I’ve been working on a series of drawings that are now starting to make the step into paintings on shaped canvases. The background ideas to the work relate to our place in the landscape around us and the ways we manipulate it to suit our needs.
Rather ironically today, my working on this drawing and painting involving a series of truncated trees was accompanied by the sounds the whole day long of chainsaws at work.
The trees that are being removed are making way for a wall along the edge of the road, probably about the height of the yellow wall in my painting. The wall is suposed to improve the living environment, in terms of noise at least, but it does kind of feel like one step forward for two steps back. I feel more manipulated tree photographs, like the one at the top of the page coming on.
I’ve started to put together, fown the right hand side of the page, a sellection of web addresses that I make use of. This might be simply for myself, my work as an artist or as an art educator. The list will grow, and I am still experimenting with the thematic grouping of the various links, but I hope it makes sense.
I suspect that as the school where I teach is about to make the leap into the ipad world of education a list of apps is also likely to follow.
Art books are expensive, but here is an interesting alternative, and of course a free library at home:
I have been working on a series of curved paintings for a while now. This particular one has been problematic. I’m not sure how much more there is to do.
There are aspects I like a lot, but it is a composition I still have to look at a while and work on others in the meantime.
A little playing with the image on the computer has resulted in something of a break through and has resulting in a subtle but significant reworking of the blue ‘wall’ in the landscape. The painting has been reworked, but it is such a dull January day it is difficult to tell whether the result is sufficiently strong. There is certainly no chance to photograph it well in this light. The other paintings in the same series may well get similar treatment.
The official title of the course that I teach to a group of fifteen or so adults on a Thursday evening is ‘Painting with oil paint’. It really hasn’t been just that for quite sometime with the group only being too happy to experiment. But having missed just one lesson I was quite surprised by what I found on my return. Kind of a homage to Frank Stella and Elsworth Kelly along with a sideways glance towards he of the sliced up cow!
It wasn’t quite what I had in mind when I suggested a composition that referred to the context of art history that many of the assignments I set are based around. But I certainly can’t help feeling very pleased with what is being made.
Both art and education are in a constant state of flux, facts that make both fields interesting and challenging to work in. Like many involved in art education I try to walk the line that combines the two. I want to develop educational materials and give lessons that share my enthusiasm for the cultural world, and at the same time maintain an artistic practice of my own that is meaningful and relevant to the world today.
A couple of extra dimensions to this work is the fact that I work within bilingual education in the Netherlands, where I teach in my first language, Engilish, in order to develop the aquisition of English as the pupils second language. This particular branch of education makes me in part a language teacher. It offers different challenges, but undoubtedly also extra opportunitiesin my teaching.
A second extra dimension in my work is an interest I have in the digital world and its place it can be given in my teaching. I like to incorporate this interest into my lessons when I can and if I think back ten or even five years the changes are enormous. But I feel that within mainstream education (certainly here in the Netherlands), we are sitting on the edge of a very significant change and in a sense an extra incentive to start this blog is maybe to document how I and others experience this. Shortly, the school where I teach will be issuing a first wave of teachers with Ipads and the the incoming first years will be required to bring one of their own and we will begin a significant new digital step. I’m only too aware that many have made a similar step already, I hope to learn from them, but for me and my school, it is a new digital beginning.