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Following the NAEA and NOW conferences, Janet Taylor joins Tim to talk about what they loved, what they didn’t, and the things they would like to see at future conferences. They then discuss how we can continue learning and fueling our creativity even when major professional development events are not on the horizon. Full Episode Transcript Below.
Tim: Welcome to Art Ed Radio, the podcast for art teachers. This show is produced by The Art of Education University, and I’m your host, Tim Bogatz.
All right, we are about a week, a week and a half past the NAEA conference I learned a lot, went to a lot of sessions, did a lot of great things and I wanted to talk through that today, but I also wanted to hit on the topic of how we continue PD. We had an awesome NOW conference about a month ago. We had an awesome NAEA conference just a little bit ago. Now we have another few months before anything big happens, so I wanted to think about, I wanted to reflect on, wanted to talk about how we continue PD throughout the year. How we continue growing and learning and developing as teachers. I couldn’t think of anyone better than Janet Taylor to talk to me about all of this stuff, so welcome her on now. Janet, thanks for coming back to the show. How are you?
Janet: I’m good. Thanks for having me. It’s always a good time chatting with you.
Tim: I know and people love to hear our conversations, so I don’t know why, because we always end up talking way too long. But people seem to enjoy that, so-
Tim: Yeah. So I figured we could dive in. I know you’re always really big on NAEA. You present a lot, although you didn’t this year. But I figured it would be great since you attended, since you have so much experience, to chat about it. So I guess we’ll just start with after the NAEA conference, looking back, what went really well for you?
Janet: I would say before we even dive into that, this was a very unique experience, right?
Tim: Yes. Yes.
Janet: And I have never put on a conference before. I’m sure you can talk more about that, right?
Janet: Like all the ins and outs of that stuff. But, just like any conference, or experience NAEA, after attending so many for so many years, I think you get this like, “What went well? What didn’t? What did I take away from this?” So yeah, I would say somethings in general, whether it’s in person or virtual, there’s just always some love and maybe not so love about any of our experiences, you know what I mean?
Janet: Nothing’s ever ideal, so it’s easy to talk about, I guess.
Tim: Yeah, I think that’s fair. Having put on the NOW conferences for so many years, I’ll just say it’s not easy to put on a conference. So anyone who can put something together, something at that scale, I think we should be impressed with and we should thank them, because it is a lot, a lot of work to put that together.
Janet: So much behind the scenes, right?
Tim: For sure. Let me start I guess, just talking about a couple of things that I really enjoyed. There was a huge variety of presentations. There’s so many different topics. So many different ideas to explore. I really loved that. I was introduced to a lot of new educators, people I haven’t heard from before. People I hadn’t seen before. I really appreciated that. Of course, after going from so many years, like you said, you get to know people and we missed out on the social components, seeing people in the hallways, seeing people outside of presentations and talking and going out later and all that kind of stuff. We missed out on that, but it’s still, even though we’re missing that, it’s still really good to see people, it’s still really good to hear from them during their presentations. I really liked that. And I think just the mix of on-demand presentations with live presentations was really cool. I think that was well done, made it accessible for a lot of people. So, I don’t know, what are your thoughts on any of that?
Janet: Yeah, so kind of going backwards I guess, so I always love the idea of having access to information later. So many times we’ve go in person and we’re taking notes and there’re these nuggets that maybe we glean from our presentations, but actually being able to watch that later or redigest that, is pretty valuable. Then the idea like you said of the on-demand versus live, it’s nice to know too that so many times in person you go and there might be three or four different presentations you’re really interested in seeing at the same time, and you kind of dive in here and there, or they’re too far apart so you can only access one of them. It’s kind of nice this year, there’re so many different ones you can go back and actually go, “Oh, you know what, I can actually watch that one now.” That was really nice.
I totally agree with the new educators. I felt like there was a lot of new faces, which was really nice to see. Some that had a couple different presentations still, but the idea even just seeing and hearing from a different voice was really refreshing. Then same thing, variety of presentations was interesting. I think there was a lot more, I felt like there was a lot more talk about equity and that was nice to hear. It just felt like … I guess, that’s the best way to say it, the variety was there. There was some-
Tim: Well, and I think just speaking of equity, that’s a topic that I think is on a lot of people’s minds, and so it was good to see a lot of presentations sort of address that. It sort of speaks to the moment, which I thought was good. What do you think about the keynotes or the artist speakers? Did you go to any of those that really sort of peaked your interest or caught your attention?
