The Irony of Education

The Heart Has Its Reasons... a Quote by Blaise Pascal
The Heart Has Its Reasons... a Quote by Blaise Pascal
Quote from Blaise Pascal, Art by Mary Gow

Learning is about A-D-D-I-E or P-I-E.

But is it really?

Those are two common instructional design models I learned in the instructional technology specialization I studied for my master’s degree in education.

A-D-D-I-E stands for Analysis-Design-Development-Implement-Evaluate. P-I-E stands for Plan-Implement-Evaluate.

There’s hundreds and hundreds of learning models developed to guide the teaching process. They involve various combinations of analysis of the needs of the learner, delivery of the information, and some method to measure or survey what was learned.

And an effective lesson plan addresses the auditory, kinesthetic or visual learner.

How do you learn?

After studying a zillion learning theories and paying for years of formal education I find that I learn many things from stories. And storytelling is a skill that wasn’t in the curriculum.

Which reminds me of a counselor I know that uses heroic metaphorical stories to show her clients new solutions. Brilliant!

Is there a School of Storytelling?

Ok, a few hours later I’m adding this…the school of storytelling is film school.

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3 Examples of Fingerpainting without Paint

"Smile," by Mary Gow
Set to Fly by Mary Gow
“Set to Fly,” created using Harmonious, by Mary Gow
Festive Feathers by Mary Gow
“Festive Feathers,” created using Harmonious, by Mary Gow

"Smile," by Mary Gow
“Smile,” using Harmonious app, by Mary Gow

You can make art wherever you are with a drawing application called Harmonious, created by the Angry Robot Zombie Factory.

Even if you are on a desktop, you can create drawings on your computer by going to the Harmonious Sketchpad!

Here’s a few drawings I created. For more examples check out the Harmonious gallery of creations.

Enjoy the 11 different line types and unlimited color choices. I like the undo that goes back at least 7 steps.

I hope you’ll give Harmonious a try if you haven’t already found it.

Do you have a favorite drawing app you’d like to tell us about?

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3 Things to Like About “Gerhard Richter Painting”

I thought the Gerhard Richter Painting movie would only be here a week but it arrived in early May and it’s still running in San Francisco and Berkeley. In case you haven’t heard of Gerhard Richter, he’s an internationally accomplished, energetic 79 year old artist from Dresden, Germany, with an extensive body of work that covers over five decades. I didn’t discover him until a few years ago.

You may find out all you need to know about him at his website. It’s one of the most thorough artist sites I’ve seen, created and maintained by Joe Hage.

Richter currently has a studio in Cologne, Germany. A superbly detailed chronologyof his life is on his website.

How famous is he? One clue is his painting, “Abstrakis Bild,” sold for $20,802,500 at Sotheby’s in 1997!

It is not a reflection on the movie but I was true to a habit of mine and fell asleep briefly during the film. I am not sure what I missed, but I enjoyed the gentle pace and the peek inside Richter’s life.

Implanted somewhere past the beginning, there’s a montage of photographs from his childhood, and how his family had to move to Poland. He talks briefly about how his parents wanted him to be a doctor, then he tried becoming a dental assistant and failed at that.

You get to see how much his studio assistants help with mixing paints and photographing his art, and an array of other tasks. His wife, his manager, and various museum and gallery personnel make an appearance as well. Once in a while you hear the filmmaker, Connie Belz, asking him questions while she’s behind the camera.

The movie documents Richter between April and September of 2009, at work in his studio in preparation for a show at the Marian Goodman Gallery in New York. But that’s not all you see about how he prepares.

One of my favorite things was seeing the meticulous preparation made for exhibitions. There’s careful study of the space using to-scale architectural models dissecting every wall, hallway, and sometimes the lighting system. Then shrunk to-scale Richter paintings are placed on the model’s walls to see how it will look.

Later in the movie there’s what I think is a big reveal — the work hasn’t always been created yet even though the show is already booked!

Abstract 525 by Mary Gow
“Abstract 525,” Mary Gow’s Gerhard Richter-inspired painting

The second favorite thing I liked was seeing this world famous artist like his work and two hours later hate it, and two days later like it again. Richter admits sometimes he doesn’t know where the painting is going, or it doesn’t go where he thought it would as the painting has a life of its own that he honors.

One other thing I really liked was getting to see the use of Richter’s custom-built giant squeegee. He paints an undercoat of colors which in themselves look like a finished abstract painting. In the example towards the end of the film he says he uses red in the undercoat because he’s going to squeegee green. Then he applies one big glob of paint on the canvas and moves it either across or down with his arms wide (maybe 5 feet) squeegee. This looks like palette knife painting taken to a scientific level! How gestural can you get with a palette knife that size?

I don’t want to ruin the surprise at the end. There you’ll hear the three words that say what making art is all about to Richter.

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The Longest Running Annual Art Exhibit in San Francisco

Seeds of Joy
“Seeds of Joy,” scanogram by Mary Gow

I have a secret about a scrumptious view of San Francisco. It’s at an exquisitely light-filled space and its staff has for 54 years had the generosity to host an annual art show! The Potrero Hill 54th Annual Artists Exhibition runs through June 1st.

The current show features the work of sixty artists ranging from sculpture and ceramics to painting and photography.

If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path place to see San Francisco, check out this awesome space, especially the six seats on the other side of the magazine showcase on the second floor.

The library was designed and renovated by the San Francisco Department of Public Works. It reopened in 2010. Here’s a slideshow the SFDPW produced that show’s off the space.

This is the same neighborhood where painter Wayne Thiebaud moved to in 1973. For more about Thiebaud and the Potrero neighborhood see Philip’s Garden Blog’s observations of the streets of Potrero Hill and Thiebaud’s depictions of them.

My piece in the show is a digitally manipulated scanogram titled “Seeds of Joy.” I produced it by placing objects on my scanner, and then pushed it further using Photoshop.

The scanner offers a stable surface for placing objects and the photo mechanism is securely mounted. What a treat for composing elements.

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