What Price Freedom of Expression?

It would be stretching things to call me a rebel, or subversive, or even a dissident, but I have recently had my words censored! Well, OK, maybe not 'my' words exactly, but the words of a student in two pages of a book I co-authored together with S. Poppy and J. Paterson, The Visual Arts Course Companion (Oxford University Press, 2017). What happened? Large sections of two pages were obscured by what looks like brown paper, because the Chinese authorities clearly took exception ...

PP Reminders: Pictures and Process

Two PP points! 1. Show me pictures (“visual evidence”) There must be visual as well as written/text documentation of process. It should be obvious - but of course just writing comments and explanations is not enough: is there visual evidence of what has been happening? Don’t just write about it; you must also show what has been considered, explored, etc. (Just saying that you did something is easy and lazy and open to question: how does the examiner know that you actually did ...

Selectivity and Distillation: the Process Portfolio is NOT a Diary

Diaries. Journals. Sketchbooks. They serve a range of purposes; diaries document the momentous and the mundane, the day-to-day detritus, and the sporadic moments of joy and/or despair. Artists’ diaries can give a good insight into the creative processes. (See the illustrations included here.) Tate website “A diary is a record of events or experiences. From sketchbooks to video diaries; and from the mundane and everyday to big life events and how these make us feel… We have pulled together a selection of art to ...

“When NOT to…” (Visual Arts Exhibition No Nos)

By now I expect that many of you (students) are on holiday – so I’m pleased to see that you have spared a moment to check on the visual arts blog! If you have graduated I’m happy to see you and good luck on July 6th (RESULTS day!) If, on the other hand, you are in between the first and second year of the course, some of this blog may prove useful. I’m reflecting on more things seen during the last visual arts ...

Your PP needs mistakes! (its GOOD to make mistakes)

It’s obvious. It’s probably so obvious that it doesn’t need saying. But I sometimes encounter students who are perfectionists - or at least try to delete/hide all evidence of mistakes in their visual arts journal and/or Process Portfolio. It’s not that they hate making mistakes, its more that they don’t like to leave any evidence behind. I get it – why reveal your “weaknesses” when you are up to your neck in assessment worries? You want to impress the examiner with the consistently high ...

Part 2 of WHERE DO IDEAS COME FROM?

Last month I asked "Where do ideas come from?" (pretty much anywhere!) and wrote about one way of coming up with art ideas - by being aware of what has gone before (“standing on the shoulders of giants”)   This month I want to remind you of the importance of your VAJ – never go anywhere without it – and flag up a great YouTube video! 1 The JOURNAL (VAJ) (“Does your idea have legs?”) The journal is VITAL! The first suggestion I make to any ...

Process Portfolio thoughts and reminders

Happy New Year! I’m going start the year by reminding my 2nd year students of the Process Portfolio. These students will be uploading their PP screens/pages in March/April so my first blog posts of 2017 relate to the PP. I don’t want in inundate you with too much too soon so will be posting in two installments, January and February. Duplication? First of all, be careful with some of the current OCC Teacher Support Material for the Process Portfolio. Some examples have a text-only ...

Everything you wanted to know about your PP and your VAJ (but were afraid to ask)

One issue seems to puzzle some students: What is the relationship between the Process Portfolio and the Visual Arts Journal (henceforth referred to respectively as the PP and the VAJ)? Some students feel the VAJ has little importance because they see that the PP gets 40% of the marks and the VAJ does not appear to be assessed at all (in the sense that there is no VAJ assessment component) …Hence the feeling that the PP is essentially the same as the VAJ ...

Visual Arts Process Portfolio: choices (and some points)

I think one point needs making at the start: there is no single route to process portfolio success. Examiners are not expecting one ‘style’ or format, or that all Process Portfolios will look the same: it is assumed that you (e.g. different students) will adopt different approaches. However, its important to be aware of the following points: 1 What’s in a ‘screen’? The main dilemma for some is whether to make the process portfolio a primarily digital construct with screens assembled on a ...

Gallery Visits

PLEASE visit art exhibitions – not just because it’s a great experience but because it could improve your grade! I recently visited the Tate Modern and the Tate Britain Galleries in London. Of course, many schools are nowhere near a big city and/or a large, prestigious and internationally acclaimed gallery. For eight years I taught art in a school situated on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro – the excellent and unique International School Moshi – and we visited small local galleries or ...