Janet: Yeah, I mean, I didn’t get to see all of them and I’m still kind of, “Okay, I need to go back.” When NAEA put out their schedule originally and said that Carrie Mae Weems was going to be a keynote, I was like, “Yes, I can’t wait to see her speak.” And actually it’s sad, she’s on my list, I still need to get back and watch. I feel like I need some space where I’m not interrupted by life.
Tim: Right. It was on the weekend in the middle of the day. I have kids-
Tim: I can’t dedicate an hour. I knew it was recorded, so I was like, “I’ll get back to it.” And yeah, I know where you’re coming from there.
Janet: But I did really love hearing the ones that I did. So I saw Tonika Lewis Johnson’s speak, did you see that one?
Tim: I did not see that one.
Janet: Again, they pull artists from Chicago area, which is nice and I’m from Chicago.
Janet: So it’s kind of like, “Oh my gosh, how did I not know.” Or I knew about them, but maybe not to this depth or whatnot. But, so Tonika Lewis Johnson was talking about how segregated Chicago is and how she did this, I guess, project. I think it’s called the folded map, or something like that. She literally folded a map to show the difference between the south side and the north side for example, inequities there. That was really great to take in. Then, Jay Ryan, I heard speak and he’s a screen printer, also not far from where I grew up. It’s funny, when I went back to look at his Instagram, some of my friends probably know him personally or whatever. Because you’re just like, “Oh my gosh, how did I not know about this guy?” Really quirky guy. Really you’re watching, you think it’s kind of dry, but he’s really, really funny-
Tim: Yeah, that’s awesome.
Janet: … so I’d recommend just entertaining that. Of course, Mo Willems, is another good one.
Tim: Yeah, my son loves Mo Willems books, so we watched that together.
Janet: Yeah, they can’t get enough of the pigeon, right?
Janet: Jason Reynolds of course.
Tim: Oh yeah, that was great. That was powerful.
Janet: So moving. I literally, I think, a couple of times had tears in my eyes. It was like, “This is what I needed.” Laura Eskenazi, I didn’t see that one, she’s a potter though, so that might be kind of interesting for those of you who are in ceramics. Then Blair Thomas, so this was interesting. He is a puppeteer and I had to look back, I don’t remember them talking about this in the actual presentation, but so my background originally was in theater and scenic art in that. So I was very involved with theater production and Red Moon Theater, is a really … Well, I guess no longer, but I used to go see their productions all the time. Very art/theater, puppetry, really, really beautiful stuff, and actually, he was the founder of that. I did not know that.
Tim: Oh nice.
Janet: Yeah, so his talk was pretty interesting too and it kind of reminds us of just different art forms that cross over, so that was nice.
Tim: Those are connections that we always need to, I don’t know, we need to find those, we need to share those with our kids. I think that’s always good. Just real quick before I move on to things that maybe didn’t work as well, how was it for you not presenting for once?
Janet: Oh my God, it felt actually really nice. I can’t believe I’m saying that. I always get so excited to share, but it was just like, oh, I could just sit and consume. It was really nice.
Tim: Well, you know what, after the year we’ve had, anybody who chooses to just sit and consume, you deserve that. I think that’s just fine.
Janet: Thank you it’s like a gift, right?
Tim: Yes. Okay, so let’s chat a little bit about things that maybe didn’t go so well. For me the biggest one was just the platform was incredibly frustrating. I didn’t think it was designed very well. I don’t know, just a lot, a lot of frustrations with just the logistics and how the app worked and trying to find things, trying to organize things. It was a struggle for me. I think that was the biggest sort of damper on the weekend for me. So what about you?
Janet: That was biggie for me too, to be honest with you. When I go in person, I like the app, because I can kind of move things and check my agenda and stuff, but this was really challenging for me this year too. Maybe I assumed it was … I didn’t look ahead. I didn’t prepare like I normally might, so that’s-
Tim: Can I interrupt you?
Tim: Because I did prepare, and I think that made it worse, because they have those morning sessions, where it’s like 7:00 AM, here’s when all the on-demand things pop up. I would just go through them and like, “I want to check that and that and that. I want to see this and this and this.” Then all of a sudden you go to my agenda and it’s just all squeezed in there, so many presentations. You can’t even sort through that mess.
