Tag: patterns

John Paul Caponigro Lecture

Recently at the Taubman Museum of Art here in Roanoke, we had an exhibition featuring the work of father and son photographers Paul Caponigro and John Paul Caponigro. I taught several art lessons inspired by their work and came to really love the photographs.

Right before the show was deinstalled, John Paul came to do a lecture on his creative process and I was fortunately able to attend. He is a wonderful speaker and so positive and encouraging. Something that especially resonated with me were his thoughts on planning and–ready for it?–attention. I mentioned earlier this week that I would bring this up again. The theme for my first summer residency in Chicago was Attention and since then I hear about it everywhere and all the time!

From the SAIC website…

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John Paul brought up the theme of planning and noticing as he talked about the way he works. Basically, once he knows what he’s looking for (he used waves as an example), he notices them everywhere: waves in the sand, waves in the water, waves in the sky. When you pay attention you notice patterns.
jpc notes


John Paul also signed some copies of this book, which showcases his work and his father’s work. Had to get one!

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I can’t stress enough how valuable it is to hear an artist talk about their work and their practice. Take the time to listen and I can almost guarantee that you’ll appreciate the work more afterwards. As always, thanks for reading! xoxo


A Whole New World Part III

sexy evening gown

So this series was supposed to be a three-part post, but I thought of some more things I wanted to say so I’m adding a fourth part. The next post will be about my experience as a student teacher, but before I get into that I wanted to talk a little bit about the topic of art across the curriculum.

Art across the curriculum focuses on the integration of art with other subjects. The purpose of doing this is to help students form connections and find meaning in their work. It can help students become more successful in the sense that it addresses varied interests. Interest is a huge factor involved in the success of many students. If a student isn’t interested in learning about history, maybe they’ll be attracted to photographs of famous events in history or poetry about those same events. Integration of subjects takes place in many classrooms. For example, reading and writing are skills that are incorporated into essentially every subject, and this promotes literacy.

Within the topic of art across the curriculum, there is a pretty substantial debate that’s been going on. Some say that when you bring other subjects into the art classroom, you make it seem as though art isn’t enough on it’s own. Another disadvantage that I’ve noticed is that it can take up a lot of art-making time, which is already precious in those classrooms that have short classes.

While I could get into the debate a lot more, I’ll spare you and say that I believe the good things outweigh the bad things if executed correctly, and by correctly I mean in a balanced, well-planned out way. I think it’s important for students to be aware of how things in their world are interrelated and to learn how to take advantage of all their resources.

The semester before I became a student teacher, I took an Art Across the Curriculum class. During that semester, I completed my practicum in a 7th grade math class. I was really nervous about being in a math class, partially because I didn’t know how helpful I would be to the students, but also because I was drawing a blank on how to incorporate art into their current topic of slopes. Despite my hesitation, being in that classroom was a great experience. I was blown away by the relationship between the students and the teacher, Mr. Miller. He was very silly and often joked around with the kids, but he was firm when necessary. This seemed to make the students really respect him, and therefore not want to disappoint him.

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By the end of the semester, my partner and I were finally able to teach a lesson incorporating math and art. The theme was patterns and our featured artist was M. C. Escher. We looked at several examples of his famous tesselations, along with examples of mosaics and photographs of patterns found in nature. The students then created their own “mosaic tiles” by graphing slope equations and adding color to them. After each student had completed several tiles, the tiles were taped up to the wall to create a colorful mosaic.

It was definitely challenging to come up with an art lesson while integrating another subject, but I believe it’s one of those things that gets easier the more you do it. I tried it out a little bit as a student teacher and it seemed to come more naturally as I continued to think about it. Integrating subjects is very much about Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, which states that “human beings have nine different kinds of intelligence that reflect different ways of interacting with the world. Each person has a unique combination, or profile. Although we each have all nine intelligences, no two individuals have them in the same exact configuration” (PBS). When teachers acknowledge that their students all learn differently and then act on that, they are helping each student reach their full potential, and isn’t that what teaching is about?

A Whole New World Part I
A Whole New World Part II
A Whole New World Part IV
PBS article