Valuing Creativity

The Artdog Quote of the Week 

Finding a way to value creativity in education, in the workplace, and in life, tends to ignite joy wherever it is found. Keep searching for new ways!

IMAGE:  Many thanks to Looney Math Consulting for sharing this image. It’s one of several in their excellent article, “Honoring Creativity in the Classroom.” 

A time of new challenges–and then some

Although my children now are grown and I am no longer either teaching or enrolled as a student, this time of year has always felt like a pivot-point for me.

For most of my life, August has been the time when my family (Mom and Dad were both teachers) and I would shift from a summer of differently-structured time, to plunge back into the challenges of the new school year.

Headed back to school: What should we prepare them for?

My time at the helm of a classroom probably is over, for well or ill. But at this time of year I can’t help thinking about the challenges today’s teachers and students face. Our picture of the future is continually in motion, but the age-old job of teachers is to prepare their students for it as best they can. That’s one of the few things that hasn’t changed!

But what should teachers prepare them for?

Our immediate future contains a massive range of possibilities. Technology that seemed remote only a few years ago now is imminent. From personalized medical care based on an individual’s genome to advances in brain-computer interface technology, our picture of living, working, and learning in the 21st Century is changing rapidly.

We’re beginning to feel the effects of climate change in shifting weather patterns and greater environmental hazards, from more intense storms, more widespread flooding, and hotter, less controllable wildfires.

More intense storms are only one of the environmental hazards kids will increasingly face in the future.

The news tells us the USA has officially recovered from the Great Recession of the last decade–though some of us will never make up the lossesAutomationsome aspects of globalization, and a shifting dominance of industries in the economic sector have taken away some jobs and transformed demand for skilled labor.

Learning new skills throughout life to remain employable is a new feature of the employment scene, a trend that isn’t likely to change in the future.

Our political and social landscape has been changed by economic and demographic shiftsphilosophical polarization, and new social norms about what is and is not acceptable. The so-called “bathroom bills” that have recently targeted transgender students are only one example of the lengths laypersons with no understanding of problems sometimes try to meddle in school affairs.

As if all of that wasn’t enough of a challenge for teachers, consider that there is now literally more history to teach than there was several decades ago, and the best pedagogical standards demand the inclusion of a range of ethnic and socio-economic viewpoints, not just “old dead white guys.”

New scientific knowledge is developed every year, and a quality science education demands that teaching adjust for newly-discovered facts or risk teaching erroneous information (there’s enough of that already).

School breakfast programs provide essential nutrition for millions of kids who otherwise might come to school too distracted by hunger to learn.

Educators also are now expected to accommodate a wider array of needs than they’ve been asked to do in the past, from feeding kids breakfast and lunch so they can be alert in class, to crafting lessons for differentiated learning and individual learning styles, despite often-overcrowded classrooms due to budget shortfalls.

It all adds up to steeper challenges for teachers and school systems every year. I wish them all the best of success, and good luck.

They’re going to need it.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Apple Country Living, for the “back to school” bus-and-kids photo; to CNN, for the photo of the Plaza Towers Elementary School, after a massive tornado hit Moore, OK, in 2013; and to the Eau Claire WI Leader-Telegram for the photo of employment seekers at a local job fair. Many thanks are also due to the Kansas City Chiefs for the photo of a “Wake Up” School Breakfast spread they helped promote for National School Breakfast Week at a local middle school (this photo is from their 2016 project).

Supreme art

The Artdog Quote of the Week  

As teachers and students head back to school in the USA and elsewhere, it’s important to establish priorities.

IMAGE: Many thanks to InformED’s article, “30 Things You Can Do To Promote Creativity,” by Miriam Clifford, for sharing this image.

Breaking out of patterns

The Artdog Quote of the Week 

When we look at creativity’s value, it’s everywhere.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Pinterest, and Professional Artist Magazine for this image. 

Love in the Storm

The Artdog Image of Interest 

For now, this wraps up my series of Images of Interest focused on my own artwork. Love in the Storm is one of my more recent multiple-original images, based on a 2016 stand-alone original that is now in a private collection.

I developed the image from several separate drawings penciled on tracing paper, overlaid against each other for placement, then inked, scanned, and colored using Photoshop.

Each multiple original is one of 25 double-layer multiple original paper sculptures. Each is printed with fade-resistant inks on archival paper, then cut out, sculpted, and assembled by hand using archival materials.

The single mat (available in black or white) tops 2 layers of foam board spacers and an acid-buffered backing. Each piece is individually hand-signed and numbered by the artist, Jan S. Gephardt, and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity. Images from this edition are now available at a few science fiction convention art shows and through the Artdog Paper Sculpture Shop on Etsy.

Common Cliff Dragon–Male

The Artdog Image of Interest 

This month I’ve been posting some of my own artwork for my Images of Interest. This is a representative image from my edition of multiple originals titled Common Cliff Dragon–Male. It was recently listed in my Etsy shop, Artdog Paper Sculpture.

My three drawings from 2012, inked and scanned.

It was developed from three pencil drawings I did back in 2012, each created to overlay the one below. The “cliff surface” is one layer, the dragon’s body is the second, and the dragon’s wings are the third. Once the three were aligned on tracing paper, I inked them, scanned them, then colored each using Adobe Illustrator and a Wacom “Bamboo” tablet.

These are the pieces I cut out.

The artwork prints out as five different pieces: the border base (on heavier archival stock) with the title in the rectangle; the cliff face (sculpted and floated over the base), the body of the dragon; and finally two layers of wings, one more heavily sculpted and glued over the lower layer for a better 3D effect.

Here’s the assembly process.

Then it’s time to cut the pieces out, which I do with small, precise scissors (they go dull so much less often than X-Acto knives! Then I sculpt with clay-working tools on the flat surface of paper laid over corkboard, assemble the pieces, and it begins to look almost alive, sometimes.

IMAGES: All images are by me, of pieces of a paper sculpture made by me, Jan S. Gephardt. You may use them online, if you’ll provide accurate attribution and a link back. Thanks!

Memories of the 2017 NASFiC

Perhaps you’d like to see a presentation my son Tyrell Gephardt and I prepared, about our experiences at this year’s North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC), held anytime the Worldcon is not in North America (which it is not this year; it’s in Helsinki).

We hope you enjoy(ed) it–we certainly enjoyed our time there. We’ve also shared this presentation with KACSFFS, our local Kansas City Science Fiction and Fantasy Society, both at the July meeting last Saturday and on the KaCSFFS Blog (scroll down).

Ty and I also spent a couple of days afterward, wandering around in fascinating Old San Juan. It’s possible some of the thoughts and photos from those peregrinations may end up in future blog posts here!

IMAGES: At least half of those in the NASFiC presentation, are by Jan S. Gephardt. Most of the other photos in the presentation are by Tyrell E. Gephardt; the remaining photos (credited at the end of the NASFiC presentation), and also the Featured Image at the top of the post, are from the official website of the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino, where the NASFiC was held. Many thanks!