UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Images, within and without : a personal search for imagery with implications for teaching art Shaw, Sandra Jane 1984

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
831-UBC_1984_A8 S53_9.pdf [ 45.16MB ]
Metadata
JSON: 831-1.0054826.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0054826-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0054826-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0054826-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0054826-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0054826-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0054826-source.json
Full Text
831-1.0054826-fulltext.txt
Citation
831-1.0054826.ris

Full Text

IMAGES, WITHIN AND WITHOUT A personal search for imagery with implications for teaching Art by Sandra Jane Shaw B.A. - The University of California, 1963 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Visual and Performing Arts in Education Faculty of Education We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA June, 1984 ° Sandra Jane Shaw, 1984 In presenting t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. I t i s understood that copying or publication of t h i s thesis for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. ^ Visual and Performing Art s in Education Faculty of Education D e p a r t m e n t o f The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a 1956 Main M a l l V a n c o u v e r , C a n a d a V6T 1Y3 D a t e 1 5 0 c t o b e r I 9 8 4 (3/81) ABSTRACT This thesis presents the account of one student-teacher-artist's odyssey through the discovery and evolution of a personal imagery. As the participant-observer in this quest, I have selected material arising from memories, thoughts, ideas, sketches and dialogues that relate to the history and processes of my image making. A body of visual work is presented which demonstrates the development of specific symbols and compositional tendencies. The thesis attempts to provide answers to three questions: How has my development as an artist influenced my role as an art teacher? What implications may be drawn for the art teacher? What strategies may be helpful to the art student and to the artist? The processes occurring during the act of drawing and painting the works presented in this thesis are described. Insights related to image-making are shared. This information may be of assistance to the others in their pursuit of a personal imagery and may provide understanding and knowledge useful in guiding students along this same path. i i i Table of Contents Page No. Abs t rac t i i Table of Contents i i i L i s t o f P la tes i v Acknowledgements x i Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION The Problem 1 The Method ,4 Importance of the Study ..6 L i m i t a t i o n s of the Study 6 Chapter 2 THE ODYSSEY Personal H i s t o r y and I n f l u e n c e s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 L. G ci y* n I n cj About A K* t • • • • • • _••••• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • .• •••••35 T r a n s i t i o n 69 Mother, Daughter, 1923 ,93 My Own K i tchen I. and H..............................,,.97 Rock -A -Bye -Rose s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101 Roses at Forty-One .107 T r ibutes to Someone's G r a n d m o t h e r , , , , . . . . . , . , . , . , , 1 1 2 R e f l e c t i o n s of a L i f e t i m e . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..118 The S t uden t -Teache r -A r t i s t 135 Chapter 3 IMPLICATIONS FOR TEACHING A R T . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 8 The Fear of A r t 1 3 8 The A r t Process ,139 The Need f o r D i r e c t i o n . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 40 The Personal Nature of A r t , , . , , ,142 S t r a t eg i e s f o r D i scover ing Personal... C o n t e n t , , , , , ,145 The Experimental Nature of A r t . , , , . , , , , , 1 4 6 Suggested S t r a t e g i e s . f o r . G e t t i n g S t a r t e d , , , , , , , , , , 1 4 8 Pressure , , , , . , , , 149 The Role of Ques t i on ing . i n the A r t P r o c e s s , , 1 5 0 Quest ioning S t r a t e g i e s , , , , , , , , . . . . . . . ? .151 Di scuss ion ,151 Eva lua t i on and the A r t Process .153 The A r t Teacher 154 References 156 Appendix 158 LIST OF PLATES Year Page 1 Kitchen Theme Grouping 1977 - 81 8 2 Kindergarten 1945 11 3 Kindergarten 1945 11 4 Kindergarten 1945 12 5 Kindergarten 1945 12 6 Kindergarten 1945 13 7 Grade Three 1948 13 8 Grade Three 1948 14 9 Grade Three 1948 14 10 Grade Three 1948 15 11 Grade Three 1948 15 12 Grade Three 1948 16 13 Grade Five 1950 17 14 Grade Five 1950 17 15 Grade Five 1950 18 16 Grade Five 1950 18 17 Grade Five 1950 19 18 Grade Five 1950 19 19 Grade Five 1950 20 20 Grade Eight 1953 20 21 Grade Eight 1953 21 22 Grade Eight 1953 21 23 Grade Eight 1953 22 24 Grade Eight 1953 22 List of Plates (continued) 25 "Westcoast Reflections", Woven Satin Ribbon Quilt 1980 25 26 "Desert Mirage", Woven Satin Ribbon Quilt 1980 25 27 "Reflections of a Lifetime", Assemblage of Acrylic, Crochet Work, Lace and Photocopies of Photographs on Silk and Paper 1983 26 28 "Rock-a-Goodbye-Baby", Acrylic on Canvas 1981 28 29 "My Mother's Doll I", Graphite and Pastel on Paper 1980 29 30 "My Mother's Doll II", Acrylic on Canvas 1981 30 31 Photo-etchings from Family Photographs 1979 31 32 "Oasis", Acrylic on Canvas 1983 33 33 "Dusty Day", Acrylic on Canvas 1983 33 34 "Tea with a Great-Aunt", Acrylic and Lace on Canvas 1983 34 35 "Portrait of David", Oil on Canvas 1976 37 36A Drawings from Sketch Book on Sewing Machine Theme 1977 41 36B Drawings from Sketch Book on Sewing Machine Theme 1977 42 37 Sewing Machine Theme Grouping 1977 42 38 Preliminary Search for the Composition of "Sewing Machines", Tempera and Acrylic Medium on Hardboard 1977 43 39 Experimental Liftprint Ink and Watercolour on Newsprint Leading to "Prairie Window" 1977 45 40 "Prairie Window", Collagraph 1977 46 41 "Visiting Their Prairie Daughter", Photo-etching 1979 48 42 Lithograph of a Geranium 1978 49 43 "Geranium Series I, II, III, IV", Etchings from Copperplates 1978 50 44 Copperplate Etching of a Geranium 1978 52 45 Collagraph of Geranium 1978 53 46 Observation-based Drawings of Geranium 1978 54 vi List of Plates (continued) 47 Free-association Drawing of Geranium and Memories with Annotated Thoughts in Margin 1978 55 48 Drawing of Geranium Extrapolating Preferred Elements 1978 56 49 "Geranium and Checks", Etching from Zinc Plate 1979 58 50 Sketch for "Rainy Day" 1978 59 51 "Rainy Day", Etching from Zinc Plate 1979 59 52 Sketch of Repeated Chair Design 1978 60 53 "Hall of Mirrors", Drawing 1978 61 54 Experiments with Lace Overlays on Photographs 1978 62 55 "Kirstin", Lace Overlay, Photo-etching and Embossing 1978 64 56 "Paisley", Lace Overlay, Photo-etching and Embossing 1978 65 57 "Bread Doily", Embossed Photo-etching 1978 66 58 "Celebrating Grief", Lithograph of Letters 1978 68 59 Pineapple Pattern, Soft-ground Etchings 1978 70 60 Sketch for "Mother, Daughter, 1923", Pen and Ink 1979 72 61 "Sewing Machine and Eggs", Pastel and Charcoal 1980 73 62 "Black Sewing Machine with Wallpaper", Pastel and Charcoal 1980 73 63 "White Sewing Machine", Pastel and Charcoal 1980 75 64 "Sewing Machine with Yellow Checks", Pastel and Charcoal 1980 75 65 "Sewing Machine and Checks", Conte 1980 76 66 "Sewing Machine and Chair I", Pastel and Gharcoal 1980 76 67 "Sewing Machine and Chair III", Pastel and Charcoal 1980 77 68 "Sewing Machine and Three Chairs", Pastel and 1980 77 Charcoal vii List of Plates continued) 69 "Treadle", Graphite and Pastel 1980 78 70 "Fragments", Pastel and Charcoal 1980 78 71 "Sewing Machine and Chair IV", Graphite and Pastel 1980 79 72 "Geranium and Blue Checks", Pastel and Charcoal 1980 80 73 "Geranium and Red Checks", Pastel and Charcoal 1980 80 74 "Geranium in Pot with Checks", Pastel and Charcoal 1980 81 75 "Chair and Red Stripes", Pastel and Charcoal 1980 81 76 "Kitchen Chairs I", Graphite and Pastel 1980 82 77 "Kitchen Chairs II", Graphite and Pastel 1980 82 78 "Geranium and Chair", Graphite and Pastel 1980 83 79 "Chair and Brown and White Checks", Pastel and Charcoal 1980 84 80 "Chairs and Brown and Black Checks", Pastel and Charcoal 1980 84 81 "Chair and Blues", Pastel and Charcoal 1980 85 82 "Checks and Chair Backs", Pastel and Charcoal 1980 85 83 "Layers of Chairs", Graphite and Pastel 1980 86 84 "Chair with Red, Yellow and Blue", Pastel and Charcoal 1980 87 85 "Swinging Kitchen", Pastel and Charcoal 1980 87 86 "Chair and Geranium Leaves, Black & White", Conte and Charcoal 1980 88 87 "Angel Chairs", Graphite and Pastel 1980 88 88 "Circus Chairs", Graphite and Pastel 1980 89 89 "Chair Alone", Pastel and Charcoal 1980 90 90 "Chair and Sewing Machine II", Pastel and Charcoal 1980 90 91 "Rose Chair and Friend", Pastel and Charcoal 1980 91 92 "Rose Chair and Pitcher I", Pastel and Charcoal 1980 91 vi i i List of Plates (continued) 93 "Rose Chair and Pitcher II", Graphite and Pastel 1980 92 94 "Mother, Daughter, 1923", Acrylic on Canvas 1981 95 95 Study for "Mother, Daughter, 1923", Watercolour 1979 96 96 Underpainting #1, "Mother, Daughter, 1923" 1979 98 97 Underpainting #2, "Mother, Daughter, 1923" 1980 98 98 Underpainting #3, "Mother, Daughter, 1923" 1981 98 99 "My Own Kitchen, I and II", Acrylic on Canvas 1981 99 100 Preliminary Sketches for "My Own Kitchen, I and II" 1981 102 101 Underpainting for "My Own Kitchen, I and II" 1981 102 102 Sketch of Initial Concept for "Rock-a-Bye-Roses" 1981 103 103 Underpainting for "Rock-a-Bye-Roses" 1981 103 104 "Rock-a-Bye-Roses", Acrylic on Canvas 1981 106 105 Sketches of the Rose Chair and Rose Pitcher Theme 1981 108 106 "Ghost Roses", Charcoal and Acrylic Medium on Canvas 1981 109 107 "Dusky Roses", Acrylic on Canvas 1981 109 108 Preliminary Charcoal Sketch for "Roses at Forty-One" on Newsprint 1982 113 109 "Roses at Forty-One", Acrylic on Canvas 1982 113 110 "Tribute to Someone's Grandmother, I", Doily, Graphite and Pastel 1983 114 111 "Tribute to Someone's Grandmother, II", Doillies, Graphite and Pastel 1983 114 112 "Tribute to Someone's Grandmother, III", Embossing and Graphite 1983 116 113 "Tribute to Someone's Grandmother, IV" Embossing and Graphite 1983 116 1 X List of Plates (continued) 114 "Tribute to Someone's Grandmother, V", Hankerchief and Ribbons 1983 117 115 "Tribute to Someone's Grandmother, VI", Embossing with Pastel 1983 117 116 "Ghosts in the Garden", Doily Photocopy and Graphite 1983 119 117 Initial Sketch and Writing that Began "Reflections of a Life Time" 1983 120 118 Sketch in Pursuit of a Composition 1983 122 119 Sketch of "Head-in-the-Clouds Couple" 1983 123 120 Drawing Based on Portrait of Great-grandparents Emphasizing Ribbon and Bouquet Theme 1983 125 121 Exploring Ribbon Forms, Pastel and Ink 1983 127 122 Searching for a Composition 1983 128 123 Planning the Composition for "Reflections of a Lifetime" 1983 128 124 Centre Panel of "Reflections of a Lifetime", Lace, Crochet, Silk Photocopies, and Acrylic on Canvas 1983 130 125 Right Panel of "Reflections of a Lifetime", Lace, Crochet, Silk Photocopy, and Acrylic on Canvas 1983 131 126 Left Panel of "Reflections of a Lifetime", Lace, Crochet Silk and Paper Photocopies, and Acrylic on Canvas 1983 133 X APPENDIX Plate No. I Getting Ready - Raw Canvas 1981 159 II The Beginning - Charcoal Underdrawings 1981 159 III "Tea with a Great-Aunt" 1983 160 IV "Bucket of Geraniums" 1983 161 V "Red Curtain" 1983 162 VI "Dusty Day" 1983 163-4 VII "Oasis" 1983 165-6 VIII "Going" 1983 167 xi ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to express my appreciation and thanks for the help and patience of my advisor, Professor Sinclair Healy, and the other members of my thesis committee, Dr. Graeme Chalmers, Professor Doris Livingstone, and Professor Robert Steele. I also wish to thank my friends and acknowledge the invaluable encouragement and editorial help given by Jorgen Christensen, Rosemary Linn, Arlene Byrne, Elizabeth Griffiths, and Jane Conway. My thanks goes also to Tom Childs, photographer, and to Lorna Gibbs, wizard of the word processor. My special thank you goes to my two daughters, Kirstin and Paisley Shaw, who have been very understanding of having an artist-mother. I would like to dedicate this thesis to my mother and father who were always indulgent of my fantasies. 1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The Problem Teaching in the public school system places considerable demands on any teacher's time and energy. Art teachers often encounter even greater demands if they wish to also explore and develop their own creative work. Linn (1982) states: Many art teachers in the public schools desire to create their own art work and to develop their talents in art. They have a need to express and to communicate as artists, and they believe that the creative art teacher has a lot to offer the students lack of time and energy, due to the demands of the.classroom, hinders the development and growth of their skills, (p. ii) It is a premise of this thesis that teachers who pursue their own person-al imagery will gain confidence in their own ability and acquire an intrinsic knowledge of the art-making process. It is believed that such teachers will then be better equipped to guide students in a similar quest, thereby deepening their awareness of the personal meaning often revealed through the exploration of content and form. Based on her research, Linn makes the claim that "a teacher of the visual arts must continue to explore the problems of personal imagery and of skill development" (p. 46). Linn further recommends, "A good learning situation arises when instructor and student are both exploring, discovering, learning and sharing successes and failures together" (p. 46). This writer posits that the teacher who has been, or is, actively invol-ved in the production of art work is more likely to be empathetic with the wide range of student feelings and attitudes toward art and may be better able to demonstrate sensitivity to the students' need for encouragement and direction. Linn supports this view, "Surely the art teacher who is 2 experiencing the problems and hard work inherent in producing art will have more sympathy with the dilemmas and frustrations met by his art students..."(pp. 43 and 44). Linn's study supports the premise that the art teacher who is personally involved in making art and who expresses enthusiasm for the art process is likely to generate interest and excitement in the classroom (p. 43). Students may profit from hearing about, and identifying with, the frustrations and joys that the teacher has experienced during the course of an art career and also through the production of individual pieces. Students may be encouraged when they see the progress evident in a comparison of the teacher's past and present works. Linn found that many teachers in her study emphasized that "...students can see at first hand the creative process from the inception of an idea through to the completion of the art form. Students are encouraged to value the process as well as the final product" (p. 44). The students will come to realize that to grow in art requires time, work, concentration, and dedica-tion . As a result of listening to an art teacher talk about the search for imagery, students may gain the confidence necessary to trust in their own artistic instincts when making decisions about form and content. Linn main-tains that students are "highly interested and intrigued" by the teacher's creative work (p. 47). It is the belief of the researcher that the common fear of "Art" and the inhibitions resulting from this fear are a central factor in the difficulty faced by art teachers in the school system. This fear may be based on two prevalent misconceptions about the nature of the artistic process. The defea-tist statements so often heard by the art teacher, "I'm no good at art" and "I can't even draw a straight line," both arise from the same confusion between the ability to draw realistically and the making of art. For the student the 3 equation is, "I cannot produce a 'realistic' representation therefore I cannot do art." Lewis (1984) states that by the time children are of elementary school age they are able to decide in advance on the content of their pictures and judge them in the light of their intent. Their intent (unless they have decided to do a "design") is to "make it look real" (p. 9). Reinforcing this view is the corollary misconception that the finished product must be "right" as determined by some external standard. This belief is natural to anyone educated in schools where "rightness" is the prevailing criterion of success and in a society which is so much more oriented to product than to process. An effective remedy for these fears and inhibitions may be that of educa-ting the individual in the technical, experimental, and personal nature of the art process, the theme of this present work. Doerr (1984) claims that students need training in the artistic process, a process that involves both pleasure and pain. "Students," Doerr continues, "need to develop an under-standing of the technical, formal, and expressive realms of the"content of art in order to develop an understanding or mastery of at least some part of the art process" (p. 32). It has also been found by this teacher-artist that learning technique, however important, is not enough. It is equally, or more important, for the artist or student to develop a personal approach to form and content. It is certainly possible for a student to learn the language of art without discovering how to make personal statements with that language. It is possible that teachers who have learned only impersonal techniques and who have never found their own personal style, or used their skills to tell their own visual stories, may not have the courage or know-how necessary to guide students effectively in the development of their own visual imagery. Following from these premises, the thesis addresses the following ques-tions : 4 1. How has my development as an artist influenced my role as an art teacher? 2. What implications may be drawn for the art teacher? 3. What strategies may be helpful to the art student and to the artist? The Method The proposition of this thesis is that the producing artist is a constant student and, at the same time, his or her own teacher. The writer provides implications for art education based on the personal experiences and the knowledge gained from participation in the three roles. Due to the personal nature of the art process, which is the focus of the study, the "artistic" or qualitative approach to research has been chosen. Eisner (1981) states that the artistic approach to research seeks the creation of an "evocative form whose meaning is embodied in the shape of what is expressed" (p. 4). The "Odyssey" chapter presents a personal journal revealing the student-teacher-artist's development through the art process. In order to separate the subjective material from the formal sections of the thesis, a change of print style has been utilized. The Letter Gothic 12 Pitch is used for Chapter 1, "The Introduction" and Chapter 3, "Implications for Teaching Art". Chapter 2, "The Odyssey", is printed in a Bold proportionally spaced type face. Eisner defines the validity of artistic research as "the persuasiveness of a personal"vision; its utility is determined by the extent to which i t informs" (p. 5). He states that the focus is on the experiences the indivi-duals are having and the meaning their actions have for others (p. 5). The artistically oriented researcher is interested in making the particular vivid so that its qualities can be experienced and because he believes that the particular.has a contribution to make to the comprehension of what is general. (Eisner, 1981, p. 8) 5 In order to make the particular experiences described in the Odyssey more useful, the implications for teaching art, based on a survey of the journal data, are presented in Chapter 3. The working assumption, (of the artistic approach) is that with (the resulting ineffable forms of) understanding both cognitive differentiation and the ability of individuals to grasp and deal with situations like those portrayed in the research will be increased. (Eisner, 1981, p. 12) Eisner states that the major source of data, in artistic research, emanates from how the investigator experiences what it is he or she attends to and that the meaning of an incident may be revealed when it is put in its historical context (p. 12). Eisner further states that in artistic approaches to research the role that emotion plays in knowing is central (1981, p. 13). Following in this context, the writer has elected to use herself as the subject of the research and has chosen to use the participant-observer mode for collecting data. Related personal history and significant influences are included to provide the reader with a clearer understanding of the sources of current imagery. By tracing the ancestry of the images from the past to the present, other artists are offered a useful avenue for finding their own personal imagery and art teachers are presented with insights that may prove useful in guiding others in their pursuit of "authentic imagery." The researcher's art training is reviewed. Key works are described and discussed. The research material includes memories thoughts, ideas, sketches, photographs and dialogues with others. The material has been collected by tape recorder, notes, photography, sketches, and journal entries. 