This page is my weekly art practice for EVIS 328.
I am sharing some Saskatchewan student’s artworks, not my own, for ths last post.
Over the past semester, my blog has changed in many ways. I noticed I have become more and more reflective on myself in Saskatchewan, not just as a citizen, but a soon to be educator.
I just finished my three week pre-internship at a high school in Regina, SK. I was focusing on Visual Art in Canada for a 20/30 class with charcoal as their new medium. I just wanted to express how proud I am of their individual products from the same assignment given. For a final project, after learning technique, they all were to create a charcoal landscape/cityscape based on one place they related to personally. They could pull reference and ideas of technique from other Canadian landscape artists. Many of them pulled from Saskatchewan specifically and many pulled from areas across the country that they related a story with. I thought this assignment fit perfectly to share on my weekly art practice, because I guided them and helped them along the way to get them to produce what they wanted to.
I will let these landscapes speak for themselves. This was one of my first extremely proud teaching moments.
Student’s curiosity in Saskatchewan, or anywhere.
This term at the University of Regina I was in a three-week pre-internship. I just wanted to talk about curiosity for a moment. I think this is one major things that carries students from one activity to the next, or even from one part of life to the next. This is why I think it should be the underyling basis from every class. Sparking that curiosity. One way I found to get the students attention is to talk about things happening outside the classroom and how they relate to the things they are learning. Spark inquiry about these! Also bringing in own experiences, the telling of stories and experience from a teacher make students curious. Finding out information about each other and each other’s views and opinions, which may be incorporated to every subject.
It would be interesting to have an assignment, based purely on inquiry and the students research (higher level Visual Arts class) on something they were curious about. After they found out more information, making an art piece saying something about what they found and how they reflect on it. This assignment could easily fit into the Visual Arts curriculum, for example the Module of Inspiration.
My visual study I drew this week is a picture of a boy, the look of a boy that is bored. This is not what we want! No learning happens here. With curiosity comes discovery, with discovery comes learning.
Tattoos in the teaching profession.
I am twenty one(posted in 2014), with only a year left of my Arts Education degree. My generation is full of people altering their bodies: Tattoos, piercings, dyeing hair etc. So many people around me judge people based on these decisions. Where is the line of these when entering a professional position, like a teacher?
It is the job of the teacher to teach. So why try to appear as someone who is ‘fake?’ By fake, I mean someone who you are not. If you are covered in tattoos because it tells some important moments or your life story that you are willing to tell (appropriate stories), then I think that is acceptable. Because lets be honest here, the students WILL ask. If you want to dye your hair blue because it is what you want to do, why not? Life should be not be about judging by covers. I know as a person, and teacher, I want my students to know it is okay to be who you are. To understand people for who they are, not because they grew their hair out to have dreadlocks. I was always wondering what would happen say, if I were to get a sleeve (full arm covered in tattoos). Would people who hire me look at tattoos with some kind of judgment while hiring, or not hire because of them? Or would they listen to what is important? Would they look past the tattoos if I was applying for a Visual Arts position? Why would that matter? A Science teacher might want a sleeve too, or a full row of ear piercings. People are people. We all have a beating heart and a working mind. If I want to educate students and will to the best of my ability, should my body image matter? I completely agree with dressing professional (not wearing revealing items, not sending out the wrong message) but I am talking about piercings and tattoos, that are semi-permanent.
Then comes into play, well what would the parents of the students think if they saw you? “I do not want my child getting any ideas from you and the way you put things on your body.” Wake up call, students see this everywhere. Chances are they have already thought about them. Take them out of all the magazines, get them to stop watching TV and cover their eyes when you see advertisements walking down the street. Good luck. At least this way in the school setting, they can be educated about them, why people may do these things. These are all opportunities for learning and teaching. Just the way that a teacher that looks as the opposite, without tattoos or piercings or specially coloured hair but probably just coloured their hair a neutral colour rather than bright pink. Why do they choose to do that? Who are they? Well, they are a person with an opinion and individual style. Just like each of the world’s students.
In order to visually represent how I feel, I drew two people. Which one would you hire? The real question, why would you hire one over the other based on their artistic and individual choices? I do not have your answer, but this is something I wish everyone would think about, and also what I want students to realize.
I know a huge part of my art practice reflects the people that are around me. My Saskatchewan family and friends. This week I wanted to create something for my brothers birthday that is coming around the corner.
