Welcome to the Springfield Township High School Art Blog. The purpose of this forum is to inspire discourse surrounding your artistic experiences while building writing skills, exercising your art vocabulary, and refining descriptive language relating to art. In your writing, you may choose to discuss museum and gallery exhibitions, publications, articles, professional works, student works, or responses to each other’s ideas and investigations. Additionally, participants may want to pose questions or react to artistic predicaments, sharing the trials, frustrations, solutions, or the general excitement we feel when we make or look at art.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Philadelphia Open Studios

                          Springfield High School post-2001 studio 106.  Photo: Jennifer Silvius
                                                            (not part of the tour)

Last weekend was the “Center City East” Philadelphia Open Studio tour, featuring artists east of the Schuylkill  River. This self-directed tour includes some of the following (larger) studio complexes: 915 Spring Garden Street Studios, Crane Old School, Crane Arts, and 1241 Carpenter Street studios.  A visit to these venues allows you to see the scope and diversity of fine art and artists working in the Philadelphia region.  You also get to meet and talk with the artists personally and experience their creative environment.  Some studios are quite Spartan (no school reference intended) while others appear more like someone's living room.  It would take paragraphs to describe the experience, and professional journalists have already covered it in more concise detail than I am capable.  I highly recommend touring the studios next time around.  For more information check out this link-

Thursday, October 23, 2014

To Teachers

To teachers who may be sharing this blog with their students (but also good for anyone)-
Sometimes, in my writing and my teaching, I expect my audience to accept that I know what I'm talking about.  I forget that credible research sources and supportive background information is important to qualify my goals, statements, and opinions.  I am used to presenting waves of humorous pontification to young impressionable students, who are sometimes unsure whether I am pulling their leg or not.  I would often leave out important sources. [how my students ever learned anything from me is a puzzle]. So when I used the term "descriptive writing" in this blog, I forgot that I presented a full lesson to my students, complete with resources, defining what I was asking them to do.  In turn, I assumed the teachers would understand exactly what I was trying to achieve without offering a clue.  So, here is a good resource to get you started  http://writingaboutart.org/  The book, Writing About Art, was written by Marjorie Munsterberg.  The late Myra Plumridge (former Springfield art teacher) had introduced me to this book before I started grad school.  The preface alone will be enough to identify some writing goals for students, but I would use the "Visual Description" section.  I find that is one of the weakest areas for students, as it takes a lot of effort and thinking to describe things well.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

New to a blog?

The reading is the easy part.  Many of my tech-savvy students have been bewildered by the minor complexities of blog posting.  Though, it really is quite easy.  When you want to post something on the blog, look at the top right corner of this page and click the blue "sign in" button.  Once you've signed in you'll be shown the dashboard page.  Now click on the word/s "SpringfieldArtBlog" and look for the orange "Post" button.  You'll now see a "Compose" window.  After you've composed/completed your post, hit the orange "Publish" button.  The program will do everything else except write for you. You are always able to go back and edit, even after you've published it.  If you experience any difficulty email me.

Note:  I find it easier to write in Microsoft Word, then copy and paste to the "compose" page .  For posting photos it is the same, just select the photo, copy, and paste. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

First Friday, Philadelphia

John Moore, Crossing Guard
John Moore, Crossing Guard, 2013, oil on canvas, 60 x 50 inches

Some of you are familiar with this artist as an instructor from Tyler School of Art or from The University of Pennsylvania's graduate program.  Whether you know him or not, he has a number of paintings on display at the Locks Gallery, 600 Washington Sq. (roughly the corner of 6th st. below walnut).  His work can also be seen in various Museum and Gallery collections in the U.S., including the Portland Museum, Portland, Maine.

His recent paintings are from the Frankford Section of Philadelphia, but let me tell you Frankford, although being revitalized, doesn't look as good.   Moore's paintings are often pieced together fragments from different locations. Sometimes his references are from other states.  So don't spend too much time trying to pinpoint an exact location in Philadelphia.

Artistically, photographs of the artist's work don't clearly show the color fields of varied grays you'll see at the exhibit.  Although there are striking pinks, blues, and yellows, and glowing lines of bright color, the grays that he plays those colors against make the magic.  If you want to look at other artist's work who are closely related, I'd check out Charles Demuth, Charles Sheeler (Doylestown local), Hans Hoffman, and Richard Diebenkorn.     ...Isn't it funny?  Although I got to talk to John Moore briefly, I never thought to ask him about his personal influences.  It's interesting what one does in the moment, and then wished they'd done in hindsight.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Communication and Perception

As this blog begins a new life, I have received feedback and discovered a gap in the perception of intentions.  In my mind there are hundreds of thoughts and possibilities brewing.  I try to narrow those possibilities when I communicate in writing, and I try to keep the description brief so you'll read it.  However, much is lost in translation. 

If you read the "welcome" in yellow at the top of this page you will see the blog's concept is concerned with writing descriptively about your experiences related to art, what you learned about art, or exploring your visual world.   But...this is your blog.  You can post a picture or event if you want.  The only rule is- consider your audience.  There are students present.

Whether you've continued to make visual art is not important.  What is significant is that your high school art education placed roots in your thoughts and visual perceptions.   Whether or not you remember learning it, you have a vocabulary surrounding the elements and principles of visual perception and interpretation.  You may write anything that you think is relevant.  For example, you may be driving down the road one day, and remember a quote the teacher used to say in class [Nina Rosini used to like the line I stole from a movie- "I know a thing or two about thing or two"].  Or you may think that evaluations in an art class are very subjective.  That may open up a whole can of worms for debate. Perhaps you found a cool video on the web, or perhaps you want to comment on the pros or cons of the art room environment- too lax too strict.   Those simple thoughts would be enough to post or write about.

My point- you are a community of learners who have shared similar foundations.  Class continues...