Tag Archives: art

The creativity of Jean Paul Gaultier

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My artist’s date today went wonderfully. Even though I had a fair bit of pain, I pushed through it. I may pay for that later, but who knows?
I had an inspiring afternoon at the National Art Gallery in Melbourne. I did find out a lot about my own creative leanings along the way, so that was a success!
Here are some tempting snippets of the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition (my new compact camera is out of its box). The creativity of this amazing man speaks for itself.

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Where is my creativity hiding?

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Matisse quoteWhen you have to spend a lot of time resting you end up with a lot of thinking time. Pain and fatigue means that your thoughts can be confused and untamed at times and, if you overthink ideas like me, your thoughts might go round and round, but lead nowhere. When my mind is all over the place I have been turning to easy pastimes while resting, like television and computer games and reading. However, I know I have a creative side so I thought I might be able to harness my thinking and channel it into more creative hobbies that may be a lot more mentally stimulating and rewarding. Story making, drawing, painting that sort of thing.

Having an illness leads to connecting more intimately with the inner self. Some people find that they are able to express this connection with their inner self through art, writing, photography, sewing, etc. This is what I want to do, but it seems that my motivation and creativity is lost as soon as I arrive home. Lately, as soon as I am home I crash to sleep and then I struggle to feel well thereafter. It is like because I want to use my creativity more, suddenly it is not ready and waiting, it is hiding from view. Further, days off at home when I am well rested, relaxed and interested in being creative and not catching up on jobs, are few and far between. I am capturing little bits of time here and there but it is just not enough effort. I am not getting the quality time to think of an idea, grab onto it and run with it. Right brain

I think I am creative enough. I know I used to be when I was younger. I show creativity at work, especially with thinking up teaching ideas. I am beginning to share my creativity when I create art examples for my students. I have such an urge to create art in my own art lessons, but I am not student, I am teacher, and that involves a lot of time doing management and assisting and not a lot of time doing making.

I have twittered from one idea to the other and not settled on anything very productive. There are things in my project box, but nothing is focused. I have used morning pages and now I can’t do them while I’m working, there’s not enough time to get ready of a morning (it takes me a long time).  I am ever so slowly working through what I like and what inspires me, the topics and materials. It feels as if I will never settle on an idea and get that motivation towards a project that I am seeking.

Tomorrow I am heading to the National Art Gallery in Melbourne. I am going to the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition and will see what inspires me throughout the day. I will also take my new compact camera with me to have a practise with it’s settings.

You may be thinking, “Why are you not staying home tomorrow on your day off, you could work on it then?” I should be staying home, especially as I feel like I need to sleep. But, my car needs a service. It’s a month late actually. So, it’s a trip to the city for a car service. The redeeming factor is that the Subaru where I take my car give complimentary coffee and provide a shuttle bus into the city centre. It’s the small things that make all the difference.

Creativity lost (again)

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There is a lot of advice out there about unlocking creativity, breaking down the blockers, etc., and I’ve read some, it’s not currently working. I just keep falling through the hours until there is nothing to give except sit and feel tired. I have so many creative ideas throughout the day but then they pass.

These are my pathetic excuses:

I don’t want to start anything because then I have to commit to it and I can’t deal with commitment right now. Half the time I can’t concentrate enough to make a cup of tea without stuffing it up, so I don’t know how acting out creativity would go.

I think that my work won’t come out like I visualise it, with my mind so all over the place, so I don’t start.

No energy. That no energy thing really gets in the way of a lot of things.

No time. Actually, when I do have time, like at the end of the day, I have no energy and my ideas don’t seem so good anymore, even if I wrote them down. I think it will take me a really long time. I don’t seem to make the time- to prioritise a day for example.

What I did do tonight, that is good, is I read some more children’s books. They all have lovely illustrations and that is what I have been focusing on, how different types of illustrations are featured in picture books.  All these books are created by writer/illustrators. Three completely different styles of illustration…

1. Hasel and Rose

Written and illustrated by Caroline Magerl

(Scratchy, sketchy line pictures with watercolour)

Hasel and Rose

The author with her finished art for the book.

Caroline Magerl with her finished art for the book. Click here to go to the author’s website.

2. How long is a piece of String

Illustrated by Madeleine Meyer (no words)

(Black ink drawings with lots of cross hatching and pattern, with some bright coloured ink highlights and shading)

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3. Draw me a Star

Written and illustrated by Eric Carle

(Collage of painted papers cut into shapes)

Draw me a Star

Eric Carle at work painting. Click here to go to his author page.

Eric Carle at work painting.
Click here to go to his author page.

Where writing and art collide (or is it collude?)

