2012julyjenportraitLife is short. It’s important to love what you do. I’m so thankful to spend my days working in art studios with creative young artists and fantastic teams of teachers. I believe that what you put out into the world is what you get back and my enthusiasm for all things artistic translates to those around me.

I’m an Australian citizen living in the UK and currently teaching art at the American School in London. I work across the Middle and High School Divisions and teach from Grade 6 to AP Studio Art. Prior to working in London, I spent 3 years in Belgium at the International School of Brussels where I was the Head of Visual Arts. I taught in the High school and worked with the International Baccalaureate DP Art students as well as Studio Artists, 3D artists, and Textile Design students.

From 2003 to 2008, I worked in Tokyo at The American School in Japan. I was Chair of Visual Arts for three of those years. I taught the Advanced Placement certificate as well as Life Drawing and Ceramics classes. I was deeply touched by Japanese culture and my experiences as an artist and teacher there have made a lasting impression on my creative sensibilities.

I started teaching in the late 80′s in Melbourne, Australia. After 14 years of working in prestigious private schools on the Mornington Peninsula and central Melbourne, I was ready to begin my journey into International teaching with excitement and a strong pedagogical background. From Melbourne, it was first to Japan and from then the big adventure began…

 

They say a picture speaks a thousand words, so please take some time to look at the links on my gallery pages to see the world through my eyes.

Teaching Philosophy

Talking to Mondrian at the Guggenheim NYC

The Arts are unique in that they allow success for everyone. Every child has that spark of creativity that when nurtured can become electric.

My teaching philosophy is based strongly around experiences at my first school in Melbourne, Australia and its mission statement centred on Respect for Self, Respect for Others, and Respect for the Environment. A belief in the value of our own self worth, being considerate of others and taking care of our environment both locally and globally are all qualities that can be explored and embraced through Arts education.

I believe that all children need to feel a sense of self worth and this value is central to my approach to Art teaching. All people want to feel valued for their contributions and unique qualities.

Leading by example is paramount. My love for creating and appreciating Art comes through in everything I do and say, whether it is talking about art history and travels or about new skills and techniques. My students’ experience an infectious energy, and evidence of this in shown in the artworks they create. I strive for excellence in everything I do and like to model this in the classroom, setting high standards for myself and students, encouraging them to reach out to creative challenges.

Being encouraging, being positive and compassionate as well as making the most of every situation are characteristics of my teaching style. Developing problem solving skills by asking students about how an art critic might appraise their work results in self-directed and thoughtful solutions to design questions.

I aim to create a stimulating and safe working environment which enables students to feel happy and comfortable enough to take risks, try new things and expand their creative thinking processes. Engaging displays, website postings, online collaborative projects, visiting artists and museum visits are just a few of the ways that I ensure my students are enlivened to engage and appreciate the Visual Arts.

Ongoing Professional Development has strengthened my belief in encouraging students to problem solve and think creatively about new and unique solutions to tasks. There is no doubt that encouraging students to develop a sense of inquiry, to seek divergent answers, to be flexible and able to adapt to many situations are core strengths of Art education and essential life skills in the 21st Century. I am in agreement with a widely held contemporary view that ‘ideas’ people are the ones who will be highly sought in the future.

As they say a picture is worth a thousand words and in a contemporary environment of exploding Visual Culture, a successful Arts educator is perfectly positioned to maintain a significant role. I believe my students’ artwork speaks for itself…

My Gallery

Wales… at the Frith’s Pottery in Denbigh

Please enjoy the Gallery links below which serve as a record of my own artistic journey as well as assorted travels and adventures. The most recent artworks and photography are here:

Recent Awards: MPA 2013, Honorable Mentions in Still Life, Landscape and Travel categories

Mobile Masters. Ipad ebook featured artist.

Photography (my online photography portfolio)

Jennifer A Thomas – artworks and travels

I recently wrote an artist statement for an exhibition bio and it made me think a great deal about the intentions of my artwork and forced me to synthesize the direction I had been heading over the past 10 years.

My work always has a connection to the landscape and often responds visually to the vastness of my home country Australia and also the places I have lived, particularly Japan and the UK. I am interested in the metaphorical “layers” of a site and what scars it has born over centuries or millennia to the landscape. Many images examine the invisible pathways that connect the past to the present and that which is not seen. Several years ago I read about Leys Lines in England and how invisible lines of energy connect historic sites around the world. I am interested in this idea of what is not seen but what we instinctively know. Many of my images can be read as maps that reveal layers of history like sedimentary rock formations or as plan views of landscapes seen from above.

You may also “see” some scent in my work as I am also fascinated with the connection of scent and memory and how a moment’s inhalation can take you back in time to a place.