Janet: Okay, that made me feel better actually, because I was very critical of it and I thought, “Am I just not as tech savvy as I think I am?”
Tim: I don’t know, maybe we’re both not good at it. Maybe that’s the problem.
Janet: We’re so in our age, maybe.
Janet: It’s not good.
Tim: Oh, so let me ask you this though, I felt a little bit overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that was there. Just there’s so much to sort through. It’s a lot to take in. Did you feel overwhelmed by things, or do you like all of the choices that are there?
Janet: Yes, I was kind of curious about that. Like when you were saying that, can you expand on that a little bit more? You mean you felt like there was just too much to decide from or-
Tim: Yeah, yeah. I think so. Well, and I think a big problem was let’s say 3:00 hour, there are five presentations that I want to go to that are all live.
Tim: How do you choose which one to go first? Do you jump in and out? If one’s good, do you stay? Do you know if the other one’s going to be recorded? It probably is, but you don’t know for sure.
Janet: Some of them weren’t. Yeah.
Tim: Yeah, so it was just very difficult to sort of sort through that, for me. Does that make sense?
Janet: Yeah, fair enough. I mean, I would say too, in the agenda, everything was color coded. If you go through the filter, there’re so many different categories. But, all of elementary, middle school and secondary and higher ed, are all the same color.
Tim: They’re all pink.
Janet: Yes. So I was like, “Wait, where am I looking? How am I finding this?” I definitely, that was a struggle for me as well.
Tim: I mean, we’re art teachers, give us a rainbow. Let’s use all of the colors that are available.
Janet: Yes. Yes. I definitely felt like that.
Tim: Then the other thing for me, but this is the case with all of NAEA, presentations are so hit or miss. There are some that are absolutely spectacular, and then there are others that you think are going to be great and it’s just not relevant to my every day teaching at all. So, I don’t know, what do you think about that?
Janet: Well, I guess that a difference. If you’re going to compare for example the NOW conference, you guys are like curating that, right?
Janet: So you’re looking for speakers or specific topics, right?
Tim: Yep. Yep.
Janet: Yeah, and NAEA, it’s a blind proposal and you don’t really know. And it was-
Tim: You don’t know who it is or wherever they’re coming from.
Janet: Right. It’s always interesting to me in that whole process in general, is that there’re speakers from year to year that I’m always excited to hear from, because they have so much good content to always share. Then they might have, I don’t know, maybe they get their proposal, they have four of them one year and then they have nothing the next year. Then you have these other presentations that you’re like, “Oh man, if only that one person was here, it would fill that out a little bit more.” But, I don’t think it’s uncommon of NAEA to get … I mean, because it’s not curated like that and it has such a wide range of people that they’re servicing. It’s like you’re going to get those that sound really interesting, the topics and you walk in, quote unquote walk in, not virtual anymore, pop in, I guess, and someone’s reading from their dissertation, which could be interesting, but I kind of want some visuals. I want some personality.
Tim: Well like I very much appreciate anyone who has written a dissertation. Anybody who’s put in that work, nothing but respect for them, but like I said, as a teacher with a classroom, I want some visuals. I want to see work that the kids are making. That’s what speaks to me, so that’s what I’m looking for and I feel like there are too many presentations that just don’t have that excitement. They don’t have that engagement. That makes it hard sometimes.
Janet: Yeah, I also think too, I mean, there’s always nuggets. I remember … I have to tell this story, right?
Janet: I remember several years ago going to a presentation it was in this huge auditorium and that was kind of always my critique too about NAEA, is they … And I’m not sure how they would know this or whatever. I don’t know how this works on the scheduling front. But you’d get somebody reading their dissertation in a huge auditorium and there are three-
Tim: Yeah, that seats 400 people.
Janet: Yes. And there’d be three attendees. Then you’d go into one that seats 30 and it was out the door packed. People can’t get in. But, on the context of the nuggets, it’s always interesting because this particular one, I’m sitting there actually with Matt Makowski, my good friend, and you couldn’t leave, because you didn’t want to be rude since there was nobody in the audience. I’m sitting there and I’m doodling or sketching or whatever, and this guy says something about brain paper, I was like, “This is the weirdest thing,” but it even stuck with me and I still use that with my students about this idea of dumping your thoughts onto paper and calling it brain paper.