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I’m too tired to think. This applies to the whole last four days and possibly the rest of the week as well. When my mind is beaten and it can not create constructive thought or inspiration on cue, I am sure it hibernates like a bear in its winter burrow. My mind hibernates while I drive, while I work, while I eat, etc. Every now and then it wakes and roars out something interesting and worth following up on, but unless someone else picks up the idea and the work of making the idea reality, the passion is brief and the idea is lost. When my mind is like this I find I can’t write, I can’t do assignments and so far I haven’t been able to do art either. Maybe it is beginning to wake up because this blog post is going ok and it is the first personal writing I have done in many days.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Story and hand drawn pencil illustrations intertwine to create a unique reading experience. By Brian Selznick.

Due to my mind hibernating, I have been reading some beautiful children’s books. “Read what you want to write” the expert advice says. Except, I don’t know what I want to write and my mind can’t engage in thinking about it. So, in the absence of thinking that actually leads somewhere, I have read what I see every day and have chosen individual books that I am drawn to.  It is funny that the word drawn also refers to art and I am currently missing my ability to create art.

How ironic would it be if this book was titled Lisa Loves Art? Simple, cute illustrations encourage young readers to show their imagination in their art and persist with what they love.

How ironic would it be if this book was titled Lisa Loves Art? Simple, cute illustrations encourage young readers to show their imagination and persist with what they love. By Kelly Light.

Art and writing and literature are all mixing in my mind as the things I love. I love teaching them and looking at them and producing them. Lately I have been drawn to books that contain reference to art. There are quite a few. They will be very useful when teaching in the future. Here are three that recently came in front of my eyes and magnetically attracted my attention. These are the types of books that I love. Books with beautiful illustrations that inspire creativity and celebrate art as an endeavour. If you think this is you as well, then I encourage you to seek them out.

Gorgeous illustrations of bird parts and instructions on how to construct a bird. Creative juices flow. By Kate Samworth.

Gorgeous illustrations of bird parts and instructions on how to construct a bird. Creative juices flow. By Kate Samworth.

Teaching is a work of heart

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Teaching is a profession that cops a lot of negativity in the media on and off. Regardless of what some people say, I believe most teachers try to make a difference in the lives of the children in their care, in just about everything they do, all day, every school day of the year.  I am guessing that’s accurate of about 99% of teachers.  I don’t think many teachers stay in the profession if they have no passion for teaching or for children. It’s really hard work, it would be almost impossible to do if you didn’t have a love for it. I see and hear about teachers who move on every year to places more suited, like to the police force or to a desk job or to retirement.

A lot of teachers and school staff go nameless and faceless even though we spend a huge amount of time with the children in our classes and at our school every week.  After the children have survived their first year of school successfully, their parents start slowly dwindling off and we rarely see many of them by the time these children reach the middle and upper primary grades. (Unless of course, in their child’s eye some injustice has been done and the parent comes to the school and threatens and points fingers at teachers and tells them to go to Weight Watchers- but that is another story). Lucky for us, the amount of parents that engage in disrespectful behaviour is probably only 1%.  I’m very lucky, I work in a pretty safe and positive environment.

Most parents would not know my name, except maybe if I have had their children in a previous year where I was their child’s classroom teacher. I’m just the art teacher now.  I was primary carer for about 125 different students throughout the day today. Even though very few parents of those students would be able to call me by name, they trusted me (and many others) today with the job of keeping their children safe, happy and learning.

The thing is, a lot of us teachers work our arses off for the good of our students, but we do not like to be singled out.  We don’t mind small quiet notes or gifts at the end of the year, but parents please thank us quietly, we do not like the limelight.  We are a team and often you will see a teacher brush off attention, saying something like “It’s just my job” or “It was a team effort”.  We don’t mind if parents don’t all know our names.  We don’t even mind parents don’t realise how effective our work is in developing the whole child, all the different parts that perhaps you can’t see changing ever so subtly, and parts you certainly can’t test. That’s ok. We work for the children to grow and learn and develop and gain new passions and confidences and become an older more educated person at the end of our year. I don’t know why we all teach so fantastically and then don’t really advertise the fact, it’s just who we are- we teach because we are passionate about education, not about accolades and applause.

Today all five of my art classes went fantastically.  Everyone engaged in the learning and the art was complete expression of self.  I know that most of those children gained some insights into themselves, their inner workings and their abilities.  I was inspired by the children’s contributions to discussion, their reflections, and the insightful art they created. Some children learnt a lot, some children learnt a little. But all students moved forward. And that is all I want for today.

Teach from the heart

The coin toss

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The coin toss

There is a very small gap between one side of the coin and the other.
Is it chance that tips your coin over?
Or talent?
Or effort?
Or fate?
Or choice?

Add to the problem that sometimes it’s hard to pick which side of the coin you are actually on.

Consider:

genius – stupid

sane – insane

thoughtful – selfish

independent – dependent

social – private

extrovert – introvert

hero – villain

togetherness – loneliness

question – answer

freedom – control

happy – sad

idle – busy

creative – unimaginative

art – rubbish

Today I was melancholy. I created. Is it art or just an attempt at art, aka. rubbish? Toss that coin.