I am Laurie Morrison and I have a long history in fine art. I was drawing before I could walk or talk. Throughout my life I have created artworks using silk screen, lithography, intaglio print making and oil paints; plus pencil, charcoal, and pastel drawing. I have done a lot of 3-D work in clay sculpture. I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and I have 24 years experience creating art via computer software as a graphic designer. You will find that my art classes bring old and new techniques together.
I think it is important for students to realize that art is about something, and that it happens in a social environment. I connect what they are learning to real-life experiences so that they develop a greater understanding and more in-depth knowledge of art. Dr. Samella Levis (artist, author, and former educator) said, “Art is not a luxury as many people think. It is a necessity. It documents history; it helps to educate people and stores knowledge for generations to come.” I find this to be true.
Early creative learning experiences are important. “Children are the designers and engineers of the adults they will become.” - Dr. Marvin Bartel, Ed.D. from “Learning and Assessing Imagination as Intelligence.” Using one’s imaginative capabilities through art during the developmental years is important for intellectual growth. Creative and divergent thinking capacities are refined during this critical phase. I think it is important to foster creativity and critical thinking, and teach life-long learning skills.
I use 'green' materials as much as possible in my studio: use of oil paints made from walnut oil, which is non-toxic and cleans up without harmful chemicals; use of biodegradable foam board, recycled drawing paper, drawing or painting on items brought from home or outside – instead of painting on canvases; even creating sculptures from this 'found art'.
I created Main Street School of Art because I wanted to make a difference in children’s lives. Gaining art skills can have a real impact on children’s personal lives that goes beyond an art role. Being good at something gives children a sense of self confidence that is carried with them throughout the rest of their lives. I believe artists never get away from the 'homework of the eye and the mind'. We dream art both at night and in our daydreams. I encourage my students to sketch and journal these rich ideas so that when we enter the studio, the ideas force themselves onto the canvas or into the clay. I try to find ways to inculcate my students with artistic ways of seeing and thinking about all of life.