On February 12th, local potter, Blaine Atwood, guest lectured ceramics students at Granger High School and led them in a project.  Now, several weeks later, we can see the finished products after they’ve emerged from the kiln!

With only two weeks into the new semester, these beginning ceramics’ students had the chance to learn from a former college professor of ceramics.  He now works as a full-time potter.  Students learned many methods to create wheel-thrown pottery.  They also learned techniques to make pinched pots, hollow vessels, and even elephant sculptures.  The results proved impressive.

In talking about her experience with the artist connect, instructor Andrea Heidinger said it provided “extraordinary experiences.”  She continued, “This was many students’ first time meeting a full-time artist, let alone having them available in the classroom.”

Students agreed and praised the chance to have hands-on experience.  Students commented on the confidence that Atwood gave them through sharing his experience and advice.  According to a member of Heidinger’s class, “It is valuable because someone is taking their time to teach something they love and have as a career.”

The praise was mutual.  In communicating with Atwood, he admired the fact that “The classes were exited and attentive. It is obvious that [Heidinger] has a way of inspiring the kids to create great things. I personally had a great time.”

Thank you to Ms. Heidinger and her class and, especially to artist, Blaine Atwood!  We wish to thank our sponsors for making this event possible.  We appreciate your support.

For more information about our visiting artist opportunities, please email our staff at: fosterartprogramblog@gmail.com.

Andrea Heidinger provided the photos, and Juliette Bradley prepared the slideshow.  The featured song comes from Nine Inch Nails 7 Ghosts I.

 

 

 

BLAINE ATWOOD, Accumulation of Divine Service, 2014

BLAINE ATWOOD, Accumulation of Divine Service, 2014

The word service has many meanings. They vary widely from religious to dining connotations. This play on words seems significant in viewing Blaine Atwood’s collection of potteries.

In looking at them, we immediately see the influence of Russian and Indian architecture. The bulbous forms on the top of the installation rise like spires on a religious structure. Pure, colorless forms enhance this idea of “divine service.”

BLAINE ATWOOD, Front Side View of Accumulation of Divine Service, Ceramic on Wood Shelving, 18' long 7' tall, Over 1000 Wheel Thrown Pottery Vessels, 2014

BLAINE ATWOOD, Front Side View of Accumulation of Divine Service, Ceramic on Wood Shelving, 18′ long 7′ tall, Over 1000 Wheel Thrown Pottery Vessels,
2014

Yet, when we consider the whole title, Accumulation of Divine Service, we suddenly consider the potteries as tangible and collectable. They don’t just represent an abstract idea of transcendence and purity anymore; they exist as real objects. They are separate pieces we can “accumulate.” The hundreds of green mugs on the bottom reinforce this idea, especially since they are practical drinking vessels that we can use everyday in our dining service.

For Further Thought:

BLAINE ATWOOD, detail from Accumulation of Divine Service, 2014

BLAINE ATWOOD, detail from Accumulation of Divine Service, 2014

1. Why is such a play on words and this mix of religious/practical significant? What do we learn about our own expectations as viewers from this seemingly unlikely combination?

2. Consider the works’ size. It includes over 1,000 individual pieces. What effect does the overwhelming size and arrangement have on us? Why is this important in deriving meaning?

To view more images from this installation refer to Atwood’s blog at: http://batwoodcreations.blogspot.com.

TAMARA BURNSIDE, Dutch Paper Mill

TAMARA BURNSIDE, Dutch Paper Mill

While some studio artists make a living creating and selling their work, many use their expertise and creativity to pursue other careers, including teaching.  Local artist, Tamara Burnside, presents an example.  As a skilled watercolorist, Burnside has the ability to succeed as a full-time artist.  She began exhibiting her art in 1997.  “I have exhibited in the Springville Museum of Art, BYU’s Harris Fine Arts Center, Bountiful Davis Art Center, Utah Museum of Art and History, and the Riverton Museum of Art.  As far as galleries, I have exhibited in PTC’s Loge Gallery, Kimball Art Center, Atrium, Tivoli, Myra Powell, So Ho, Red Butte Gardens, and the Utah County Court House.  My works have also traveled in the Utah Arts Council Traveling Show.”

Despite these numerous successes, Burnside chose to focus on sharing her love of art with others.  She taught art in elementary, junior high, and high schools and now has a successful career as the K-12 Fine Arts Coordinator for Granite School District.

