Work/Paint Balance

I have work available at Fosse Gallery , Kooywood Gallery and Old Chapel Gallery this summer, the latter being a new venture for me. Many thanks to Yasmin Strube for giving me the opportunity to be part of her exhibition in Leominster.

I must admit that it’s been hard for me to keep up with painting this past six months. My teaching job has attempted to hijack what i love doing the most, with inspections, data and statistics threatening to draw the life out of the privilege that is teaching kids Art & Design. I’ve become consumed by the requirement to justify results that are based on a pupil’s social or academic background, why pupils who are entitled to free school meals are not achieving their target grades or why pupils who are excellent at Maths or English are underperforming in Art.

When it comes to the truth, I’m more interested in opening their eyes to what is around them, to exploring and experimenting with new materials and techniques. I don’t place so much importance on assessment; I value the experience of Art & Design, the opportunity to tune out of the rat race and express what I like, what I see and what I feel. This doesn’t involve hitting a target that has been based on tests that have no relevance to my chosen subject. It doesn’t involve integrating literacy, numeracy, bilingualism, assessment objectives, provision for basic skills, additional learning needs, free school meal pupils, pupils educated in another language, differentiation that suits boys and girls, peer assessment or self assessment in every single lesson that I plan, provide or deliver.

I’m not pointing any fingers at anyone in my school. Their hands are tied by the insistence of others that we justify and quantify everything in an impersonal way. In many ways I’m disappointed in myself for allowing the situation to affect me. The summer break has only been in effect for a week, but I’m already planning for the next academic year. I will endeavour to do more of what I want to do and less of what I seemingly have to do.

And what I want to is paint, draw, print and smile. I’ll keep you posted.

Published by jamesdonovanart

Welsh artist.

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