6 Importance of the Study In order to develop i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r a r t educat ion , t h i s t he s i s attempts to present a h i gh l y personal account of one a r t i s t ' s quest of an au thent i c imagery. Limitations of the Study The study covers j u s t one a r t i s t - t e a c h e r ' s experiences w i th image making. This t he s i s can on ly r e l a t e the knowledge gained to the present t ime , and i t i s l i m i t e d by the pe r cep t i on s , p e r s o n a l i t y , l i f e s t y l e , and c u l t u r a l exper ience of the p a r t i c i p a n t - o b s e r v e r present ing the t h e s i s . Chapter 2 7 THE ODYSSEY Personal History and Influences As a producing art i s t , I explore, experiment, work, and play with visual images. The images I have chosen for my present explorations have welled up from my past and are rooted in family traditions. When I search my personal environment, experience, and feelings for form and content, the resulting work has an integrity of meaning that satisfies me and often touches others. I am awed by the persistence throughout my l i f e of the same visual and emotional preoccupations. My excitement with a l l things visual and the particular pull towards certain forms have not fundamentally changed over the years. My visual curiosity is, and always has been, relentless. I have, at t imes, fe l t overwhelmed by the power my eyes have over me. When I f ind something I want to visually absorb, my eyes drink in every nuance of the object. They rove over, around and under, devouring every change of d i rect ion, texture, colour, l ine, shape, tone, and contrast belonging to the object. I cannot say for certain that I had this passion for the visual at an early age (my very earliest memories bring mostly a feeling of atmospheres), but I deduce that I did from the fact that much later , in col lege, I was able to produce a detailed representation of my f i rst childhood kitchen in the Eastern United States (Plate 1, a). A few years la ter , I remember persuading my mother to choose one piano over another on the basis of the wonderful opulent curves of its legs. This piano became a visual rel ief from the "modern" decor of my childhood home. I remember fondling my rock and stamp collections with great visual delight. This visual appetite intensified as I grew older and has provided me with an abundant dictionary of visual images. 8 a.Continuous drawing of early memory of a kitchen b. In it ial drawing copper etching plate c. First stage of etching d. F ina l etching chair & geranium e. Exploration sketch "My Own Kitchen I & II" f. Photocopies of sketch for "My Own Kitchen I & H" h. Photocopies of photographs of drawings g. Exploration sketch "My Own Kitchen I & II" Sketch for teacup "The Star " j . Sketch for "Tea with a Great-Aunt " Plate 1: K itchen Theme Grouping 9 My eyes cause me to l inger, taking in every drop of colour l e f t in a sunset and every sparkle on the sea, to search every grain of sand for new visual messages and to investigate every t ree, f lower, and glade. My eyes soak in the rushing water tumbling over creek stones, l ight dappling through the trees, gutters, where wet leaves lay partial ly submerged in rain water, and the reflections in puddles. I have studied undulating alleys f u l l of r ichly f i l led garbage cans staggered below the patterns of yellowed window blinds peering through tattered curtains. I have gazed up at skyscrapers leaning toward each other as they soar to the sky. I am fascinated by the changing perspective of the patterns of glass imprints in the concrete faces of these mighty structures. I am overwhelmed by the radiant light of del icate blossom trees and the glowing centres of flowers with their piercing pistils and stamens. Worn, weathered wood with the subtle traces of mildew and moss, chunks of meta l , nails and railway spikes rusting from use and weather, walls of peeling paint, the " re t ina l c i rcus " of second-hand junk and clothing stores are sources for my visual glossary. Rainbows from crystal prisms dancing in my kitchen sink tantal ize my vision. I study the effects of light dancing in the mulberry tree outside the steam-moistened windows as I soak under bubbles in my old-fashioned bathtub. My sight is fascinated by the fractured images from the bevels of old mirrors and the phenomena of entire mountain ranges ref lected from a single facet of my grandmother's diamond ring. When I make my art , I draw upon the visual resources which f i l l my environment. The graceful shapes and indentations of age-worn pressed back chairs, turned spindles splintering backgrounds into bits of pattern, the quiet deepening of colours in drying f lowers, ornate silver tarnishing in the dust of neglect, and the sculptural lines of the humble yet powerful sewing machine decorated with an Egyptian Makara (a winged lioness-woman of powerful strength), provide inspiration for my images. The sun dancing through the undulating wisp of sheer curtains or the melancholy burnt sienna glow from an end-of-the-day sun f i l l ing a room with la s t -chance warm light i l luminates my work. Cocky clay pots sprouting jocular geraniums, 10 nasturtiums spill ing over with del ightful petals of br i l l iant sunburned colours, age-crazed china plates laced with faded f lora l designs barely clinging to their golden rims, worn baskets f i l led with bits and pieces offer colour and shapes for my art. I exult over satin ribbons, netting and lace, needlework heirlooms, antique l ingerie, and old wedding gowns. I store treasured pieces of t in fo i l as i f they were bits of captured rainbow spill ing from the fabled pot of gold. The foregoing descriptions detai l but a few of the resources of my visual image bank. I draw upon this col lect ion as a stimulus to my own creative processes and, in teaching, to lead my students to keener observation. It is an important goal of my teaching to develop the students' abi l i ty to see the visual world. Sharing my own visual excitement has proved very helpful in this. My abi l i ty to observe enables me to notice subtleties in students' work and thus give them useful feedback. While it may not be possible to explain how I acquired this predisposition to the visual, I can, to some extent, follow the ways in which, as a ch i ld , I translated enjoyment of observation into graphic form. My f i rst mark-making efforts were recal led in an autobiography written in Grade Ten. I wrote, "My bed was by a wal l and I used to have the most fun drawing on the wa l l , and I remember the eraser Mother bought to clean it off." I sometimes wonder how much e f fect that eraser had on my "slow ar r i va l " to art making. My involvement with art making is further documented by my kindergarten portfolio (Plates 2 through 6), work done in Grade Three (Plates 7 through 12), Grade Five (Plates 13 through 19) and Grade Eight (Plates 20 through 24). I f ind it interesting to note the s imi lar i ty between my childhood work and my recent work. My interest in bold pattern, texture, contrast, colour, shape, and line are evident at an early age. I f i l l ed space and shapes with intr icate detai l then as I do now. Embroidery was another way I satisf ied my hunger for colour and deta i l . I l iked to use as many colours as possible in a design. I have always enjoyed working with my hands and eyes. I f ind pleasure, a sense of being mesmerized, in watching the visual Plate 2: Kindergarten Plate 3: Kindergarten 12 Plate 5: Kindergarten 13 Plate 9: Grade Three 16 Plate 12: Grade Three Plate 13: Grade Five Plate 14: Grade Five Plate 16: Grade Five 19 23 events brought about by the manipulation of tool and media or a needle and thread as the surface qualities of a work emerge. I believe this t ra i t plays a major role in my approach to art making and the resulting products. A t times, when I am into the one-small-stroke-at-a-t ime stage of a painting, I fee l as i f I am embroidering the image onto the canvas. Etching provided me with this same mesmerizing act of concentration. My f i rst " recognit ion" as an art ist came when I was in Grade Four. The class was studying Mexico. The teacher had planned several colourful art act iv i t ies related to the unit. My task was to draw a l i fes ize Mexican boy in a serape. I was intrigued with the folds of the draped serape as they f e l l from the boy's shoulder. I reca l l how impressed I was when I found that a wavy, horizontal l ine joined at right angles by a few vert ica l strokes moving upward, created folds. I s t i l l l ike making folds and creating the illusion of undulating movement on a surface. There is a part icular curve inherent in folds that permeates my work. Folds appear in several works (Plates 1,2, 27 - 30, 32, 38, 43, 51, 60, 65 - 67, 76, 77, 90, 94, 95, 99, 114, 117 - 121, Appendix, Plates V and VII) and in the background of "Rock-a-bye-Roses" (Plate 104). Working on the Mexican serape linked me with Je r ry , the best art ist in the class. I can remember the flush of pride and status I fe l t when the other children would marvel at our abi l i ty. Unfortunately, my fami ly moved soon after and I lost my new found identity. A t the new school I was reduced to manil la paper, crayons, the occasional watercolour, and making a clay piggy bank every year. I have always wondered if I would have found art in my l i fe earl ier had I stayed at the other school. Before continuing with the account of my development as an art i s t , I w i l l examine in more detai l the image streams which have been of continuing importance in my work. These streams are folds, ribbons, crochet and lace, mothers, daughters, and dolls, and my family 's ancestry and memorabil ia. 24 My fondness for folds and undulating motion reveals itself over and over again as I recall the things I enjoyed as a child and still enjoy as an adult. Playing dress-up was a favourite pastime and still is. I find gowns and flounces fascinating. Our sheer curtains and even our bedsheets, in transit to and from the laundry, became great billowing fashions as I flounced in front of the mirrors. Of course, for a girl growing up in that era, the sensuous appeal of these materials was heightened by their romantic associations: Ginger Rogers twirling through life in her filmy dresses, the glamour of formals with rustling taffeta and floating tulle, and the magic of a wedding dress. Ribbons make a physical appearance in the woven satin ribbon quilts, "Westcoast Reflections" (Plate 25) and "Desert Mirage" (Plate 26). Ribbons become a major theme in my imagery in "Reflections of a Lifetime" (Plate 27). My fondness for ribbons is another manifestation of a deeply rooted attachment to the flowing curve. With their beauty of pattern, texture, colour, and responses to light, ribbons have traditionally played a part in many celebrations and served many purposes during my lifetime. I recall the ribbons on baby bonnets and bassinettes, on doll dresses, on special occasion presents, ribbons on party dresses, corsages and chocolate boxes, for party streamers and awards, Maypole ribbons blowing in the breeze, the happy ribbons on wedding bouquets and the mournful ones of funerals. The sensual pleasure I seek in ribbons and ruffles, satin and lace, velvet and diamonds, and crystal and china is also found in the dolls I have collected and loved ever since I was a young child. I enjoyed designing and making gowns and dresses for my dolls. I would spend hours sculpting their hair in elaborate styles. I remember my mother crocheting several gowns for storybook dolls which were lovingly added to my collection. My dolls were a "magic carpet" to fantasy. Dolls are far more than toys; traditions and roles are transmitted through the cherishing of dolls. I grew up thinking that bearing children was part of the fulfillment one gives one's mother — that of being a grandmother. I experienced one of the many joys of 25 Plate 26: "Desert Mirage" Woven Satin Ribbon Quilt, 80 x 86 in. Plate 27: "Reflections of a Lifetime" Assemblage of Acrylic, Crochet Work, Lace and Photocopies of Photographs on Silk and Paper Left Wing - 23 x 30.5 in. Centre - 43 x 32 in. Right Wing - 23 x 30.5 in. 27 becoming a mother as I presented my mother with her beaut i fu l , perfect grandbabies. K i r s t in , my f i r s t , was very much l ike the treasured china babydoll that had always sat on my mother's bed. This dol l appears in the painting "Rock-a-Goodbye-Baby" (Plate 28). My second ch i ld , Paisley Ter ra , resembles my mother's other prized dol l . This doll was restored and presented to me when I was old enough to take care of something special and is portrayed in the pastel drawing, "My Mother's Do l l I" (Plate 29) and the acry l ic painting, "My Mother's Do l l II" (Plate 30). I f ind a s imilar sensuous pleasure in drawing and painting dolls now as I did when I played with them as a chi ld. Dolls were revered by my mother, as by me, because of their beauty and because they were given in love, by mothers, and also because they were links with past generations. This reverence extends to a l l aspects of my family 's heritage. When I was growing up, I was curious to know what my predecessors looked l i ke , where they came f rom, what they d id, what special quirks and talents they had, what adventures they sought and how they l ived. I was intrigued by the old fami ly photographs and would search them for fami ly resemblances and tra i ts , clothing styles and background details. These ancestral images surfaced to the present through the photo-etchings I developed during my semesters in graphics at the University of Brit ish Columbia (Plates 31, 41). A snapshot of my mother and grandmother is the basis for "Mother, Daughter, 1923" (Plate 94). Photocopies of old photographs appear in "Ref lect ions of a L i f e t i m e " (Plate 27). The deep tradit ion of motherhood and strong family ties are expressed in this work. The fascination for my family 's past was fuel led, when I was a ch i ld, by two trips my mother and I made to Ontario, Canada; trips which were to provide some of my dearest and most profound memories. We lef t dry, brown Southern Cal i forn ia with its stuccoed, geometric sub-divisions behind as we ratt led our way by train to the "olden days" of "back east". There were farms with barns, cows and ra i l fences, and old homes with outhouses, waterpumps, feather beds, and china chamber pots. 28 Plate 28: "Rock-a-Goodbye-Baby" Ac r y l i c on Canvas, 19 x 32 in. 29 Plate 29: "My Mother's Doll I" Graphite and Pastel on Paper - 20 x 26 in. Plate 30: "My Mother's Do l l II" Ac ry l i c on Canvas - 35 x 27 in. 31 Plate 31: Top Row: Photo-etchings left to right "Feeding the Chickens" "Factory" "Percy, Roberta and Robert" Bottom: "Visiting Their Prairie Daughter" photo-etching left to right "Bread Doily" embossing "Eden Mills" lithograph 32 Having dinner at a farm house was a unique experience for a g i r l from Cal i forn ia. We a l l pitched in and helped clean the vegetables picked minutes earlier from the garden. This was amazing to me, having come from the land of frozen vegetables. The paintings, "Oasis" (Plate 32) and "Dusty Day" (Plate 33) remind me of farmhouse kitchens. My great-aunt Verna l ived in the old family home. The house, was f i l led with furniture and keepsakes from the previous generation. Coming from the Cal i forn ia fashion of blond straight-edge furniture, I was overcome by the intr icacies of these antiques. In my great-aunt's special parlour, I would sit alone and very s t i l l . My senses were drenched with the del icate, detail- laden atmosphere. Having tea with my great-aunts was a special occasion. The lace covered table would be la id with china plates, l inen napkins, gleaming s i lver, assorted fruit nappies shimmering with a bounty of homemade applebutter, gooseberry and raspberry jams. A pot of teaspoons always sat in the centre of the table. I would choose the most elaborate, fine bone china teacup for sipping my tea. I loved the gentle c latter of a silver spoon as it st irred the steaming tea. Homemade preserves would be heaped onto piping hot biscuits. I would sit very straight and keep my elbows off the table. The painting, "Tea with a Great-Aunt" (Plate 34), features a teacup given to me by my great-aunt Verna and emits the aura I remember from those teatimes. While s itt ing very pol itely next to my mother as she and the relatives chattered away, I would entertain myself by visually rearranging the knick-knaeks, pictures, furniture, cushions, doi l l ies, and my favourite, the contents of the treasured china cabinet. My mother would flush with embarrassment when, at an opportune moment, I would inquire if perhaps there might be a dusty old a t t i c or musty dark cel lar I could explore. I would root through ancestral trunks and old cardboard boxes; searching the fert i le layers of ancient nutrients, quenching my thirst for knowledge of the buried past. I was unconsciously tucking away mental "keepsakes" which, years l a ter , would resurface through my art work. 33 Plate 32: "Oasis" Acrylic on canvas - 19 x 32 in. Acrylic on canvas - 19 x 32 in, Plate 34: "Tea with a Great-Aunt " Ac r y l i c and Lace on Canvas, 14 x 20.5 in. 35 I looked into a window on the past when I v is ited "back east". My appreciation of "woman's work" was strengthened through these visits. When I remember the care and diligence the women in my family put into their cooking, fancy work, and cleaning, I see very s imilar drives and traits that are essential when I am producing my art. It's a heritage I would l ike to recognize. Many of the images found in my present work are rooted in the warm impressions gathered from these family reunions. I have celebrated women's " fancy work" in the recent works, "Ref lect ions of a L i f e t ime " (Plate 27), "Tributes to Someone's Grandmother" (Plates 110 to 115) and "Ghosts in the Garden" (Plate 116). My mother had always wanted a teacup col lect ion and a china cabinet. This desire was part of her Canadian heritage. China cabinets contained a woman's wealth. The treasured china, c rysta l , and silver allowed a woman to beautiful ly present her hospitality. China cabinets make their appearance in "K i tchen Chairs