TAMARA BURNSIDE, Luxor Boats

TAMARA BURNSIDE, Luxor Boats

The fact that Burnside inspires others through her teaching seems significant, especially since her own elementary teacher first inspired her interest in art.  “I felt a great deal of accomplishment when my fifth grade teacher displayed my drawing on her bulletin board.  Miss Korn was a very disciplined teacher whose praise was in short supply. Therefore, it meant a great deal to have her display my art.”

Burnside developed this early talent through further study and college degrees.  “I believe in education and know degrees open doors.  I can attest to it in my life.  I double majored in Fine Art and Elementary Education at Westminster.  After teaching elementary school for twelve years, I wanted to further my knowledge of art education. This lead me to BYU’s Art Education program, a combination of my two loves.  During my time at BYU, I had the opportunity to study art education in museums and schools throughout Europe as a teaching assistant.  I also taught at BYU’s new Museum of Art. I received my Masters of Art Education from BYU in 1994.”

TAMARA BURNSIDE, A Day in Jaipur

TAMARA BURNSIDE, A Day in Jaipur

Burnside’s education led her to several positions.  “In November of [1994], I heard about an art position at Olympus Junior High.  I taught at OJH for eight years.  I loved teaching art there. I took art students abroad to Europe a couple of years, as well as to New York.  These were wonderful experiences.  In 2003, I started teaching art at Taylorsville High School.  It was a joy to teach Drawing, Painting, AP Studio Art, and Concurrent Art Classes.  I had just begun teaching at Taylorsville (second week of school), and I was hired to be Granite School District’s K-12 Fine Arts Specialist.  I split my time between teaching every other day and between working as a curriculum specialist over Dance, Drama, and Art the rest of the time.  In 2006, the Granite School District Board of Education made me the K-12 Fine Arts Specialist full time.  In this capacity, I have the pleasure of working primarily with teachers, which is very rewarding.”

Despite Burnside’s busy schedule, she continues to create art.  Traveling to exotic locations often influences the artist’s choice of subject matter.  “My art reflects my travels. Italy, Sicily, Spain, Egypt, India, Turkey, China, Greece, Austria, France, The Netherlands, and Africa are all places I’ve painted.  India was a wonder, and its people struck me deeply.  People live in poverty, yet they are clean with beautiful white smiles.  I love the Indian people.”

International travel isn’t the artist’s only inspiration.  “I have also painted many of my travels in the United States.  I just completed a series of paintings of Maine.  I also have done series of painting of Utah landscapes from Maynard Dixon’s homestead in Mt. Carmel, Fairview, Spring City, and Riverton.”

TAMARA BURNSIDE, Santa Maria Della Salute

TAMARA BURNSIDE, Santa Maria Della Salute

Burnside’s teaching and extensive travel experience greatly influence her art and career.  They create a broad perspective that seeks to elevate art and to inspire others.  “I have been very fortunate to have many opportunities associated with my work in Granite School District and as an advisory board member and chair of Salt Lake County’s arts boards – ZAP (Zoo, Arts, Parks) Tier II, Salt Lake Center for the Arts, and the Art Selections Committee.  My service has brought me in contact with students, arts teachers, art professors, art professionals, professional artists, and gallery owners.  This network is elevating.  I have the opportunity to continually be exposed to people doing great work in the arts at various levels.  My purpose has been to be a resource and support to individuals and groups to flourish in the arts.”

Despite such dedication, challenges face the arts in our local schools.  “Education is undergoing many transitions.  Accountability has been the buzz word of late.  Teachers are accountable to show student growth and use assessment data to inform their lesson plans.  The days are past when a teacher can just teach how and what they want.  They must teach the core.  This has added another layer for teachers.  When you add this layer to class sizes of forty to fifty students, along with inadequate funding for supplies, teaching has become much harder.  Yet, I am continually inspired by teachers who make a difference in student’s lives by encouraging and helping them to grow in knowledge and ability.”

TAMARA BURNSIDE, Peaks Island Anchor Portland, Maine

TAMARA BURNSIDE, Peaks Island Anchor Portland, Maine

So, how can we, as art lovers and artists, help face such challenges?  “It is wonderful to have many community resources.  The Foster Art Program is one of these resources.  Last week, I had the opportunity to visit Patty Taylor’s art class.  She had Blaine Atwood, sculptor and potter, do a presentation consisting of a demonstration and clay project.  He was phenomenal!  What an opportunity for Magna students to get to learn from a professional.  When an artist shares their story, it helps students to see the possibilities for their lives, to use their artistic ability to make a living.  The great thing about Blaine is he attests to the need to further your education.  As a former art professor at Eastern Utah College, he now makes art full time and is succeeding!”

