Drawing and Painting I
I strive to teach with four main goals: Craftsmanship, Creativity, Composition, Visual Culture (Past and Present)
Still Life (Personal Objects)
To create greater relevance to a still life project, students had to collect meaningful objects that they own and compose a still life of their choosing. Students considered compositional methods such as movement, balance, and unity.
Still Life (Classical Objects)
Students assisted in setting up a still life of classical objects after viewing the history of still life painting.
Still Life (Created Objects)
To create more relevancy to the still life study, students were given a paper lunch bag to bend and fold and manipulate before completing a reduction charcoal drawing. For the second project students were able to create a 3-D sculpture out of paper, considering the shadows that fell on the surfaces. From these sculptures students were then surprised to find out they would be creating a reduction charcoal and pastel drawing for their final work.
Serving Community: Portraits Given to Children
Moving beyond the typical self-portrait study, students were challenged to create a portrait of a kindergarten student in the lower ed. school community. After completing the work in colored pencil and framing the piece, students took a field trip the collaborating classroom and shared a special moment with their child.
Inspired by Literature
While being read aloud to for 10 minutes at the start of each class for four weeks students created inspired works of art based on imagery they envisioned in the story they heard. This series was inspired by the book of Job from the Scriptures.
Perspective drawing can be rather boring and difficult for many students. I chose to create a dynamic and dramatic still life of vintage wooden crates to inspire students. After praticing technical perspective students had the challenge of drawing what was directly in front of them- very different than just drawing random boxes on a piece of paper. Students also were given the challenge of choosing a location in the hallway to draw during classtime. Lastly, to make perspective relevant and personal to them students were asked to photograph their home, or a home that was meaningful to them, and to do a final watercolor painting of it to give as a gift.
Skeleton Studies and Abstractions
Students create engaging technical drawings of the human skeleton. This is preliminary to our figure drawing unit. After the technical study, students create a second work of art, inspired by the skeleton, that is creative and contains each students' personal voice.
Inspired by Master Artist 1"x1" scrap
Drawing students apply their understanding of compositional elements to this creative and personal project. After choosing a 1"x1" square that was photocopied from a random unknown larger work of art students lightly tape it down onto their paper and begin a composition that matches the values of the photocopy and the technique of the unknown artist. After final compositions are made students are shown the actual full work of art completed by the original master artist. Meaning making and personal voice are strongly encouraged.
Collage and Transfer
Intro to Art students consider compositional elements as they create playful and serious works of art from collaged pieces. Each of these works needs to move beyond the typical teenage cut and paste collage and a variety of methods are shown to them to use in their final compositions. Meaning making and personal voice are strongly encouraged.
Art to the Streets -giving framed original art away
The last week of the semester students create a minature work of art from any medium to frame and give away to unsuspecting bystanders downtown. This is a wonderful way to engage students with the downtown community. If after 60 minutes there are any artworks unchosen we leave them on a tree or post with a note that says this is for free, please give this work of art a home.
Walking Gallery (downtown rush hour)
The Walking Gallery was created to help bring art to the people instead of people to the art. We wanted to break down the museum wall. Students selected their favorite work of art (some wrapped in clear plastic) and we paraded downtown for 30 minutes while saying "We are a walking gallery" and offering crackers and cheese to bystanders.
Creating real-world and relevant art projects.
I have often heard, “That’s great that you are doing real-world projects for your design classes, but how do you do that for fine arts?” I have to admit it has taken me a few years to find projects and experiences that help students relate their learning to a real-world experience. A few projects I have done in the past are:
- Simulating a real gallery juried exhibition, with the students jurying their peer work and hosting the show. (It is an incredible opportunity for synthesizing all they have learned.)
- Entering student pieces into adult shows, and it is a great encouragement to them to see their work selected.
- Painting or drawing on location.
- Using their own personal real-world experiences to help form thematic works under a big idea.
- Solo or group exhibitions of Senior work in galleries, coffee shops, or host home.
- Participating in a K-12th grade Art Expo. In addition to showing their work, high students are required to be a leader in the interactive art area. It is a great way for them to assist the Elementary children.
- Creating artwork for a non-profit organization.
- Murals for the school.
- Inviting guest artists and going on studio visits are always inspiring!
- Giving away art. One of the annual real-world experiences we do is a bit zany –right in the heart of winter, each student selects their best or favorite work of art created that year and we travel downtown. In the midst of rush hour we parade our fine works of art around in what I have now dubbed, “The Walking Gallery”. Students even get extra credit if they hand out some packaged “crackers and cheese” to a morning pedestrian! I changed things up a bit this year, and found it very successful -students spent two days creating a 5″x7″ work of art to give away. As we walked downtown we told the pedestrians, coffee baristas, security guards, businessmen and homeless street people that we were giving away free art. It was amazing to see so many shocked at the thought of giving away art. Out of the 24 students 2 were not able to give theirs away in the 35 minutes we walked downtown, so we hung them in a tree branch with a sticky note that said, “Free”. Here is a newspaper article on our experience.