Using Visual Thinking Strategies to Understand a Work of Art

Melanie Rick is a Kennedy Center teaching artist who works with students, teachers and other teaching artists globally.  In Hawaii, we have had the good fortune to study with her on a yearly basis. Using visual thinking strategies (ODIW: Observe, Describe, Infer, Wonder/Inquire), she teaches students and adults how to look at every detail within a work of art in order to engage with it in a more full-bodied way. Her approach has participants look closely at the following: facial expression, focal point, gesture, clothing, setting, objects, quantity, size, and color, to first describe, then make inferences about what they observe. I have also found this technique to be a valuable tool to use in the visual arts residencies I conduct in middle schools using the SoulCollage® process. The information they gather using these strategies leads to the writing of Six-Word Memoirs and other poetic forms within their Language Arts programs. Here’s a short video clip of Melanie talking about the value of using these visual thinking strategies in the classroom.

About Beth Marcil

Beth Marcil is a well-recognized Maui artist who also leads SoulCollage® workshops and Visual Journaling as well as private coaching sessions. She blends her many years of art training with her love of healing and the creative process.

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