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Michael Mize

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This was the title of a fascinating documentary I watched last night that followed the "career" of the then four year old artist Marla Olmstead. (pictured at right) The toddler was producing abstract paintings of remarkable quality and sensitivity. The canvases attributed to Marla would be significant no matter what the age of the artist, however, the fact that she was so young certainly added to the sensational aspect with which her story was pursued.… Continue reading… 2 comments

Learning to See

by mize , April 17, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: Drawing, Seeing, art education, originality, teaching art

It seems that a large portion of my work in teaching kids art is trying to convince students of the validity of concepts that, on the surface, seem quite contrary. Often times, it is only after these paradoxical notions are fully understood that a student will begin to see any real progress in their work. Add to this conundrum the fact that, in art, many of the significant lessons are not entirely logical or concrete. They are really more like intangible perceptions to reflect upon during the creative process; allowing them the opportunity to influence and inspire the direction of a piece. Perhaps my favorite of these vague theories is the importance of learning to see. … Continue reading… 1 comment

Teaching Originality

by mize , March 4, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: art education, originality, teaching art

___When do we get to do what we want?___ I__™ve been teaching kids art, specifically teenagers, for eight years. I__™ve taught at three different schools and in two separate cities, and yet I__™ve always been haunted by this query. ___When do we get to do what we want,___ is the battle cry of the creatively suppressed adolescent who has lurking deep within them an artistic arrangement that would redefine society as we know it. If only their tyrannical art teacher would release his aesthetic strangle hold and allow them to share it with the world. The real issue here, as art teachers worldwide already know, is that should you concede, this question will instantaneously be followed by the equally frustrating statement, ___I don__™t know what to draw… Continue reading… 3 comments