Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Fine Arts (Integrated Arts and Education)

Department or School/College

Creative Pulse Program

Committee Chair

Randy Bolton

Commitee Members

Rick Hughes, Ann Wright


University of Montana


This paper conveys the rich background savored from my family’s ranch and how it still deeply affects me, not only in my art, but how I view the world.

My final Creative Pulse project was to intentionally set aside time to create more personal art. This journey of art exploration quickly exposed a strong sense of place that emanated from the ranch of my childhood upbringing. Thus, my journey became threefold; create art with my students, present our art in a gallery showing and investigate the impact place has on people.

The Chinese brush painting and oil painting adult education classes that I found were challenging but rewarding. Previous ceramics instructions enabled me to teach my high school students and even adult education classes on the subject. Experimenting with acrylics, photography, gouache and mixed media filled out my year of developing more deeply as an artist. By becoming a student of art once again, empathizing with my students in their learning process became easier and my learning styles became more evident, thus deeply affecting my teaching in many ways.

My year of developing my artistic skills culminated in a show at a local western art gallery. Even the art show reflected a sense of place as my family came from the ranch and regarded it as any other family gathering, bringing an abundance of food and sharing stories by the hour.

Through much research and reflection on a sense of place it became evident that it is a vastly overwhelming, but fascinating, subject. Several reasons for the ranch influence on my art became apparent; I have not only spent more time on the ranch than any other place, but also spent my early formative years there. But, more importantly, my deliberations led me to a deeper understanding of my place in the world.



© Copyright 2009 Alisa Hammond McLaughlin