Tim: Brain paper, I like it. I like it.
Janet: It’s the one nugget from the entire session or whatever. But, I would say too, also what’s really kind of … I was thinking about this, how do you schedule it? So again, through Art Ed, we have conferences twice a year, and you have the IG, Instagram live that’s Sarah’s doing and you have podcasts, and everything is now. It’s like, “What’s going on now?” Everything that we talk about is relevant, and when you’re planning something that is especially in a crazy time like now, with our pandemic, politics, everything, how do you plan such a big conference and make sure that content is still relevant? A year from then or whatever it was.
Tim: Yeah, it’s hard. It’s hard.
Janet: So there was definitely a couple of sessions where they were talking about best ways to use Zoom for teaching. I’m kind of like, “We’ve already been through a year of that.”
Tim: We’re almost done. Hopefully we only have a matter of weeks or short months left.
Janet: Oh my gosh, yes. I think we’re all praying for that. Please, please, please.
Tim: Okay, so let me just move on to, I guess looking at the big picture, after we’ve had a little bit of time to reflect. And I’ll go first here. I won’t put you on the spot immediately, but what are your main takeaways from the conference here? For me, I think it’s was heartening. It was really good to see that even after the really difficult year that we have had, teachers are still very interested in continuing to move forward, continuing to learn, continuing to evolve in our teaching, whether it’s the topic of equity, like we talked about. Or just working on your pedagogy or simply trying to find some new ideas to teach. All of us are constantly working to be better and that’s always encouraging to me, and I love how willing people are to share and how much we try to support each other and help each other as we’re all sort of moving together, moving forward to try and be better. So, I don’t know, what about you? What were your main takeaways?
Janet: I would say it was really nice to see on social media all the teachers posting about other teachers and things that they were learning, and kind of propping up each other. That was really nice. I agree again, that equity and racial conversations, it’s almost like people are ready to really talk about these and dig into it. I think there was less opportunities for that in the past and I think people weren’t always willing to set aside the time to go to those conversations and I think it’s just making it accessible was really great. Then, again, of course the virtual idea, is just so important to have that access. This was the cheapest NAEA conference I have ever been to. That felt really nice, to not have to pay for a hotel and food and a plane ticket and all of that stuff. But it’s just not quite the same though. I definitely missed that connection.
Tim: No, it’s definitely not, but I said on the podcast a couple of weeks ago, I hope that NAEA considers virtual access for those teachers that can’t go, because cost is prohibitive for a lot of people and there are also so many districts where teachers aren’t supported. They don’t get days off, they can’t get a sub. Their school will not help them at all. So, having some virtual access, I think, can be like you said, it makes it so much easier for people to attend. I hope they are able to continue on with that in the future.
Okay, now, at the beginning of this show I said I want to consider now that we’ve gone through NOW with AEOU, now that we’ve gone through the national conference with NAEA, it’s kind of a let down. There’s not big things coming up in the immediate future, not until this summer. So, how does PD continue after big conferences? What are your suggestions for people? What else can our teachers be doing throughout the year?
Janet: It’s kind of funny, actually I was just thinking that as you it’s kind of funny, actually I was just thinking it as you were talking about this, that one of the like, the let down idea, when you go to the conference, and you’re around all these like minded people, and you geek out and you just feel like truly yourself. Then you come home and life has just kind of continued-
Janet: … and you’re just like, “Nobody understands me.” What do you do? How do you manage that? I try to look at it like, what’s the purpose of PD? I mean, besides obviously talking or besides taking in information and trying to utilize it, besides that piece. That’s the given. But, I would say a big piece of my PD, or the best part that I take away is always that discussion with my colleagues taking in that information. Digesting it, figuring out what actually fits for me as a teacher or us as a program. My particular students. But also, talking through that with other teachers helps me clarify my own ideas. I think that’s really important, so how do that? So, I would say in my opinion, talking to other teachers is a big piece. Continue the conversation, right?
Tim: Right. And this is why I love having you on the podcast with me, because we’re just forcing everybody listen to us hash out our ideas.
