“Art Works” is a monthly column that provides bits of know-how and reminders of ways to assure the success of your art program. In the coming year, look for advice and suggestions related to learning about, responding to and making art, integrating art into the curriculum, displaying student work, reaching out to the community, and more.–B.H. here do your students turn when they are looking for ideas for making art? Artworks are not produced in a vacuum, but by the interaction of experiences, and interrelationships of ideas, perceptions and feelings acknowledged and expressed in some form. Students, like mature artists, may be inspired and motivated by their memories and observations of their surroundings. Marc Chagall based a number of his fanciful paintings on his childhood memories of a Russian village and Russian folk tales. Grandma Moses did not begin painting until she was 60, but her rich storehouse of childhood memories provided W . when Students find Inspiration by Barbara Herberholz show respect for the elders and traditionalists who shared with him the heritage of his Wintu-Nomtipom tribe. Yoshio Taylor, Japanese-American artist-teacher, draws ideas for his work from his memories, common objects and everyday occurrences. His work consists of narrative, figurative sculpture combined with geometric shapes, which relate to his impressions of the architectural forms and landscapes of Japan and America. Surroundings can have a definite effect on what influences an artist. As a child, Louise Nevelson, assemblage wood artist, collected pieces from various sources and her family-owned lumber yard. David Smith, Looking at the many diverse kinds of artworks . provides . students not only with knowledge about art, but also with the attitude that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to make art. abundant material for her artworks. Claude Monet was inspired to create a series of paintings of the same object—haystacks, for instance. He found inspiration by observing the changing effects of light on his garden and lily pond, and created a series of paintings because a single painting could not express all that he saw. Henri Matisse, at age 71, lay in bed and used a library of images in his mind while he continued to cut out and create colorful collages. Like adult artists, students may find that their own cultural and personal background contains a stimulating basis for their own creative activities. Artist-teacher Frank La Pena creates art to honor and 16 Henry Moore was inspired by sculpture from many different cultures and periods, especially works from Africa and Mexico. Picasso and Braque were inspired by African masks, and Mary Cassatt and van Gogh were among a number of artists who were intrigued with Japanese prints. The works of other artists have always been a source of inspiration for artists, creating a springboard for followers. Today’s technology has provided artists and students with access to a wider range of artworks than was ever available before, in the form of books, slides, posters, large reproductions, the Internet, CDs and DVDs— as well as exhibits in art museums. Before today’s developing technology and rapid travel, links to artworks made by artists who lived in other times and in other countries were limited. All of this visual information has had a major influence on artists’ creations. New “isms” have been launched, and are continuing to be launched: Impressionism, Cubism, Surrealism, all with many followers. Jacob Lawrence studied the works of both past and present artists, and explained who had influenced him, naming Orozco, Daumier and Goya. PHOTOS, HISTORY AND NATURE Artists and students both may be inspired by photographs that provide visual information for making art. When students compare and contrast an assortment of photographs related to a particular subject—for example, horses, flowers, figures in action, and so forth—they can perceive the different varieties of a subject—the shapes, colors, lines and textures—while obser ving angles and proportions. This increased perceptual intake results in a rich outpouring of artistic expression, with each student in the class coming up with different responses to the visual information observed. For instance, the invention of the camera in the 19th century see WORKS metal sculptor, collected cut pieces of metal from junkyards and welded them into sculpture. Alexander Calder made stabiles and mobiles out of large pieces of sheet metal, having been trained as a mechanical engineer at a time when furnace boilers and steel bridges were riveted together. THE WORK OF OTHERS Looking at the many diverse kinds of artworks—those created in world cultures in recent times, as well as long ago—provides adult artists and students not only with knowledge about art, but also with the attitude that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to make art. on page 52 januar y 2011 x www.ar tsandactivities.com
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