I did not want it to be a meaningless art piece of his favourite actor or something tacky he will throw out and be sick of in a couple years. When I was brainstorming, I started to think of things in life that are important to both him and I, something we could both relate to. I know this might sound silly to some, but Fords came to mind. The truck brand: Ford. When we were young, so many of my favourite memories were in my dad’s Ford, which is now my brothers. This is why I chose to create a rustic Ford. A huge part of both of our lives, a part I felt I needed to be recorded. The Ford I recorded resembles three of the older trucks in our ‘scrap’ yard. By doing this, I think it somehow pulls in not only my brother and dad, but my grandparents and their parents. Who would have thought? Ford, an important part of my culture.
In the classroom, I could do a project that resembles the art I created. This would include getting the students to think of symbols of their relationships, or what is important and something they will always hold as a positive memory. Looking into self identity and what helped create who they are today. For many students/children I think this is extremely important. To remember those happy times, in the rough times through high school days. Or remember who they are and the path they want to lead with their experiences.
When I began this blog I was unsure of where it was going, over the weeks I have found it is about who I am and where I am in Saskatchewan as a person. In this weeks art practice I decided to focus on a place very close to my heart, home.
My families history goes back generations with farming. I wanted to bring together a realistic feeling of my nature and background but also a modern contemporary feel. So I brought together a graffiti style (which I have never experimented with before) with a stencil style background of combining. I believe there lays a place somewhere in the future of professional art and advertising for this modern art. Whether it be looked upon on t-shirt, or in a gallery.
It would be a great educational experience to hold an extra curricular’s group about exploring graffiti. Another student in my program and I planned out an extra-curricular program that could focus around this area. Here would be our ‘introduction’ ideas: “This term, we are offering an extra-curricular course called ‘The Street Art Club’ that is designed to educate students on the public art of graffiti. Students will understand the complexities behind the art, define the multiple kinds of graffiti and recognise the known artists. Students will be taught the framework behind the skill and techniques. They will understand the legalities behind street art/graffiti and why it is considered a prohibited art expression. We would like to recognize the criminal offenses associated with graffiti and provide students opportunity to explore the art in a controlled, safe and legal setting.”
Sask, 2014 Sharpies
Saskatchewan’s history, before it was Saskatchewan and into its existence, is essential. It is the building blocks, and knowledge we are trying to bring back today about the First Nations and their culture.
This week I attended a treaty education workshop through the University of Regina. It gave me so much information about the First Nations treaties and the Crown when Canada was coming into existence. Knowing how important this information is, it frustrates me to know I learned so much about it so late in life. Being a twenty one year old in Saskatchewan(posted in 2014), a province that has a huge history with the Crown, First Nations, and treaties I felt cheated as to just learning this now because it is apart of who I am. This is why, as a teacher, I believe it is essential to include First Nations content in my teachings. My education in the past, proves that their culture is still being ignored, or people are too scared to represent their culture wrong. The issue that makes me the most upset is that people are so ignorant, have stereotypes and stigma towards First Nations, Inuit and Metis because of a lack of education on people and history in Canada.
I wanted to make a visual response on how people in Saskatchewan and across Canada, and globally for that matter, should see cultures and genders today, on equal bases. From a person who is First Nation’s’ mouth is as equally as important as another’s culture. Their culture is still being ignored and in order for First Nations to get back on their feet we need to reassure them that they are as important, times are changing, and my generation is going to try to show that. In this art piece I created, named Share, I represent an older man’s face and a younger women’s face in one area. We all live in this place with so many different backgrounds. Canada is represented as ‘free’ and people being aloud to practice their own culture within our country. We have to keep in mind First Nations people had a culture and were sovereign before the Crown ‘discovered’ Canada. Unfortunately, when the Crown and First Nations were making treaties and the Indian Act, the Crown decided to essentially try and destroy their culture, and assimilate the next generation with another countries ways. I know we can not change the past, and I will hold no fault or guilt on myself (a girl of European descent), but on the previous generations and their lack of consideration and knowledge for another group of human beings. If I did not begin to educate this in the classroom, I would hold myself as fault because that means I would not be trying to help with the consequences of this countries past. ‘Saskatchewanians,’ all of which are treaty people, need to bring each other to equality, celebrate and Share. Sharing: an essential skill we learn in Kindergarten.
Looking through Saskatchewan.
From when I began drawing, there was always some fascination for the human eye. The eyes give away so much about a person; any kind happiness, sadness or hardships, their culture, what descent they were born from or their age. I was always curious of the ratio of the cultures of people in Saskatchewan and age. If Saskatchewan was shown through the eyes of the people, what would it look like? Below I capture some of the most storytelling eyes I see around me, in Southern Saskatchewan.
Most of these, are from my surroundings, keeping in mind while looking at the sketches: I am from a relatively small city, Estevan, go to the University of Regina currently, and grew up on a farm by Outram. I have a lot of girl friends in stressful times and trying to balance a social life, school and love life at this time of confusion of priorities.
