Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Technique Example vs. the Portfolio Piece

Watercolor Monotype example
Recently I was faced with a perplexing decision. Do I put my very large and imposing portfolio piece in a group show meant to show teachers' (my) work along with students' work? Or, do I show less strong, smaller pieces intended mostly to show what is possible with the class technique that I have been showing to my students? Which is better to attract new students to a generally unfamiliar printmaking technique?

Watercolor Monotype example
The class I teach is Watercolor Monotype which differs considerably from traditional monotype in both technique and the look and feel of the final print. Though my more accomplished piece does exhibit the qualities of watercolor monotypes, I felt it didn't show a wide enough range of techniques that this versatile medium offers. I also didn't want to overshadow my students' work which was much, much smaller in comparison. So I opted to show a couple of small pieces that for all intents and purposes did not reflect my current work very much but were merely examples of what could be done. That is what is shown here. Any thoughts?

I am not sure if the decision was the right one but it is an interesting dilemma to face as a teaching artist who is trying to attract students to a new medium.


Anonymous said...

I've seen this dilemma resolved differently in different occasions, but I tend to agree that showing teacher's pieces that overshadow students' work may be a bit overwhelming for them... Not to pamper their ego, but sometimes they may get the idea that they will never reach the level of their teacher when they make the comparison. So the most successful way to present both teacher's and students' work together is work done in similar circumstances, time frame and techniques to show them what the possibilities of the medium are.

Elana Goren said...

Thanks for your thoughts, parasol. I reached the same conclusion as you did. Better to just show what's possible than to try showcase what the teacher's work is at the risk of overshadowing the students' work. And I want to add that the students' work was really good, just much smaller than my typical print.