It is liberating for students to know they are part of a continuum: They need not labor to find an ‘original’ idea. Rather, they learn that appropriation is intrinsic to creativity. With beginning students I work especially hard to diminish fear of ‘mistakes.’ They learn of course, that it is from their mistakes that they will discover what is most useful and valuable about themselves. They discover that if I give them a beautiful piece of paper but take away all conventional drawing media – they will find ways to draw. Constraints make creativity easier.
In summer 2008, I designed and taught a new class in drawing and writing at the graduate level for the Art Education program at Western Michigan University called Image and Word. This class is of value for the artist who wishes to explore relationships between text and imagery. The nature of the class is flexible and is designed to accommodate the experience level of the students enrolled and the duration of the class.
The class features personalized development in skills of drawing and writing with an emphasis on the integration of text and image, narrative, and experimentation with media. Students split time between the classroom and the field. In the classroom, we explore the relation between visual iconography and written expression through examining the work of other artists and critiquing one another’s work.
In 2010, The Studios of Key West invited me to teach a three-day intensive version of The Image and Word workshop.
At Western Michigan University I’ve also taught classes on writing about art; seminars about arts in the community for the Lee Honors College, and studio classes in photography. Previously, I taught classes at The Ohio State University in drawing, 2-D design, photography, and media arts.