I" (Plate 76), "Oasis" (Plate 32), and "My Own Kitchen I" (Plate 99). My mother died before getting her long desired china cabinet. The denial of my mother's simple l i felong wish caused me to real ize how necessary it is to grasp what is important in l i fe while it can s t i l l be enjoyed. I decided to begin doing what I most wanted, and that was to learn more about making art. Learning About Art In the fa l l of 1982, following my mother's death, I returned to Canada from Cal i forn ia and enrolled in drawing and ceramics classes. A t this t ime, I was craving structure and I wanted to be pressured. I wanted to concentrate my energies into efforts that demanded quality. I wanted to work for and achieve standards of excellence in art. My goals at that time were to accumulate a knowledge of the various media taught in the public schools and to develop my technical sk i l l in each. A f t e r a whi le, however, I began to fee l discontent. Although I was growing in technical s k i l l , I fe l t that I lacked an understanding of composition. I wondered how artists chose their 36 form and content. There was a dearth of meaningful content in my work which I found frustrating. I was learning a language but not what to express of myself with the language. A t one point, an instructor made the statement that an art ist must be able to s implify what he sees. I understood this to mean "to make simple." I related it to abstraction as in "modern" art. Because I had d i f f i cu l ty in s implifying what I saw and what I wanted to express, I began to doubt my abi l i ty to succeed in art. I sought out artists such as the Flemish, Dutch and French Masters to console myself in the fact that other artists have also delighted in deta i l . I have since come to real ize that a process of s impl i f icat ion is involved in even the most elaborate portrayal of a subject. What I hadn't comprehended earlier was that the degree of s impl i f icat ion used is relat ive to the artist 's personal goal for his imagery. I now accept my love for deta i l and elaboration as a strength and appreciate these traits as a gift rather than the handicap I once fe l t i t to be. In those years of my l i f e , I fe l t that I didn't have anything to express that was esoteric or " a r ty " without it being contrived. I was constantly searching for the answer to the questions: "What is A r t ? " , "How do you know when something becomes A r t ? " , and "How can I make A r t ? " . I seldom completely resolved a painting to its finished state. When I f inally worked up the courage to push a painting to its darkest darks and to put in the brightest highlights, the resulting image, "Por t ra i t of David" (Plate 35), gave rise to new concerns. David's expressive face f i l led the entire canvas. The image was insightful and powerful, ref lect ing David's intensity and physical pain. The abi l i ty to paint something with impact frightened me. I was bewildered by many feelings and anxieties. What i f I have potential? What i f I think I can do something and I fail? A t the same t ime, I was excited by the painting and fe l t myself being consumed by the desire to lose myself in image-finding and image-making. I could paint for hours, forgetting my real i ty. I became worried that I might neglect my parenting responsi-37 Plate 35: "Portrait of David" Oil on Canvas - 33.5 x 22 in. 38 i l i t ies. As a result of these concerns, I decided to take a break from art training and to focus my creative energies in ways that included my family. The time came, in the Spring of 1977, for me to make another choice of direction for my l i f e . I made the decision to attend an art education course at the University of Br it i sh Columbia, which had been recommended by a fr iend. I based the decision to pursue further training as an art teacher on the fond memories of my early teaching experiences in Ca l i forn ia. I had taught third grade from 1963 to 1966. I loved working with the children in subjects that allowed for creative opportunities. A r t was a favourite. I became very excited as I watched the children's innocent images emerge. I thr i l led at the joy and pride the children fe l t when they had finished something to their satisfaction. During this period I had toyed with the idea of becoming an art teacher. A t this t ime we were fortunate to have working in our D i s t r ic t a dynamic woman with a gray-haired bun, raucous voice, flamboyant personality and clothes to match. Helen Cordel l was art coordinator for the elementary schools. Ms. Corde l l did a pilot study demonstrating that Grade One pupils could learn the vocabulary of art, apply the knowledge gained in their projects, and enjoy art appreciation discussions. Through workshops put on by Ms. Cordel l , I became aware of the elements of art and the principles of design. She taught me also that art had a language that I could learn and use, and which I could teach children to use in a log ical , sequential manner. Helen Cordell ' s mission in l i f e seemed to be to convince the children, teachers, administration, and the board alike, that art was an essential in the education of the chi ld. She was an example of what I wanted to be when I was in the prime of my career. In June of 1977, I fu l f i l led a long held dream. I took my children to vis it the fabled Eastern Canada of my mother's ancestral home. I wanted to share with my children the wonder of "watering one's roots" which I had experienced when I was young. I wanted them to have the sense of themselves as the extension of a fami ly tree. I also wanted them to experience the crossing of Canada's vastness firsthand. A rel ic from the past, which was to have a profound impact on my art work, came into my l i fe on this t r ip. Driving along Toronto's Bloor Street at 3:00 a.m. with a fr iend, I saw an old treadle-driven Singer sewing machine, patent 1885, s itt ing on the curb waiting for the morning garbage pick-up. My friend and I managed to put the machine into the trunk of the car. It was arranged that my cousin, who was planning to drive a large container truck across Canada, would bring the sewing machine west along with the other treasures my great-aunt Verna had given me. As a result, I saved the Singer from one destruction but, inadvertently, sent it to another. In July of 1977,1 attended a beginning art education course at the University of Br it ish Columbia. This course was to have a monumental e f fect on my l i f e and art direction. The course curriculum covered drawing, painting, three-dimensional work, and graphics. Students were required to choose and develop themes for the projects in each of the four areas. It was in doing those projects that I began to uncover my present imagery. In the fol lowing pages I trace the development of the symbols which emerged as a result of the course assignments and continue to appear in my art work: the sewing machine, the geranium, the chair, and family photographs. The supporting compositional devices, which have become integral in my work, w i l l also be discussed: checks, lace, and crochet. The use of each symbol w i l l be followed unt i l January of 1980, at which point a change occurs in my attitude regarding my symbols and my products. As a student the symbols had played a subservient role in my quest for technical and compositional experiences. In 1980, circumstances required that I perform as an art i st . In this new phase of my development, technique and composition suddenly became integrated with the content or concept of the work. In the beginning course, I chose the sewing machine as my theme image because of my emotional need to make the best of a disappointing situation. When I went to col lect my long-awaited treadle sewing machine that I had rescued from Bloor Street, I found a pile of splintered wood and shattered metal . I was wretched with disappointment. In an attempt to channel my anguish, I decided to turn what was l e f t of the machine head and metal work of the treadle into art. I did many drawings (Plates 36A, 36B, and 37d, 38a and c), a painting (Plate 38), l i f tpr ints (Plate 37a and 38b), a lino cut (Plate 37b, 37c), a ceramic sculpture, and a plaster carving based on the sewing machine's features. Crochet and lace were used as compositional supports. As I worked with the image, I became more aware of the art i s t ic qualities inherent in the design elements of the old treadle machine. This increased my appreciation for the old Singer as an aesthetic object. I was almost glad for the disaster. The objects/symbols that appear in my artwork are chosen for compositional, symbolic, and emotional reasons. The fol lowing explains how the sewing machine satisfies the three c r i te r ia : Compositional: The ornately decorated, curved, sensual form of the machine head f i l l s space with a graceful strength which enhances the fragments of background pattern that reveal themselves through the open spaces of the machine. Emotional: I have an af f in i ty for things that ref lect the patina of use and have been part of the process of l i f e . The aura of these old objects emits a sense of history and passing t ime. Painting and drawing sewing machines is emotionally soothing for me and evokes many fond memories of the t ime my mother and I spent together sewing my dreams into fabr ic. Symbolic: Sewing is an accepted outlet for women's art i s t ic and creative urges as wel l as being a way in which they can make a physical contribution to the fami ly . The sewing machine, in my v iew, has deep symbolic meaning of woman's "p lace" and "woman's work." This framework may be used to analyze the presence of other objects and compositional devices which are prevalent in my work. During the course, I had become intrigued with the graphic process, and decided that I wanted to learn more about the technical aspects of the various processes. Drawings from Sketch Book on Sewing Machine Theme Drawings from Sketch Book on Sewing Machine Theme a. Liftprints d. Contour Drawing crj] [CM 43 b. Lino cut prints c. Design for Lino cut e. Drawings f. Lithograph g. Photocopy of colour drawing with colour Plate 37: Sewing Machine Theme PES v . - _ _ s * ^ * a. Preliminary search for composition of "Sewing Machines." - drawings. Plate 38: "Sewing Machines" Tempera, Acrylic Medium on Hardboard. - 19 x 20 in. I also thought that by el iminating the element of colour from my imagery, I could concentrate on the composition and structure of an image, an area where I felt I needed further understanding. The following year, 1978, I attended a graphics course. We were to study lithography. I did a rough, simple drawing of a sewing machine for a metal plate lithograph (Plate 37). While exploring a new technique, I fee l more comfortable using a fami l iar image. A f t e r the lithograph of the sewing machine, the symbol does not reappear unt i l 1980. The geranium appeared in my work during the introductory art course. This symbol surfaced quite innocently during a contour drawing session in the university greenhouse. These contour drawings became the foundation for further experiments and explorations in design. The resulting ideas were used for making l i f t prints, which were further "played w i th " in the search for imagery. - While drawing the geranium, I recal led the geranium my mother had grown in the backyard of our home in Southern Ca l i forn ia. Geraniums l ived outside a l l year round and were one of the few flowering plants that could survive hot summers. As a ch i ld , I enjoyed their pungent aroma and the fuzzy green leaves poking out at cocky angles, framing the clumps of br i l l iant red flowers that were bursting from their twiggy stems l ike "Fourth of Ju l y " sparklers. From a l i f t print of a tomato and of a geranium in a clay pot (Plate 39), I developed a collagraph using suede, denim, cardboard, and net (Plate 40). Crochet work made its f irst appearance in this collagraph. I needed something to use as a texture for the geranium flower. That afternoon, while walking about the campus, I noticed a piece of crochet work lying in the road. The piece consisted of three sections of deep scallop shapes with a spoke design in the centre of each section. I could not have found a more perfect piece to represent the f lower. The small-paned window made its f i rst appearance in this collagraph. I used the grid as a compositional device dividing the background and anchoring the organic 45 Plate 39: Experimental Liftprint Ink and Watercolour on Newsprint Leading to "Prairie Window" Plate 40: "Prairie Window Collagraph, 23 x 16 in. shapes to the edges of the format. The collagraph, printed in black, took on the appearance of a si lhouette. I experimented with warm sunset colours using a rainbow ro l l on cardboard. These colours were printed f i rst. When I put the black silhouette on top of the intense sky, fading from gold to orange to rusty browns, I was suddenly transported to the prair ies, standing in a darkening prair ie shack, looking past the window to the lingering light of a sinking sun f i l ter ing through the dust rising from a prair ie tractor 's wake. I c a l l the print "P ra i r ie Window" (Plate 40). A l ight source or a window is used to indicate a time of day, locat ion, circumstances, mood, and atmosphere in later works. The prair ie shack motif reappears in an etching, "V is i t ing Their Pra ir ie Daughter" (Plate 41). The geranium was next used as a subject for exploring technique in a lithography course (Plate 42) and in an intaglio course. Using one of four smal l copperplates, I did a sampler of etching techniques (Plate 43, I). As three smal l copperplates remained, it occurred to me that I could put the geranium in a particular environment. I decided to use my kitchen and one of my pressed-back chairs for this design. This was the debut of my own kitchen as a motif. I drew a table covered with a checkered tablecloth for pattern interest and included square windows to divide the background space (Plate l , b ) . The f inal etching (Plate 43,1) strikes a home-like chord in many people. The composition is based on the balance between organic rounds and curves contrasting with geometric grids which is also explored in the collagraph "Pra i r ie Window" (Plate 40). It is interesting to note that these contrasting compositional elements also appear in my childhood art (Plates 2 - 28). The image on the second copperplate is a s impl if ied geranium and an enlargement of the tablecloth and window pattern (Plate 43 II). The fourth plate was an experiment with the sugar-l ift technique using a single leaf and a few flowers. The f ina l image resembled a microscopic view of the juices flowing inside the leaf (Plate 43, IV). The series exemplifies another compositional concept that recurs in my work, that of focusing inward. The plates were editioned in a dark sepia brown on Arches buff paper. The prints are t i t l ed , "Geranium Series I, II,Til and IV" (Plate 43). 48 Plate 41: "Visiting Their Prairie Daughter" Photo-etching, 17 x 13 in. Plate 42: Lithograph of a Geranium 14 x 18 in. Plate 43: "Geranium Series, I, II, III, IV" Etchings from Copperplates 28 x 10.25 in., 4 x 4.75 in. During that summer session, I continued to explore the intriguing forms of the geranium in a larger copperplate etching (Plate 44) and in a collagraph (Plate 45). For the collagraph I used a variety of materials, including actual leaves and flowers. The petals of the flowers were defined with carved modelling paste. The plant shapes are again anchored down by the window gr id. In the f a l l of 1978, 1 began another year of graphics. I continued to explore the concept of abstracted designs based on s impl i f ied organic shapes and geometric patterns, along with images based on the contrasting concepts of mood, atmosphere, and the "essences of real i ty. " I chose to continue working with the geranium symbol. I drew some observation-based drawings (Plate 46) and a free-association drawing (Plate 47) in my sketchbook. These drawings were t r i a l studies for future etchings. The idea of leaving the styl ized positive shapes of the geranium leaf and stem white, while f i l l ing in the negative shapes with images from my memory, expressed itself in one of the drawings (Plate 47). In doing the "Geranium" etching (Plate 44) and the detailed sketchbook drawing (Plate 46) of a geranium, I had closely observed the edges and shape of the leaf. I was intrigued with the shapes of the negative spaces that appeared when I drew the positive leaf and stem shapes. The free-association drawing (Plate 47) generated thoughts which I noted in the margins of the page. The cow, another a symbol from my past, appears in this drawing. Following this, I did another drawing which extrapolated the elements I l iked best. This new drawing used only the geranium leaf and stem shapes as the positives and the negative spaces were f i l led with checks. I was again searching out the contrast between the organic curve and the geometric gr id. The resulting design (Plate 48) excited my eye and my sense of tension and balance. I decided to use the design for an etching. As I worked, I was mesmerized by the sharpened dental tool sliding through the soft black-brown asphaltum, fine stroke by fine stroke, unt i l every other check in the design was opened to receive the acid's b i te. I editioned the print Plate 44: Copperplate Etching of a Geranium 13 x 16 in. 53 Plate 45: Collagraph of Geranium 8 x 7.5 in. Plate 46: Observation-based Drawings of Geranium 55 Plate 4 7 : Free-association Drawing of Geranium and Memories with Annotated Thoughts in Margin. Plate 48 Drawing of Geranium Extrapolating Preferred Elements in red on white rag paper (Plate 49). I was concurrently working on the plate ("Rainy Day", Plates 50, 51) which explored the mood and atmosphere of an environment. I experimented with the repetit ion of a chair shape (Plate 52) and chair and table shapes using pattern as a compositional device (Plate 53). I was fascinated by the feel ing of mystery evoked by the " H a l l of Mirrors" image (Plate 53). I fe l t that I had made a breakthrough to a more profound understanding of the principles and the power of composition as I pushed my way through these drawing explorations. The compositional themes and tools discovered in these exercises continue to reappear, almost unconsciously, as the foundations for my personal statements. The kitchen and chair theme made its f i rst appearance in a continuous l ine drawing done in the foundation art education course. The instructor asked the class to draw a picture based on a fond memory from early childhood. I remembered the kitchen in the home where I had spent the f i rst f ive years of my l i f e . I had pleasant memories of the fee l of that 1940's k itchen with its wooden kitchen chairs and icebox (Plate 1, a). The kitchen theme next appears in the previously mentioned copperplate etching (Plate 43,1) and in the etching, "Rainy Day" (Plate 51). We were required to keep a sketchbook in the beginning art education course. This was an invaluable experience for me. I took the sketchbook everywhere I went and made an effort to draw in the book whenever I was s itt ing and not using my hands to drive or eat. The drawings are a diary of the summer's events. I used a variety of media and drawing approaches throughout. Contour drawings of my k i tchen, other rooms in my home and those of friends, household ar t i facts , and my children were included in the sketchbook. This col lect ion of images held many seeds that would germinate into art work which would later appear in public exhibition. I went through a phase during the 1977-1978 school year, when I fe l t my marks and renderings were not significant enough to take up space in a world already overloaded with visual mater ia l . About this t ime, I was exposed to the technique of photo-etching. I began experimenting with overlays of crochet and lace on photographs of my children (Plate 54). I used photographs of lace and crochet from Plate 49: "Geranium and Checks" Etching from Zinc Plate. 