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.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

An Artist Returns

When I was hired at Springfield I was fortunate to have mentors who developed an outstanding philosophy of teamwork, respect, and initiating a comfortable yet professional classroom climate.  Many of you fondly remember the welcoming, comfortable, and sometimes playful atmosphere the art room presented.  These teachers also modeled excellence, in developing relevant, challenging curriculum,  and created a cohesive program that built upon knowledge and skills from previous courses.  Above all, these teachers were also active working artists, which continues to be a departmental goal.

One of these mentor/teachers, Arla Patch, who most know as "Arla"  and other youngerlings remember as Mrs. Sandstrom, moved back into the area from Maine.  She has a show you can see in Doylestown, Pa.  Hopefully you'll be able to welcome her back.  See show information below.


If you are reading this post after Dec. 20, 2015 you missed Arla's show, but you can still view her website:

Saturday, October 17, 2015

James Gary Miller

                                    James Miller, 2012, Mixed Media Collage, 7"x11,"

James Miller, and he preferred to be called "James," graduated from Springfield in 2013.  Within the past year he fell from a window and was in a coma until he passed away on September 19th.  He was a promising artist, a bright student, and quite a philosophical person.  It was a pleasure to have him as a student.  I always looked forward to his homework presentations.  He wouldn't give hints or clues to what he was doing, and was full of surprises.  He won the award for graphic art at the PSEA Touch the Future student competition for the illustrated book seen below.  The book is on permanent display in the high school library entrance.  For more information on James' life go to:  http://www.chestnuthilllocal.com/2015/09/30/james-gary-ellis-miller/

                            James Miller, Life, Cartoon Illustration on 8x10" Moleskine.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

James Turrell's Skyspace

Right above the Mermaid Inn in Chestnut Hill, Pa. is the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting House.  Although it is a place for worship, it is also the home of artist James Turrell's  "Skyspace."  The building was recently constructed and features a roof which slides back, allowing the sky to appear through a rectangular opening in the ceiling.

Turrell had LED lights arranged around the base of the ceiling, projecting varying hue gradations upon its eggshell white surface.  As the colors slowly fade into each other one notices the contrast between the ceiling color and the color of the sky above.  At times your perception makes you think the sky is changing its hue.  Turrell has several exhibitions like this around the country.  We are fortunate to have one so close to Springfield High School.

Now, some of you may remember the way you were taught about color contrasts.  A red rectangle of paper was placed on a white piece of paper and you were told to stare at the center or the paper.  After a brief time the rods and cones in your eyes were saturated with the color, and if you closed your eyes, you would see a greenish after image; the opposite of red.  Also, as you were staring at the color, you would notice bright glowing contrasts at the edge of the paper as your eyes shifted their gaze.  The white surface of the paper was affected by the perceived opposite afterimage.  These color contrasts are what Turrell uses to his advantage.

"Skyscape" changes as the light changes.  The meeting house is open at dawn and dusk for this event.  I saw it for the first time on a grey cloudy evening.  This allowed me to perceive warm and cool colors of grey as I stared at the rectangle of sky.  As night approached the value contrast between lit ceiling and dark sky increased.  Sunrise, sunset, and variable atmospheric conditions all change the experience.

"Skyscape" is free at the Chestnut Hill location, although donations are accepted.  Tickets can be ordered online as seating is limited.  First time viewers should consider bringing a yoga mat and small pillow.  It is an hour long event and your neck can get pretty stiff staring at the ceiling.  If you get there a half and hour early you'll get a good seat/position, though center floor will probably be occupied by a more frequent visitor.  It is a silent, meditative atmosphere, so turn off the cell phones and leave the toddlers at home.  If you snore, take along a friend to wake you.  If interested check out the links below.



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Zorn's Lemma by Hollis Frampton

 I read the title "Zorn's Lemma" on someone's work.  Just a filmmakers' film?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Ways of Seeing

Education is a funny thing.  As teachers, we deliver a lot of facts and information which we think are important for you to know relative to the subject matter.  At the same time, educators are trying to get students to think on higher levels, beyond simple drills and memorization.  The goal is to empower students to organize, analyze, assimilate, and synthesize information so it may be applied to situations outside the immediate circumstance.  In other words, teachers are trying to teach students how to think and apply information. This is one reason why U.S. educators are upset about the current emphasis on standardized testing [we'll leave that point alone for now].  Beyond thinking skills, if teachers have done their jobs well, we have turned our students into self-educators.  That was always my line at graduation, "If I've done my job right, you won't need me any more."  So now, to broaden your thinking about art, I've selected something from the past that, I hope, will help you see or understand art differently.  Sometimes different is good.  Go ahead, educate yourselves.

 "Alright Sherman, set the Way-Back-Machine to 1972."  "Yes, Mr. Peabody."  "Today, Sherman, we're going to see how John Berger demonstrated visual media's influence on the way we look at art, well before personal computers or the internet!"

In his book and video series, Ways of Seeing,  Berger investigates the way we look at and perceive a work of art.  If you read the PDF (see link below) or if you Youtube the BBC video, you will begin to understand art in a broader context than merely liking an image because it "looks cool."  You will understand it in  relationship to your visual world and much, much more.  Recommended understanding for all artists. Follow the link...


Thursday, April 23, 2015

It's First Friday Again

                                                  James Miller, Mixed Media, 7"x11"

Ah, Spring at last. Good weather to get out and see some art.  Here's a link to help with ideas:

If you need some specific gallery ideas look up- 1. The Locks Gallery 2. Vox Populi  11th and Vine (always some surprises going on there)  3. Tiger Strikes Asteroid (same building as Vox)  4.  Fjord, Frankford ave.  (you have a chance to see some Springfield alumni there)  5.  2nd and 3rd street galleries too numerous to mention. (I like Gallery Joe, 302 Arch st.)

Happy Hunting.  Make reservations for dinner now!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Art in the Dead of Winter

As the mercury takes a dramatic plunge and snow is covering the ground, I look online and see a variety of ice and snow constructions.  Its hard to keep people indoors, even in extreme conditions.  These forms remind me of Andy Goldsworthy making ice structures with his bare hands in the film Rivers and Tides.  He could not wear gloves because they stuck to the ice and took away his touch.  I recently found the film on Youtube, likely some cyber pirate version, but still a very warming, meditative film for a cold day.  This link shows some photos of Andy's colder endeavors.  http://www.skyline.uk.com/riversandtides/index.html

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Current Philadelphia Museum Show

Alumni, K8, visited from LA last week, and we went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art together.  We saw, Represent: 200 years of African American Art, on display across from the museum store.  Check out the museum link on top of the right-hand column of this web page.  There were works featured by well known artists like Barbara Chase-Riboud, Jacob Lawrence, and Glenn Ligon, but also works by local Philadelphians, John Dowell (former instructor at Tyler) and Mo Brooker (instructor at Moore).  The show continues through April 5th.