What advice does Burnside have for burgeoning artists?  “My advice to students is to follow their passion.  It takes more than wishing and hoping.  It takes work.  It takes an education.”

It also takes wonderful teachers.  Thank you, Tamara Burnside, and thank you to all the teachers out there who help us find and refine our passion.

January 28 proved an exciting day for studio art students in Patricia Taylor’s classes at Brockbank Junior High in Magna. It became a day of clay when visiting artist, Blaine Atwood, guest lectured and led students in a project.

BLAINE ATWOOD, Canyon Finial Pot 1, Ceramic - Unglazed Colored Clay, 2.5' tall 10" wide, Five Separate Stackable Sections, 2013

BLAINE ATWOOD, Canyon Finial Pot 1, Ceramic – Unglazed Colored Clay, 2.5′ tall 10″ wide, Five Separate Stackable Sections, 2013

Atwood’s credentials prove impressive. Atwood, a ceramicist and sculptor from Price, recently graduated in 2014 with an MA in Studio Art from BYU. While the artist creates pottery full time for Batwood Creations, he also has extensive teaching experience. Atwood taught beginning ceramics and sculpture classes at both BYU and the College of Eastern Utah. He’s been featured in numerous exhibitions, including the most recent, “Faces of Utah Sculpture,” in Salt Lake City in 2014.  Numerous awards and grants also appear on the artist’s resume.  He earned various scholarships for ceramic arts at BYU and also was chosen as a judge for the “All High School Art Show” at the Springville Art Museum.

BLAINE ATWOOD, Front Side View of Accumulation of Divine Service, Ceramic on Wood Shelving, 18' long 7' tall, Over 1000 Wheel Thrown Pottery Vessels, 2014

BLAINE ATWOOD, Front Side View of Accumulation of Divine Service, Ceramic on Wood Shelving, 18′ long 7′ tall, Over 1000 Wheel Thrown Pottery Vessels,
2014

While at Brockbank, the artist worked with three classes. In two classes, Atwood revealed that “we were able to finish a complete clay project with potential to become a class installation project.”  Atwood has created various installations in the past, including one with 1,ooo clay vessels!  In the third class, Atwood guided three students with their first wheel-thrown pottery and helped others with individual clay projects. According to the artist, “it was a great experience.”

Patricia Taylor was equally impressed with the artist. She summed up the day with “Oh my gosh – wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

To request a visiting artist event at your school, please email our staff at fosterartprogramblog@gmail.com.  To learn more about artist, Blaine Atwood, view his website at: http://batwoodcreations.blogspot.com.

TAMARA BURNSIDE, A Day in Jaipur

TAMARA BURNSIDE, A Day in Jaipur


Images of exotic locations inspire us, whether it’s inspiration to travel or simply to learn about another culture. Tamara Burnside, a local watercolorist and Fine Arts Coordinator for Granite School District, explores this effect in her painting of A Day in Jaipur. Burnside’s works often represent places that she’s traveled. Rather than seeing just architecture from this Indian city, viewers perceive a more intimate and human scene. Pedicab drivers relax on a city street among locals, and the central driver arrests us directly with his gaze.

Discussion Questions:
1. Why is the artist’s choice of subject matter significant? What effect does this choice have on our reaction to the work?

2. Think about the figure with the turban. (It seems important to note that turbans vary in meaning according to color and style. They can represent religious affiliation, profession, caste, class, or hometown.) What effect does his arresting gaze have upon us as viewers? How do we feel about this? Uncomfortable, curious, etc.?

3. List and describe at least three formal elements that contribute to the meaning of the work.

4. How would our perception of the painting change if it were a scene of cab drivers and bystanders in downtown Salt Lake? Why?

LAUREN MITCHELL, Imagination on an Island, 2012, Acrylic on Canvas, 16″ X 24,” $300

LAUREN MITCHELL, Imagination on an Island, 2012, Acrylic on Canvas, 16″ X 24,” $300

What did you come up with?  In response to our last post, let’s think about your group discussion questions in depth.

