobs but also of their need for people. The internet has been
> a great source of bringing these people together for discussions,
> venting, crit groups and research questions. Most of the writers I
> know would not miss a local convention, as it means talking with
> people who understand the same ups and downs they go through on a
> regular basis. So although I cannot answer these questions about
> visual artists, i do know the answers about writers, who I would say
> run the same course of creativity joys and problems that visual
> artists do. Is this an art problem, or a creativity issue?
> I think when artists are first learning their art or trying to
> refine their art, they seek out groups. Groups allow them to see
> other approaches to similar issues, explain rules and techniques
> that have worked for others, allow them to see their mistakes and
> discuss ways to resolve them. Learning the art is often about
> learning from others, rather than fighting out every issue alone.
> But as artists perfect their skills, I see them doing this more in
> isolation. Writers will write alone, then seek out the critique
> groups to get feedback on what they've written and try out new
> ideas. They don't want a group to tell them what direction to go in,
> but to offer brainstorming and questions about what they've done so
> far.
> I know some writers, like Katherine Patterson, who never let anyone
> read their work until it is completely done. But even she will meet
> with others afterwards through conventions, etc. to discuss and
> explore ideas that will be carried back into her next works. It
> seems to me that the art is individual, but the refinement of it or
> the inspiration for other art is often worked out through group
> interaction.
> I see this particularly with the number of retreat groups popping up
> around the country. Writers will get together for a weekend or a
> week long retreat, write in isolation all day, then get together in
> the evenings and share what they have done. Do they have visual art
> retreat groups? Most writers I know will come back from one of these
> retreats with great excitement, full of ideas, inspirations and
> motivation to continue to work in isolation again, perfecting their
> artwork.
> -----------------------
> Are beginning art students best served by learning the joys of
> isolated creativity or do they need the mentorship of slightly more
> advanced artists? How much of this is a matter of individual student
> personality rather than something we can generalize about learning
> art?
> --------------------------
> As with visual artists, I have seen some amazing writers who never
> need to work with anyone to perfect their art. They work in
> isolation and do astounding work. But for the majority of people,
> especially beginners, I do not believe they get very far with
> isolated creativity. It requires intense self-awareness and self-
> esteem to continue to produce beyond the initial artwork that
> inspired them. What I've seen is that people who prefer isolation,
> will produce one or two good/great works of art and stop. I've said
> what I've had to say. But for most artists I've known, once that
> initial inspiration has been vented, they want to learn more, to be
> further inspired. In an art class, we always have one or two
> students who will continue to produce good work, no matter what type
> of environment they find themselves in. But for most of the
> students, by working, discussing and observing each other's works,
> they grow individually in both how they think about art, and what
> they produce.
> Diane

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