Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Q is for Quantity or is it Quality?

I have written about encouraging my students to play with the same ingredients to create many images. This is actually a variation on a creative thinking technique - brainstorming - generating MANY ideas - some which will be good, and others which we may discard and move on. All of which are worthy of consideration.

In my classes, I believe that I am teaching more than art lessons - more than techniques and fun projects. I am teaching creative thinking and problem solving skills. And I am teaching kids to learn to trust their ability to find  solutions.

I believe that creativity is as much about attitude and confidence in yourself as it is about talent. I want my students to learn that when we make art, we are not looking for one right answer, or one image that is the same as everyone else's. I want them to be able to look around them and see many solutions to the fun challenges I present - and understand that art (that any creative work) is highly personal. We are all different - why should our art all look the same? And, to be comfortable with the knowledge that it takes practice to learn, to improve and to discover your own strengths and particular interests.

Working in a group - drawing or painting and producing things that everyone can see is a risk. Yet in every class we share what we have created, evaluate what has worked, what could improve, and praise what we like. I want my kids to feel proud of themselves for  being brave enough to jump in and use the ideas they find in their own imagination. And to appreciate effort and originality in others.

To help them feel safe and confident and relaxed, I remind them that it is good  to generate MANY ideas; to test many solutions, to experiment with techniques or materials in different ways, to produce different results, and most of all, to accept that sometimes the results are not what you hoped.

I believe and I teach that mistakes are teachers too. We learn what we might do better. We discover that even work we do not like can include one square inch that is just right. And, sometimes, we put the trash bin to use. (Or, we recycle unsuccessful work into something new.) And we recognize that by doing things many times, by practicing and building skills, the quality of our work and our ideas improves.

The image on this page is from my vast series of sea and sky pics. Taking large quantities of photos absolutely results in several of good quality. Also, the wide open sky and sea speak to me of endless possibilities, and I like it.