Art & Learning Creating, connecting, thinking, problem solving
Last Chance to paint with Artist John Dyer presents a unique opportunity for both teachers and students to engage with interesting, exciting and motivating challenges. As John travels around our planet seeing some of the unusual and endangered peoples, animals and plants, we can travel with John and use the adventures as material to engage students in cross-curricular activities. Art can be used as a tool to enable school students to make deep connections with the subject matter.
These events will, no doubt, be challenging – not just for John as he travels to some remote places, but to all those who travel with him through the use of digital tools (using the internet).
We want your students to be challenged to think, to question, to paint (or to draw or to collage or to use their own choice of artistic medium) and to think through their own ideas, intuitions, feelings, knowledge about the planet. Through this there will be learning opportunities – in the area of Art and also in, for example, Maths, Science, History, Geography, Social Studies, Human Development…
We hope teachers will use the opportunity to allow their students to really develop their art, independent research, ability to ask and question all aspects of knowledge and to send questions directly to the artist for immediate response.
With each brushstroke, I connect more deeply with my subject. I have felt this many times in my career and especially when painting environmental subjects such as global harvests in the Philippines or endangered animals and birds in Australia.
As I really look at the subject I become more interested in it. I look up information, talk to the scientists and local people I am working alongside and by the end of each painting my understanding of the subject, on a scientific and emotional level, is far higher than when I started.
My head will always be full of questions, not necessarily answers and I think this process of opening up one’s mind to the possibility of many and varied realities around any subject is vital for our future.
With some of the subjects I want to paint there is a difficult past and a difficult immediate future. We can’t undo the history of the subject, we are stuck with history and possibly don’t always know what that history actually is as it can be very hard to pin down. So with each subject, I will look at the subject from where we are today.
Art is a great joy and the process is immediate but also slow. Each mark is immediate and connects us, as a brush or pencil describes the outline of a plant or animal we become one with it, but the final complete piece of art takes time and that journey through time, with the subject, is precious as it allows a space for not only creativity but creative thinking in the broadest sense around the subject.
I have personally learnt so much in this way and I believe your children can too. I believe that art is built into every child at the genetic level. As a species we need to connect to the world through visual communication and it seems we have been doing this for a very long time. Using ochre colour to create hand stencils in caves has been recorded as starting possibly around 40,000 years ago and around 73,000 years ago scientists have discovered evidence of ‘artistic thinking’ in caves in South Africa.
Please join me on my journey and let’s inspire a new generation of creative thinkers and environmentalists through the joy of art and by harnessing their inbuilt creative talents and enquiring minds.”