Tim: But no, I think you and I think similarly, but just different enough that we can bounce ideas off of each other, which I think is really good. I guess that leads me to my suggestion, listen to podcasts. Not just this one, but there are a lot of good art education podcasts out there. So it’s a great way to keep learning. It’s simple, easily accessible and a lot of good ideas. I think that’s always beneficial. And not just podcasts, reading articles. Even just getting on social media, seeing what other teachers are doing. That’s all incredibly helpful. We don’t necessarily think of that as PD, because it’s so easy, but I would say if you’re thinking about teaching, if you’re reflecting on what you’re doing, if you’re looking for new ideas, that counts. So I don’t know, what else do you have? What other ideas do you have?
Janet: Yeah, I mean, I think along the same lines. Another piece of PD is to get you, or at least national PD. When you’re doing professional development, at your school, it’s usually targeted and specific and whatever. But when you’re looking at something bigger than your school or your district, or even your town or whatever, it’s so refreshing to get all these different perspectives and actually see what teaching looks like in all different areas of the country. I mean our country is so diverse. I think that ways that you can push yourself outside of your bubble, like reading articles. Or listening to podcasts like you said, just hearing those other people’s perspectives helps you formulate what’s going on in the bigger context.
Janet: I also think a good piece, like you said, with social media is keeping your eye on contemporary artists. So like I said that was the one thing I love about these conferences too is, hearing about these artists that when you Google there’s just so much information. Sometimes it’s hard to find or peel those artists that you’re really interested into that. Kind of keeping your eye on social media for that is really helping us to remind ourselves of what art making is actually looking like right now. What kind of media is actually available to us now that when we first started teaching how long ago, it didn’t look like that.
Tim: Yep. Yep. For sure. Well, and also thank you for giving me the perfect segue talking about art and creativity, because I wanted to ask you about the creativity course for adults that you’re teaching now. Can you tell us about that?
Janet: Yes. I’m pretty excited actually. My first session is tomorrow.
Tim: Oh my.
Janet: We’ll see. Okay, so basically, I had two friends over the last couple of months. One is somebody that I teach with who is a science teacher and another one is just a friend outside of the teaching realm. Both of them separately had said to me, “I’m kind of in a funk, and I know you really are into creativity and you obviously, you’re an art teacher, so you also have the knowledge there, as the media.” They were like, “Can you teach me this, or can you teach me that?” I was kind of like, “Oh, that’s a lot of work for one person to come up with a whole curriculum.” So I thought, well, okay, so there’s two people actually interested than there probably is more. So what could that look like?
I will say also … I have to say this, so I am not in the classroom right now. I took kind of a leave from teaching since January, because of my kid’s health. I don’t want people to listen to this and be like, “Oh my God, she’s doing this and she’s doing that and now she’s doing this too, and what am I doing?” And that’s not okay. So just want to kind of remind that I’m working personally on my balance as well. That’s a big piece for me right now. So these two friends came up and said, “Can you do this?” And I thought, “Okay, what could this look like.”
So I really wanted to do something to address people’s mental health right now, I’m not a therapist. I’m not a psychiatrist, psychologist, whatever. But, as you know, art is super healing and getting into our creative habits and outside of our funk. So I developed a curriculum, it’s six weeks, and it’s basically each week is trying to focus on exploration and play to make us feel a little bit safer about the idea of creating. If focusing what we create or what we’ll be working on will be focusing through mindfulness and gratitude. So I know it sounds kind of cheesy, like, “Oh, gratitude and mindfulness, this is what”-
Tim: It sounds great to me, to be honest.
Janet: Oh, okay good. I always like, people are like, “Oh gratitude.” I don’t do those gratitude journals. I’m terrible about it. I’m like, “That sounds like such a great idea, but whatever.” Anyway, I thought I should practice what I’m preaching about creative habits, because I’ve been in a funk too. It’s just our safe way to do this and I wanted to focus on adults, because that’s kind of … I think the other piece is throughout the pandemic, I mean, life in general, but pandemic especially we’re so focused on taking care of everybody else in our lives, that we forget to take care of ourselves. So I’m pushing that idea of … I don’t want to say pushing, that sounds bad. But, we’re talking more about the idea of this is self-care time and that you can take this time for yourself, because it will make you a better person. You’ll feel better, right?
Tim: Yeah, absolutely. It’s so incredibly helpful. And I think the idea of doing a course is worthwhile, because you have dedicated time. Because we always have the best intentions of, “Oh, I need to make more art. Oh, I need to get out my colored pencils.” But we know, it just never happens. Life gets in the way, so it’s helpful to have that dedicated time. Then I guess-
Janet: I was just going to say, I’m the first person to say, “I don’t have time for that or I don’t have money for that.” Then it just slips away and then I feel terrible.
