Kate's Week 2 Art & Activity Creations and Observations

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This week combines all the things I love: learning activities, intrinsic motivation, observation and reflection!

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Kate's Week 2 Art & Activity Creations and Observations

  1. 1. Art & Activity: Interactive Strategies for Engaging with Art Week 2 of my second MoMA Learning Experience Kate G.’s Activities
  2. 2. Symbolic Self-Portrait I especially enjoyed listening to the students in the MoMA video describe why they chose the elements they did for their symbolic self-portraits. I thought it would be fun to do a quick portrait with things found on my desk, reasoning that the materials close at hand would prove most representative of me. It was important to me to represent my senses by symbolizing eyes, a nose, and a mouth—it did not occur to me until after that it never crossed my mind to include ears/hearing! My sense of touch is represented by the textures here, and the addition of the post-it message I keep on my computer monitor, as well as the blue speech coming out of my “mouth,” represent my desire to learn, and my desire to act and have an affect on the world around me. It will come as no surprise, considering the focus on text in this picture, that I am passionate about words, language, reading, and literacy.
  3. 3. Draw and Describe Untitled by John Smith Observations: My son described this picture to me while I drew it. It was interesting to think of his descriptions after the drawing and describing was done and to consider how precisely objective he was in his descriptions. For example, he described “two tall and very skinny palm trees with leaves at the top in the arrangement of flower petals but each one with its own spikey details.” This was quite specific, and accurately describes the picture, but even with such specific descriptions, I had to imagine the orientation, how “skinny” they were, and what kind of ground they were on. As you can see, his description of the sun as “a setting sun—circles within lines” was accurate from his perspective, and made it into my drawing, but makes my sun look much more like a sketch of Jupiter than a sun.
  4. 4. Draw and Describe Soundsuit by Nick Cave Observations: This exercise would have been very different if I had been describing this picture to someone with whom I did not already share a common descriptive language. I worked with my son, and we did the exercise in an area where one of us viewed the work on the computer screen while the other drew in an area where the describer could not see what the drawer what creating. Because of our common descriptive language, I was able to say things like “let’s begin by picturing a person wearing Tron pants, who is standing with feet apart and fists down at his sides like he is demanding something” and know that my son understood what that meant. My description got more murky to my son when I talked about the gramophone. I realized as after I began to describe it, that it was something he may not know. I had to consider what he would understand and relate to. In the spirit of the exercise, I attempted to describe it by shape and placement, rather than dig into where he may have seen a gramophone.
  5. 5. Blind Contour Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh Observations: I noticed details in the painting that I had not paid close attention to before, especially the connectedness of the brush strokes and the “waves” that are repeated in the plants and sky that I focused on. While I had expected to end up with a complete picture, I found that the two minutes went by very quickly, and that my focus was on quite specific areas of the painting. I found it liberating (and quite relaxing) that I could not look at my drawing while making it. I would have been frustrated if my expectation had been to recreate the painting instead of to focus on details in the painting.

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