What better motivation for learning, than teaching? Planning a painting workshop, school art unit, or short-term lecture series will sharpen my pencil, bridge a forgotten or never understood chasm, and threaten my cobwebs. Teaching teaches me a a lot.
Art specialty magazines, hard-bound books, galleries and museums compete with virtual learning, where it is so easy to seek, cross reference, and share. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and self-published blogs (like this one) are as available as an urban sidewalk which features real-time architecture, clothing design, advertising, and windows. Why bother to take a course?
But, among the mish-mash of dots, squiggles and updated color palettes you might overlook something. For example, consider military-issue camouflage clothing. Designed for the WW1 soldier, this fabric pattern has meandered through the 20th Century. The idea of hiding in plain sight later entertained the Surrealists, the woodland-lovers, and trended in 1980’s as urban fashion. (See Time Magazine “A Brief History of Camouflage”) Initially designed for soldiers, camouflage clothing has filtered through various agencies to visit us today on social, environmental, economic, and political levels. This suggests how meaningful the visual arts can be. It also suggests that you have to glance a bit deeper.
Many creative visions have been reinterpreted like camouflage print clothing and the Beatles’ “Blackbird”. What a thrill it is to stumble upon a taken-for-granted idea which originated at a designers table. The depth of meaning, history, symbolism, and sensation is not difficult to unlock once you start the journey. Sharing that creative discovery is probably more fun for the teacher than it is for the student.
If you would like to learn more about art, please visit my Art Instruction page.
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