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Michael K. Knutson - Teaching Philosophy

Working as an educator I deal with a unique combination of watching, directing, coaching, guiding, and waiting. Balancing each of these teaching situations I embrace a more teacher-centered approach to instruction, lecturing and development. In any teaching and learning situation, the teacher is directly responsible for making the provisions for one, the other, or both. Learning to draw or paint is rediscovering how to see. Assignments challenge students to observe the world in a way that challenges their perceptions of form and design. As an instructor I familiarize students with a system of image making that will give them the tools to express themselves. Teaching students how to build a work of art through methods of construction applying the ideas of working general to specific while utilizing the concepts of 2-D design.

Utilizing a foundation of spatial analysis, and perceptual image making, I organize a constructive classroom setting, encouraging students to treat the studio as a laboratory in which to experiment and build confidence in process and personalize the project to their abilities and interests. I approach students individually to adjust the need for encouragement and insight along with critical response and analysis. I encourage experimentation and investigation by creating assignments that allow individual flexibility, motivation and interest in their projects. As students display more competencies in mark making and draftsmanship they will become more visually literate with an understanding of form and content.

Informing students of contemporary and historical artists works and career opportunities so they may become engrossed in the creative community around them. I require identification of positions in the contemporary art arena that is most conducive to their taste. This helps them to peruse artists to be influenced and mentored by. Exposure to the work of other artist’s introductions is through slide presentation, audio interviews and videos. This main component to each project is accompanied by a written response on what artists they identified with and how they inspired them. This happens in an environment that aims to create an encouraging and challenging atmosphere that promotes interpretation rather than imitation.

I Attempt to target a holistic language of image making through drawing and painting, demonstrating ways students approach the works of historical and contemporary masters as well as fully explore the creative possibilities of art making. Design should function as a cohesive element. Ultimately students will come away with an understanding that will allow them to transpose and apply a variety of mediums to their work, while expressing themselves with a variety of tools and inspiration.