Tim: Yeah, exactly. That actually leads me to my last question. Just all about how we keep our creativity going, because a few months back, I want to say this was in the fall maybe, you wrote that article called, How To Rethink Creativity When It’s Gone Missing. You had so many great ideas on creating creativity. I don’t know, that sounds weird to say, but just how you can find time, how you can force yourself to create. I don’t know if you want to talk about that article specifically or more just share some ideas about what you’re doing to keep your own creativity going right now?
Janet: So I guess, it’s funny when you say create creativity, it feels kind of weird to me too, kind of icky. Like if you just work harder, you’ll create this and it will happen. I feel like that just doesn’t happen for us like that. I mean, I personally really struggle with self-discipline. The idea of if I work harder, it’s kind of like going to the gym. If you go to the gym every day, or if you push yourself to do that, then it will be better. I just can’t do that. It’s like, “Go to the gym, yuk.” Maybe I just haven’t found my quote unquote, exercise. You know how runners talk about that runner high?
Janet: I don’t know if you’re a runner. Are you a runner?
Tim: I am a runner. I love the runners high, it’s great.
Janet: Me, I’m just huffing and puffing and feel terrible afterwards. Maybe I just haven’t found my running, my exercise. But anyways, so I guess I kind of compare it like that. And instead of saying it’s just something you have to push through in order to get that response, I feel like it’s more like the theory of energy and how you can’t create or destroy creativity. It’s displaced or you’re using it elsewhere, so that’s okay too. I think, and the article is more about how we’re using our energy or our creative energy, or thinking about not feeling so bad when you don’t feel creative. To be more observant and say, “Oh, right, I’m not super creative right now, because I am making dinner every day. If I’m making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day, maybe that’s not so creative and it’s using up my creative juices as much. So this year, obviously, I have heard, and I’m sure you have too, a lot of teachers, but also students are just really struggling to create. So yeah, I’d say the first thing that I always do is consume. That’s kind of my first little tip.
Tim: Yeah, I’m the same way, because I think Matt, who you gave a little shout out to earlier, I think said something in that article too. I remember reading it and him talking about, “Hey you need to consume creativity if you want to be creative.” Even if it’s just watching a show that sparks something, listening to music, or going to art galleries, whatever the case may be. The more creative things you see, the more creative you are. I think that’s a really, really valuable tool. That was light bulb moment for me. It made a lot of sense to me when I first read that.
Janet: Yeah, me too.
Tim: Ever since then I’ve been trying to do more of that. I think that’s incredibly helpful.
Janet: I would say though, consuming has to be intentional for that, though. So like I currently, or maybe this year I would say, have been really consuming to escape or to find something that inspires me or is something that’s different. You know how you were talking about podcasts, is part of your PD, and I kind of look at that too. You took a break from Twitter, didn’t you for a while?
Tim: I did. I’m not on Facebook at all. Then I took a break from Twitter. I’m not on Instagram either, so yeah, I don’t know, where are you going with this?
Janet: So, I guess, we’ve been inundated with so much information this year on a constant basis. It’s like I’m constantly consuming information. I took Facebook off of my phone recently and it was the best move I’ve ever done. It definitely has like my body feels more regulated. I think by doing that, it’s creating more space to be creative or to allow my brain to think more me, instead of focusing on all the information over load. So I guess that’s what I mean by consuming is finding something specific. Sometimes too, I love me some Brene Brown. Just love her.
Tim: Yes. Yes.
Janet: But there are times when I just can’t listen to it right then. Because it’s just too much.
Tim: It’s not what you need right then.
Janet: Yes. I think that’s the piece of the consuming I’m talking about.
Tim: No, that makes a lot of sense.
Janet: Does that make sense?
Tim: It does. I don’t want to go too far down this rabbit hole, because I feel like this could be a whole extra podcast, but I think the intentionality works well, but my brain doesn’t always work like that, where sometimes I’m just watching to escape. Just watching the show, then I get inspired. For me the Queen’s Gambit was a great example of that on Netflix. I was just watching the show because it’s fantastic and I love chess, but then it was so visually stunning that I just started thinking so much more about color schemes and color combinations and then making art. I wasn’t expecting that at all, but then you see the right thing, it just clicks for you. Then it gets the wheels turning and you can keep creating. So it’s-
Janet: So I would say, you’re going laugh at me, no more on this rabbit hole, but I would say it’s intentional. You intentionally watched that to escape or to not focus on something. So that was intentional consumption on your part.