8.75 x 11.5 in. Plate 50: Sketch for "Rainy Day" Plate 51: "Rainy Day" Etching from Zinc Plate 8.75 x 11.5 in. Plate 52: Sketch of Repeated Chair Design Plate 53: "Hall of Mirrors" Drawing Plate 54: Experiments with Lace Overlays on Photographs 63 my col lect ion and spent hours shifting and adjusting the patterns. I learned a great deal about the significance of minute spaces while preparing the orthofilms for these plates. The actual lace and crochet was used to emboss the borders of the prints (Plate 55 and 56). I became fascinated with embossing. I had taken a photograph of a doily made for a bread basket. The word "Bread" was crocheted into the design. Someone had made a piece of fancy work to embellish the serving of bread and I wanted to take the sentiment to the art leve l . I see bread as a symbol of nourishment, the " s taf f of l i f e , " and a woman's way of providing for her fami ly. I used an orthofi lm enlargement for putting the doily image onto a zinc plate. The plate was deeply b i t ten by n i t r ic ac id. The image was embossed into Japanese Kochi paper (Plate 57). By this t ime, I was total ly devoted to lace and crochet as an image. Crochet and lace have since become dominant compositional devices in my work. The intr icate patterns of lace and crochet provide the visual interest of contrasting textures. I f i l l the negative spaces of my compositions with detai l and pattern. Lace is f ragi le, int r icate, and complicated. Del icate f lora l shapes are suspended on transparent gossamer webs of geometric grids which hold and capture l ight. Crochet is heavier and coarser than lace. The sturdy intr icate patterns give a lace- l ike ef fect durable enough for constant use. Crochet blends decor and function, durabil ity and del icacy, giving common household items a touch of luxury and beauty. Crochet work was made by women to be used for pract ica l reasons in their homes on garments used from babyhood to death. Ut i l i ta r ian items, from pil low cases to dish towels, were graced with crocheted elegance. Women could get together to talk and s t i l l be constantly productive, contributing to their family 's well-being. In the 1978 summer lithography course, I decided to continue exploring the "Bread" doily image (Plate 57). I planned to experiment with the doily using the positive, negative, and reversal processes of lithography. I needed a background for Plate 55: "Kirstin" Lace Overlay, Photo-etching and Embossing 10.5 x 14.5 in. 65 Plate 56: "Paisley" Lace Overlay, Photo-etching and Embossing 10.5 x 14.5 in. Plate 57: "Bread Doily" Embossed Photo-etching 17 x 14 in. 67 the doily shape but did not want a meaningless scribble. In my mental elaborations about the significance of the doily, I had pondered my link with the women in my family and how the handicrafts performed by women embellished the family's life. While riding the bus to school one morning, my mind made the connection between my desire for an unobtrusive textured background, a conversation about using handwriting as texture, and my thoughts on the meaning of the bread doily. I decided to use letters written by my grandmother and my mother for the background. That evening I rooted out a package of letters. There were letters from my mother written to me and a letter from my grandmother written to my mother at the time of my second child's birth. I had decided on a dark background with white writing. I made a negative orthofilm of the letters in their original size. Whenever I tried to explain the project to someone, tears revealed my emotional involvement with the letters. I persevered in my idea which had become an act of grieving and felt good in a sad way. As I worked with the letters, the words of caring would catch my eye and soothe me. As the print evolved and my involvement grew with the background, the doillies became extraneous. The resulting lithograph, "Celebrating Grief" (Plate 58), has a very special significance. The instructor for this class made it a practice of having times set aside for discussions with students regarding their work, progress, and concerns. During one of these discussions an instructor encouraged the way I was thinking and reasoning in my art. As a result of this comment, I began to feel that my thoughts might be artistically valid. This instructor had accepted my images based on the home and past as worthwhile. I began to gain the confidence I needed in order to visually express my own feelings and ideas. I felt comfortable accepting myself and giving myself permission to explore and search for content within the confines of my own person. I became excited that I could express the praises of the woman-mother-heroine of the home. With my new enthusiasm for the ordinary, I delighted in the idea of doing something with the pineapple-pattern doillies which were on the arms and backs of our Plate 58: "Celebrating Grief" Lithograph of Letters 22 x 30 in. 69 couch and chairs when I was a chi ld. Apart from a couple of experimental soft-ground etchings done in the autumn of 1978 (Plate 59), the pineapple motif lay dormant unt i l its appearance in "Tributes to Someone's Grandmother" in 1983 (Plate 113). Once I began to fee l some confidence in my own imagery, I discovered a paradox. Setting goals and priorit ies for myself, I was then free to explore form and content to a greater depth and breadth within the chosen framework. In the autumn of 1978, I began the second year Graphics course at the University of Br it ish Columbia. My fascination with photo-etching led me to the exploration of old fami ly photographs. These messages from the past surfaced to my awareness while I was searching for the letters I used as a background for the bread doily lithograph. I found, in this col lect ion, images that I fe l t were classically beautiful and were archetypal of the Anglo-Saxon Canadian fami ly l i f e during the late 1800's and early 1900's. I invested a great deal of t ime and concentration in pulling from the evolving prints the nuances of meaning and feel ing which were evoked by the photographs. Transition In the f a l l of 1979, I enrolled in a graduate course. This particular course had been designed to give participants the opportunity to perform as artists and to expand on their abil it ies in the realm of art c r i t i c i sm. The students produced work independent of each other. The class made visits to the studio or place of act iv i ty where the work was produced. The site, method, and imagery were discussed. The group would then offer comments relevant to the work of the host artist. The meetings were charged with excitement and provided creative nourishment for everyone. It was decided by the group that we should put ourselves on the l ine. If we were going to perform l ike artists, we should exhibit l ike artists. I make it a rule to accept challenges that may lead to personal growth, so despite my apprehension, I agreed to the idea of an exhibit. A public exhibition was organized for Ap r i l , 1980. 70 Plate 59: Pineapple Pattern Soft-ground Etchings 71 My mind was s t i l l involved with the ancestral images of the fami ly photos which had been developed into etchings the previous year. Feel ing stronger in the skills of composition, I now wanted to tackle colour. Ac r y l i c paint became my next challenge. In the box of old fami ly photographs, I had found a picture of my mother and grandmother that held particular appeal for me. I had explored the image in a pen and ink drawing in my sketch book earl ier in the year (Plate 60). I decided to attempt a painting of this photograph. A f t e r some fut i le attempts I abandoned the project, real iz ing i t involved more than I was ready for at the t ime. Its completion is documented in the "Mother, Daughter, 1923" section. Suddenly i t was January. The art exhibit that had been scheduled for Ap r i l loomed large in my mind. In an attempt to conquer the inhibiting fear that my work might not be deemed art, I said to myself, "Just do something, anything." I picked up an old sketch book, some charcoal, and a few pastels that had surfaced and had been f loat ing near the top of my "c lu t ter pool" for some t ime. I sat down at my kitchen table, looked up, and saw my old black sewing machine. I drew i t in the foreground and drew a jar of blown eggs in the background (Plate 61). For the second drawing, I decided to frame the black sewing machine shape with my colourful ly patterned kitchen wallpaper (Plate 62). Because I thought of the drawings as just warmups in an old sketch book, I was relaxed and having fun. My l ine loosened. I f ixed and fussed without worrying about what might or might not become " A r t . " I spontaneously put in backgrounds. I played, experimented, and explored the nuances of shape, l ine, and colour of the objects I had gathered around me. I stopped f rett ing about the "mysterious" Tightness after which I was always searching. I found pleasure in looking at these objects and enjoyed the mood and atmosphere they created in my home. I fe l t a connection with the past through these old, worn, household art i facts. It was visually and emotionally satisfying to use them as the subjects for my drawings. 72 Plate 60: Sketch for "Mother, Daughter, 1923" Pen and Ink. Plate 62: "Black Sewing Machine with Wallpaper" 14 x 17 in. I continually reminded myself of three significant comments that had been made to me some years earl ier. During my f irst course at the University of Br it i sh Columbia, I had asked a fel low student, whose work I admired, how she decided what parts of a s t i l l l i f e to draw. She replied that she drew what she " l i ked. " The second comment, made by my lithography instructor, was that my drawing should be as natural as my handwriting. The th i rd , made by the same instructor reinforced my confidence in my art i s t ic thinking. I said to myself over and over while working on the exploratory drawings, "Draw what you l i ke. " "Relax and draw in your natural style." I continued to draw the sewing machine with pastels, charcoal, and graphite, experimenting with a variety of compositions, backgrounds, patterns, and moods (Plates 63 - 71). I grew dissatisfied with the surface I could create with pastel. I fe l t that the way I was using pastel did not do the objects just ice. They lacked impact. I had not taken the t ime to ful ly develop the forms. I decided to start leaving the positive shapes white and began to emphasize the negative spaces, which I delighted in f i l l ing with a var iety of patterns. This provided me with the opportunity to explore the use of l ine, shape, pattern, and colour, which in turn, led to the intr icate visual surfaces I enjoyed. I found the re l ief offered by the contrasting white shapes enhanced the patterns. I looked around my house, finding compositions everywhere. My eye was acting as a format. As I drew the pressed-back chairs, geraniums, the rose pitcher, and checkered tablecloth (Plates 72 - 93), I became more and more visually intrigued with the qualities that endeared these objects to me. Using these items as compositional toys, I moved further into the search for imagery. I explored various approaches to form such as movement, psychological space, mood, atmosphere, and pattern. Content evolved from the amalgamation of these elements. The constructive suggestions given by many of my teachers and the experience of organizing compositions began to merge in my mine. I began to sense a change occurring in my approach to art making. Plate 64: "Sewing Machine and Yel low Checks" Pastel and Charcoal - 20 x 15 in. Plate 66: "Sewing Machine and Chair I" Pastel and Charcoal - 15 x 20 in. Plate 67: "Sewing Machine and Chair III Pastel and Charcoal - 15 x 20 in. Hr • • Plate 68: "Sewing Machine and Three Chairs" Pastel and Charcoal - 15 x 20 in. 78 Plate 70: "Fragments" Pastel and Charcoal - 15 x 20 in. Plate 71: "Sewing and Machine and Chair IV" Graphite and Pastel - 22 x 30 in. 80 81 Plate 74: "Geranium in Pot with Checks" Pastel and Charcoal - 14 x 17 in. Plate 75: "Chair and Red Stripes" Pastel and Charcoal - 15 x 20 in. 83 Plate 80: "Chairs and Brown and Black Checks" Pastel and Charcoal - 15 x 20 in. 85 86 Plate 83: "Layers of Chairs " Graphite and Pastel - 22 x 30 in. 87 Plate 85: "Swinging Kitchen" Pastel and Charcoal 15 x 20 in. 89 Plate 88: "Circus Chairs" Graphite and Pastel - 22 x 30 in. Plate 89: "Cha i r A lone" Pastel and Charcoal 15 x 20 in. Plate 90: "Chair and Sewing Machine II" Pastel and Charcoal 15 x 20 in. Plate 91: "Rose Chair and Fr iend" Pastel and Charcoal 15 x 20 in. Plate 92: "Rose Chair and Pitcher I" Pastel and Charcoal 15 x 20 in. 92 Plate 93: "Rose Chair and Pitcher II" Graphite and Pastel - 22 x 30 in. The lack of compositional skill I had experienced earlier had been replaced with a more sensitive understanding of the use of space. I could now visually plan the division of space with great precision. My deepened understanding of composition enhanced my ability to express my personal statements. I was also beginning to understand the use of colour and how to balance the contrasts of light and dark, warm and cold, and bright and dull. A change also occurred in my perception of myself. I went from being a student to being an artist. My images were no longer just practice. I began thinking of them as art. My new found confidence in my expressive and compositional ability was reinforced by the positive reactions of my classmates to the pastel drawings. To further investigate the elements of art and principles of design, I decided to pursue painting with acrylics. I chose to continue the themes which had become apparent in the series of pastel drawings (Plates 61 - 93). A number of preliminary sketches on each theme were done in preparation for the paintings. Canvases of varying sizes were assembled (Appendix, Plate I). Preferred compositions were transferred to the canvases with charcoal (Appendix, Plate II). The paintings were worked on concurrently. The preliminary sketches, photographs of stages in the underpainting, and the finished painting are presented in the Appendix, Plates i n -VIII. These paintings reinforced my interest in the themes which were becoming more clearly defined. Significant works which further explore the themes of atmosphere, mood, movement, pattern, and psychological space will be discussed in the following sections. Mother, Daughter, 1923 The painting stems from my interest in my family's past and is based on an actual photograph of my mother and grandmother, circa 1923. The photograph has a special appeal for various reasons, some of which are based on form and others are in response to the content. 94 In the painting (Plate 94), the two l i fes ize figures are bathed in warm sunlight, surrounded by green grass dotted with smal l white daisies. The mother stands t a l l and strong in ah ankle-length white dress accented with a dark green ribbon down the front. The chi ld, wearing a pink and white cotton gingham play dress, leans shyly into the mother's protective form. Each has an arm around the other. The chi ld looks shyly out to the world, not yet ready to stand alone. This joining of mother and chi ld symbolizes a mutual sharing of protection, dependence, and love. The chi ld needs the mother, the mother needs the chi ld. If I take my analysis of the picture further, I f ind signs of a different kind of support and nurturing structure embodied in the house and tre l l i s . The presence of the male member of the fami ly is implied and represented by these geometric elements in the painting. To become more fami l iar with the forms and compositional components, I f i rst painted a watercolour of the image (Plate 95). I was interested in exploring the contrasting patterns, textures, and the d i f fer ing geometric grids serving as backdrops and supports to a variety of organic shapes. A large cl imbing rose bush, laden with pink roses, drapes over an old wooden trel l i s behind the figures. A garden path, l ined with smal l rose bushes of varying sizes, shapes, and colours winds through the background in front of a towering brick house with a wooden rai l ing edging the front porch. A cross-hatched tre l l i s creates a sun-spotted pattern on one end of the porch. The pink and white checkered pattern of the child's dress contrasts with and defines the soft folds of the skirt and pocket. I found working from the smal l photo d i f f i cu l t , so, an eight by ten inch enlargement was made of each face and of the whole photograph. I did a few studies in an attempt to become re-acquainted with paint, which I had not handled for a number of years. The resemblance of the painted faces to the photograph was extremely important to me. This made the task of painting the faces very d i f f i cu l t . Plate 94: "Mother and Daughter, 1923" Ac ry l i c on Canvas. 