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Cathy Brockman

Philosophy of Teaching Art

Cathy BrockmanIt is my objective as an instructor and mentor to help students successfully navigate the creative process, to help them build skills and techniques, to realize their potential as an artist and /or student of art.   As an artist and a teacher of art, it is important for me to understand the importance of art.  Art is the universal visual form of communication, connecting with an audience and conveying ideas.  Artists come from different backgrounds and bring a variety of perspectives and experiences to their works.  They work in different ways, but each follows the same creative steps to create their works.  They develop an idea for the work, explore and refine the idea, use materials and techniques to create the work and then evaluate their work. 

All good artists/designers, be they studio, architects, craftspeople, or industrial work to organize the elements of visual language of assemblage so that all the parts incorporate to make a unified whole.  This is the first step of teaching art-giving the student/artist/designer this language so they may express themselves.  With the use and understanding of basic design elements and the principles that govern their relationship, an aspiring student/designer can successfully find a unified and balanced resolution to a design problem.  Through lecture, text reading assignments, and hands on exercises that bring in multi-cultural perspectives and historical references, students learn to recognize the principles and elements visually and master the vocabulary that defines them.  They then apply this visual language in actual works of art.  With the use of this language, the students and I discuss their ideas and works, allowing the student to become critically aware of the problems he/she is dealing within the work in progress.  This enables me to direct possible solutions to the problems in the use of a variety of sources such as books, periodicals, etc while citing examples of how both contemporary and historical artists have handled such problems.

The principles of perceptual organization hold true for all aspects of visual creativity, and the student will learn how these principles form the foundation for specialized work in any field of fine art or of applied design.  In applying the language of design in their works of art the student learns to guide and control the viewer’s response enabling them to communicate their desired ideas and emotions. So students can better express their ideas, I try to teach and introduce them to as many different media, techniques and styles as possible. 

Today’s students come with a wide range of learning skills and needs.  I try to incorporate as many different learning styles as I can into my classes, in order to engage the students in the subject matter both online and in my classroom.  I incorporate different techniques in the classes from lectures, to printed lecture notes, PowerPoint presentations, hands on assignments, discussions both online and in the classroom, planned and impromptu, critiques, videos and even noted TV specials (History channel, Discovery, and Bravo). 

I am passionate about teaching art, and I want to engage each student into that passion.  I do not believe my only job as a teacher is to teach the students the answer to the problems, but rather to teach them how to find their own answers and “voice” to engage them in discovering their own abilities to resolution and success with both school and life.