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

James Kriley

Commitee Members

Randy Bolton, Jeri Rittel


artworks, creative pulse, integrated arts and education, teaching illustration


University of Montana


This paper documents the process of completing a Creative Project in Integrated Arts and Education. The project has two distinct arms: one, to develop a teaching unit on illustration, and two, to renew my artistic identity by producing and exhibiting artworks after a twenty-seven year hiatus. The third part of the paper lays a philosophical foundation for the rest. The Illustration Unit was successfully researched, developed, taught and revised, and is available as a PowerPoint presentation. Thirteen artworks were successfully completed and exhibited—the paper details my process and techniques. I realized my goal by taking my place as a professional fine artist. Through the experience, however, I came to realize that the real work was in facing my doubts and fears, and in coming to terms with the notion that commercial art is not “real (fine) art.” Thirty years’ work in various design fields has given me a clear understanding of the skills needed for good design. They are exactly the same skills needed to produce “fine art.” While it is true that commercial artists must work within boundaries set by the intended use of the work, what is commonly overlooked is that the fine artist also works within limitations defined by the media used, skill level achieved, etc. It is my belief that the commercial aspect of a work should not be a factor in determining artistic value; rather, the quality of the work itself should be the fair consideration. “Fine art” should simply refer to “excellent art.” Unfortunately, artists and patrons alike have fostered an elitism which permeates the art world. This is simply cultural bias; it is a short-sighted position which ultimately damages the artists it is intended to protect. In cultures where art is truly integrated into everyday life, the arts are highly respected. This is not true where elitism exists. It is time to redefine art, encompass a larger view, and make art accessible to everyone. Integrated arts can help us make creativity a daily event, which is critically important, because creativity combined with clarity of vision is the cornerstone of human advancement.



© Copyright 2007 Clara Sharon McLane