1. Briefly describe your normal studio practice and work as a teaching artist.
I spend about 1/3 of my professional time teaching for-credit college-level courses; 1/3 running NAC-funded workshops and teaching residencies, and making large-scale projects with members of the community (often grade and high school aged); and 1/3 making and exhibiting artwork. These generally intermingle and inform one another.
2. How has sharing your work with students, teachers, and other artists shifted?
Well, I’ve learned a lot about iMovie in the past 2 months.
Since my primary concern as an instructor is encouraging students to physically engage with the world and to draw from life, having to communicate virtually is a real challenge. Most of my interactions with my teaching colleagues has to do with sharing virtual learning strategies-we acknowledge that we are just trying to make it through these times, keeping the students engaged while hopefully getting some learning to happen.
In the case of Life Drawing classes, I try to convince my students to use the people around them as models, rather than relying on virtual pose sites. And I demonstrate by making videos-LOTS of videos. What’s missing is the constant coaching that I do as a drawing instructor, and that’s really unfortunate. I’m also doing an engagement project with younger kids this month that involves looking out their windows and drawing what they see. These drawings will be combined to make a mosaic of imagery that marks the time and brings their worlds together.
I am a pretty big homebody, so social isolation is in some ways nice for me and for my art-making practice, which I tend to protect from the whims of the collective moment as much as I can. I do see a lot of communal art projects happening that I am glad are being made and enjoy experiencing, but I haven’t really felt the desire to participate on that level. Mostly I just drink virtually with my Artist friends, and talk about how to survive the times and be better on the other side.
3. If your activities incorporate educational learning standards, whether formal or informal, please discuss them.
Informally, these exercises encourage those who participate to look closely and use certain techniques to continually re-discover their subject. In doing so, they can connect to in a more intuitive way to the human experience as it pertains to their expanded environment. And as they carry what they have discovered forward, becoming more deliberate in their Art-making, they can develop and hone their own unique voice.
4. Are there follow-up activities beyond the one you are presenting?
The drawing exercises that I have presented are meant to be re-visited continually, regardless of your skill-level or professional goals. I’m always trying to engage people in the practice of art-making, so I say keep using these drawing techniques as a means of discovery: Think process, not product.
5. What is your favorite non-art activity that inspires you?
I enjoy gardening and sewing garments and quilts. My friends call this artistic cross-training.
6. List an artist(s) that you look to for inspiration and explain why.
This changes so often!
One of my favorites is David Hockney, for his playful use of color and his conscientiousness about how and why he makes his art. He moves between tight, controlled compositions and loose, freely flowing expressiveness, and I love that he manages to maintain a consistent voice even as his style and perspective shift dramatically.
I also enjoy Alice Neel because she is just a badass! Her use of color is powerful and subtle all at once, and her line work is incredible. She is somehow able to represent people as simultaneously cute and powerful-a thin line to walk, but one that makes her figures very relatable.
And I always love Egon Schiele. His work reveals him as a romantic to the core, but it still has an extremely uncomfortable edge- because of his subject matter, and less obviously because of the angular nature of his line and the muddy gnarliness of his color. I am so grateful that he made so much of his very short life.