Monday, October 20, 2008

Art class and Assigned Projects

Hello Ms. K's Chester Academy Grade 8 art class! Glad to see you are continuing to visit my blog! LS commented on the Art & Stress post, and I feel like I HAVE to respond directly to them, Ms. K's class and my own art students! LS's comment was about the lack of stress when he/she worked in the privacy of their own place versus working on assignments in the art classroom they might not choose for themselves and how those were stressful.

Well, this comment is just tooooo juicy and I feel I MUST respond to this issue! It is a common remark made by art students everywhere! LS - I do know how you feel! Remember, your teachers have been to some formal art training too, and we remember working on projects that we didn't pick AND possibly were resistant to! I suppose life would be so much nicer if we could just do what we wanted all of the time. BUT, I am asking ALL art students everywhere to open your minds to what I have to say about this!

One way to think of our brain is to liken it to a muscle. And just like muscles, they adjust to certain jobs that they do day in and day out without exerting any additional effort. What's really interesting about the brain is how it is organized into two hemispheres with very different jobs - sequential, rational activities (the left brain) vs. creative, intuitive activities (the right brain). This site about "Art and the brain in the learning process"says that, "By using more the left hemisphere, considered as rational, we do leave out the possibility of taking advantage of the benefits brought by the right hemisphere, such as creative imagination, serenity, global view, capacity of synthesis and ease of memorization, among others." It is very important that we stretch and challenge the right side of the brain in order to have an all over better functioning brain. Listen to what else they say: "When we lead all our life exercising almost exclusively the functions of the left hemisphere, or the right side, then degenerative brain diseases, so feared such as Alzheimer Disease, for instance, appear. We need therefore, to stimulate the diverse areas of our brain, helping the neurons to establish new connection, diversifying our fields of interest, searching to know ourselves better to act with more accuracy and precision."

Exercising is the key word here! We need to engage the brain in new and different activities in order to keep it healthy and ready for new challenges that might pop up. And that ALSO means using our left brain for those logical, sequential endeavors like math and computer science. A fully exercised brain is a strong, healthy, happy brain!

Back to the art classroom....your teacher (no matter who it is) is giving you a variety of assignments to explore different techniques, materials and ideas. Left to your own natural preferences, you might not discover something new and wonderful! See what a professional artist has to say about "Building the Creative Muscle". I especially like what he has to say about this process: "Studio tricks, attitudes and physical exercises jiggle the liquid brain into building the creative muscle." It gets down to venturing into new territories that might be out of your comfort zone (thereby creating "stress"). But you know what that old saying is - "Nothing ventured, nothing gained". Perhaps art students around the world can think of those assignments as adventures and possibilities. Only YOU know what you are going to find by exploring!

Keep up the great work art students! (P.S. - this is my drawing of the muscles of the head I "had" to do in figure drawing class. Thank goodness I got the opportunity to try this! The abilities I "didn't know" I had helped to increase my excitement about art!


Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Miller! Our entire class is viewing this blog and your response RIGHT NOW! We're TRYING to be connected with our world, different states - and have just learned about the differences between our left and right brains. Cody M is right brained; Kristen is both brained; and Krystal is just a genius. We're also exploring the need for appropriate responses to our art blog, so just bear with us! Thanks for giving us this opportunity and more to come! 8-1 CA group response

alex j said...

Hello Ms.Miller this is Alex J with a question for yo and your class. My question is have you ever gotten to the point, and if yes say what you do, when you know what you want to do and you can even see it in your head but when your hand touches the paper you draw up blanks. This happens to me all the time when my mind knows what to do and my pencil knows what to do but my hand just can't relay the skill and detail that my brain can. Please respond and thank you for your time.

Michael said...

This is Mike on Ms.Millers blogspot now. I think that my favorite thing on this page was the stress and art it made my eye follow the patterns in the different color lines so I thought it was pretty cool!

William K. said...

Woah...the art is good but the feelings it brings out are better. Before I saw this drawing I didnt know that peeps had this many muscles in their heads. And I really like how the brain is muscle and then i started thinking "That's true the brain can act as muscle...just in a different way, like when your in a tight spot sometimes mental capacity is more important than physical capacity". So yeah great job Ms. Miller

Elliese Shaughnessy said...

Hey Ms. Miller! I wanted to agree with LS and how some of us don't like to do art for work or we get stressed and think that we need to make it just right so we could get a good grade. Sometimes I can feel that way and I know a lot of people that don't exactly like some of the assignments we do get. But we are in an art class and the reason we are in it, is so we can learn more about art! When we get an assignment, like we just got "Around", we (the students) find out what we think of it as, and you get to see it. It shows some of our personality and you get to see what we are like even more!
Also, you assign us different work and its helps us see what art we like to do and what art we don't like to do and we are learning and that's what art class is all about! :)

rebecca e. said...

Hey Ms.Miller, I wanted to say that I agree with you on the whole art and stress thing. Sometimes I might feel stressed because of a homework assignment I have to do but then once I actually do it, I feel proud to know the creative ideas and the potential I had. Oh and I also like your drawing of the muscles of the head, the shadowing kind of gives it a type of form.