Creativity in teaching and learning is vital

I firmly believe in inspiring students to be inquisitive and curious in order to develop their creative potential, which in turn leads to the development of good lateral thinking and problem solving skills. I found the following article about creativity in schools very interesting.

Creativity in schools sounds good – so what’s the hitch? by Anne Harris, Senior Lecturer, Creative Arts Education at Monash University.

via Blending

curiouser and curiouser … Image via Blending





Storytelling from images


Retina | Day 320365. Photographer: Marius-Vieth

Image source

Images are a great way to promote creative thinking. Find a collection of interesting images relating to a theme and then ask your students to study them, choose one or more of them, and then write a short story about what they think might be happening to the characters in them.

If you have chosen interesting images to start with the students may surprise you in their interpretations. You can then use their stories to promote meaningful discussions relating to your specific subject or workplace situation.

If you are prepared to be adventurous, don’t choose images that are targeted to a specific learning outcome or skill. To get the best results choose a theme that has no evident connection with your subject. This may sound frivolous, but if you really want to engage your students in a creative way give it a go.

As an example, look at these images:

Resulting stories from these images may revolve around:

  • appearances can be deceiving
  • some things can be overlooked
  • what’s in the detail is important
  • big versus small

Your challenge would then be to direct any resulting discussion from the students’ stories/themes back to the workplace or current subject area you are dealing with.

POSTSCRIPT: the images on this url change regularly, so what you see today may not be there next week – but the new ones will be equally interesting.

Beautiful camouflage

I always loved using camouflage as a theme when teaching art because it generated such a different way of seeing and thinking. I found it often inspired students to think more creatively. Artists have embraced the concept of camouflage in may varied and beautiful ways. I have chosen a few examples that visually inspire me as an artist, but the theme can be useful for any area of study that requires creative and innovative thinking.

Art Wolfe-Impala in brush

Art Wolfe – Impala in brush

Camouflage dog

Dog camouflage

Body Painting-by Cecilia-Paredes

Body Painting-by Cecilia-Paredes

Body Painting-by Cecilia-Paredes

Body Painting-by Cecilia-Paredes

Body Painting-by Cecilia-Paredes

Body Painting-by Cecilia-Paredes



Emily Hadden

Emily Hadden – shirt

Emma Hack 1

Body painting by Emma Hack

Body painting by Emma Hack

Body painting by Emma Hack

Body painting by Emma Hack

Body painting by Emma Hack

Floral floral

Floral overlay


Black and white is always impressive

hand book

hand book

Rene Magritte National Gallery of Art Washington DC

Rene Magritte National Gallery of Art Washington DC

Steven Meisel

Artist – Steven Meisel

Street Art

Street Art – artist unknown

Tree hotel Sweden

Tree hotel Sweden

Photo by Valerie Belin

Photo by Valerie Belin

Indian bridal henna

Indian bridal henna

Photographer- Renee Keith

Photographer- Renee Keith

all images via

I particularly love the work of Emma Hack and Cecilia Paredes.

Emma Hack is an Australian artist. Her recent collection of work was inspired by Verushka who in the 1960s and 70s painted herself into rustic walls and naturalistic settings. Emma’s first ever human body art wallpaper camouflage took 19 hours to paint.

Cecilia Paredes was born in Lima, Peru, and currently lives and works between San Jose, Costa Rica and Philadelphia. Her artistic career began as a painter but her creative concepts evolved, revealing themselves first in three-dimensional objects, then through photography. Paredes paints her own body to blend in with the background.

Playing with perspective

In the 1920s artists and photographers introduced a new way of looking at the world around us by playing with the rules of perspective. They called this ‘new vision’ photography.

Instead of taking photographs from a normal eye level perspective, they experimented with low angle and high angle shots to create a greater sense of drama in their images. They also rotated and boldly cropped images, emphasised angles, focused on repetitive forms and used strong tonal contrasts. These different ways of playing with perspective created new tensions and intrigue in their work. One of the most prominent photographers during this time was László Moholy-Nagy.

Today we are very familiar with camera angled shots that use forced perspective.  We see them used professionally in painting, photography and cinematography, and often in a fun and spontaneous way by ‘happy snap’ amateurs (I am definitely in the latter category). Understanding the basics of these techniques can help all of us to bring a new vision to our work.

Here are three photographs which illustrate the new vision concept. They were all taken in the 1920s by László Moholy-Nagy .

Bauhaus Balconies 1926

László Moholy-Nagy, 1926, Bauhaus Balconies

This low angle shot features repeating angles and strong diagonal lines. It’s been further enhanced by the angle tilt of the camera and dramatic cropping.

Oskar Schlemmer in Ascona, 1926

Oscar Schlemmer in Ascona

This high angle shot is given more complexity through the play of diagonal shadows that envelop the figure and confuse the eye. Strong tonal contrast adds to this dramatic effect.

Lago Maggiore, Ascona, Schweiz, ca. 1930

Moholy-Nagy_Lake Maggiore

This is simultaneously a low and high angle shot, further enhanced by the diagonal lines of the boards. We are drawn into this image via the legs of the bathers, moving on to the boaters and swimmers below, and then finally across the lake to the distant shore.

Finally, for Father Ted fans, here’s a completely different ‘play’ with perspective.

Forced perspective confusion