I am the drawing instructor at Savannah Arts Academy and teach mainly 10th and 11th grade students who major in Visual Arts. My students have participated in every contest sponsored by CelebratingArt.com for two years and received a Top Ten award with our very first submission. It’s fantastic to have a student from our school to receive another Top Ten award!
My Top Ten student, Audrey Phillips states, “Celebrating Art is always a fun competition to enter, it allows me to showcase my artwork and compete with other talented students. My piece, Electric Blue, focuses primarily on color. The colors work so well together because I used contrasting tones to accentuate the different planes of my model’s face ”. Her work symbolically reflects the brooding nature of her fellow classmate, with his hair swirling around like clouds and lighting appearing from the side of his face.
It is through good teaching strategies and practice that my students learn to become great artists. I motivate them by the simple phrase, “Just do it”. I also have a toy Yoda sitting near my desk as if to say, “Do or do not, there is no try”, which is to say to find your inner truth and trust your instincts. I also use my skills and knowledge of a practicing artist and the 28 years of teaching experience to guide my students through the process of art making. By getting my hands dirty every day with a “hands on” approach to teaching by demonstrations, informal critiques with works in progress, brainstorming ideas or concepts, and teaching the techniques and processes of using art materials instead of sitting back in my chair watching my students struggle. I am there as a mentor and my role as the art director to see the magic happen. Of course, creating a work of art is not really magical, it involves an understanding of art foundations skills, art aesthetics, composition, as well as blood, sweat, and tears.
My curriculum encourages and recognizes the value of meeting the standard of excellence by requiring all of my students to enter art competitions, for which they can also receive extra credit. They do not compete against each other to see who is the best, but rather allow the art experts to judge their work on its own merits. It’s all about improving their skills, producing quality art portfolios, receiving recognition, and for some, seeing a framed copy of their artwork hanging either in my classroom wall or outside in the “Hall of Fame.”
AP Art Instructor
Savannah Arts Academy