72 x 42 in. 96 Plate 95: Study for "Mother and Daughter, 1923" Watercolour - 24 x 38 in . It was while doing my preparatory painting that I opt imist ical ly built the six by four foot canvas, thinking to myself, "If you are going to paint figures, why not paint l i fe-s ize figures?" The grid method was used for transferring the underdrawing onto the large canvas. I did not know where to start with the paint. I began brushing on two of the wildest colours I had - pthalocyanine blue and phthalocyanine green. I was so startled by the overpowering result that I counteracted with earth colours. Using burnt umber, I tr ied to establish the shapes and grids of the geometric structures appearing in the composition. I put some burnt sienna on the mother's dress and touches of pink on the daughter's (Plate 96). A t this point I was feel ing total ly overwhelmed. I fe l t I had forgotten everything I had ever learned about painting. Trying to translate a black and white photo into l iv ing colour was much more d i f f i cu l t than I had imagined. I abandoned the project. The painting sat in the corner of my dining room for a year, a ghostly reminder of my promise to this image from my past. In the late f a l l of 1981, the painting was resurrected and given another chance at l i f e . It was going to appear in an art exhibit of women's work. I had a deadline, the pressure I find helpful when focusing on a project to the exclusion of most other distractions (the work in progress is shown in Plates 97 and 98). I found that as I worked on this painting I could indulge in the reminiscences of the happy and sad, friendly and angry, helpful and hurtfu l times of a mother and daughter relationship. The f ina l completion of this painting, after a month of continuous intense work and learning, was a great personal v ictory. My Own K i tchen I and n These paintings are real ist ic presentations of my symbols; the sewing machine, geranium, chair, and checkered tablecloth (Plate 99). K i tchen I has a chair tucked under a table; the back part of the seat is showing. The head of an o ld, ornately decorated sewing machine sits on a bright blue and white checkered tablecloth. The wal l behind the table is covered in elaborate wallpaper. The floor is a gleaming shade Plate 99: "My Own Kitchen I and II" Acrylic on Canvas. Each Painting - 34 x 45 in. 100 of beige. A piece of the geranium and yellow straw mat from K i tchen II appears in K i tchen I. There are two spools of thread and one long brass bobbin sitt ing on the table. K i tchen II shows a pressed-back chair; great attention is paid to the ornate design of the chair back and to the contours and shading of the spindles. There is a small white cat sleeping on the seat of the chair. The table is covered by a continuation of the tablecloth from K i tchen I; the folds of the cloth at the corner of the table are careful ly delineated. The geranium plant, with bright green leaves and red flowers, is growing in a clay pot s itt ing on a bright yellow woven mat. The decorative wallpaper continues in K i tchen II. A leaded glass door of an oak china cabinet f i l l s the right-hand corner behind the chair; in the cabinet is a stack of handed-down pickle dishes and a white ceramic cream pitcher in the shape of a cow. The creamy beige floor shown in K i tchen I is continued in K i tchen EL The painting balances the v iv id contrasts of homey real it ies. The geometric, bright, op art quality of the tablecloth accentuates the "old-fashioned" tonal portrayal of the chairs, sewing machine, and cabinet. The colours of the wallpaper are repeated in the geranium, the yellow mat, and in the spools of thread. The chairs and the table are t i l ted forward to reveal more surface pattern and shape. The beige floor area, with its shadows and patches of soft l ight, is broken by the chair rungs into a grid of triangular and rectangular shapes. The curves and elaborate decorations of the sewing machine are echoed by the intr icate flowing patterns of the wallpaper. The red, green, and gold spools of thread punctuate the blue and white checkered tablecloth with the colours of the wallpaper, geranium, and straw mat. For visual balance, each painting has a piece of wallpaper showing in the lower third of the composition. The china cabinet presents a re l ief from the patterned wallpaper. The cabinet is a dul l tonal grid, in contrast to the warm curves of the chair back and spindles. The shapes and colours ref lected in the cut glass of the pickle dishes provide contrast to the dullness of the cabinet window. The blue, yellow, and white ceramic cow brightens the otherwise dark corner. The cow-shaped cream pitcher belonged to my mother and 101 reminded me of our fami ly drives to the country. I believe that I learned to " rea l l y " see by "looking at the cows" (Plate 47). The l ively plant and sleeping cat add a v i t a l element to the image. Sunshine is indicated by a change of tone on the tablecloth, a shadow cast by the clay pot on the yellow mat, and the light fal l ing on the cat, the back spindles, and the seat of the chair. This is a painting of a colourful, warm, sunfil led, friendly k itchen. The kitchen is a productive space, a setting for the emotional and physical nourishment of those who share i t . My goal for this painting was to imbue the objects with "greater than l i f e " intensity. I was interested in capturing the "essences of rea l i ty " of the objects I enjoy and that hold emotional and symbolic meaning for me. I wanted to provide the viewer with a feast of delicious detai l and tantal iz ing contrast (Plate 100, prel iminary sketches, "My Own K i tchen I and II," P late 101, underpainting, "My Own K i tchen I and II"). Rock-a-Bye-Roses This was the f i r s t acry l ic painting after the previously mentioned series of thirty-six drawings in which I became intrigued with the expressive qualities of the drawn line. I wanted to create an image of my rose chair on canvas that echoed the beauty of line and shape that I had discovered while doing the pastel drawings (Plates 91, 92, 93). The objects in my drawings had been l e f t white. I chose to leave the positive shapes of the rose chair as bare canvas. The outline and detailed patterning of the chair were etched onto the canvas with charcoal. Maintaining the qualities of the charcoal line was very important to me. I was unclear in the beginning just what direction I wanted the painting to take beyond the l ine, shape, and detai l of the chair. I sketched some large diagonal checks behind the chair and began f i l l ing these in with red, yellow, dark blue, and black. The resulting e f fect was dreadful. Frustrated at having been so out of tune with the image, I decided to try an opposite approach to colour. Plate 100: Preliminary Sketches for "My Own Kitchen I and II" 103 104 A f te r having painted the background over with white. I made the grid behind the chair spindles smaller with wavy horizontal lines and fa i r ly straight ver t i ca l lines. The small square-like shapes created a peaceful undulating rhythm as they were painted with the warm and cool t ints of red, blue, and yellow. I was very careful not to obscure, with the paint, the unique qualities of the charcoal lines defining the chair. I was feel ing quite good about the dainty shapes and colours that were evolving. My daughter commented, "Those look l ike baby colours." Pr ior to this moment, I had been pleading with the canvas to give me an indication of what story i t wanted to t e l l . "Speak to me, te l l me what do you want to say?" Suddenly, connections began to be made in my mind. I looked at my rose chair with a new understanding and appreciation. I real ized that this squat brown chair had once been a rocking chair. I asked myself, "What do rocking chairs do?" "Wel l , one thing they do is hold mothers and grandmothers as they rock babies," was my reply. As I pursued my questions and answers for the image, the rocking chair became a symbol of safety, protection, caring, love, and security. Having chosen a story for the chair symbol, technical decisions were easier to make. In my drawing explorations of chairs, I had discovered that by making wavy horizontal lines and varying the distance between the ver t i ca l crosslines, I could create a surface that appeared to undulate (Plates 65 to 67). By transferring this finding to the background of the painting, I had hoped an opt ical il lusion would be created between the strong ver t i ca l of the chair spindles and the undulating motion of the background, giving the impression that the chair was actual ly rocking (Plate 102, Thumbnail Sketch). The illusion created was not as dynamic as I had anticipated. I would l ike to play with this idea in the future. Meanwhile, my original goal of using the bare canvas for the surface of the chair was being altered. As I painted the background, paint dripped onto the natural canvas surface making i t impossible to leave i t in an unadulterated state (Plate 103). Also, the chair appeared much too cold and did not exhibit the qualities which were 105 now taking precedence for the image. My art keeps me constantly in touch with the t r i a l and error method of working. "Just do something", I keep tel l ing myself. "Fo l low your instinct." "Ego-cr i t ic leave me alone!" What was I to do with the chair surface? I decided to experiment with pale pink, blue, and yellow. I painted three curved bands of colour on the seat of the chair, blending the overlapping edges. To my surprise and pleasure, I had painted a glowing light into the chair, giving it an ethereal quality. The yellow begins as a bright glow then turns to a gentle warmth as i t blends into the soft pinks. The pink blurs into mauve, as it mixes into the dusky blue. The ef fect has been likened to a sunrise and a sunset. The quality of the surface was so successful that I decided to use i t in the other f lat areas of the chair. The tr i -colour theme was also ef fect ive in defining the volume of the chair shape. Yel low was used for the highlight, the pink for the m id -tone, and the blue for the shadows. As I changed colours, I would wipe the paint le f t on my brush into the smal l shapes of the chairback design. My random dabbing produced some del ightful effects. The design of the chair seat and the arch containing the rose and leaf shapes remained to be painted. I based the design for the seat area on the original pressed-paper seat. White appeared in this area causing the other colours to look brighter and offering a visual rest. I looked around for another area that could use this rel ief from colour. I painted around the paisley shapes on the wings of the chairback with white; the white separated the chair from the background and gave i t sparkle. Somewhere along the way, I had smeared on yellow ochre. This turned out to be a fortuitous stroke of contrast. I put sky blue on the area behind the raised shapes of the pink roses and green leaves. That combination, with the touches of white, fe l t sweet and tender. While working on the painting, I had come across irridescent white paint. I decided to add it to the colours in every other row of the wavy background in an attempt to exaggerate the undulating movement and the luminous quality of the painting (Plate 104). 106 Plate 104: "Rock-a-Bye-Roses" Ac r y l i c on Canvas 31 x 43 in. Children have very positive responses to this painting and they usually recognize it as a rocking chair. Some of the comments I have received from children who have viewed it in the public schools are: "beauti ful colours," rainbow chair," the back is l ike the decoration of a knight's armour," " i t glows l ike a sunset," "the colours are like my baby brother's blanket," and "a magic chair where I can float off into my imagination." A kindergarten boy told me that the painting made him think of a happy, peaceful home for a fami ly . Roses at Forty-One This canvas is a continuation of the rose chair and pitcher theme explored in two of the previously mentioned pastel drawings (Plates 92 and 93). I was interested in experimenting with pinks, wine, and deep rose. I was deliberately moving into the feminine and sentimental with a new resolve. "If I fee l l ike doing i t , I'm going to do i t " was becoming my motto. Several drawings (Plate 105), and the paintings "Ghost Roses" (Plate 106) and "Dusky Roses" (Plate 107) explored the rose chair and rose pitcher theme prior to "Roses at Forty-One." The period around my forty- f i r s t birthday was a restless t ime. I remember tel l ing friends that I fe l t out of "sync" with myself. I began to worry about aging. Td look in the mirror and moan to myself, "You are getting older and older. You w i l l never be a young woman again." Looking back now from the calm vantage point of adjustment, I see that I was experiencing the crisis of passage from one of l i fe ' s phases to another. I did the in i t i a l sketch for the composition on large sheets of newsprint measured to the canvas size (Plate 108). I took great pleasure in working on the huge sheets of paper. Using a fat graphite st ick, I translated the graceful curves of the rose chair and pitcher into a flowing composition. The full-bodied jug with its graceful handle echoing the wings of the chairback, the luscious swirling spirals of the roses, and the quivering grid of the crocheted table covering fascinated my eyes. My beloved curve dominates this composition. 108 Plate 107: "Dusky Roses" Ac r y l i c on Canvas, 14 x 20.5 in. I have asked school children to f ind this curve in my work, and, as a result, have come to real ize that i t is a major component of my style. I seem to have a natural fondness for this particular visual motion. When the t ime came to paint, I fe l t a strong desire to portray in colour the intensity of feel ing I was experiencing at the t ime. I began layering on various reds, incorporating stripes of varying intensity. Perhaps this was an attempt to interject structure and control. I carelessly painted a design, based on a heart shape with dots, into the l ighter stripe. The result was disappointing. I continued to add more layers of red. The unsuccessful design became less obvious. I added a layer of red that had an orange cast to i t . This had a diminishing ef fect on the intensity of the lusciousness I was after . I proceeded to add layer upon layer of the cooler reds, deepening the background hue. I f inal ly fe l t somewhat satisf ied with the background. My next goal was to paint onto the surface of this r ich red backdrop a demure pitcher fu l l of flowers placed on a table, which was laced with a del icate crocheted covering and standing next to the tender rose chair. A t that t ime, I began to see this painting as representative of my emotional state. I was attempting to symbolize the opposing forces of my personality within the confines of the painting. The opposing forces were symbolic of the conf l ict ing influences on women, as I saw them. As a result of my upbringing, I fe l t that it was not ladyl ike to have impetuous desires and assertive feelings. Ye t , I wanted more power and control over my own destiny, but I was afraid that I would appear brash and impolite i f I became too assertive or aggressive. The painting was not working. It was as "out of sync" as I was. I needed to make changes in myself and the painting. I dulled the background behind the chair. I decided to mix opposites together for the foreground. A c r a v io let, hooker's green, and phthalocyanine blue, again my wildest colours were blended together with white. The results were very excit ing. A marvelous range of muted but l ively colours evolved. The colours ranged from the pure hues to the r ich neutral greys created by mixing complements. The ha l f -c i rc le shape in the back of the chair took on a mirror- l ike I l l appearance. Another interesting phenomenon occurred with the table surface. Not knowing quite what to do with this large empty area, I did what I usually do when I don't know what to do. Before making a change of colour for the chair, I wiped the excess paint onto the problem area. When I viewed the surface from a distance, I real ized that a luminous, irridescent quality was emerging from the smears of dulled colours. The rose pitcher was to be translated into a large, glossy white, voluptuous shape. As I painted on the layers of white, I couldn't understand why the pitcher wasn't taking on a more voluminous quality. I looked more closely at the surface of the actual pitcher. I discovered that white china isn't white. It consists of the reflections of a l l that surrounds i t . Trying to capture the deep ref lect ive surface of the white jug in paint became a technical challenge. I began brushing on the various colours found in the other parts of the painting. A t one point, I brushed some yellow onto the pitcher and the chair. This colour was not to be part of my original colour scheme. However, I had learned from other paintings that an underpainting of contrasting colours often gives excit ing sparks to the finished painting. The yellow on the jug created a sense of warmth in the otherwise cool shape. Gradually, through the layering of colours, which were glazed with white and clear acry l ic , the desired pitcher form emerged. I had been working on the bouquet of roses and leaves in the pitcher concurrent with other components of the composition. Some flowers had been created with the f i rst strokes of the brush; others took a lot of experimental brushwork to bring them to bloom. I painted a beige rose design into the crocheted pattern on the table. It was later drawn to my attention, by a grade six g i r l , that the crocheted design looked l ike a dead rose. A connection was made in my mind and I became aware of the symbolism of the rose in this painting. I had unconsciously symbolized the l i f e cyc le through the blooming, fading, and eventual death of the roses. 112 As the elements in the painting became more balanced and the painting began to work, I began to fee l more adjusted to the idea of aging and to see the advantages that are inherent in the process. I decided to ca l l the painting, "Roses-at-Forty-one" (Plate 109). Tributes to Someone's Grandmother During the autumn of 1983, I had the opportunity to part ic ipate in a group art show. This prompted me to produce the series, "Tributes to Someone's Grandmother." I located several sheets of German etching paper suitable for embossing, which had been torn to size a few years earl ier for another project. In my col lect ion of handiwork, I found a favourite doily with a crocheted design of trees, a house, and flowers. There were a few others also suitable for embossing, one being the "promised" pineapple pattern. I came across an embroidered piece which I decided to actual ly use in a work. For this composition, I began by finding a place on the paper where I fe l t the doily rested pleasantly. The shape was repeated several times. To portray the hint of grey-blue and grey-pink of the embroidery on the doily, I used pencil-pastels. An embroidery st i tch- l ike stroke was used to f i l l in the details of the doily design and the negative spaces between the doily shapes (Plate 110). By deciding to use the actual doily in the f i rst image, I was then free to explore possibilities using other doill ies. The pale aqua cranes embroidered on two small, round doill ies came to my mind. One was more faded and tattered than the other. This contrast appealed to me. I played around with possible arrangements looking for one that would enhance the character of the design. I came to think of the two rounds as a rising moon and its ref lect ion in a pond. The birds were so l ively in their movement that I decided to continue their f l ight design off the doily and onto the paper. As I drew, I could almost hear their cries as the cranes plunged and soared around the moon and into the water (Plate 111). Plate 109: "Roses at Forty-one" Ac r y l i c on Canvas, 31 x 42 in. Plate 110: "Tribute to Someone's Grandmother, I" Doily, Graphite and Pastel, 14 x 17 in. Plate 111: "Tribute to Someone's Grandmother, II" Doillies, Graphite and Pastel, 14 x 17 in. One day, as I was studying a pieee of crochet in the sunlight, I noticed the wonderful shadow patterns that were created when I held the crochet at various heights and angles from the paper. I decided to darken the negative areas of the embossed designs with graphite. This enhanced the white embossed positive thread shapes. I recreated the positive thread design on the flat surface of the white paper by darkening the negative spaces with graphite. This created the illusion of an embossed surface. The resulting works are very subtle. The intricacy of the crochet thread and pattern is revealed and emphasized (Plate 112). The same approach was used for the pineapple-patterned doily (Plate 113). The third work using an actual cloth piece evolved from a lady's handkerchief delicately embroidered with a geometric design surrounding minute open spaces. The embroidery is grey, the handkerchief white. I've had the handkerchief a long time and I have always found the contrast between the strong geometric pattern and the delicate nature of the handkerchief material fascinating. I played with various folded and gathered handkerchief arrangements trying to find a solution that showed the design to best advantage. The handkerchief had a blemish in the centre. By pleating the handkerchief, I could hide the blemish, condense the size of the blank centre, and create a vertical shape. This arrangement showed more pattern, less plain area, fit the frame better, and created a more interesting format. I added a vital touch to the work by placing a piece of red velvet ribbon and pink satin ribbon under the centre pleats of the handkerchief (Plate 114). The embossing from the crochet with the house, tree, and garden evoked a feeling of sunshine and "Home Sweet Home" gaiety. I carefully stroked the raised areas of the embossing with the colourful pencil-pastels accenting the design with cheerful colours (Plate 115). A series of, what seemed to be, misfortunes resulted in the evolution of a favoured piece. The piece of cotton with the colourfully embroidered garden was kept in plain view during the time I was working on the doily series waiting for an inspi-116 Plate 112: "Tribute to Someone's Grandmother, HI" Embossing and Graphite, 14 x 17 in. Plate 113: "Tribute to Someone's Grandmother, IV" Embossing and Graphite, 14 x 17 in. Plate 115: "Tribute to Someone's Grandmother, VI" Embossing with Pastel. 