Working from Observation (“direct observation”)

In September, for many schools it’s the start of another school year, and if you are a DP visual arts student, you will be either returning for your 2nd year or starting your first. Where to Start? Of course, your teacher will probably suggest some initial directions that your art might follow to start with, but – depending on how much freedom you have – you might want to explore one of the most traditional routes in art-making: working from observation. I have ...

The Art of Protest

'Raising awareness' Art can do many things, and recently – certainly since the 1980s – we’ve seen a lot of artists focus on one thing in particular: the art of protest (or ‘raising awareness’). With seemingly more and more things to protest about and the ever-growing reach and power of social media to inform etc, ‘art’ has become the go-to vehicle to express angst, anger, frustration etc. and to ‘raise awareness’. We are more familiar now with a whole range of ecological and ...

7 Points from the Visual Arts Subject Report

The Visual Arts Subject Report for the last May session is in the shops now! (Not really – see the end of this post for how to get it.) This document is not a hypothetical aspirational document; it’s more of a reaction to and reflection on the things that you (teachers) uploaded for assessment. It’s a report and its based directly on the experiences of examiners, so it is valuable in a real and practical sense. It can be an interesting and revealing ...

From the Ridiculous to the Sublime: The Visual Elaboration of Ideas

The Ridiculous (or at least, misguided) As an exhibition moderator I sometimes encounter work that seems to be based on a misinterpretation of the visual arts course. Of course the work is not really ‘ridiculous’, but let’s say it might be a little misguided. For example, in one case a student submitted (as artworks in their exhibition) a single Lego brick, and Lego ‘Batman’ and ‘Superman’ figures. Source: Wikimedia Obviously, there is no technical competence involved here: the Lego belonged to the student’s ...

Reminders for November session schools

If you are teaching in a “November session” school, October is a busy month! Here are some reminders: IBIS upload deadlines: 10 Oct         Predicted Grades and Internal Assessment marks 20 Oct            Internal Assessment (Exhibition) upload 30 Oct            Comparative Studies and Process Portfolio upload   Exhibition Reminders Students can use as many or as few processes/techniques as they like: there are no restrictions in the exhibition criteria for the range of media used. Students will not be penalised for only using ...

YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS! – 10 SNAPSHOTS FOR AN EXHIBITION? 24/30? AGAIN, YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0hK1wyrrAU John McEnroe coins "You cannot be serious" “classic McEnroe outburst. John McEnroe v Tom Gullikson at Wimbledon in 1981. Umpire was Edward James”. Both my June 2017 blogs (for teachers and for students) are in response to things encountered as a visual arts examiner/moderator. This one is for students and relates to assessment - and the differences in perception from the perspective of a teacher and that of a moderator. The other is aimed at teachers and to some extent is about ethics ...

INTERNAL ASSESSMENT: THE CURSE OF OPTIMISM

THE CURSE OF OPTIMISM   Of course, I'm not against optimism.  And just to show what a positive blog this is I'm kicking off with a couple of happy songs, courtesy of YouTube ("Happy" and "Happy Talk"). Enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwIddYGse9g But to be honest, this blog is not so much the curse of optimism as the curse of optimistic marking.   November IA “November schools” (mostly schools in the Southern Hemisphere) have been uploading their files and marks for the November session. Unless you only have five students, the ...

Visual Arts Internal Assessment Upload: Quick Overview

It’s April! That means for many of us its VISUAL ARTS UPLOAD MONTH! Of the three components the most complex in terms of files and the upload process is the Exhibition The aim of this post is to give some explanations and guidance in relation to the scary IBIS Internal Assessment upload process. For more information about the visual arts upload please feel free to refer to my February post The Digital Upload: First Time For The New Course – What To Do! Please also ...

PROCESS vs IDEAS (making art rather than buying objects?)

It’s easy to come across mirrors in art – they certainly feature in many well-known paintings, including the  Arnolfini Wedding, Las Meninas and the Rokeby Venus, both by Velazquez, Rubens’ “Venus at the Mirror”, Picasso’s “Girl Before a Mirror”, Manet’s Bar at the Folies-Bergere, Patrick Caufield’s “Bathroom Mirror”, Lichtenstein’s “Mirror  – and many others. And since that cheeky chap Marcel Duchamp we also have real mirrors in artworks – the found object. Which brings me to the subject of this post. As ...

COMPARING OLD AND NEW: 14 DIFFERENCES (part 1: today’s blog – the top 7)

In my last post, I wrote about the similarities between the old/current visual arts course and the new one starting any day now. You can find the post here.   However, there are also significant differences, so here I will discuss some of these. I have listed my first seven here. Some are obvious but others may not be. I am lining up another set of differences between the current and the new course for a future blog post. Stay tuned!   DIFFERENCES BETWEEN OLD/CURRENT AND NEW ...