Tim: I don’t know, I didn’t want to think about things though and when I watched it and then I ended up thinking about things. But, they just happened to be artistic things, so it worked out.
Janet: Right, right, right. Okay, fair enough.
Tim: We’re going to have to do another podcast just on this.
Janet: I swear.
Tim: Okay, just real quick though, I wanted to add two more things and then just see if you had any closing thoughts there, just about creativity, because I think these things help. For me, sketchbook work is always fantastic and I always leave my sketchbook out. I leave it open on my desk with markers or colored pencils or pens or whatever, just right next to it, so it’s so easy to just come in, spend five minutes, spend 10 minutes and just it’s accessible to me and it’s easy to create, which I think can be really helpful and keeps me going and makes sure that I’m creating work. Then I know not everybody can do this, but buying new supplies is just the greatest. I just bought some new markers. Do I need new markers? No. But are they spectacular? Yes. So it keeps me creating and keeps me working, and those are a couple of things that are really helpful for me. So, what about you, any other thoughts? Any other closing ideas?
Janet: Okay, Ray, I have to ask though, with your buying new supplies, is it refreshing your old, or do you actually look for something that you haven’t used before?
Tim: Both. When things are starting to run out, I’ll be like, “Yeah, I might want to replace them.” Then there are other times like, “Oh, I don’t have these markers in double ended. I better buy them.” Sometimes it’s very-
Janet: Right, these have a chiseled and a point.
Tim: Right, so it’s ridiculous. My wife is just like, “Why? Why?” I’m like, “I need to be creative. I don’t know, I’m sorry.”
Janet: You can’t ask why with an art teacher and art supplies, that’s for sure. I love your point about the sketchbook though being accessible. I think a lot of my stuff is … Okay, so my studio right now is so messy, it’s really bad. But, if I start to pack everything and put it away, I forget that it’s there. Or I have to intentionally go, “Oh right, I want to use color pencils right now.” But if it’s right in front of me, I’ll just grab it and use it. I think that’s a really good point too about sketchbook work and I don’t know, I think sketchbook work too, I love that, because you’re just tossing down ideas and you’re contemplating and you’re practicing some mindfulness, without … But, I do think you have to set aside some time. Do you set aside time to do that?
Tim: I try and just take 10 or 15 minutes every day, just whenever I can fit that in, in the time that I would otherwise be spending on social media, if can direct that toward art, that’s good for me.
Janet: That’s a really good point. I like that. I’ve been going for walks and I think especially now, that the thaw is happening, the great thaw, it’s really nice to hear the birds chirping and get some fresh air and some vitamin D and that sunshine. I think having that space, that’s when I might listen to an interesting podcast or something like that. I think that helps me clear my mind too. I think those are good practices.
Tim: Yeah, absolutely. It’s all worthwhile, whatever you can find time to do, just find something that works for you and I think that will be helpful for everyone. All right, Janet, we’ll go ahead and close it up there. Thank you as always for talking to me for way too long, covering way to many topics. It’s always wonderfully enjoyable to have you on.
Janet: Thanks so much, I always appreciate it.
Tim: Thank you to Janet for coming on. I’ll wrap up quickly since we went long, but honestly, we told you at the beginning, that we’re going to go long. Janet and I always do, because we have so much to talk about, so no surprises there. If you are still with us at this point, I appreciate that. Thanks for sticking around.
One quick push before we go, if you are looking for another great conference, if you just can’t wait for another conference, the summer NOW conference will be happening at the end of July, the 29th, to be exact. It’s an awesome day of PD that will get you ready for the coming school year. We have an early bird offer happening now through the end of April for $30 off the conference. And of course, if you sign up early, you are guaranteed a swag box. Now, if you aren’t ready to think four or five months ahead and definitely not ready for me to talk about the next school year, you don’t want to hear that, that’s fine. But just keep coming back for our podcasts and articles and everything else that we talked about in the conversation today. And most importantly, keep learning, keep sharing, keep reflecting, and keep creating.
Art Ed Radio is produced by the Art of Education University with audio engineering by Michael Crocker. Thank you as always for listening.
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.