14 x 17 in. ration. A number of silk photocopies had strayed during a clean-up by my elder daughter. A few days before the show, the silk photocopy of five children wearing playclothes standing in a garden "magically" reappeared. I'd found my inspiration. I glued the silk onto the cotton with clear acrylic and blended the photocopy into the cotton background using graphite. Unfortunately, the graphite was applied too heavily and the piece became dull. Wondering what to do, I inadvertently placed the piece on the laundry basket, where I could still keep it in view while working out a solution. Some time later, I realized the work had disappeared. I asked both my children if they knew what had become of the embroidery. My heart sank when I learned that it had been sent to the wash. However, after searching through the clothes dryer I found it, crumpled but intact and much brighter with just enough graphite left to create the desired blending between the foreground and the background. After a starching and ironing, "Ghosts in the Garden" was ready for framing (Plate 116). Reflections of a Lifetime In the spring of 1983, while listening to a nurse read her poetry of wartime experiences, I was flooded with emotion. I reached for a pencil and paper. As I wrote my response, my emotions ebbed onto the paper. At some point in the writing, I sketched a chair^and the rose pitcher sitting on a long-legged stand (Plate 117). I put an ornately framed portrait of a woman on the left to give triangular balance to the composition. The undulating bands symbolizing waves of emotion, which I had been drawing, ended abruptly leaving the composition unresolved. From somewhere came the word "ribbons." The woman became a bride holding a bouquet with ribbons cascading over the edge of the picture frame, flowing down and becoming the floor itself. The floor takes a dip, a rise, and then a right angled drop. The ribbons taper to an end, creating a positive-negative design on the right of the format. Curving ribbons were woven through the straight, vertical ribbons of the wall creating a check-like pattern in the background. Plate 116: "Ghosts in the Garden" Doi ly, Photocopy, and Graphite. 15 x 20 in. 120 Plate 117: Initial Sketch and Writing that began "Reflections of a Lifetime" To bring colour to the image, I changed from a graphite penci l to a rainbow-coloured lead. Colour was used to represent the changes in the past, present, and future events, moods, and feelings of our l ives. As I added colour to the background, it began to resemble the woven satin ribbon qu i l t , "Westcoast Ref lect ions " (Plate 26). A reminder, that the same themes continue to reappear in various forms throughout my explorations in art . Late in the summer, I was involved with arranging the flowers for a wedding. The wedding experience began to combine with my earl ier ribbon idea. I resumed the search for ribbon imagery in the f a l l of 1983 with a drawing based on the f i rst small sketch (Plate 117). The rose chair and the rose pitcher holding cartoon-l ike roses s itt ing on a t a l l plant stand were featured in this drawing (Plate 119). On the right side of the back wa l l , I placed the portrait of a bride and groom. The bride's bouquet ribbons spilled over the frame and down the walls, behind and under the chair and table, flooding the image with movement. As I darkened the negative spaces between the ribbons, interesting shapes emerged. The image is overflowing with my characterist ic curve. I next decided to focus in closer and explore the potent ia l of texture in the wedding dress, bouquet, and ribbons with a drawing of a bride and groom without heads (Plate 119). The male's large hand clutches his del icate bride's arm. Her hands are f i l led with a bouquet of spiral roses set in a lacy c i r c le . Loops of varying coloured ribbons hang down from the fami ly of roses. From underneath, the loops of ribbons swell out, as i f blown in a breeze. I explored the idea of real i st ical ly representing the symbols of married l i f e on the ribbons, however I abandoned this idea. The heads of the wedding couple were placed in blue and grey clouds, with a rainbow for opt imism. The image wasn't working to my sat isfact ion, so, I moved on to another drawing. A t this point, I unearthed an old studio portrait of my great-grandmother and my great-grandfather. The photograph had been waiting for the right connection to be made, allowing it to become more than it appeared to be. 122 Plate 118: Sketch in Pursuit of Composition. 123 Plate 119: Sketch of "Heads-in-the-Clouds Couple" 8.5 x 14 in. 124 I used the portrait as a basis for another exploratory drawing (Plate 120), emphasizing the bouquet and ribbon theme. I enjoyed the ribbons but I was not satisfied with my drawing of the people. The qualities I appreciated of the original portrait had been lost. I was intrigued with the lace design around the spiral roses in the "Head in the Clouds" drawing. As I considered the lace around the bouquet, the concept of using actual round, crocheted doill ies came into my mind as an alternative to painting the lace onto the canvas. About this t ime, I had found, at a thr i f t sale, a round crocheted doily, a round l inen doily with a lacy crocheted edge, and a long, rectangular, machine-made crochet piece with a rose design. As soon as I arrived home with my treasures, I took them into the l iv ing room where a few blank canvases were leaning against the buffet. I pulled out the three largest. The rectangular piece of beige crochet just f i t on the largest canvas. I placed a round crocheted doily on each of the smaller canvases. A t this point, I s t i l l wasn't visualizing the f ina l composition which, I now see, was before me a l l the t ime in my second drawing (Plate 118). I taped the doil l ies in place on the canvases. A f t e r some experimenting, I decided on a symmetr ica l arrangement of the three canvases; the large canvas in the centre with the two smaller canvases attached to either side, the three being leve l along the bottom edge. My comfortable feel ing with this arrangement was reinforced when the comment was made that the arrangement was l ike an old-fashioned, three-way, hinged mirror, as often seen on dressing tables. The outside edges of the two smal l panels wing out from the wal l when the piece is hung, hence the t i t l e , "Ref lect ions of a L i f e t ime " . The composition was s t i l l not ful ly developed in my mind. I had great fun planning various ideas and exploring these with friends who stopped by to vis it. A t f i r st , I thought I would have two br idal bouquets, one on either side, with f laring ribbons intertwining in the centre panel. I was picturing actual wedding veils and the 125 Plate 120: Drawing Based on Portra i t of Great-grandparents, Emphasizing Ribbon and Bouquet Theme lace of wedding gowns glued to the canvas. Someone suggested rea l ribbons. I knew the clear acry l ic would obl iterate the beaut i fu l qualit ies of the satin. I was playing with the idea of putting a r t i f i c i a l silk flowers on the crocheted lace for the bouquet and of gluing on an assortment of odds and ends symbolic of family l i f e . A t one point, I experimented with the ef fect that changes in l ine, shape, d i rect ion, tone, and colour have on the il lusion of movement being created on a two-dimensional surface. I blacked in the negative spaces to heighten the illusion of ribbons moving in empty space (Plate 121). As I sorted through the ideas for the t r iptych, I began to s implify my concept of the collage. The variat ion in the colours, going from light to dark as the ribbons move across the canvases, symbolizes the changes and experiences in a person's l i f e . The idea of depicting a fami ly history from a particular beginning, symbolized by a wedding bouquet, was emerging. I was s t i l l attached to the vision of the sp i ra l -designed roses on each side of the t r iptych. I began to real ize that the tr iptych could t ie together various threads from previous work. I became very excited about the prospect of amalgamating my themes. The early drawings held the solution for the composition. The concept also provided the opportunity to use a photostatic reproduction of the treasured portrait of my great-grandmother and great-grandfather. The doily on the le f t f i t perfect ly around the bottom of the rose pitcher which could hold a bouquet of deeper-hued spiral roses. Great-grandmother's portrait could hang on the distant wa l l with the ribbons f lowing from her hands. I played around with the location and size of the chair (Plate 122). On large sheets of newsprint, I began the canvas-size charcoal drawing of the ribbons encircl ing the bouquet doily and the ribbons f ly ing across the centre canvas ending on the le f t panel in the hands of my great-grandmother (Plate 123). I decided to place a smal l rose chair in the distance of the composition. The rose pitcher became l i f e size to f i t the doily which was placed on a f ict i t ious, scal loped-edge table top f i l l ing the lower le f t corner of the le f t canvas. 127 Plate 121: Exploring Ribbon Forms Pastel and Ink 4 x 10 in. Plate 123: Planning the Composition for "Reflections of a Lifetime" The idea to cut the roses and pitcher out of canvas, paint them, and then glue them on top of the doill ies occurred to me as a solution to the problem I have with destroying a piece of " fancy work" that someone has created. This solution added low rel ief areas to the piece. About this t ime, I attended an art exhibit in which the artist had used photocopies with washes of water colour. Captivated by the illusionary quality of the work, I began to consider the idea for my t r iptych. I gathered some old photographs of my fami ly and of my great-grandmother at different stages of her l i f e . The images were photocopied onto a thin silk mater ia l . The resulting ghostly images were placed in the negative space between the ribbons and coated with clear acry l ic (Plate 124). I was now faced with the di lemma of integrating the edges of the photocopies with the canvas and painted ribbons. I wanted a feel ing of ethereal space behind the ribbons, not the visual stop of a painted surface. The texture of lace was a natural solution. Cutt ing the pieces of lace to f i t around the photocopies and between the ribbons without losing the smooth edges of the ribbons was not an easy task. I worked on this " idea " for a week, wondering "Why? Why do I do this? My back hurts!" I f ind ideas del ightful to imagine, but not always as easy to f u l f i l l and real ize (Plate 124). For the area around the wedding bouquet, I wanted a lace with a br idal feel ing. Going into my col lect ions, I came up with a piece of tattered old lace from a nightgown. I had used the piece for a graphic project a few years earl ier. There were blue areas le f t from the ink. The blue accentuated the small f lo ra l design of the lace. I decided to use the blue lace in the area above the bouquet. A silk photocopy of my great-grandmother, when she was ninety-four years o ld, was placed in the upper right-hand corner of this canvas. I decided to further distance the already soft image of my aged great-grandmother by gluing a piece of br idal ve i l over the image (Plate 125). 130 Plate 124: Centre Panel of "Reflections of a Lifetime" Lace, Crochet, Silk Photocopies, and Acrylic on Canvas. 43 x 32 in. 131 Plate 125: Right Panel of "Reflections of a Lifetime" Lace, Crochet, Silk Photocopy and Acrylic on Canvas. 30.5 x 23 in. With the photocopies and lace f inal ly in p lace, I could begin painting. The pale washes, la id on earl ier in order to define the ribbons, had a del icate translucent quality. The highlight areas had been wiped off. This e f fect enhanced the three-dimensional il lusion of the ribbons. I hated the idea of putting opaque paint over the radiant ribbons. However, the lace stood above the surface of the canvas and I fe l t the texture over-powered the del icacy of the ribbons. I had to say good-bye to the beautiful effects for the sake of the overal l surface. The colours of the bouquet were to symbolize the dreams held by people starting a l i f e together. Irridescent white paint was used to create a pastel, i l lus ion-f i l led feeling of fantasy around the br ida l bouquet. As the ribbons f la i r out from the bouquet and across the centre canvas, they widen giving the feel ing of blowing outward towards the viewer. The ribbons then turn back and begin to narrow as they move toward the portrait on the wal l reuniting in the hands of my great-grandmother. I encountered another conf l i c t . A bouquet of roses stemming from the pitcher would have destroyed the ef fect that had been created by the wave-like movement of the ribbons leading to the portra it . I was l iberated from my plight by friends. I explained my rose-ribbon di lemma to two friends. The woman expressed the feeling that the roses and leaves were unnecessary. She fe l t the pitcher symbolized a holder of water, l i fe giver, and nourisher. My friend saw the ribbons as flowing forth from the womb area of the woman in the portra it . This interpretation satisf ied me; the roses were removed from the le f t panel. I decided to leave the charcoal line drawing of the rose chair exposed and use only white and irridescent white paint inside the drawn shapes. As the paint mixed with the charcoal , a greyness appeared exuding the desired qualities to symbolize death and to give the chair an otherworldly qual ity (Plate 126). The colours of the ribbons were painted and repainted many times. I was aiming for a wide variety of the tints and tones of the various hues of red and blue. I 133 Plate 126: Left Panel of "Reflections of a Lifetime" Lace, Crochet, Silk and Paper Photocopies and Acrylic on Canvas. 30.5 x 23 in. complained to an artist friend that I was having difficulty in getting the range I wanted. My friend offered to lend me her purple acrylic. A spot of this purple did wonders for my colours and some unusual variations emerged. Friends and fellow artists are invaluable resources for my art process. In an attempt to smooth over the difference between the height of the lace and the surface of the canvas, paint was laid on as thickly as possible next to the rough edges of the lace. It was not easy to make something look as if it were protruding past a surface which was actually higher. The reverse was also difficult. I had stained the lace a grey colour hoping to match the grey of the photocopy. Every now and then, while painting the ribbons, I succumbed to the temptation to wipe my colour-filled brush onto the lace. The effect was quite pleasing and seemed to warm the background as if the ribbons were casting coloured reflections onto the lace. After taking great care to build up the irridescent surface quality of the cut-out roses, leaves, and rose pitcher, these pieces were finally glued into place. I am very pleased to have persevered to the conclusion of the work, especially when I share it with adults and children. The form and content of "Reflections of a Lifetime" present a familiar theme and offer an array of possibilities for discussing the compositional, symbolic, and emotional levels operating in a piece of artwork. Children readily recognize the photographs as being from the past and having to do with families. Some identify the ribbons with celebrations and the wedding bouquet with tradition, love, and families. One third grade girl suggested the ribbons may stand for feelings; pink for happy, blue for sad, and red for angry. The work is generally recognized as a story of a family and how it grew and changed over the years. As a result of these discussions, I have found deeper meaning in the elements I chose to represent my original intentions. 135 The Student-Teacher-Artist "How has my development as an art ist influenced my role as an art teacher?" My eyes provided me with a great deal of pleasure as I observed my environment and as I worked with art materials. As an art teacher, I wanted to share this joy with others. Helping children appreciate their vision was the primary goal for my art teaching unt i l I began blending my sensitized power of observation and acquired technical know-how together with my inner thoughts and emotions in the process of making art. As a result of these experiences my attitude toward my role as art teacher changed. Previously I had wished my students to see more clear ly the images without, but now, I also want them to be sensitive to their images within. Our senses provide us with information which, when f i l tered through our emotions, thoughts, feelings, and memories, may generate ideas that can then be translated through a visual language into personal expressions. I believe this language and its use can be taught and learned. I was able to work inst inctively with young children. However, I fe l t that before I could confidently lead older students past the inhibiting fear of art, I needed to overcome my own inhibitions. In an attempt to gain firsthand knowledge of the art process and the art work of others, I decided to become a student. As a result of this search for knowledge, I developed as an art ist. I have come to believe that, as an art ist, I am a perpetual student and, at the same time, my own teacher. Being a student provided me with new challenges and the benefit of feedback and suggestions from instructors and classmates. As a student, I was given direction and placed under pressure to achieve beyond my own expectations. I was provided with percepts that built upon, altered, reaff i rmed, or el iminated previously held concepts. The transition from student to art ist came, not only as a result of an increase in technical sk i l l and the development of personal imagery, but as a result of a change in attitude. When I began to trust my own instincts, knowledge, and artistic decision-making abilities, I relaxed and overcame many of my inhibitions. At first, I pretended that I was an artist and able to do what artists do. I gave myself permission to be my own constructive critic. I decided when an image was "right" or was "working." As an artist I was able to explore, experiment, organize, clarify, and expand my form and content in directions of my own choosing. At this point, I also became my own teacher. As my own teacher, I became responsible for assessing my weaknesses and strengths. I congratulated myself for victories and gave myself encouragement in the difficult times. I was responsible for finding remedies for failures. The criteria for success was my own sense of satisfaction. By this stage, I had developed a faith in the art process. I believed that if I continued the search for solutions to my artistic problems, answers would suddenly or eventually be found. Questioning myself, the image, technique, and other people became a useful device for pulling out solutions and finding directions for the form and content of an image. Viewing the work of other artists, past and present, as well as discussions with friends were invaluable in breaking stalemates or bridging gaps in my knowledge. Feedback from other people has also opened many creative doors. I value the art process as a learning process. I have become more aware of my humanness, animalness, aliveness, and instincts for survival. I achieve a balance between tension and release, problem and resolution, pain and pleasure, fear and joy, love and hate, discipline and freedom. Process is important, however, a satisfying product can be an invaluable motivator. A product is a record of the fears and tensions that have been resolved in reaching the climax. It is a reminder of the joy and elation felt at each resolution. A product may become a source of pride. Students can share their visible successes. The product is a souvenir of a journey to knowledge and growth, a trophy of an endeavour. A product reassures the student that success is possible, if one will just begin. 