If I was to choose one part of the body to teach students it would be the eyes. They are so diverse across cultures and age. At the end I have an instructional sheet I made for my pre-internship high school class.
Observing the people this week in Saskatchewan.
I love to people-watch. I love watching the way different people interact with each other or themselves. It is strange, that without hearing any conversation, we can assume what kind of relationship they have with each other. Simple actions that tell you how comfortable the person is with the people or objects around them. I began to carry around a small sketchbook to sketch the impression that made lasting ones as I walked around this week. This feeling of expressing without words, is what art is capable of, like the look a person gives. Most people were focused, no eye contact, studying, or walking down the hall with a mission on their mind. Unfortunately, that is the kind of society University is when students are stressed out. I was in an area where people were studying, but also a busy hallway, so I could get a glimpse of different actions. (ED locker hallway) I will let the sketches speak for themselves.
These sketches follow a gestural type of drawing. Within the classroom I could get the students to record a couple times of week on their spare time in a sketchbook. It is great for understanding proportion, and quick observations. I became more skilled at drawing when I began making gestural drawings in high school.
I see my theme is drifting into a ‘Saskatchewan Exploratory’ idea.
As I walk down the street or drive down the highways, I find myself starring at the trees. Each one is unique, like an art piece, or the individual person. As a study this week I began drawing trees with pencil(graphite) on standard paper 8 1/2 x 11″, looking into Saskatchewan and reflecting on myself to create them. I began thinking of where my deep roots are and the complexity of family, which is the entangling complexity and time spent in the first sketch. I then began to wonder about the most common tree in Saskatchewan, the trees that everyday people pass by and do not think about but could identify quickly. This is the second sketch, the ‘paper’ birch tree. When I found this out, I realized how easy I could draw them without looking at a photograph because they do surround us.
Within my first two sketches, there are a couple trees. It seemed almost as I was drawing I could not draw one single trunk. With more, it felt like a sense of community or wholeness, like individuals that appear as a crowd to be similar but are completely unique in the details.
I then began to create and play with a third tree sketch. In the previous two, I realized I never focused on the branches once. So the third, was more of an exploratory abstract feeling that came. I began hiding images within this tree, kind of a mystery tree. For me, this began to represent, as I created, an individual, I do not know who, but one that was built upon the life around them in Saskatchewan, like trees are.
It would be interesting to get students to make their own trees, representing their identity. As long as it followed the basics of a tree (trunk, branches) they would be able to freely abstract however which way in order to explore their identity. Trees could represent metaphorical meaning or we could look at the literal tree and compare them to why certain trees are in certain places, just like animals (ie. weather, landscape). Every subject could relate and be pulled into trees. (Where trees go, wood sculpture, wood engraving (pyrography), place, math of how old a tree is by the rings, growth rates…). Trees: a global idea I might explore more.
This week I was looking around me for inspiration to create more art. As a student, I find it hard to find time to create on a weekly basis, so I know that is what I wanted to focus on every week. Art is all around us, and I wanted to reflect from some of my favourite moments as inspiration. In particular, the Saskatchewan Roughrider games. I love how this is an event that brings Saskatchewan together as one, from all different backgrounds. I decided to create a piece to hold a time from the past that was memorable for me. It’s about the people around you all aiming for the same thing and the amazing feeling of a team in the crowd you’re apart of, with essentially strangers. Below is a painting in acrylic with my cousin, Brookelyn and I at a Rider game. I wanted to express the emotions of the crowd and us as one in a ‘sea of green.’
STILL IN PROGRESS
I have began by looking at a Canadian artist and making my own piece as inspiration and reflection.
January 11th, 2014 I went to the Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina, SK to attend a exhibition called 7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc.. One artist I particularly wanted to reflect on was Alex Janvier.
This is my first time approaching by practice a kind of ‘abstract’ art. To begin I was influenced directly by the technique of Alex Janvier: Multiple colours, balance of positive and negative space, thin and neat trailing lines coming out from the page, a sense of flow and natural quality to the way his brush moved across the canvas and a little sense of story within for the viewer to see, some left for interpretation. In particular, I looked at Janvier’s work called Birch Bark Symphony from 1978. This was when he looked out to the trees and at the top, the wind would make them swirl. I made a direct connection to what I looked at as a child on my family farm every morning. The trees would stand up with a little sway, just above and beyond layed a calm horizon then I would see the blinding sun, with yellow bails underneath laying in a field with planted seeds. The art I created represents this image that I grew up with and what I believe many people grow up with out their window in Saskatchewan. I call it A Portion of Saskatchewan’s Window, 2014. Gouache paint.
Alex Janvier’s Birch Bark Symphony, 1978
A Portion of Saskatchewan’s Window, 2014