1.  What is the purpose of art?  That is, how is art used?  Be sure to come up with at least three examples.

Anthropologists suggest that art first appeared because man had capabilities for great intelligence and needed to create.  It started with looking at his surroundings and seeing art within them.  (Think about how as a kid you saw pictures in the clouds.) Keep in mind, however, that art always has a purpose, even if it’s something as simple as being entertaining or providing an outlet for the artist.

In any case, art adapted for various functions.  It was, and still is, used as a teaching tool.  Consider the early Christian cathedrals and their stained glass windows.  They depicted scenes from Christ’s life and suffering, since most of the population couldn’t read.  It illustrated the Bible.

Art also functions as a warning.  For example, early Romans used to depict scenes of Roman soldiers trampling “barbarians.”  Such images often appeared on triumphal arches and faced the outskirts of the Roman empire.  It served as a warning for foreigners who were entering Rome to be on their best behavior.

Art also existed to commemorate important events.  (This was the only way prior to photography.)  Such works included coronations of kings, royal marriages, and success in battle.  These types of works are referred to as history paintings.  It seems significant to note that such paintings proved the most expensive and, therefore, further functioned by displaying one’s wealth and status.

Dissemination of information exists as another function of art.  Think of early prints.  Prints were cheaply made and became available to a broad audience.  Political cartoons and the like often appeared as prints and made the populace aware of political issues and abuses.

These are just a few of art’s many functions.  It can also be used to entertain, used as therapy (that’s how Jackson Pollock started), and used to advertise.  What answers did you come up with?

ERIN BERRETT, Side Car

ERIN BERRETT, Side Car

2.  Think of all the formal elements that create meaning within an artwork.  List at least three examples, and address various media.

Art includes many formal elements, including line, color, texture, use of shading, symmetry or asymmetry, use of positive or negative space, and choice of media.  Speaking of media, their differences also render unique formal elements.  Consider sculpture, for example.  Placement of the work and use of space (is it in a crowded foyer or alone in a corner?) all create meaning.  Size also becomes an important element.  Did your answers coincide, or did you think of different examples?

3.  Think how famous art from the past has become in-grained within our popular culture.  Where do some images from the old masters appear?  (You might want to think about Rembrandt, van Gogh, and Monet, to name a few.)  Give at least three examples.

Images from the old masters bombard our current culture.  We see Rembrandt’s portrait grace everything from packages of Dutch cheese to whitening toothpaste.  (Too bad the real Rembrandt had rotting teeth back in the day; not exactly the poster child for toothpaste.)  We also see famous art in modern movies.  (Did anyone watch Girl with a Pearl Earring?)  Their works also appear on t-shirts, handbags, jewelry, mugs, and screensavers.  Monet proves particularly popular in the accessory department with his water lilies.

4.  Do you think this incorporation of past art into our popular culture is corrupting or modernizing?  Why?

There are various camps to consider with this response.  Some feel that incorporating works from the old masters into common everyday items demean their original intention. Keep in mind, their works were designed for a particular function relevant to their context.  One wonders if Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello would mind being ninja turtles now.  However, many argue that incorporation of the old masters’ works into our modern culture help them retain relevancy.  It’s better to be aware of their works, even if it’s on a coffee mug, than to be ignorant of them.  Where did you stand on this issue?

ELLEN MCCONNELL, Green Tri, "Eight Squared Series," 48"x48," $750

ELLEN MCCONNELL, Green Tri, “Eight Squared Series,” 48″x48,” $750

Welcome back from holiday break!  What better way to start the new year than to think about art’s inherent function in our lives.  We often take it for granted, but it appears everywhere.  Art isn’t just paint on canvas; it exists in animated movies, on billboards, even in household items like wheel-thrown mugs.  Many people take art for granted, so it’s important to address its presence and use.

Discussion Questions:  (Feel free to answer individually or in groups.)  We will include numerous answers in our next post to supplement your responses.

1.  What is the purpose of art?  That is, how is art used?  Be sure to come up with at least three examples.

2.  Think of all the formal elements that create meaning within an artwork.  List at least three examples, and address various media.

3.  Think how famous art from the past has become in-grained within our popular culture.  Where do some images from the old masters appear?  (You might want to think about Rembrandt, van Gogh, and Monet, to name a few.)  Give at least three examples.

4.  Do you think this incorporation of past art into our popular culture is corrupting or modernizing?  Why?