137 As a result of my involvement in the process of image making and the improvement of technical sk i l l , I began to exhibit my art work. Consequently, I grew more confident and comfortable as an art teacher. As an artist and as an art teacher, I am continually learning. This enables me to empathize with the students' dilemmas and victories. I can better appreciate the students' need for d irect ion and encouragement. I believe that the more knowledgeable and experienced I become, the more confidence my students w i l l have in my suggestions. This confidence has been reinforced when, at their request, I have shown students my work. I would l ike to encourage teachers who are teaching art, on any leve l , to pursue some form of personal involvement with the art-making process. Challenging their creat iv ity and completing a successful product, may provide the teacher-art ist with the personal knowledge of the art process, the courage, and the convict ion essential in leading a group of vulnerable students into the uncharted terr i tory of their own creat iv i ty and expression. In the following chapter implications are presented for teaching art. They are drawn from the personal research documented in the "Odyssey" chapter of this thesis. Page numbers are given for the reader's reference. Strategies that have proven useful in the development of my personal imagery are provided. Let ter Gothic 12 pitch type face is used to distinguish the difference between the thesis form of Chapter 1 and Chapter 3 and the personal form of Chapter 2, which is printed in Bold proportionally spaced type face. Chapter 3 IMPLICATIONS FOR TEACHING ART The "Odyssey" chapter has presented a written and visual documentation of one art teacher's experience with the art process. As a result of a survey of the data presented in the foregoing chapter, certain implications for the teaching of art have become apparent. The implications and a number of strategies which have proven useful to the writer in the search for a personal imagery follow. The Fear of Art A lack of understanding of the experimental and personal nature of the art process was responsible for the early inhibitions of the writer. The dearth of meaningful content and an inadequate knowledge of composition were the cause of frustration even though technical skill was improving. The writer asked, "How do artists choose their form and content?" (p. 35); "What is Art?"; and "How do you know when something becomes Art?"; and "How can I make Art?" (p. 36). Other fears arose as a result of a painting which made an expressive personal statement. More questions arose, "What i f I have potential?"; "What i f I think I can do something and I fail?" (p. 36). There were fears and inhibitions in connection with the anxiety that one's personal imagery may not be valid subject matter for art (pp. 36, 57 and 71). The fear that what one produced "may not be deemed art" and "fretting about the 'mysterious' rightness" was a strong inhibiting force working against the writer's progress in art (p. 71). An analysis of the foregoing statements and questions identify several implications for the art educator. These implications are presented in the following sections. 139 The A r t Process "When students undergo a s tud io exper ience i n attempt ing to so l ve the problem of the a r t i s t they encounter the a r t process " (M i chae l , 1980, p. 16). I t has been found by t h i s w r i t e r that an understanding of t h i s process i s v i t a l to the s t uden t ' s success and w i l l p lay a s i g n i f i c a n t r o l e in conquering the " f e a r of a r t . " Michael s t a t e s , "The problem of the a r t i s t i s to express one ' s s e l f a e s t h e t i c a l l y at the h ighest human l e v e l " (p. 16 ) . He f u r t h e r c l a r i f i e s t h i s d e f i n i t i o n by e x p l a i n i n g , . . . t o "express one ' s s e l f " means that the person i s g i v i n g and p r o j e c t i n g h is po int of v iew, h is i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , his personal and unique f e e l i n g , t h i n k i n g , and pe r ce i v i n g about something. In a r t , t h i s p r o j e c t i o n i s shown in v i s u a l . f o r m . Th i s . exp re s s i on n e c e s s a r i -l y w i l l be c r e a t i v e . . .each p e r s o n , . . . i s . u n i q u e . " A e s t h e t i c a l l y " has to do w i th s e n s i t i v i t y to c o l o u r , shape, l i n e , t e x t u r e , form, move-ment, and value as these elements are o rdered , ar ranged, composed, to g ive a f e e l i n g o f " p re sence , " " c o m p l e t i o n , " and " u n i t y . " We have many p r i n c i p l e s . . .ba lance, rhythm, c o n t r a s t , v a r i e t y , o p p o s i t i o n , con s i s tency , and s u b o r d i n a t i o n . "At the h ighest human l e v e l " . . . t h i n k i n g , f e e l i n g , and pe r ce i v i n g as best we c a n . . . t o express ourselves a e s t h e t i c a l l y . (1980, p. 16 ) . Michael a l so wr i t e s that t h i s i s where q u a l i t y comes i n t o the a r t ex-pe r ience . He s t a t e s , "The wise teacher i s always t r y i n g to extend the student to a h igher and more s e n s i t i v e l e v e l of achievement in each and a l l of these areas " (p. 16 ) . Doerr (1984) suggests t h a t , "Unless the a r t i s t experiences both p leasure and pa i n , maximum growth i n a r t cannot be ach ieved " (p. 32 ) . The f o l l o w i n g express ions found in the data demonstrate the range of f e e l i n g s that the s t u d e n t - a r t i s t underwent dur ing the process of c r e a t i n g the works represented i n the t h e s i s : "Work up courage, " " f r i g h t e n e d , " " b e w i l d e r e d , " " f e e l i n g s and a n x i e t i e s , " " e x c i t e d , " " d e s i r e , " " f o r g e t t i n g my r e a l i t y " (p. 36 ) , " suddenly t r an spo r t ed " (p. 47 ) , "mesmerized (p. 5 1 ) , " " f a s c i n a t e d , " " f e l t . . . a break-through, " "p leasant memories" (p. 57 ) , "phase. . .not s i g n i f i c a n t " (p. 57 ) , " t e a r s . . .emotions, " " a c t of g r i e v i n g , " " soothe " (p. 67) , " s p e c i a l s i g n i f i -cance," "became...excited" "comfortable," "gain...confidence" (p. 67), "futile attempts" (p. 71), "relaxed and having fun," "pleasure in looking," "enjoyed the mood and atmosphere," "visually and emotionally satisfying," (p. 71), "grew dissatisfied" (p. 74), "startled," "totally overwhelmed" (p. 97), "forgotten...learned," "more difficult than...imagined," "final completion... intense work and learning...great personal victory" (p. 97), "frustrated," (p. 101), "feeling quite good" (p. 104), "surprise and pleasure" (p. 105), "disappointing," "out of sync" (p~. 110), "Why? Why do I do this? My back hurts!," (p. 129), "hated the idea," "had to say good-bye to the beautiful..." (p. 132), "very pleased to have persevered to the conclusion of the work" (p. 134). This collection of comments reinforces Doerr's statement, It is the balance, then, between pleasure and pain that must be experienced in order to obtain optimum.growth in art or in the development of a positive self-concept. This combination of pleasure and pain is a natural pattern in development. (1980, P. 32) The message for the teacher, according to Doerr, is that the pattern functions naturally i f the teacher does not prevent its functioning. Doerr further instructs the teacher, "It is important to leave the task of learning to the child and to focus on teaching artistic content including formal, technical, and expressive aspects that are taught through experience (pp. 32 and 33). The role of the art teacher should balance between acceptance and encouragement and that of requiring students to learn about art and to grow from failure, to be responsible and disciplined in their approach to solving artistic problems. The Need for Direction The researcher's need and desire for direction, standards of quality, knowledge of the formal, technical, and expressive aspects are obvious from comments made in the beginning pages of the section, "Learning about Art" (pp. 35 and 36). The writer claims that as a result of being "required to choose 141 and develop themes....I began to uncover my present imagery" (p. 39). The writer states, "We were required to keep a sketch book....invaluable ex-perience..." (p. 57). The value of accumulated suggestions given by teachers combining with the student's own experience with form and content is reflected in the section, "Transition" (p. 74). As a result of the success with the personal imagery in the medium of pastel, the artist decided to pursue the imagery in acrylic paint emphasizing colour and tone, areas in which the writer felt further growth was needed (p. 93). The necessity for greater skill is also obvious in "Mother, Daughter, 1923" (p. 97). Young children love making art. They jump in and enjoy i t . However, sometime after eight years old, they want to know how to do i t . Art instruc-tors need to teach the skills students want and need in order to succeed to their own satisfaction. Giving the student activities in which technique is developed, but which are at the same time personally relevant to the student will likely further technical s k i l l , understanding of form, and the search for personal imagery. Students must also realize that it takes time, effort, work, and concentration on their part to gain the technical skill essential in expressing their personal statements. "Teachers," states Lewis (1984), "should maximize the opportunities for assimilation and let the accommodations occur when they will." Lewis claims that, "Out of an active engagement with the problems and materials of art emerge the challenges and solutions that impel the child towards higher levels of artistic learning" (p. 17). Lewis warns that instruction can accelerate the rate at which drawing ability deve-lops, or arrest it depending on the kind of instruction and the point at which it is offered (p. 16). Michael (1980) supports the need for direction. He suggests that it is the wise art teacher who appropriately develops the skill of the students as a means for them to create art. He further recommends that, "skill should always be a secondary consideration and should contribute to the expression so as to bring about a harmonious integration" (p. 17). The Personal Nature of Art As we dream, our subconscious mind borrows images from real ex-periences. When an artist paints, he channels his dreams to flow back into reality through his brush and become a work of art. This transfer is part of the creative process that an artist must recog-nize, respect, and utilize.... When each painting is born, another dream comes true. (Szabo, 1976, Dedication) The contrast between the beginning query, "How do artists decide on their content?" (p. 35) and the sense of personal involvement and confident thrust of later works demonstrates the importance of a personal content to this artist. The section, "Personal History and Influences" relates the wealth of background experiences, preferences, thoughts, memories, feelings, and emo-tions which lay untapped when a predominately technical approach to art was pursued (pp. 7-36). The frustration felt by the writer implies that learning the technical language of art is not enough (p. 35). The writer's expression of the feeling, "I didn't have anything to express that was esoteric or arty without being contrived" (p. 36), implies the lack of awareness that art can be personal communication. Michael (1980) stresses the importance of motivation in the art process. First off, you must have something to.say about whatever it is that you are doing, creating, interpreting, making, or expressing. Art is a means.of communication, a visual language-what are you saying? (p. 16) Motivation was essential in the completion of "Portrait of David", a painting which indicates a depth of feeling and understanding. The work gave the artist a new awareness of the power of personal expression. The emergence of the sewing machine, a personal image which sustained the artist's interest for a number of years, was the result of an emotional need of the writer and a course requirement to choose a theme (p. 39 and Plates 36A, 36B, 37, 38, 61-71, 99, Appendix, Plates VI and VII). The meaning of the sewing machine expanded and deepened as the involvement persisted. The thesis documents the emergence and continuing importance of particular objects and compositional devices throughout the artist's development of imagery (p. 40). The awareness that a favourite object can be used compositionally, emotionally, and symbolically laid the foundation for many future paintings (p. 40). The understanding that the elements of art and principles of design can be used to portray meanings came from further experiences and explorations with media and technique (pp. 44, 74, 93, 100, 101, and Appendix, Plates VI and VII). The knowledge and insights gained with the experiences of the sewing machine transferred to other personal imagery, i.e., the cow (pp. 27, 51, 100, Plates 47 and 99). The implication for art teachers would appear to be that students are likely to benefit from formal instruction and activities that will assist them in their search for imagery. This premise is reinforced by the development of the writer's imagery using the geranium, pressed-back chair, kitchen, rose chair, rose pitcher, family photographs, crochet, lace, and the checkered table cloth as presented in Chapter 2, "The Odyssey." The historical roots of these images are evident in the section, "Personal History and Influences" (pp. 7-35). Based on their personal background and experience, each student will have a unique pool of valid symbols and images. It is the skill and sincerity of interpretation which determines the quality and effectiveness of a piece of work. Teachers can encourage students to search their memories, thoughts, feelings, and preferences in order to discover the richness of their persona-l i t i e s . In the process of discovering the wealth of resources buried in their own experiences, past and present, and in their own environment, students are likely to find a deeper understanding of who they are, what it is they like and dislike, and what is important to them. Michael (1980) states, "It behooves the teacher to put the student into a situation so that he will have ideas and feelings about what he has experienced. Most students have a bank of experiences upon which the teacher can draw" (p. 16). The historical, social, cultural, and familial influences should not be ignored, when a student is involved in an activity as personal as art. Teachers need to make allowances for a wide range of differences in students, ie. developmental levels, abilities, backgrounds, and approaches to art. Not all students plan to pursue a career in art. Many are interested in the recreational aspects of art and/or the decorative possibilities. Each student's particular interests and stage of development must be accepted and appreciated by the instructor. These interests can then be used as stepping stones for further growth. A need for the improvement of technical skills is also likely to occur as the student pushes further into the search for imagery and the desire to relate their findings in an "artful" way increases. The content comes from the student, the teacher's role is to guide the student in finding and develo-ping the most effective approach. Teachers must encourage students to give themselves permission to express their own statements in their own way at the level of their current s k i l l . The data suggests that the writer's style was evident at an early age (pp. 7 and 10). The importance of accepting one's natural style and the themes that continually reappear in one's work is verified throughout the "Odyssey" chapter (pp. 23, 35, 51, 57, 67, 71, 74, 93, and 126). Students need to be assured that their technical skill and depth of imagery are likely to grow and develop in proportion to the amount of involvement and work expended. 145 Strategies for Discovering Personal Content A scrapbook collection of personal memorabilia, a photograph album (photo copies may be used), or a collage of "things I like" or "favourite memories" is a valid imagery search activity for all ages (pp. 7, 9, 10, 32, and 44). This has been supported by the interest elementary school children have demonstrated in the assemblage, "Reflections of a Lifetime" (Plate 27). Have the students select something they "love" (pp. 112 to 118, Plates 110-116), a souvenir of an experience they want to remember, a personal or commercial photograph (pp. 93-97, Plates 60, 94 and 95), a poem, newspaper, or magazine article, etc. The more significant the item is to the students' own realm of experience, the more likely it is to arouse their interest and to offer a greater potential for content development. Suggest the item or sketch of the item be pasted in their sketchbook. "Reflections of a Lifetime" (Plates 117-126) demonstrates the development of a work stimulated by a poem and as the process evolved, included "favourite things" and family photographs. Ask the students to choose a favourite object. Suggest that an environment, a set, be painted or drawn around the object. Require the students to answer the rele-vant questions, Who?, What?, Where?, When?, and Why? of the character, the star. The stage is constructed, the mood is set, action, the play develops around the character, and an image happens. The painting, "Tea with a Great Aunt" demonstrates this strategy (Plate 34 and Appendix, Plate III). The following suggestions are likely to prove fruitful when used in connection with the previously mentioned activities. Look around your own environment, that which is closest to you (pp. 7, 9 and 74). What do you do when you are bored? (p. 32) What is it that interests you? (pp. 93, 97, 104 and 112) Look for particular traits in your personal style (pp. 4, 8, 17-21 and 40). What is i t you like? (pp. 9, 112 and 118) What fascinates your eyes? (pp. 7-9 and 121) What appeals to (attracts) you? Why does it appeal to you? How does it appeal to you? When does it appeal to you? Where does it appeal to you? (p. 71) What is important to you, meaningful, or a cause you support? (pp. 63, 67, 132 and 134). What are your favourite fantasies, ideas, nostalgia, or humourous thoughts (p. 67). Discuss with the students the compositional, emotional, and symbolic roles an object, an art element, or principle of design can perform in a work of art (p. 40). Encourage students to document, by sketching or writing, the exploratory reflections and elaborations stimulated by the item or collection of items in a journal or sketch book. Suggest that they make lists of the qualities and sensory words that pertain to the image (Plate 117). Request that a long l i s t be made, in a given length of time, of related thoughts, ideas, memories, and feelings. The pressure of a time limit may have the effect of reducing inhibitions and promoting spontaneous associa-tions . Suggest the students keep a running dialogue between themselves and the image. Perhaps a story will evolve which will assist them in making choices for the expression of significant qualities (pp. 101-107, and pp. 107-112). The Experimental Nature of Art The author found that using a familiar image facilitated the experimen-tation of new techniques. The corollary of this is that by exploring a theme with various techniques many different aspects of the theme are discovered. The value of exploring a theme by experimenting with a variety of media is demonstrated in the development of the geranium image. The emergence of the geranium as a dominant theme happened quite unexpectedly while doing a contour drawing (p. 44). The drawings were used as the basis for a variety of experi-ments using different media. Each media has its own unique characteristics and qualities. Exploring a theme using different media allows the artist to experiment with the different elements of art and the principles of design emphasized by the particular media. These activities will bring out a variety of possiblities inherent in a theme (Plates 39, 40 and 42-45). While immersed in the search for imagery the writer was free to associate personal signifi-cance to the theme, leading to further possible directions in which to push the imagery (pp. 44 and 51). The value of exploring a theme which focuses on a variety of goals is demonstrated by the series of geranium drawings (Plates 46, 48 and 50), the ensuing etching experiments (Plates 49 and 51), the pastel drawings (PLates 72-78), and finally the acrylic paintings (Plate 78, and Appendix Plates IV-VII). Jerome Hausman (1970) states that the essential content of any teaching about art must come from the nature of art itself. The teacher must create situations that allow students the pleasure of exploration and discovery, the joy of finding new forms for the expression of their ideas, and the suffering that.comes occasionally from "the pain and disappointment of failure" (pp. 334 and 335) The evidence presented in the thesis consistently stresses the importance of experimentation, exploration, play, searching, and work through the process of theme development and throughout the progress of individual pieces. The implication for the art teacher would appear to be that, by providing the atmosphere and opportunities that encourage students to stretch their imaginations and develop their problem solving skills, one would be offering the student an environment conducive to the flourishing of the art process. The author has stated that art keeps her constantly in touch with the "trial and error method of working" (p. 105). She finds it helpful to tell herself, "just do something," "follow your instinct," and "ego-critic leave me alone" (p. 105). The artist has found it very beneficial to keep a watchful eye for accidental effects (pp. 105 and 110). Keeping an open mind to new ideas is constantly productive (pp'. 