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Lipless|4 x 3 in| Autodesk Sketchbook Pro digital painting.
Harsh colors to highlight the discomfort on both the mouth and teeth, on a fixable insecurity.
Creekside High School|Saint Johns, FL
I wanted the subtle fear of always having one’s imperfections on display.
My sustained investigation explored a child’s journey in maturing to accept themself, with this piece at the height of the child’s insecurity. The idea was to completely expose distorted flaws with forceful hands and a lipless mouth. I wanted the subtle fear of always having one’s imperfections on display, with endless rows of teeth growing from the darkest core of a frustrated identity.
My portfolio primarily toyed with colors and form utilizing different saturations of emotion, hence the overwhelming harsh colors to highlight the discomfort of a fixable insecurity. With Sketchbook Pro, I experimented with distorting the mouth to be insecure and vulnerable while changing the perspective of colors. While bright colors can be positive and happy, I wanted to play with overwhelmingly saturating the artwork in displaying something desperately trying to stay hidden.
Nicole Rakov
How does this work relate to your students' inquiry and investigation through art and design?
Bella was exploring imagery related to her inquiry about the world of a child having to grow up and experience adult situations. Bella was working with color harmony, design through repetition, and emphasis in her works.
How did you support your student in developing skills with the ideas, materials, and processes used to make this work?
Bella took many years and levels of 2D art with me throughout high school and completed an AP Portfolio in Drawing the previous year (2019). She excels in using a variety of media and is always seeking new ways to layer materials, mix media, and develop her voice. I provided her with many different media to choose from to explore her ideas. Bella created this work outside of the classroom as we did not have the technology, but she first created the design using 2D media in her sketchbook in class.
What kinds of practice, experimentation, and revision were involved in making this work?
Bella is very conscientious of making the best choices in her work and ends up reworking many of her pieces. She uses her sketchbook daily and creates as many different versions of her work as possible, exploring colors, values, and a variety of marks. Once she has created several iterations of a work she begins the work and reworks the piece as she is progressing if she feels that she has not met her goals.
What kind of learning experience, art/design challenge, and/or classroom environment did you provide to encourage your students' work?
The students in my class were very independent and very self-motivated to be successful. They spent additional time before, after, and during lunch working in my class outside of their class period. I encouraged my students to question their decisions, look at other artists’ work, and really think and talk about their choices during the planning and production of their work. They worked quite a deal with peers discussing and evaluating each other.
What kinds of teaching and learning strategies did you use to support your students' thinking and making?
At the beginning of the year, I worked with my students to create a list of topics that personally interested them for their sustained investigation. Once that list was completed, we sat down together, looked at their ideas, and developed a direction to pursue. I guided but did not mandate their choices. Personal insight from many previous years of teaching allowed me to give them feedback to get started with their ideas. Most students quickly settled on an idea that had a strong personal appeal for them. One or two students floundered and vacillated between a few different ideas. For the students who were ready to work on a topic, I had them collect images, look at other artists, complete research, and begin working on preliminary designs. Students who were not quick to select a direction spent more time exploring media and design to decide a direction to pursue. My students did a lot of writing and personal reflection on their process and talked to their peers about their ideas.
What is your advice to other teachers and students?
If you are familiar with your students, encourage them to work with the skills that are their strengths. Encourage those skill sets that you know will allow them to develop their voice. Do not limit them due to preconceived notions or try to have them follow a set plan of action to make work that looks a certain way. Allow them the room to explore, experiment, and make mistakes. Please encourage students to learn from their mistakes or to rework art that is not very strong. Be supportive but be honest. Encourage your students to talk to each other and have conversations with their peers so that you do not have to carry all the feedback. Encourage the differences in your students’ talents. They will likely create very different work from one another but will learn and watch each other work. Look at many contemporary art or works from art history and encourage students to find artists working with similar ideas or themes. Have the students write often, reflecting on their progress.
What did you learn from working with this student?
Bella is a determined and incredibly creative student. She has the most imaginative sketchbooks I have ever seen in my 22-year career. Bella taught me to trust the process, to work through ideas, and to plan. She consistently worked in her sketchbook, collecting ideas, worked with color schemes, playing, and developing ideas. I know Bella will go on to do great things as a talented creative individual.
Bella Galo
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