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gail bean fine art   •   a collection of floorcloths, paintings, drawings, and notecards

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about the artist

I currently teach art in the Osage City Public Schools in Osage City, Kansas, located in northeast Kansas near the capitol of Topeka. I have over 20 years of experience in art education at the junior high and high school levels. I teach general art classes as well as computer graphics and graphic design. I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in graphic design from Kansas State University and my Masters in Art Education from Wichita State University. I enjoy teaching. Firsthand observation of the impact that the visual arts has on my students' academic growth is a powerful thing! The creative process, whether it be in the classroom or at home in my studio, is the most rewarding aspect of my career.


I relate my teaching and artistic philosophy to a title I once gave to a painting "Controlled Chaos". There are so many media that I have used over the years, so many students who have passed through my classroom, and so many techniques in art instruction and classroom management that I have utilized. This may be looked at as pure chaos by some, but I look at it as a wonderful opportunity that enables me to learn and grow artistically right along with my students.

My art classes, typically 16 - 18, work in a studio environment. Our studio area is large, and students enjoy plenty of personal work space. Visitors to my room may see "chaos" as students at various levels are working on individual projects in different media. It doesn't take the visitor long to see that students are engaged in their work and in the creative process. I am the facilitator in that students work through their problems with guidance from me and their peers.

Another example of "chaos" might be people's ideas about art in general. To the untrained eye, abstract or non-objective art may look chaotic with many colors, shapes and textures. However, there must be a thought process where the student or experienced artist takes into consideration the fundamentals of design, or its art elements and principles. This I emphasize to my students daily.

This is where "control" comes into play. Artists at all levels must go through the artistic process and think carefully about their use of elements and principles. We must be disciplined to stay on task. "Controlled chaos" is challenging, exciting, and never boring! Finally, we must continue to grow and learn from the creative process.

About my Work

I work in several styles and will do custom work with floorcloths. They are durable enough to be used in place of area rugs, however they can also be fixed to hang on the wall. My style reflects the diversity that comes with being a teacher, and I am comfortable with abstract, non-objective, and somewhat realistic work. My paintings and floorcloths exhibit similar styles. I enjoy working with colors and their relationships, from subtle change to strong contrast.

My methods of work are varied. There are several ways I generate ideas for floorcloths and paintings: Painting directly onto the canvas, use of the computer, and drawing. I like the manipulation of color, shape, and texture in non-objective designs.

• Painting directly onto the canvas: There are many tools besides brushes. I use sponges, texture tools, stamps, and anything I might find that will create an interesting shape or texture. This is somewhat experimental, but careful thought must be given to the use of color, shape, pattern, and texture.

• Computer: With the use of my computer I can scan in drawn images and create repeat patterns. I primarily use the software Adobe Photoshop, but sometimes use Adobe Illustrator. These programs allow me to change colors and textures quickly. This is a beginning step that helps with design and color only. The images are then enlarged and painted on the floorcloth.

• I also like to draw and use colored pencil and ink to plan my ideas. I have a large collection of photographs of local scenes or photographs from trips I have taken that I sometimes use as reference for realistic, abstract, or non-objective formats. My drawings are fairly small and can be finished, framed pieces on their own. Sometimes I turn to pen and ink when I want more control, or the subject matter calls for little or no color. It is a medium that requires much patience and it forces me to slow down and work at a slower pace.

In conclusion, my work shows much variety, and I find it energizing to try new techniques and media. An artist must strive for aesthetically pleasing work, and at the same time express oneself through use of the art medium, art elements and principles. It is what my teaching focus is about, and it is my personal artistic goal as well.


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