67, 69, 101, 104, 105, 110, 112, and 118-134). 148 Flaws, accidents, and serendipity are constant sources of inspiration to the artist (pp. 39, 44, 47, 67, 69, 104, 105, 110, 112-118, 124, and 129). It is helpful i f the use of the word "mistake" is minimized in the art class. Some things do not work out as anticipated. Encourage the students to try again. Perhaps even attempt the opposite and see what happens. Before changing the "problem area" re-evaluate the phenomena with an open mind. It may be a more effective solution than the one originally planned. Art is full of happy accidents, as verified by the "Odyssey" described in this thesis. Michael (1980) states that art students must feel that they can, and must be willing to try to work with various art media. He claims that the wise art teacher is able to utilize closure experiences in art to achieve confidence for those students who are lacking in this attribute. He further states that the art teacher must be very encouraging and supportive during these initial experiences by praising the student for "finding" an idea as well as for continuing work on the picture (p. 17). Suggested Strategies for "Getting Started" A student's lack of confidence and fear of the popular view of what constitutes art is often a great hindrance to their progress in art making. Suggest the students tell their "critic" to go away and leave them alone; this is the time for working and learning, not for criticism. Begin the work period by warming up with drawing callisthenics. Sketch something quickly. Suggest the students relax and let their ideas generate freely. Ask the students to briefly document the ideas for later reference (Plate 51, and 117). Play with a variety of free, loose compositions using a chosen theme, element of art or principle of design (Plates 37A, 38, 105, 117-123, and Appendix, Plates III, VII and VIII). By setting limits the students will be encouraged to focus and explore to a greater depth and breadth within the particular framework (p. 69). 149 Reassure students that an image will evolve as long as one keeps working with an open mind, eye, and attitude toward change. Suggest they keep alert for messages emitted by the images as changes take place. Encourage students to relax and follow their instincts. Pressure Linn (1982) found that artist-teachers deliberately set deadlines and due dates which they must meet, such as working under the pressures of a show or a commission. Many of the artists felt that they often did their best work under such situations (p. 39). The data in the "Odyssey" chapter supports this finding. The writer states, "I was craving structure and I wanted to be pressured. I wanted to concentrate my energies into efforts that demanded quality. I wanted to work for and achieve standards of excellence in art" (p. 35). In the beginning of the section, "Transition", the proclamation is made, "I make i t a rule to accept challenges that may lead to personal growth, so despite my apprehen-sions, I agreed to the idea of an exhibit" (p. 69). As a result of this commitment to an exhibition, the writer produced a body of work which played a significant role in her development as an artist. The pressure to "just do something," brought about the initiation of the series of pastel drawings (Plates 61 through 93). The benefits of the pressure created by an exhibition is referred to in connection with the completion of "Mother, Daughter, 1923." The writer states, "I had a deadline, the pressure I find helpful when focusing on a project to the exclusion of most other distractions" (p. 97). The series, "Tributes to Someone's Grandmother," was initiated and completed in response to the opportunity to participate in a group art show (p. 112). Pressure of time limits and standards can facilitate creative production for students. The student will be forced into making decisions and choices throughout the art process which will eventually lead to closure. New ideas, connections, thoughts, and conclusions are likely to occur as a result of disciplined attention to the research, collected material, and/or experience of the student. The pressure of a deadline and the expectations that a product will be matted and displayed can add an exciting element to the art making process. Knowing that a product will be shared with others often adds to student motivation. For some students, however, this may create crippling apprehensions which need to be considered and dealt with by the teacher. The Role of Questioning in the Art Process By asking herself questions, the writer has been able to clarify her thoughts, goals, purposes, and priorities for an image. The writer demon-strates the value of questioning when searching old family photographs for information of her ancestry (p. 27). This process is also evident in the chapters, "Mother.Daughter, 1923," "My Own Kitchen," "Rock-a-bye-Roses," "Roses at Forty-One," "Tributes for Someone's Grandmother," and "Reflections of a Lifetime." The writer reports making direct requests of an image, "Speak to me, tell me what do you want to say?" and asking questions about the sub-ject of the painting, "What do rocking chairs do?" Through the question and answer process the concept of the work was established which led to the choices of particular aesthetic and expressive qualities (p. 104). Asking questions about the technical execution of an object is evident in the discoveries made about white china while painting "Roses at Forty-one" (p. HI). Hamblen (1984) suggests that for problem solving, critical thinking, and inquiry learning, active discussions between teachers and students are essen-t i a l . Questions, properly framed, foster student involvement and self-initia-ted 1 earning (p. 12). 151 Taunton (1984) supports this statement. Questions and comments, posed by the teacher at different stages of art-making, tend to focus and clarify children's thinking about their ideas and intentions, procedures they are following, and solutions they devise. Questioning strategies can be designed to develop knowledge of one's actions as an artist and.to establish a more general awareness of the process of art-making, (p. 15) Sturr (1982) also recommends that teachers ask students relevant ques-tions during the development of technique and processes, and about personal choices and artistic goals (pp. 12-14). Questioning Strategies 1. Suggest students ask themselves questions about the image. 2. Suggest students ask the image questions, as they would a friend they are getting to know: How?, When?, Why?, Where?, What? Who? 3. Recommend to the student that they record these dialogues in a private journal or diary. Many such recorded dialogues assisted the writer in recalling the data in the "Odyssey" chapter. Certain comments may be displayed with the work (Taunton, 1984, p. 16). Such comments may prove useful kept in a sketch book accompanying visual images (Plates 47, 48, 117, and Appendix, Plate III). 4. Teacher or student questioning may help a student choose a topic for further development. 5. When a topic is selected for exploration, questioning may lead to s t i l l further resolution of the image. Discussion Discussing one's work with fellow students, teachers, friends, and other artists can be helpful in the search for imagery, overcoming technical d i f f i -culty, the resolution of problems, and for encouragement. The writer reports a discussion with an instructor that led to increased confidence in her personal imagery, feelings, and ideas (p. 69). The value of group discussions is referred to as "providing creative nourishment" (p. 26). Feedback, from 152 children and adults alike, has given the author many fresh insights about her work and stimulated new ideas (pp. 104, 107 and 110-111). The importance of discussing work in progress is documented by comments in "Rock-a-bye-Roses" (p. 104) and "Reflections of a Lifetime" (pp. 124, 126, 132 and 134)". Students are encouraged by seeing the relationship of their work in a historical context. This is verified by the writer's need to seek reassurance for the validity of her imagery by researching the work of respected artists (p. 36). The value of classroom discussion is argued by leading art educators. Madeja (1980) discusses the use of language in the art program, defining it as "a device to enable students to describe, analyze, and comprehend qualities, and then to make and justify aesthetic judgements about art" (p. 25). Vincent Lanier (1980) describes a new content for art which he calls the "dialogue curriculum" (p. 19 and 20). Taunton (1984) supports the idea of "reflective dialogue" being incorporated into classroom conversation throughout the art process. She believes that a discussion about works in-progress is beneficial because students are able to make use of comments in subsequent efforts. She further claims, "The validity of children's understanding of how artists, including themselves, make art can be increased by insuring opportunities for reflectivity about their own work" (p. 16). Through discussions with the teacher and/or fellow classmates on the intent for an image the student may discover further motivations and goals worthy of exploration. The teacher's appreciation of the student's imagery may also be deepened through attentive listening and discussion. The sharing of knowledge, ideas, experiences, insights, new awarenesses, and changes may provide essential encouragement and stimulate group and individual enthusiasm, thereby providing a constructive climate for growth. 153 Evaluation and the Art Process Evaluation is useful throughout the art process. This is demonstrated by the mention of judgements and decisions being made by the artist regarding the qualities and effects created by various media and techniques. Such comments as, "the resulting effect was dreadful" (p. 101), "not as dynamic," "much too cold," "did not exhibit the qualities," "so successful" (pp. 104 and 105), "disappointing," "unsuccessful," "somewhat satisfied," "was not working," "needed to make changes," "very exciting," and "marvelous" (p. 110) indicate continual evaluation of works in progress. Michael (1980) states that in evaluation one must refer back to one's objectives and goals which are derived from the problem of the artist and the art process. The student and the teacher should be aware of the same objec-tives (p. 18). Stanley Madeja (1980) tells us that our discipline, with its history, methods of criticism, and body of knowledge, is essential to a thorough education. "Any educated person," he maintains, "should be able to evaluate art objects and should have experience in producing them." As art teachers, i t is vitally important that we evaluate children's art products and that we share not only our evaluations but also the process of learning to make objective evaluations with our students. As they see us practice this and as they learn the benefits of evaluation by seeing improvements in their own art work, they will gradually evaluate their own products, a sign of maturation and an important step in the artistic process. (Doerr, 1984, p. 33) Promoting student discussion and sharing of the process of evaluation and encouraging them to make positive criticisms and suggestions may assist students in looking at, judging, and appreciating artwork outside of the classroom. Eisner (1966) warned of the dangers of not evaluating artwork on a regu-lar basis. The student who receives l i t t l e or no feedback about work may harbor uncertainties of its worth and may be tempted to reject art as unsatisfying. Encouraging the student to participate in evaluation 154 provides the opportunity for the teacher to discover and counteract such attitudes, (p. 387) Evaluation is encouraging to the student and artist. The powerful effect of a teacher's evaluation of one's ability and imagery is documented in the section, "Learning about Art" (p. 67). The effect of a positive evaluation of one's work by fellow students is reported in the section, "Transition" (p'. 93). As an artist it is important to recognize one's own weaknesses and strengths. This is reflected in the comments, "I lacked an understanding of composition" (p. 35), "there was a dearth of meaningful content" (p. 36), "I now accept...as a strength and appreciate.. .as a gift" (p. 36), "...by eliminating the element of colour...concentrate on composition and structure...1 needed further understanding" (p. 44). "I could now visually plan the division of space with great precision" (p. 93), and "To further investigate the elements of art and principles of design" (p. 93). The A r t Teacher The creative, productive teacher is likely to stimulate sincere involve-ment. The generation of ideas seems to heighten energy and enthusiasm in students. The writer has found that, as a result of sharing her own experien-ces and enthusiasm for art, both teachers and students have been encouraged to continue in the pursuit of their own interest in art. Linn (1982) states that all of the teachers in her study stressed that art teachers who are also practicing their craft and developing their skills have a positive influence upon art students. The group felt that students have a greater respect for teachers who make art important and vital in their own life (p. 43). Linn concludes that, "when students see a teacher enthusiastic and excited about art, they are more apt to be inspired and to regard art in a new way. As a result, the whole student-teacher relationship is improved" (p. 43). Sharing personal experiences of ups and downs and gains and losses enhances student 155 understanding and helps in affirming student confidence. Linn states that, "Art, and the making of it is really a process of sharing, sharing not just the final product but the steps and decisions made along the way" (p. 43). Linn cites Szekely's view of the artist-teacher as one who is'"giving his creative self as a model to others" (p. 43). The art teacher who has developed confidence in the art process through successful experiences will benefit students by sharing this attitude. The teacher-artists in Linn's study reported that their energies and enthusiasms are high when confidence in one's own abilities is high (p. 42). "Success does breed success, and pleasure at seeing one's art work progressing often banishes frustrations" (Linn, 1982, p. 42). To open the doors to new insights and enlightenment for another person is a joyful reward in itself. Art teachers are likely to reap such a reward as they guide students in the creative journey of discovery and appreciation of the art process. If a teacher is also pursuing his or her own quest of perso-nal expression, surely, the joy will be intensified. 156 REFERENCES Doerr, S.L. If you want to get stroked, talk to your mother: Art education as the discipline i t deserves to be. Art Education, 1984, 37_ (1), 31-34. Eisner, E.W. Evaluating children's art, in E.W. Eisner and D.W. Ecker,.. Readings in art education. Waltham, Mass.: Blaisdell Publishing Co., 1966. Eisner, E.W. On the differences between scientific and artistic approaches to  qualitative research. This is a modified version of a paper presented.at the annual convention of the American Educational Research Association, Boston, Massachusetts, April 1, 1980, and was used with the author's permission as a study paper for his presentation to the Art Education "Quarterly Quorum", University of British Columbia, March 26, 1981. Hamblen, K.A. "Don't you think some brighter colors would improve your painting?"--0r, constructing questions for art dialogues. Art Education, 1984, 37 (1), 12-14. Hausman, J.J. Teacher as artist and artist as teacher. In G. Pappas, Concepts in art and education: An anthology of current issues. London: The MacMillan Co., Collier-MacMillan, Ltd., 1970. Lanier, V. Six items on the agenda for the eighties. Art Education, 1980, 33_ (9), pp.19-21. Lewis, H. P. Peregrinations in Child Art. Study materials for- the Art Education Quarterly Quorum", University of British Columbia, February 18, 1984. Linn, R.M. The artist-teacher: Balancing a dual role. Unpublished Master of Arts thesis, University of British Columbia, 1982. Madeja, S.S. The art curriculum: Sins of omission. Art Education, 1980, 33 (10), 24-26. Michael, J. A. Studio art experience: The heart of art education. Art  Education, 1980, 33 (2), 15-19. 157 Sturr, E. Motivation with a rational twist. Art Education, 1982, 35 (1), 12-14. ~~ Szabo, Z. Creative Water Colour Technique. New York: Watson-Gupti 11 Publications, 1976. Taunton, M._ Reflective dialogue in the art classroom: Focusing on the art process. Art Education, 1984, 37. (1), 15-16. 158 APPENDIX 159 I i m m _69_ —F Plate I - G( ^tting Ready If. Plate II - The Beginning 161 Acrylic on Canvas 16.5 x 20.5 in. Acrylic on Canvas 19 x 32 in. Plate VI: "Dusty Day" Acrylic on Canvas 19 x 32 in. 165 Plate VII "Oasis" Acrylic on Canvas 19 x 32 in. 166 Plate VII "Oasis" Acrylic on Canvas 19 x 32 in. 167 Plate VIII "Going" Acrylic on Canvas 16.5 x 20.5 in. 

Cite

Citation Scheme:

        

Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics

Share

Embed

Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                        
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            src="{[{embed.src}]}"
                            data-item="{[{embed.item}]}"
                            data-collection="{[{embed.collection}]}"
                            data-metadata="{[{embed.showMetadata}]}"
                            data-width="{[{embed.width}]}"
                            async >
                            </script>
                            </div>
                        
                    
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:
https://iiif.library.ubc.ca/presentation/dsp.831.1-0054826/manifest

Comment

Related Items